Yoga Alliance Certification – Everything you need to know

What is Yoga-Alliance?

Yoga Alliance (YA) is a US – based nonprofit organization for setting international yoga-certification standards. The registry provides voluntary credentials to yoga-schools and yoga-teachers worldwide. In order to be accredited, a school or teacher needs to comply with standards (e.g. teaching experience), that are provided by them. According to the organization, they currently have an international network of over 90,000 Yoga-Teachers and 6,000 yoga-schools that makes them a popular credentialing system worldwide.

What does Yoga-Alliance offer?

YA is a directory that offers credentials for yoga-teachers and yoga-schools offering yoga-teacher-trainings (YTT). The organization submits internationally recognized trademarks, which are ‘Registered-Yoga-Teacher’ (RYT®), ‘Registered-Yoga-School’ (RYS®) and Yoga-Alliance Continuing Education Providers (YACEP ®). The designations show that teachers and schools meet Yoga Alliances’ requirements. As stated on their website:

  • provides education about safe and high quality of yoga.
  • gives guidelines of appropriate activities for professional instructors.
  • spreads integrity and diversity of teaching yoga.
  • organizes online workshops and publications.
  • builds a worldwide community.
  • educates about yoga history, standards, lineages and traditions.

Yoga-Alliance-History

Referring to YAs’ About Page, the idea of building an organization that provides national standards for yoga-teachers and yoga-schools was made in the US back in 1997. First run as a more voluntary registry to certify schools and teachers, it soon became popular having more and more people requiring standardized certification with the implementation of online registration in 2010.

Since 2016, Yoga Alliance also certificates practitioners who have done continuing education: Yoga-Alliance Continuing Education Provider (YACEP ®).

Which accreditation programs does YA have?

A broad variety of credentials are offered depending on the experience and amount of time that a school or teacher has spent with their training, teaching and business. However, YA does not offer a direct certification of a teacher, but an internationally accessible listing in their registry.

Yoga Certification Course

1. Registered-Yoga-Teacher (RYT) Certifications

The RYT-certifications require that teachers need to comply with the following prerequisites in order to be certified as a Registered-Yoga-Teacher (RYT). Yoga Alliance does not hand out direct certifications with teachers. They need to complete their trainings with a registered yoga-school to then register with them. Find more infos about certification for teachers here.

RYT-200: A teacher has completed a 200-hr training with a Registered-Yoga-School (RYS) and signed up with YA.

RYT-500: A teacher has completed a 500-hr training with a Registered-Yoga-School (RYS) and signed up with YA.

E-RYT 200: A teacher has completed a 200-hr training with a Registered-Yoga-School (RYS), has signed up with YA and has completed 1,000 hours and two years of teaching.

E-RYT 500:A teacher has completed a 500-hr training with a Registered-Yoga-School (RYS), has signed up with YA and has completed 2,000 hours and four years of teaching.

2. Registered-Yoga-School (RYS)

The RYS (Registered-Yoga-School) credentials are dedicated to yoga-schools that offer Yoga-Teacher-Trainings (YTT). The schools’ curriculum needs to comply with certain standards provided by YA in order to be eligible to apply for a registration. Find out more about certification for schools here.

Subjects of training need to contain the ‘five Educational Categories’ that are provided to the school by Yoga Alliance. Those categories are 1. techniques, training and practice, 2. teaching methodology, 3. anatomy and physiology, 4. yoga-philosophy, lifestyle and ethics, 5. practicum. Content of the training also needs to be taught in a previously defined amount of hours in order to meet the organizations’ requirements.

RYS 200: Lead trainers can be either E-RYT 200 or E-RYT 500 and need to have 65 contact hours. The school has to offer a minimum number of 200 hours covering above categories.

RYS 300: The school has to offer the foundational RYS 200 training as well in order to offer their advanced 300 hour trainings. The school also has to offer a minimum number of 300 hours covering above categories. Lead trainers need to be E-RYT 500 certified and have 135 contact hours.

RYS 500: Lead trainers need to be E-RYT 500 certified and have 200 contact hours. The required 500 hours of training need to cover the five educational categories mentioned above. The schools may offer their 500 hour training in two segments (200 hours and 300 hours).

Yoga Certification Bali

Yoga Alliance

Where should you get your certification?

What often leads to confusion is a widespread uncertainty about the naming itself. As there are a few organizations out there with their name Yoga-Alliance in it, a lot of ongoing students feel very uncertain about this topic and start asking themselves which is the ‘original accreditation’ that a school or teacher would need to have. For example, when you Google ‘Yoga Alliance’, there are several organizations showing up in the first search results. Besides the official website yogaalliance.org itself, there is Yoga Alliance International from Australia, Yoga-Alliance-International from India (YAI), and Yoga-Alliance-Professionals (YAP) from the UK, just to name a few.

