Tag: blissology

The Gunas: The Yogic Energy Map

This fresh and insightful interpretation of a concept that comes from Yogic Philosophy and Ayurveda will offer you an incredibly intelligent and intuitive guide to living your life to its fullest capacity.

The word Guna comes from the word “strand.” Just like a rope is made of several strands there are three strands of life’s energy. That is to say, there are three main qualities of life.

Not knowing the Gunas is like going through life not knowing North, South, East and West. Eoin calls it an “energy map” that helps us master our energy in life.

There are so many energies we could feel, but the Gunas let’s us categorize them at the meta level so we can see the overarching patterns to how life interacts. Like you would file receipts in a file folder, the Gunas are like a filing system for energy.

This talk is just the tip of the iceberg and if you’re interested in these types of conversations, look into our self-study or interactive courses on Teachable.

Love Transcends All Distance {meditation}

This “Love Transcends all Distance” meditation is my medicine in these anxious times. I am honored and excited to share. My hope is that is will help restore you to a space of calm and centeredness. Space where we can find the eye in the storm.

It is a somatic-based meditation where we bring deep and relaxing, “3 Dimensional” breath into the body to help regulate ourselves towards peace. You will feel your hormone and nervous system switch into the relaxation response. You will let go of fear and worry and reconnect to the light inside our hearts.

Ultimately, my hope is that you will feel that Love is an energy that is accessible to us even in the most challenging of times and it is the force that needs to guide us now more than ever.

You will feel that even though we may have a lot of physical distance between us these days, the Love Transcends All Distance.

We are offering this as a free service but we would graciously accept donations for our EcoKarma Project. If you’d like to donate you can do so here. All proceeds will help us create more blue oceans for the next generation.

Eoin

The Emergence of a Blissology Yoga Teacher. ~ Rebecca Todd

Today I got to attend one of the most beautiful and touching yoga classes I’ve attended in a long time. Even through a screen, I felt so emotionally connected I ended up shedding a few tears.

The teacher was amazing and the sequencing was lovely, yet it was more than that. It was the emergence of a new yoga teacher, a new member of the ever-growing Bliss Army, and a new link in the web of connection that started, for me, with my lifelong friend Sara.

Sara and I met when we were 2 years old in the playgroup that the parents of the local small communities we lived in formed to create community. This was the 70s kids, we didn’t even have cable TVs. No internet or cell phones, not even cordless phones. McDonald’s had yet to release the McNugget. Empire Strikes Back was still a year distant, but that holiday special, thankfully, in the past.

As our towns were very small—mine, Goodwood, had about 250 people—there weren’t many people with kids around the same age, so we drew from a few small towns, and this brought me together with Sara, Amy, Jenny, and others who remain friends these 41 years later.

Jump forward a few decades. Sara and I have remained friends and have had many weird simpaticos during our life. One occurred when her long term relationship and my marriage ended around the same time. It was so helpful to have a trusted friend to turn to as we supported each other through many big changes. Sara found a weekend yoga workshop in a city close to mine, told me we were going and spending the weekend together, leaving me no room to wiggle out of it (a good friend knows when to push and when to back off). We would be training with a teacher she admired and had VHS tapes of his videos!

Enter Eoin Finn and Blissology yoga. I had only been practicing yoga for a while, and only one style. I was very nervous about the weekend and my yoga skills as I’ve never been athletic. How we were moving with Eoin was unfamiliar, and the first evening I was trepidatious. I turned to Sara from my mat and told her that I didn’t know some of these postures. She shrugged and replied, “try them anyway.”

By Sunday evening, my yoga was transformed. Anyone who has studied with Eoin knows he has a deep focus on alignment that transformed my physical practice, and mentally, my connection to my yoga practice had also shifted, thanks to Sara’s advice to try it anyway, even though it was unfamiliar.

A few years later, once again Sara and I found ourselves at a similar nexus in our lives—within weeks of each other, we endured similar injuries that derailed our lives. I sustained my 8th concussion in a kitchen cleaning accident (seriously) while Sara had a car accident and sustained whiplash and PTSD. Again, while I would not have wished such circumstances upon anyone, having a trusted friend going through a similar experience helped me get through it. As I was not able to work at my old career as an international sales manager in academic publishing, and yoga served as an amazing therapy for me mentally and physically, I decided to pursue my teacher training. There was only one choice for me, I had to train with Eoin.

