Olivia Allnutt is a highly experienced strength and flexibility coach, based in Australia. She’s the co-director of Stretch Therapy™ together with her partner Kit Laughlin, who is the founder of the Stretch Therapy Method. They both have great knowledge on the human body and they have researched and developed stretching techniques for every body, regardless their experience or ‘restrictions’. Their main focus is to help people feel comfortable in their body by removing any restrictions, tension and tightness and develop a sense of body awareness. I was super excited and felt honoured to have this chat with Olivia on the YAY!YOGA podcast. In our conversation Olivia’s shares many words of wisdom and advice for teachers who want to teach in an intelligent way. We discuss a range of techniques in the Stretch Therapy system, such as partner stretching and how to do it safely, we talk about the importance of the breath, the use of language and touch when teaching and we talk about offering variations of (yoga) poses for each student in the room.
Kit Laughlin – Olivia’s partner and founder of the Stretch Therapy system.
Some of the approaches used in Stretch Therapy: contract-relax technique, active stretches, passive stretches and partner stretches.
This video shows a partner stretch and also emphasises the importance of the breath in the stretch.
This article explains the importance of the breath in stretching.
Emmet Louis – mostly known as a flexibility coach but he’s also a great trainer in other disciplines amongst which hand balancing. He developed some greatly effective techniques, such as the ballistic stretching method: one of the more aggressive approaches to flexibility training.
Yuri Marmerstein – acrobat and coach in flexibility, strength and acrobatics. He developed his own methods too.
My first conversation with Victoria Hyndman was the most listened to episode on the YAY!YOGA podcast and I am super excited that I got to record and share a second edition. In this summer special, Victoria shares Ayurvedic tips for keeping it cool during those hot summer days. We get very practical in this episode as we discuss ways to adjust your lifestyle to the season. We talk about cleanses for different body types, ice baths and cold showers, sun exposure, how to deal with hay fever and so much more. A lot of information is shared here so grab a pen and paper and write along!
If you missed the first episode with Victoria, you can find it on iTunes and Spotify.
Kichari is a warm and cleansing meal made with mung beans. In Ayurveda, this meal is recommended in a mono diet for a few days as a way of resetting the body. In spring/summer, it’s best to add the green mung beans.
Sebastiaan Pagano is a strength and flexibility coach and head coach at Het Gymlokaal in Amsterdam, who has a lot of experience and knowledge in flexibility training for adults. In his search for the best method to increase his own range of motion he explored a broad range of disciplines, such as yoga, martial arts, movement and gymnastics. Through this journey he researched and experimented with many different stretching methods, among which some very efficient and aggressive ones that we will discuss in this episode of the YAY!YOGA podcast. We also talk about the misconceptions and myths in flexibility training, the difference between mobility and flexibility, yin yoga and the role of genetics in increasing your range of motion. I very much enjoyed this in-depth conversation and hope you get something out of it too.
David Kam is a London-based teacher of movement. His classes are non-traditional and are probably best described as a fusion of yoga, dance and animal flow. He likes to surprise his students and offers them space to play and explore new pathways. The sunny side of the current lockdown is definitely that I get to practice with teachers from around the globe through Zoom. David is one of the teachers that I was lucky enough to practice with during this Covid crisis and I am very grateful that we got the chance to record a podcast episode too. In our conversation, we talk about embodiment and the use of language as a teacher, the importance of play and changing things up, how growing up in Malaysia taught David the art of fusing different element, David’s handstand journey and so much more. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Enjoy listening!
Erica Jago is a yoga teacher, graphic designer and creator of two books: Art of Attention with Elena Brower and Angelus with Roos van der Kamp. The latter is a beautifully designed modern workbook on the chakras, a topic that we’ll discuss into details on the YAY!YOGA podcast. Erica used to live in Amsterdam and moved back to the US where she was born and now lives with her daughter, close to her family. I was so inspired by this conversation as Erica speaks so beautifully about the ancient science of the chakras and her own healing journey. We also talk about Kundalini yoga, dealing with heavy emotions, overcoming addiction, and how to discover chakra imbalances if you don’t feel an obvious block.