  • Whereas Yoga Alliance only accredits international yoga-teachers who have been certified by a RYS, Yoga Alliance Professionals has a different set of  standards and everyone can apply to be listed on their registry – if they have passed a course that meets their standards.
  • At first sight, Yoga Alliance International from Australia looks very similar to YA. Teachers and schools must comply to their guidelines and requirements in order to be credited as Registered-Yoga-Teacher (RYT) or  Registered-Yoga-School (RYS). This system on the same hand hardly differ from the credentialing system that is offered by YA.
  • Yoga Alliance International from India (YAI) claims to be an international network of yoga-teachers and school that every school or teacher can register with. With a set of different standards and Code of Practices, YAI offers of ethical and behavioral guidelines that registered yoga-schools and teachers need to comply with.

On their website, Yoga Alliance aims to making very clear that it is not associated with one of those organizations.

Pros and Cons of Yoga-Alliance-Certifications

With the growing popularity of yoga-teacher-trainings and yoga-education programs all around the world, request for standardized certification has dramatically increased in recent years.

To make your own decision on whether you want to register with YA as a yoga-teacher, it might help to know about the benefits and drawbacks of joining a yoga-certification program with them.

The benefits of Yoga Alliance Certification

  • YA currently is the main and most popular yoga-certification program worldwide.
  • There is an international recognition of YA credentials. This shows that you have met certain standards of yoga-training with a registered yoga-school.
  • As a result, you will gain trust from other students as a certified yoga-teacher or yoga-school.
  • You might also receive a higher amount of requests as a registered yoga-schools or yoga-teacher.
  • The online RYT and RYS directory will list you as a yoga-teacher or yoga-school so you will get your name out there.
  • There are some good membership discounts with partnered yoga-brands.
  • Nowadays, a 200 or  500-RYT certification often is a prerequisite to teach at other yoga-studios or schools.

The downside of Yoga Alliance Certification

  • To receive a certification with YA, there is a registration fee and a yearly membership fee to pay. Current prices for teachers are listed here.
  • Some critical voices say that being certified with any kind of yoga-registration or organization does not necessarily improve quality of teaching or training by the school, and that examination on following the guidelines could be improved by YA.
  • Some people also chose not to become certified with YA as registration is not compulsory. Consequently, this means you can still teach yoga as a school or teacher without being certified with them.

Read on our FAQs to learn more about accreditation with yoga alliance.

Your choice – being accredited or not being accredited with Yoga-Alliance

Yoga-Alliance-certification certainly adds on value for a few reasons, but if you are listed in their directory, you are getting your name out there as a teacher or school. This will lead to increased numbers of requests. Having a certification as a RYT or RYS means you are following their guidelines and comply with certain standards. Having an accreditation with such a popular and well-known organization like YA will certainly also lead to increased trust and recognition from others.

Nevertheless, membership is mandatory and having to pay their registration fee and yearly membership fees might also scare some people off to register with YA. If you are good in what you’re doing, have the expertise and offer a high-level of teaching, it will be absolutely possible to become a well-recognized teacher or school without being accredited with THEM.

Ready to take the plunge and start a yoga-teacher-training? We are a RYS 200 Registered-Yoga-School offering 200-hr Vinyasa & Yin Yoga-Teacher-Trainings in beautiful Bali. See our upcoming courses.

Yin Yang Yoga

“Yang needs yin in order to exist, and yin needs yang in order to exist.”

Often, we keep on pushing ourselves in our life. No wonder – our modern daily life is based on qualities like achievement and success. All these qualities are associated to an energy known as yang in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). After work, we often have an overload of yang-energy, because stress, multi-tasking, and taking no time for ourselves happens all the time. But even then, we keep on going. Society tells us we need to be strong, fit and build on muscles. So we join another power-yoga class or the HIIT class at the gym. According to TCM, if we want to stay healthy and balanced, to every yang side there is yin. Yin-yang-yoga aims to harmonize those two energies that have come out of balance in our modern world.

1. What is Yin and Yang?

Yin-yoga has become more and more popular in recent years. People are searching for a balance not only in yoga but in their life. To achieve a balance in life, we need both yin and yang.

Yin and yang are like two underlying forces that can build a universe as a whole. Both are within everything: In light and darkness, the sun and moon, life and death, black and white, night and day, in fire and ice. yin represents softness, passivity, darkness, the moon and our feminine energy. The yang part in us is powerful, fast, direct, strong, active and related to our masculine energy.

Yin Yang Yoga

2. Yin and Yang in Yoga

Yin-Yang-Yoga combines two seemingly opposite styles of yoga into one unique practice which has both: the benefits of yin with relaxation, gentleness and ease combined with dynamic movement and strength that we attribute to yang. Practice includes strength, dynamic and alignment with mindful flows and passive poses that are held for longer periods of time.

We strive to find balance not only in life but also in yoga. That is why we integrate those both elements into our trainings, which makes them unique in the world of yoga. Find out more about our Vinyasa Yin Yoga Teacher Training. 

Yin-Yoga

“In peace there is strength and from peace comes strength.” (Confucius)

Initially called the ‘Daoist-Yoga’, yin-yoga allows students to move slowly and mindfully. When practicing this yoga-style, you will reach deeper levels of your body and you are mostly staying on a more passive level. This allows your energy to connect with the deeper structures of connective tissue, joints and the meridian system lying underneath the outer layers.