The month I spent in Bali with Eoin and the rest of my YTT cohort was nothing short of life-changing. Spending so much time with a group of people in such a vulnerable way is guaranteed to draw you closer together, even without another wild accident. But this is me we are talking about, and if you don’t know me yet, well, I’m not so much accident prone as I experience the widest array of what life has to offer, I like to think, anyway, and in this case, what life had to offer was dancing through a glass floor out the bottom of a yoga studio into a koi pond (…seriously.) On the first full day of training. Across the world. In a place, I had gone alone to recover from another life-changing injury.

I did not let it end my trip and missed only 2 days of training even with 63 stitches and using crutches. This is not the story of that accident but is the story of the bond I developed with Eoin and the Bliss Army, and there is nothing like an accident to force you to ask for help and be vulnerable with strangers.

I went home 5 weeks later with a head full of yoga knowledge, a global connection of new friends, and some great new scars. Eventually, I found my way into teaching through the wonderful group of teachers in my city. My friend Joan introduced me to Tony who introduced me to Tina who introduced me to Kelsey who introduced me to Randi, who hired me to teach at Forest City Fitness—a community of people who all took the time and effort to help out a new teacher. Again, never having been naturally athletic, I felt out of my comfort zone going to a gym to teach yoga. I also had judgments about “gym yoga not being real yoga”. What I found instead was a caring and supportive community all invested in supporting each other, from the management to my colleagues to the members who support my classes.

Enter Alex Roa. Alex began coming to my yoga classes along with her sweet father, Felix. They were both very supportive of my classes, and were open and warm, taking the time to get to know me as a person, and letting me get to know them, too. Alex had done some yoga before, but was unfamiliar with the particular style I’d learned through Eoin—I blend his classic Blissology movements with his advanced Superflow training and a dash of Sadie Nardini (how I met Sadie is yet another beautiful tale for another day).

After a few months of getting to know each other, Alex asked if I would talk to her about doing her YTT. Of course, I wanted to tell her to study with Eoin, but I realise that what was the right choice for me may not be the right choice for her. I presented her with a number of options, and also explained to her the criteria I used when deciding to train through Blissology. After some extensive research, Alex returned to me and said she had decided to apply to train with Eoin. I was thrilled!

Alex returned home 5 weeks later with a head full of yoga knowledge, a global connection of new friends, and thankfully no new scars. Coming home at the start of the COVID crisis, Alex came back to a strangely restrictive time. We did not even get the chance to have one in-person class together before the stay at home regulations passed. This could have been a deterrent to someone less driven than Alex. She did not let this situation stand in her way. She asked me about teaching opportunities, and I sent her to my friend Mel, who sent her to Monika, who brought her on to teach at Innovation Works—a community of people who all took the time and effort to help out new teachers. And today was her first class!

Of course, I attended, and of course, it was amazing. Everything about how Alex led us through the class was exceptional. I have an education degree and can get quite exacting about teaching and presentation, and Alex blew us all away. She did not present as someone teaching their first class months after graduation. Instead, she was poised and professional and delivered a thoughtfully sequenced and clearly cued class. The students afterward made some great comments about the clarity of her directions and the creativity of the sequencing.

Monika let me stay on the zoom call after to hear her comments too. She read to Alex all of the comments in the chat—all glowing of course—and then contributed her own. She echoed so many of my own thoughts, and her praise was so sincere, thoughtful, and well delivered that I started crying! She mentors a lot of new yoga and fitness teachers and was thrilled with what Alex brought to the table. And of course, she asked her to teach more classes! It’s free and online so you can join us for the next one, I’ll include the details at the end.

Honestly, I was as emotional as when I first taught my own classes. What really got to me was the web of connection, flowing for for 41 years connecting Sara to me to Eoin to Alex and beyond. Of all the people along the way—those I named directly here and so many more—who supported me, so that I could help support others.