Golden Bridge – Erica did her 200 hours Kundalini training here in Rishikesh, India.
Kundalini is a form of yoga where you work with repetitions of movements, chants and/or breaths for a minimum of 1-3 minutes. The aim of these repetitive practices is to generate and concentrate energy into a specific organ or location in your body to open up blockages that may be present.
Kundalini energy is best explained as the life force that lies dormant at the base of the spine. With Kundalini practices you can build pressure to awaken/raise that energy up towards the crown of the head. That journey of awakening this kundalini energy is what brings awareness.
Kriya is a Sanskrit word that refers to a set of cleansing exercises, such as breath work or movement practices.
Chakra is sanskrit for ‘wheel’. Chakra’s are best explained as energetic centres that lie along the spine. There are seven chakras and they all bring their own quality. With kundalini or other yoga practices you can focus on a specific chakra to open up those areas where you feel blocked.
Asanaglyphs – line drawings that Erica likes to use to create and show the flow of a yoga asana class.
Djilani Sprang-Purperhart is a yoga teacher, anthropologist and sociologist. He recently published his book Sunde – Sunday in Surinam – in which he shares his personal story and writes about topics such as life, death and love. In this episode of the YAY!YOGA podcast we continue this conversation as we’ll dive deeper into these themes. We talk about Djilani’s childhood and how his mother taught him to love wholeheartedly. Djilani explains how yoga helped him in dealing with a great loss, we talk about being a black heterosexual male in the yoga world and we share thoughts on making yoga more inclusive and diverse.
Anna Scott Miller is one of Djilani’s teachers. She has been on the first YAY!YOGA podcast episode, so if you haven’t listened to this wonderful and inspiring conversation yet, you definitely want to add this one to your list.
Victoria Hyndman is an Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher, who studied with Dr. Vasant Lad at The Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico. I recently met her at Delight Yoga in Amsterdam, where I joined her Foundation course on Ayurveda. This course left me feeling inspired and enriched, not only by the knowledge and insights that I received, but also by the way Victoria was sharing these beautiful practices of Ayurveda and Ayuryoga. On the YAY!YOGA podcast we dive deeper into Ayurveda and Victoria’s personal story of how she got into this ancient wisdom. We talk about the cycles of life: birth, death and dealing with loss. Victoria shares Ayurvedic tips on how to ease into fall and make it through winter and also gives some advice for women that want to live in sync with their moon cycle.
Dr. Vasant Lad is Victoria’s teacher. He’s the founder of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. You can find many online lectures and resources on his website.
Marma points are energetic points that are linked to specific functions and organs in your body. In a Marma treatment one touches the marma points with gentle pressure to stimulate energy flow in the body and to balance the system.
Yamas and Niyamas are the first two limbs of the eightfold path that Patanjali writes about in the Yoga Sutra’s. They give direction to the way you live life.
Abhyanga – oil massage. According to Ayurvedic traditions daily oil massage adds to your over all health in terms of immunity and especially vitality. You can do this to yourself or your partner or kids for instance with sesame oil or any other oil that works well for your dosha and the season you’re in at that moment. To see how it’s done, check out this video.
The three doshas are Vata, Pitta & Kapha. These are all representing different elements that we hold in our body/mind too. According to Ayurveda, each person is born with a certain constitution of the elements. Vata is air and ether, Pitta is fire and water, Kapha is earth and water. The doshas bring different qualities and when it comes to finding a balanced lifestyle, we look at the qualities and its opposites to find that balance. So in short, what a person needs, depends strongly on his or her dosha, the change of seasons and his or her lifestyle.
Dry skin brushing is another technique to massage yourself. It’s mostly done from February during early spring time to shed anything that’s build up during winter time. It’s especially helpful for Kapha types.
Pippali – a long pepper that is heating but not too spicy. Adding this pepper to your food keeps your lungs strong and clear.
Trikatu (3 peppers) – helps if you have any stagnation in the lungs. Especially helpful from December until March.
Triphala (3 fruits) – this is mostly taken in as a powder, mixed with boiled water just before bedtime to the colon clean and add to the health of your digestive system.