Paul Grilley – Yin Yoga Principles and Practice

Yin-yoga is mostly practiced in reclining or sitting postures. Although it can be taught in a number of ways, most times the practice asks to remain in a pose for several minutes, which allows to passively stretch, relax and melt into the pose. This has a calming and cooling effect on the body. Transitions between poses are done slowly and with consciousness allowing the positive effects this practice has on the body to unfold.

Yin-yoga has a lot of benefits and can help to heal your body.

Yin Yoga Benefits

Benefits

  • The physical and mental relaxation in yin-yoga helps with stress reduction
  • Yin-poses lubricate the joints and increase fluidity in the fascia
  • Yin-yoga targets the meridians and regulates the flow of energy
  • During our yin-practice we work with our fascia (connective tissue) rather than with our muscles. Our fascia often gets stuck when we overwork our body or have injuries. Working with our fascia in yoga is a great way to reduce pain, improve movement and mobility.
  • Through yin-yoga, we can reach deep access to the body targeting the deeper levels
  • Increase of flexibility is another beneficial outcome of consistent yin-practices
  • Yin has the power to calm our nervous system

Yang-Yoga

More than just being opposed to each other, yang-yin-yoga build two complementary pieces that are needed to build an integrative whole. When practiced, yang-yoga has an energizing character that builds heat inside of you.

Contrary to yin-yoga, yang-yoga ist targeting the superficial layers of the body while working on a muscular level. It is often found with popular yoga-styles such as vinyasa-flow-yoga, ashtanga-yoga and hatha-yoga – all being dynamic yoga-styles that can have a strong focus on building a combination of fire, heat and strength in the body.

Read on to find out more about vinyasa-yoga and its benefits.

Yang Pose

Benefits

  • Yang-yoga strengthens the body
  • Consistent yang-practice tones our muscles
  • We need yang in our lives to give us more structure
  • Similar to yin, also yang builds a lot of inner strength
  • With yang-yoga, you will feel your breathing improving
  • Yang improves also the way prana (life force – breath) flows throughout your body
  • Yang-yoga is great for cardiovascular fitness
  • Rather than feeling exhausted after yang-practices, you will feel an energizing effect on your body

3. How do you benefit from doing ‘Yin-Yang-Yoga’ combined?

We need both forces in order to find back to our center. The most important benefits of yin-yang-yoga is to bring back balance to our mind and our body by incorporating both into one practice. This will result in stress reduction and a dramatic improve of health. There are three main benefits to practice yin-yang-yoga to take into account:

Yin Pose

1. Finding Balance

Principles of yin and yang can be transferred into so many aspects of our daily life. Whether it is finding rest after a busy day, integrating meditation into our morning routine, or to learn things like slowing down and doing less instead of more.

Combining both elements in your practice allows you to find that balance that you need to have a healthy life. Yin-yang-yoga has passive and active asanas alike and integrates pranayama and meditation. Those aspects are all combined to create that harmony and balance within a class.

2. Reducing stress

Finding a way to manage our stress in a healthy way is essential in our today’s life. Nowadays, success is mainly defined by yang-qualities such as achievement, power and performance. In the long run, this can lead to exhaustion if there is an overload of yang. As our nervous system is constantly active in a way that is unhealthy for us, signaling the body to relax and rest (= yin-energy) will give back energy that our body and mind needs to thrive instead of survive.

3. Increasing health

Yin-yang-yoga will help with slowing down our stress levels while at the same time integrating activity and movement into it. We find both qualities, ‘movement and rest’ in this yoga-style which has dramatic effects on our health. Our body finds everything that it needs in one practice: Chronic stress can be decreased and your health can claim back its power.

Finding balance through yoga

4. Where can you learn ‘Yin-Yang-Yoga’?

Whereas yin-yoga has become more and more popular in recent years, ‘yin-yang-yoga’ as a term is still new. There a few ways however that will guide you with finding your balanced flow:

Online and at home

If you are a more experienced yogi and familiar with both a yin and a yang-practice, why not create your own yin-yang-flow at home? Simply combine slow-pace sequences and long holds with elements of vinyasa and ashtanga that involve, strength, dynamic and alignment.

For yin-yang online yoga-classes, check out Eckhartyoga for more inspiration.

Yin-Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training

As a way of creating balance and harmony in our lives and in our body, we designed a yoga-teacher training that celebrate the yin-and-yang-side that lies within each and everyone of us.

The Inner Yoga 200hr teacher trainings that are held in Bali offer a fusion of both vinyasa flow and yin-yoga. You will learn about the concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine including meridians (energy channels) and the 5 elements within the body.

Find our more about Vinyasa Yin Yoga Teacher Trainings.

Classes at your Yoga-Studio

Unfortunately, it is still hard to find a class that is designated as a ‘yin-yang-class’. But most modern studios incorporate both either yin-yoga and / or vinyasa, ashtanga and hatha classes into their schedule. You will get both benefits of those yoga-styles by simply combining different classes into your weekly practice.

Yang Yoga

Learn how to balance your yin and yang with a yoga teacher training. Check out our exclusive 200 hr yin vinyasa yoga teacher training program on the beautiful island of Bali: Inner Yoga 200 hour yoga teacher training

How to use the basic of Yoga to create more health in your daily life

Often, science tells us a lot about how to live a healthier, happier and more spiritual life. But to put that knowledge into action it requires a lot of effort and time.