The heart of Blissology is “Yoga Community Nature”, and in these turbulent times, we need the connection piece more than ever.
What is a small way that you can connect today—both to ask for help and give it freely?

 To join Alex, search for Wellness Works on meetup.com- it’s free and easy to connect through Zoom. She will be teaching at 8:30 am EST on July 16 and August 13. See you on the mat!

~

by Rebecca Todd

Rebecca started practicing yoga about 15 years ago, primarily for fitness. When she sustained her 8th concussion in 2014, she ended up with post-concussion syndrome, PTSD, neck, and back injuries, which changed her relationship to yoga and it became her physical and mental therapy. After a weekend workshop with Eoin Finn changed her practice a decade ago, she sought a teacher training with him to advance her practice and to help her share the yoga that helped her heal with others. Since then, she’s also done four advanced Blissology modules (Yoga Mindbody Medicine, Yogic by Nature, Advanced Adjustments and, her favourite, Superflow), a total of 425 hours, as well as assisting. Rebecca also trained with Love Your Brain yoga and Sadie Nardini in Yoga Shred and Core Strength Vinyasa. 

Rebecca teaches online and in-person at Forest City Fitness, Jazzercise London, and Soulshine Yoga and she’s one half of the CBD wellness brand Bat and Butterfly. Find her on all things social @rebeccaamytodd to connect!

Never Doubt that the World Needs your Gifts

Each one of us is our own gem; we have an offering to humanity that we were meant to bring out into the world, but we play small.

I’ve realized that there have been so many gifts in the past few months underneath all the fear and uncertainty.

If we want to create a new future, it starts by simply sitting down and breathing. Like you would reset your phone: let’s recharge our energy and connect back to the beautiful vibration of Love.

Love is the biggest gift we’ve been given in our life. When we share that love it comes back 1000 times stronger. Like a boomerang, it comes right back at us. So share what’s in your heart.

Let go of negative stories in your past and create the amazing future that we are all stepping into. The world needs your gifts. Let them shine today in the smallest of ways.

If you’re interested in these types of conversations you can sign up for our Commit to Bliss Online course happening this July!

Pigeon Pose: Blissology Style. 12 Minutes that will Radically Up-Level your Game.

This is a short video from the Blissology Align Your Yoga, Align Your Life module.

Of course, it makes even more sense when you have seen the other 50 videos in the program and partaken in our Zoom calls in the course.

However, I want to share it since so many people in the course commented on how they didn’t have any clicks or pinches in their knees or hips doing the pose this way.

That’s one of my driving passions: to help people understand how the forces can be directed through the body so that we get the maximum stretch but our joints remain stable.

You will hear the key Blissology Yoga mantras: “Toes Before Pose,” “Stabilize Ankles and Knees, then Mobilize Hips.”

What you will need to let go of for this approach is striving to get the chest and hips on the floor. All too often this means we collapse in the pose instead of staying expanded and keeping our joints safe. We also “Go-Around” the stretch this way.

I hope this helps you with your yoga and to lead a life of health and positivity.

Namaste,
Eoin

Total Joy: 100-hour Training & Epic Online Modules

Joy Joy Joy!

I’ve been in my Joy in an extra-large way lately.

Two things that light me immensely are learning and sharing ideas as well as connecting with a community of people who want to lift each other up and create an upward spiral together.

This has been happening in a huge way in the last two online immersions we ran in May and I am thrilled to launch three trainings that can be taken individually or you can do all three for the 100-hour Blissology Yoga certification:

  1. June 10: Align Your Yoga, Align Your Life
  2. July 10: Commit to Bliss
  3. September 10: Blissology Yoga Teaching Methodology

If you want to help your body heal, help others to heal and share the message of your deepest heart, these modules are for you.
I am thrilled to share this bliss with you!

How to choose the right yoga teacher training for YOU

Having just emerged from our annual Bali Blissology Yoga Teacher Training, I was humbled by the trust our students put in us to lead them deep onto a journey than is not just personally transformative, but one that will profoundly shift the course of their life.

Today Yoga is a full-blown movement, with more than 300 million practitioners globally. And if, like me, you were lulled by a teacher’s mellifluous tones during savasana and experienced a little voice inside you crying out, “I want to teach, in fact I know I can,” know that you are not alone.