Ashwagandha – a herb that has a calming effect on the body and mind. It’s especially balancing if you’re dealing with stress.
Satsang – a gathering in which spiritual texts and philosophy are shared.
Sadhana – a daily spiritual practice
Andrographis – a herb that supports the health of your liver and your immune system.
Castor oil – this oil has many benefits. In this conversation Victoria emphasises the benefits of castor oil for women.
Shatavari – plant/root that has great health benefits for women.
Ashoka – this herb helps women who don’t have a regular cycle to regulate the bleeding.
Svadhyaya – a Sanskrit word that is often translated as self-study.
Susanna Barkataki is a yoga unity activist, teacher, speaker and author of the book Embracing Yoga’s Roots (to be released in November 2020). Susanna’s main work is about sharing ways in which we can teach and practice yoga in the modern world, while honouring it’s roots. In this episode of the YAY!YOGA podcast we talk about cultural appropriation and how colonisation influenced the way yoga was introduced to the West, the ethics of yoga, how to preserve yoga culture, whether you should speak Sanskrit and say ‘Namasté’ at the end of a yoga class and so much more.
Ayurveda is considered the sister of yoga. It means ‘science of life’ and is all about balancing the elements that are within us. Ayurvedic practices include all the senses through diet, pranayama, yoga asana, meditation, mantra and specific rituals of self-care.
Dhyana is one of the eight limbs of yoga and is about meditation. Dharana, one of the other limbs, is about focusing the mind.
The Yamas and the Niyamas are the first two limbs of yoga; these are considered the yoga ethics or principles of how to live a good life.
Susanna studied in the lineage of Shankaracharya, who was an non-dualistic Raja Yogi and is considered one of the greatest philosophers of India. He influenced more modern gurus of India, such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Shivananda, Ramana Maharshi, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (who taught the Beatles) and Paramahansa Yogananda.
Jñāna-yoga is the yoga of knowledge. It’s very much about ethics and how to practice these ethics in daily life to find freedom.
Vichara is about self-inquiry, a big part of Jñāna-yoga. It’s about asking questions such as ‘Who am I?’, ‘How did this world come to being?’ and ‘What is a good life?’
Ahimsa is one of the Yamas and it is translated as non-harm.
The Jains are a group of yogis that makes Ahimsa to their main practice. They wear masks and sweep floors to move bugs out of their way so they don’t step on them or hurt them.
Lara Heimann is a yoga teacher and physical therapist who is specialised in neurodevelopmental training. Through this deep understanding of body and brain mapping, she created the LYT™ method, which we will obviously talk about in this episode of the YAY!YOGA podcast. In this conversation we cover lots of interesting topics, such as the importance of touch, mobility versus flexibility, the yoga butt and how to prevent it, the impact of technology on posture, hyper-mobility and yoga, active versus passive stretching and the difficulties in yin yoga from a brain perspective, raising kids when you are a vegan and much much more.
Hyper-mobility is when your nervous system does not give feedback when you are at or beyond your end range of motion (or somewhere in between).
Yin yoga is a form of yoga where you go into seated or supine poses for a long hold (2-5 minutes). These poses are aimed at releasing tension in both body and mind. On a physical level, yin yoga is working into the flexibility in a passive way, so no engagement of muscles.
Forward head is when the head is tilted forward as a result of our phone/technology use. This image clearly demonstrates the difference between an ideal posture and a forward head posture.
Julie Martin is probably one of the most inspiring yoga teachers right now and I am so grateful to have had this conversation with her. She empowers many students and teachers to step away from traditional yoga asana practice and tune into a practice that allows people to feel and move their bodies in a more natural way. In this episode of the YAY!YOGA podcast, we talk about Julie’s Vedantic background, the old school way of becoming a yoga teacher, how and why she moved from traditional Ashtanga yoga towards an embodied movement practise and we talk about the process of elimination as a way to come back to the present moment.
Vanda Scaravelli was a student of Iyengar and Desikachar. She realised that her teachers were all men and that a woman of her age needed a different practice so she created a practice that was still very static but more in line with what felt natural to her.
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