We think of spending hours taking care of our bodies, doing morning rituals with oil pulling and tongue cleansing, and taking hours in the kitchen to prepare a healthy meal to fulfill all the health standards we have learnt about.

But doing all these things takes time, energy and effort. And often, we get demotivated soon as we don’t have time or energy in our modern daily life. So how can you be there for your body and your mind but not wasting a lot of energy? How can you live a healthier life even when you don’t want to spend a ton amount of time?

Yoga makes it easy to create more health in your life 

Yoga is good for calming, stress relief, mental healing and pain relief. It’s a holistic system that benefits both your body and your mind. Things like moving your body, eating a healthy diet and practicing mindfulness are fundamental parts of yoga to achieve those health related goals. Yoga is a system to put the science of health effortlessly into action and to integrate health and mindfulness into your modern life. So let’s get started with a few things that will make it easier for you to live a healthier life in the long run.

Read our post: Saucha – A guide to practice purification

1. Your Purpose – Know your WHY

Yoga Helps with Health

In order to achieve something, always get to know your WHY. You want to live healthy. Why? To nourish your body and soul. To have a healthy body and mind to create more energy to make the most out of your life. You want to create healthy routines. Why? Because routines allow you to easily create habits. And once you created a habit it becomes part of your daily life without having to force yourself.

2. Adjust your mindset

Yoga Health Mindset

Next, I’d encourage you to get the information you need to create a healthier life. Become your own master of health. To do so, make it a routine listening to health podcasts and reading blogs that offer healthy tips for your daily life.

You’re alive not only to survive, but to thrive.

Also start with changing your inner belief and conceptions about health: A healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be something that you need to do because you’re told to. It’s about a new way of living, a greater perception of why you’re on this planet and being able to make the most out of it. You want a body that is full of energy and ready to thrive to live to your fullest potential. Have fun with designing your life, because you’re the master of your health and energy. Once you feel the benefits you get out of the ‘work’ you put into it, you’re likely to never want to go back. Here is how to set your goals in a mindful way. 

3. Start Small – Don’t overdo things in the beginning

Bali Healthy Food

Most of the time we start big with things we’ve been told. We end up giving up early as we notice we fail. Instead, start small. Integrate small things into your life but don’t overdo it.

Start small with creating healthy routines in your daily life.

To do so, create routines that are easy and fun to integrate. For example, start with writing a gratitude journal or when you have a passion for delicious healthy food that looks good, there are endless ways to create beautiful nutritious bowls.

Read on: The Benefits of practicing gratitude

4. Know your Body

Inner-Yoga-Training-Yin-200hr-Certifcation-Course-Bali

Information and knowledge are helpful. But in order to put them into action, there is more. Reading the signs of your body is one of the most important things to live a healthier life and prevent disease. Your body tells you exactly what’s wrong and what is good if you listen carefully. Start connecting with that inner compass and your intuition when it comes to decision-making. Start observing how certain situations affect your body and how you’re reacting to them.

Become a professional and master on what feels bad for you and what feels good.

For example, notice what you eat during the day and how it affects your sleep. Become aware of how things that you do during the day affect not only the way you sleep but also how you’ll feel the next day. Start changing your habits and observe if you feel better and sleep better when you go to bed early and get enough sleep. Develop your own awareness on healthy habits and how good it actually feels to put them into action. As a result, you’ll become more eager to integrate them into your life. And this will give you the intrinsic motivation that is a prerequisite to develop an overall healthy daily life that is sustainable.

Are you ready to take your health to the next level with a yoga teacher training? Check out our exclusive 200 hr yoga teacher training programs on the beautiful island of Bali: Inner Yoga 200 hour yoga teacher training

A Yogis’ Guide for Beginners and Sceptics

There are a few questions, I often hear people saying who are new to yoga:

“Can I practice yoga even as a total beginner?”

“Do I have to follow my teacher and reach the exact same pose?”

Or: “Will other people in the class judge me when I’m not good enough?”

These questions might certainly be the result of some fears and doubts people are dealing with before they start with yoga. But not only total yoga beginners have those concerns. I also feel that with many experienced yogis there are still uncertainties about the way of practicing yoga.

It’s time to give some clarity, so let’s have a look at those questions. They will give you an answer on things that hold you back from getting into the wonderful world of yoga.

Can I practice as a total yoga beginner?

Yoga as a beginner

Yes, you absolutely can. Especially as a total beginner, yoga is a perfect way to get you to move and practice mindfulness. Compared to many other types of trainings, yoga is a gentle practice and perfect for beginners. Over time, you’ll slowly make your way into a more advanced practice, so make sure to choose a beginners’ course. Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga are also perfect styles of yoga for beginners.

Doing yoga, you’ll become more flexible, improve your posture, breathing and movement patterns, and you will feel an immediate relief of stress symptoms. You will also benefit from yoga when you are struggling with back pain, anxiety and other health related issues. For more infos on how Yoga can cure anxiety and depression, have a look at this article. 

Not sure which yoga style is for you? Check out our post on the 10 most common yoga styles you can choose from. 