Yoga teacher training courses are some of the most popular offerings at yoga studios and retreat centers globally (the Yoga Alliance lists over 8000 yoga teacher training schools on its website as of 2020) and hundreds of yoga students line up each year to sign up.

However, before committing to a Yoga Teacher Training, here are our top 6 things to consider. We’ve created this list after 17 years of offering our Blissology Yoga teacher trainings, a training that continues to evolve and has graduated some incredible yoga teachers year after year.

  1. Be clear of your intention Yoga as a practice forces us to unmask our intentions. Be honest with yourself. Do you want to teach? Why do you want to teach? If teaching is simply a way for you to deepen your practice, a yoga teacher training course may not be the best option for you. Many studios as well as independent teachers offer programs for advanced / intermediate practitioners, e.g. Blissology offers an Align your Yoga Align your Life course that we think is ideal for practitioners who want to take their yoga deeper but may not want to teach.  These usually cost way less than a yoga training. If you  are clear however that you want to teach and are passionate about studying further, pursuing a YTT may be the right path for you.
  2. Find your Teacher: the one you want to spend 200 hours with. Whenever students ask me who they should do a training with, I tell them, what do you like to practice? And who do you like to practice with? Is there a teacher you connect with? Do you like how they teach? Do you like how they explain the poses, the alignment, do you connect with their teaching? If the answers are yes, ask them who they studied with? Or go to their training, if that is on offer.
  3. Teaching Yoga can be competitive – create a focus. NAMASTA, an independent health professional alliance in the US recently numbered yoga instructors in the US alone at 70,000 and counting. What differentiates you? Yes, you are and always will be a unique individual, but as yoga business coach Kelly McHugh says, “It is essential to have a focus, and to know who your students are and why they are coming to your classes.”Do you have a special interest in your life that you could bring yoga to? Many successful yoga teachers align their existing interests with yoga and in doing so, can bring yoga to various other populations. For example, professional mountain biker Ryan Leech is a student of Blissology Yoga founder Eoin Finn. After completing Finn’s 200-hour training, he began running yoga and mountain bike retreats and often teaches yoga at bike festivals around the world. If you don’t already have a focus for your teaching goals, or a ready audience, allow one to emerge. At the Blissology Yoga teacher trainings, Finn spends time with his students to help them to uncover what he calls their “life mission.””Your life mission is the deep desire you want to share in the world and it touches all aspects of your life. It will allow you to translate what you want to bring to your community. It will allow you to channel your energies and commit toward a path.”Perhaps you want to teach children, athletes, or practitioners with physical disabilities. Ask yourself what is important to you.

  4. Yoga Teaching is not chai and kombucha drinking all day.  While teaching yoga may seem like it involves drinking many cups of tea, green juice, meditating and enjoying a leisurely yoga practice each day, the reality is quite different. As a yoga teacher starting out, making an impact takes time, passion, persistence and hard work. A genuine love of people and a desire to help others are key. After all, if you are teaching yoga, you are building relationships with people, with a community and with all the enmeshed, inter-twinings of their lives.
  5. Yoga Teaching is a Lifelong Study. The global standard for a qualified yoga teacher is 200 hours, as defined by  Yoga Alliance, an independent accreditation body in the US, whose goal is to continue to make yoga more professional. Yoga Alliance does this by creating strict guidelines by which they attempt to regulate the teaching programs on offer. However, as many a yoga teacher will tell you, a 200-hour course is simply the beginning. As practiced in the original guru/shishya model (that’s teacher/student for the Sanskrit newbies), where the student apprenticed for many years with an experienced teacher, the study of yoga is a life-long journey.Yet, if a student has a good understanding of yoga and has been practicing already for some time (ideally two years), then a 200-hour training can be sufficient to begin to teach. Of course you can only teach what you know, so this is where you start, just teaching what you know. Everyone has to start somewhere.Yoga teachers are impassioned about their art and craft and good teacher training programs offer courses and workshops that continue to fuel your evolving interest as well as the needs of your evolving student body and with many schools you can work your way up to 500 hours of training.
  6. Choose your Yoga Teacher Trainings wisely – they’re an investment
    While most yogis with aspirations to teach are in it for their own personal growth and a desire to share something that makes themhappy, the reality is that yoga teacher have to make a living.Yoga teacher training courses can set you back anywhere from USD$3,000 to USD$10,000 depending on the teacher, school, duration of the program and certification; YTT programs, especially the good ones; are not cheap. Consider your yoga training to be an investment: emotionally, spiritually and in the physical/material world and research your potential investment before diving in.When you’re choosing a training, clarify your accreditation possibilities after the course; as you want a certificate that will be easily recognized. Currently Yoga Alliance, is the most well-known system globally, but countries such as Australia also have their own systems.  Check about the current rates of employment of past graduates, speak to someone who has studied at the school — most yoga schools will refer you to previous students if asked — and also ask about assisting and mentorship possibilities.Another tip: be sure to ask how much emphasis your teacher training places on practicing the craft of teaching so that you emerge after the 200 hours ready to teach and share your learnings with confidence and ease.