Will I be judged by other students?

Yoga judgement

There is no ‘good enough’ to practice yoga. And that is also the beautiful thing in yoga – there is no good or bad compared to others. There will always be people in class that are at a different stage and level. And the only thing that matters to you once you’re on the mat, is to listen to your own body. If something feels painful or bad in a way that tells you to not go any further, take a step back and just go as far as it feels good for you. If you feel like you need a break, you are always welcome to move into child’s pose and have a rest.

Yoga is not about comparing yourself to others. If you feel like someone is looking at you in a judgmental way, that is not saying something about where you’re at – it is rather saying something about where this person is at. Yoga is also all about challenging yourself but being mindful with yourself at the same time. Recognizing the current stage you’re at and acknowledging how your state of mind may also influence the way you practice today. Some days we simply have more energy than on others, and everyone else in the class has these experiences as well.

What if I can’t reach the pose?

Yoga Hamstrings

There is no good or bad in yoga when it comes to reaching a certain pose. Of course, keep in mind to listen to the instructions of your teacher and try to follow their sequence. But if you feel any pain or resistance, take a rest and don’t force yourself into poses that your body is not ready for. It is only natural that your teacher will be able to do a deeper twist or forward fold, as they’ve been practicing for a long time.

Click here to learn more about how to prevent injuries in yoga. 

At this point, you’re also approaching the ‘real challenge’ of yoga, that many yogis are dealing with: Our mind always wants us to be better, we compare ourselves with others and we often face the challenge of bad feelings showing up when we can’t reach a certain pose. This is where the real deal with yoga joins the game. Try to be patient. Learn to accept the level you’re at. To not judge yourself. And to acknowledge the current state of our body. Then, send some love to you and to your neighbor next to you on the mat, no matter if he can reach further into the fold or not.

You are ready to take it one step further? A yoga teacher training might be what you’re looking for. Check out our 200 hr yoga teacher training programs in Bali: Inner Yoga 200 hour yoga teacher training 

Mudras you can use to balance your Elements

In one of our previous blog posts, we were outlining five of the most popular mudras that you can use in your own yoga practice.

Mudras are hand gestures or seals that can lead energies. Mudra means “that what brings joy”, where ‘mud’ stands for joy and ‘ra’ means to give.

In this article, we are going to explore a few more of those hand gestures which can help you find more balance and harmony by using the elements.

The five elements in Hinduism

According to Hinduism, there are five elements that are the basis of all cosmic creation. Those are fire (Agni), air (Vayu), space (Aakasha), earth (Prithivi), and water (Varun).

Each of our fingers represents one of the five elements:

  • Ring Finger = Earth (Prithivi)
  • Thumb = Fire (Agni)
  • Index finger = Air (Vayu)
  • Small Finger = Water (Varun or Jala)
  • Middle Finger = Ether (Aakasha)

Ancient Hindu philosophy says that those five elements are integral part of every human being. Yet, every body has a different balance of those elements: while some of us need more water, others might lack the element earth. The more balanced we are with those elements, the more health and wellbeing we gain. Mudras will help us to support our system and finding this balance.

1. Prithivi Mudra – Earth

Prithivi Mudra

What it does:

Prithivi in Sanskrit means ‘the vast one’. It also stands for the element earth. Accordingly, this mudra strengthens the element earth within you, which promotes healing and overall balance in your body. For example, prithivi mudra will help you in times of feeling unsettled while traveling, or to manage the feeling of unsafely and nervousness before a speech.

As this mudra is connected with our muladhara (root) chakra, it will also help in finding more grounding energy and connection with the earth. As a result, you will feel more safe, stable and secure when using this mudra in difficult times.

How to:

To practice prithivi mudra, touch the tip of your ring finger with the tip of your thumb while the other fingers are kept straight.

2. Surya (Agni) Mudra – Sun and Fire

Surya Mudra

What it does:

Known both as surya and agni mudra, this is the mudra of fire, heat and sun. It stands for energy in our organs. If we don’t have enough prana or life force to start something new, we can activate energy by using this mudra. Agni or Surya Mudra are also great to boost your metabolism, regulate your heat and increase your energy in cold and dark seasons.

How to:

Fold your ring finger into your hand so that its tip touches the base of your thumb. Next, place your thumb on top of the ring finger, giving it a light pressure. Keep the other fingers straight. The suppression of the ring finger (element earth) by the thumb creates a dominance of the element fire.

3. Vayu Mudra – Air

Vayu Mudra

What it does:

Vayu mudra aims to decrease the element air in the body. By regulating excess air in the body, it helps people who suffer from bloating and gas formation after eating. Practiced regularly, this mudra also supports a better blood circulation. By reducing air in the body, it also helps to soothe pain such as sciatica, gout or rheumatism. As vayu mudra is associated with vata dosha, it is supportive for vata type people.

How to:

Fold your index finger and place it inside the base of your thumb. Then, place your thumb on the back of your index finger. Doing this, the element air (index finger) is being suppressed by the element fire (represented by your thumb). Keep your other fingers straight.

4. Varun Mudra – Water

Varun Mudra

What it does:

Varun Mudra is called the “seal of mental clarity”. Varun is the Sanskrit word for water. A lack of the water element in the body often results in dehydration and dryness of skin, hair, eyes and mouth. Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, or digestive problems such as constipation may appear. This mudra is believed to enhance the water element in your body, bringing back relief from above symptoms. Practicing this mudra also helps with blood related problems and liver disorders.

How to:

Lightly bring the tip of your little finger (water) and the tip of your thumb together while the other fingers remain extended.

5. Aakash Mudra – Ether and Space

Aakash Mudra

What it does:

Aakash means ‘recognize’ or ‘view’. By connecting our middle finger and thumb, we are bringing attention to the element ether and space and are aiming to increase this element: Aakash mudra creates a healing space within our body. It also activates our throat chakra which stands for self-expression, communication and speaking our truth. By creating more space in our body, the other elements water, air, wood and fire also get more room to expand.

On a physical level, practicing aakash mudra helps with overeating and with calcium and phosphorus absorption from diet. It releases tension and supports to detox our body.

On an emotional level, practicing this mudra helps with negative feelings, calms the mind and provides a feeling of completeness.

How to:

Bring the tips of your middle finger and thumb together creating a circle with those fingers, while keeping the three fingers straight.

Take your yoga practice to a deeper level and increase the benefits of yoga in your life by joining our 22-day, 200-hour Vinyasa Yin Yoga Teacher Training in Bali. Apply now to take you practice to the next level and awaken to your innermost self.

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Mantras for your Yoga Practice and their Meaning

Mantras can be used during meditation, to open a yoga practice or for daily practices. They are powerful tools to focus, create vibrations in the body and to set an intention for a specific topic.

In this post, we will explore the meaning of some powerful mantras for healing, peace, love, protection, and for breaking bad habits and how you can use them in your yoga practice.

1. Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo (Adi Mantra)

Yoga Teacher Training Ceremony

Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo Is a kundalini mantra for protection. Translated, it means: “I connect with the cosmic energy and the sublime path that guides me from darkness into the light.”

Turn to the sacred within you and trust in you. Trust in your path that you have chosen. Trust your inner voice that says: There is so much more that awaits you. This mantra is a beautiful mantra to start your practice helping you to take the power of the universe and apply it to your practice.

This mantra is both meant to protect us and to connect us with our higher self and universal wisdom within us.

2. Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Yoga Mantras Meaning

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu is a kundalini mantra that means “May all human beings and living creatures everywhere in this world be happy and free. May all my thoughts, words and actions contribute to this happiness and freedom for all.”

Find stability and peace within. This is a prayer of love away from your personal, egoistic self towards aiming for a more global wellbeing. Chant this mantra before your practice to radiate and share your love to the world around you.

3. OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Yoga Openng Ceremony

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti is a mantra about peace. Shanti means peace. The first Shanti stands for personal, inner peace. The second one stands for peace in relationships. The third Shanti stands for peace of the whole world.

To put this mantra into practice, you may cultivate a peaceful mind by practicing mindfulness and meditation. Once you created a mind that is more in harmony and peace you will automatically be able to create more harmony for others alike.

4. Sa Ta Na Ma

Mala Mantra Chanting

Sa Ta Na Ma is a powerful kundalini mantra containing the seed sounds SSS, TTT, NNN, MMM, AAA. It is there to break through habits and behavioral patterns, to balance the two brain hemispheres, to bring the five elements of the body and the mind into harmony and to discover your purpose in life. Sa means birth, Ta means Life, Na stands for death, Ma is rebirth.

Also known under the name kirtan kriya, singing the mantra is said to activate the higher chakras and improve function of the pineal and pituitary glands.

This article might also be of interest for you: 5 Mudras every Yoga Student needs to know 

5. OM

Yoga OM Mantra

Om is the most famous mantra of all mantras. Read my previous article 5 Secret Facts about OM that will enrich your Yoga Practice to learn more about the mantra.

For thousands of years, the mantra OM has been used by buddhists and hindus as a symbol for the divine.

The sound of OM describes the primal sound of the universe and creates a seamless vibration that flows through the body from toes to the top of the head. Sing the sound of OM to center yourself, and to create inner peace and harmony within you.

6. Ra Ma Da Sa Say So Hung

Yoga Mantras

Ra Ma Da Sa Say So Hung is a kundalini yoga mantra for self and distance healing. Ra means sun, whereas Ma means ‘the moon’. Da means ‘the earth’, Sa stands for Infinity and Say for ‘You’. Finally So Hung means personal identity.

Yogi Bhajan states that this is probably one of the most powerful healing mantras that exists. Try this mantra if you want to send some healing energy to a beloved one or even to someone who is far away from you:

“For healing at a distance, this is the mantra. It cuts across time and space so you can send healing energy to someone thousands of miles away as easily as you can send it to someone across the room.”
-Shakti Parwha Kaur

Bring back balance to your life and your body during our transformative 200 hr Yin Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training at our luxurious retreat center in Bali, Indonesia.

5 Secret Facts about OM that will enrich your Yoga Practice

As a yogi, we chant the mantra ‘OM’ during a yoga class to open and close the practice. We imitate our instructor by taking a deep exhale, which is followed by an inhale to then chant the sound of OM.