Joseph Campbell, the late philosopher best known for his ‘follow your bliss’ mantra, predicted that yoga would be one of the callings of the new millennium.

With its remarkable growth come cautionary stories, such as the NYT Bestseller “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.” Yet, even in this age of Crossfit, multi-hyphenated fitness trends, barre and The Class, yoga continues to be one of the fastest-growing forms of wellness and fitness in the world today, an antidote to our modern troubles of too much technology, constant stress and an ever increasing pace of life.

If you’re on a journey pursuing this powerful, transformative and beautiful path, inhale deeply and Om on. The world is waiting for you.

Ps. The next Blissology 100 hr immersion and 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certified Teacher Training runs in May 2020 in beautiful Tofino, BC on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada.

pss. Photo Credits: From Top: Meredith Rose Photography, Monique Pantel and Kate Ediger. Maha Gratitude.

Blog by, Insiya Rasiwala-Finn

Is Yoga Medicine? Part 1 of 2

As part of our 500-hour training, I co-teach a course that I called Yoga and Mind Body Medicine. It’s a course I spent years dreaming up. My vision for it was to offer a Western science-based perspective on understanding the gross and subtle benefits of yoga on our body-mind physiology. I enlisted a colleague Dr. Lawrence Cheng—a Harvard trained integrative medicine doctor and yogi who teaches Mind-Body Medicine in medical communities—to present with me. I knew this was going to be groundbreaking.

However, when we listed this course under our Blissology Yoga school’s 500-hr training program on the Yoga Alliance website, we immediately received an email, telling us not to use the words “Medicine” or “Healing” in conjunction with Yoga.

Why is this an issue? Yoga Alliance explains that “the risk comes from suggesting that a yoga teacher or school is diagnosing and/or treating a mental or physical health condition. The words ‘heal’ or ‘healing’ imply this. These claims are within the scope of the practice of medicine and/or licensed health care professions.”

As an alternative to the word healing the phrases “improving health” and “increasing well-being” are  suggested.

This meant we had to get creative with what we called the course on Yoga Alliance’s website. Eventually, we settled on “Yoga and Western Science.

I understand that the medical community does not want people who have graduated from a 200-hour yoga training to describe themselves as healers, or treat someone with a sore back or cancer without the proper medical training nor does anyone want to be legally liable for endorsing someone as capable of healing issues for which they are not qualified.

This graph indicates the increasing amount of scientific research of yoga and meditation in the last decade

Yet, the data about the evidence-based healing benefits of yoga and meditation is increasing with each year. The benefits are so real that it is getting harder to dismiss all yoga as a “quack science.” I would love to see a day in the future when well qualified yogis (and doctors) will be able to claim that yoga is both “healing” and “medicine.”

Will this ever happen? Skeptics do not think so and go to long lengths to tell us why yoga is not healing, or medicine. In his article titled “Yoga Woo“, Stephen Novella, a clinical neurologist at the Yale School of medicine writes, “Yoga is simply exercise plus a lot of ‘Woo.'”

“Yoga, if practiced responsibly, seems to be a reasonably effective form of stretching and exercise. There is insufficient evidence, however, to conclude that it is any superior to any other form of exercise of the same duration and intensity. There are concerns about the safety of yoga, as it often involves extreme stretching or poses that the average person might find not only difficult but physically harmful.”