Yet few of us know what the mantra really is about. Getting more clear about the meaning of the sound of OM may help us to give it a deeper meaning and connection with the mantra. So let’s unveil some interesting facts about this mysterious word being one of the most respected and regarded symbols of the world.

1. ‘OM’ – the symbol

First and foremost, let’s clarify in short some facts about the symbol and meaning of OM. OM mantra is known as a mahamantra which means that it is a single letter mantra.

OM references to the three sounds ‘A’, ‘U’ and ‘M’, building the sound of AUM or OM when combined.

OM Mantra History

2. Origins of OM

OM is considered as the ‘king of mantras’. It is also given the name pranava mantra, meaning the sound of life and the universe. According to ancient texts, OM represents ONENESS. Oneness with the higher self and with the universe: The entire universe is thus seen as a composition of OM. On the other hand, OM is the representation of the individual soul, as a pure being made of consciousness.

Learn more about the history of Vinyasa Yoga here. 

OM Mantra Symbol

3. Deeper Meaning of OM

OM is the overall sound and vibration of the universe. To get a deeper understanding of OM, let’s have a look at our different states of consciousness. The mandukya upanishad, which is part of the vedic scriptures in Hinduism, outlines the theory of four states of consciousness and the existence and nature of the soul and our higher self. According to mandukya upanishad, ‘OM’ is the only thing that existed, exists and will exists.

This is followed by the statement that all are supreme beings, and that those beings do exist in four stages of consciousness: The waking state, dreaming state, deep sleeping state and lastly our pure consciousness.

1. Waking State

The first stage, called jagrat, is referred to the letter ‘A’ in AUM with being the waking state. It has an outward perception.

2. Dreaming State

The second state as the letter ‘U’ is the dreaming state, called svapna. The perception is directed inward.

3. Unconscious State or Deep Sleep State

The third stage is referred to the letter ‘M’ as the deep sleep state, called susupti. It has no activity, nor experiences of the body and the mind.

4. The absolute State

The fourth state is known as the super conscious state, a state of tranquillity, soundless, stillness and eternal peace. In this state called turiyam, there is observation of the previous three stages. The turiyam state is said to be achieved by a combination of the ‘A’, ‘U’ and ‘M’ states, thus being represented in the word AUM or ‘OM’.

Want to learn more about yoga philosophy? This blog post could be interesting for you: The eight limbs of Yoga explained

OM Mantra Symbol 2

4. Health Benefits of OM

The benefits of ‘OM’ can be therapeutic, spiritual and psychological: OM soothes the mind and slows down the nervous system by slow exhalation, controlling and relaxation of the breath. OM has the overall vibrational effect of the body and the organs: All organs are positioned above our hip region, which are then being activated by producing the sounds of A – U – M.

5. Spiritual effects of OM

By chanting the mantra ‘OM’, we are preparing for the higher state of consciousness and the universe. The vibration created by the chanting builds positive vibrations around you. When chanting ‘OM’ in a group, those positive vibrations will charge up the entire setting and environment around you.

OM aims to remind ourselves to look within and answer fundamental questions about the meaning of life and who you truly are.

Feel like you’re ready to make the next step in your yoga journey? We offer 200 hr Yoga Alliance certified Vinyasa & Yin Yoga teacher trainings on the beautiful island of Bali.

Find out more about our upcoming dates here.

Awaken to the magic of India – 5 best reasons to visit India

Imagine a country full of colors, contrasts, dance, magic, incredible cultural sites and majestic scenery. A country which is birthplace to yoga. Welcome to India. But what makes this country so unique and worth a visit? Here are the five best reasons to visit India.

1. Yoga and Hinduism

India is the birthplace of yoga. Hinduism takes over a major role in peoples’ daily life. Strolling along the streets, you are likely to see signs for peoples’ religious rites wherever you you go. Many people come to India for the purpose of finding spirituality and to dive deeper into the world of yoga and meditation.

Contrary to what many of us believe in western society, what you will find is that Yoga in India is not only about a set of asanas (postures). More than that, Yoga is a lifestyle designed to bring the body, mind and soul into balance and to achieve a state of higher consciousness also known as ‘Samadhi’. If you’re ever want to witness how yoga is practiced and lived in an authentic and origin way, India is the place to go. This is your chance to dive deeper into what yoga really is about. Find out more about the eight branches of yoga here. 

2. People and cities

It is hard to describe people in India in a few words. While metropolitans such as Mumbai and New Delhi feel loud, busy, crowded and a bit overwhelming at first. Being aware of this, and of course travelling with a healthy sense of caution will help you to get along. Opposed to big cities, it can be a totally different experience approaching the more rural landscapes and remote areas such as in the far north.

People in India are very friendly, and if you are open minded and respectful, you are going to be welcomed by an open heart, curiosity and warm smiles.

3. Incredible Landscapes, majestic scenery

India Landscape

India is one of the places coming with one of the most incredible landscapes on earth. Don’t miss out to visit Jammu & Kashmir and Leh region right at the foothill of mighty Himalayas. Mountain ranges, dramatic gorges, and pristine mountain villages with holy monasteries are awaiting you and leaving you with impressions for a life-time. Our itinerary takes you right to the most stunning sceneries Northern India has to offer.