I’ll share more of my thoughts on this topic in Part 2 of this blog. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you, what is your opinion? Is Yoga Medicine or not? Should the word healing be used by some practitioners of yoga?

What is advanced Yoga?

In my past two decades of teaching yoga, I’ve seen a lot of evolution in the yoga world. I’ve loved watching new poses come into the mix, some borrowed from creative minds and some from other disciplines such as circus school. I never thought I would be interested in a one arm hand stand for example. I thought, “this is just flashy,” but then I realized the challenge kept me fresh and gave me something to progress towards. I am no longer a naysayer and practice this and other “new school” yoga moves almost every day.

That said, having just taught one month of intensive Blissology Yoga Teacher Training course focusing on the ins an outs of yoga alignment, I am recommitted to making people realize my stance on yoga progression. I strongly believe that advanced yoga needs to be viewed not just as flashy, challenging poses, preferably done on the edges of cliffs or waterfalls; nay, advanced yoga lies also in being able to do so called “basic” poses with precision, breath and presence. This needs to remain the foundation of yoga.

One afternoon during the YTT, I wanted to run our Yoga Foundations course so the students could see how to explain so called “simple poses” like upward dog or chaturanga to beginners.  It become clear that this work was not just for beginners. Even people who had been practicing yoga for decades loved going back to basics and learning how to do them well.   It was a joy to spend whole afternoons looking at what muscles need to turn on to make these poses feel light yet stable to explore what the feet, pelvis and hands do in the pose with a fine brush instead of in broad brush strokes.  There is a whole world of detail that isn’t boring but outright exciting in this work.  There needs to be a resurgence of this type of study in modern yoga.

Over the years, as thousands of more yoga teachers pour into the incredibly competitive global yoga market, there is more and more emphasis to find something fresh and exciting in the practice. This means that teachers will step up their sequencing game, make killer playlists, and throw lots of challenging poses into the mix.

To really do yoga with precision, you need to make people aware of what they are doing by plugging into their bodily feedback loops and slowing the tempo down. In way too many yoga classes I’ve observed, the tempo seems to be speeding up as this is what creates sweat which is an easy sell in our body conscious culture.

Imagine trying to play jazz before mastering the scales. This is an analogy for what I see in the modern yoga culture.

I believe that we need to spend more time ingraining a solid alignment foundation in yogis; and as experienced yoga teachers it is our responsibility to the next generation (of yogis) that we do so.

I always remind our graduating teachers that every yoga instructor is trying to strike a balance between detail and flow—and it’s a tricky balance. If you concentrate on the details of the poses, often the classes loses flow and become a clinic or workshop.

Yet, there is a third option. When we slow the pace down just a little and create an experience of harmony between mind, body and breath, concentrating on precise yoga can lead to the state of mind we all love called “flow.”

This means we need to let people know why they are doing the poses, what the benefits are, how they should feel in the pose and let their internal experience guide the poses.

It’s the opposite to being guided from the “outside in” and feeling like every pose needs to fit a perfect photo. This is where we progress to in our month long YTT.

There is a lot of room still for inspiring playlists, creative sequencing, philosophical themes and even options for advanced poses for those who want to go there in the class. Let’s walk before we run though. Alignment is and should be the foundation for all yoga, beginner or advanced. After all, cultivating a strong practice of alignment will help our bodies to continue to practice our yoga as we age, with more freedom and no injuries.

Drop a Pin {Earth Day Poem}

earth day poem

When the glow in the mountains lights your soul
When you find yourself looking at the splendor of those birds in flight

Pause and Drop a Pin

When the movement of wind on the water lulls you into a timeless peace
When the setting sun holds you in its golden light

Pause and Drop a Pin

When life shrinks you down and darkness enters
When you lose your way and cold winds make you pull your jacket tightly over your chest


Remember the vast expanse of all those pins
A little piece of you lives in all those corners

Relax into your expansive and most radiant heart
We don’t end at our own skin, we always exist everywhere we drop a pin.

By,

Eoin Finn.