4. Cultural Sites in India

Once in India, chances are high that you want to see famous Taj Mahal. The palace made of white marble and sandstone will certainly leave a footprint upon you. Being one of the most impressive buildings in the world – despite the tourist crowds – Taj Mahal is likely to remain one of the highlights of your trip.

Travelling the northern territories in India, you don’t want to miss world famous UNESCO heritage sites such as Agra Fort (the most important fort in India which is made of red sandstone, thereby also called ‘red fort’ of Agra, Hawa Mahal (The Palace of Winds) and Amer Fort in Jaipur, just to name a few.

5. Vegetarian Food

India-Retreat-Food

India is a food heaven. Especially people with a vegetarian diet are going to love it. Just imagine all the spices of the south-east, put together into one dish. With a variety of curries and dhal, the food comes with so much flavor that it will blow your mind. You don’t want to miss their delicious flatbreads like rotis, chapatis, naan and dosa: Indian breads are an integral part of their cooking, and mostly served alongside other dishes such as dhal, curries, lentils and vegetables.

Save your spot now

Don’t miss out a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Experience Northern India from a local perspective from August 25 — September 6, 2019. Our small and intimate 13-day retreat takes you from Delhi through Rajasthan to the mighty Himalayas. With daily yoga and meditation, embrace the local culture, indulge in delicious Indian food, and explore hidden gems off the beaten path.

Reservations are now open to join Inner Yoga on an unforgettable journey through India, where this will be one of many unforgettable experiences that take your breath away.

Book our India Retreat

India Retreat

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10 most common styles of yoga – which one could be for you?

A lot of yoga schools have been developed over time, and there is quite a few to choose from nowadays – which can feel a bit overwhelming. Each form of yoga comes with its own benefits – thus some drawing their attention to alignment, whereas others offer a dynamic flow or focus on relaxation.

Here is a brief summary of the most common styles of yoga that are being taught today. We recommend to give a few different styles a try to see which one is the right and best fit for you.

1. Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga means ’union through discipline and force’. Hatha is a school of yoga grounded in the physical practice and includes asanas, breathwork, meditation and diet to ultimately control our mind and move closer to our higher self.
Sequences are usually slower than in many other styles of yoga and the the teacher often explains in more detail on how to enter and hold a pose which is why many see Hatha Yoga to be perfect for beginners. Yet, Hatha style yoga can get quite challenging as poses are held for a relatively long time.

2. Yin Yoga

In Yin Yoga, a pose is being held for a longer period of time, aiming to release tension in the body, calming the mind and working with the breath. Yin Yoga targets the fascia rather than the muscles which allows sustainable flexibility, releasing of stuck energies and thus an overall improvement of energy flow. Done frequently, yin yoga helps to release tension, tightness and stress in the body, increases flexibility and helps yogis with a regular practice of ashtanga, hatha or vinyasa yoga bringing their practice to the next level.

Want to bring your practice to the next level? Check out our Yin / Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Trainings in Bali.

What is Yin Yoga?

3. Restorative Yoga

Similar to Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga focuses on decreasing stress in the body and the mind, working with the nervous system to regulate itself. Probs such as blankets, bolsters, pillows and straps are used to help support the body and finding more relaxation. Restorative has a therapeutic effect and can thus be very helpful for people with chronic pain and chronic stress.

4. Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga, also called the ’eight limb yoga’ is a more physically challenging style of yoga. An Ashtanga practice usually starts with sun salutation A and B followed by a set sequence of postures with a strong focus on alignment and precise movements. One of the most famous forms of Ashtanga Yoga has developed and been brought to western world in Mysore, India (also known as Mysore LED). Mysore Ashtanga offers a set sequence of asanas practiced by students at their own pace. Ashtanga Yoga usually is challenging and physically demanding and recommended for intermediate to advanced practitioners.

5. Vinyasa Yoga

Modern Vinyasa Yoga originally derives from Ashtanga Yoga. Vinyasa Flow Yoga which nowadays is practiced all over the world is a relatively modern style of Yoga. Whereas Ashtanga style yoga rather offers a set sequence of asanas demanding a lot of precisement, Vinyasa Flow Yoga allows more flexibility and brings in a lot more creativity and flexibility regarding alignment and sequencing. Vinyasa itself is the practice of linking movement and breath, thus creating a seamless connection between asanas and creating a continuous flow throughout the practice.

Read on: ‘History and Meaning of Vinyasa Yoga every Yoga student needs to know

6. Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga was designed and founded by Indian yogi BKS Iyengar. It is also known as ‘practice of precision’: the Iyengar style typically is based on alignment and precise, slow movements. Postures are held for a long time using probs if necessary. That being said, Iyengar is a great practice having therapeutic benefits on the body and soul.

7. Aerial Yoga

Aerial Yoga is a very modern form of Yoga founded in California where traditional styles of yoga like vinyasa, hatha or even dance and acrobatic elements are done with the use of a hammock. Aerial Yoga has gained popularity in recent years, being creative, challenging and unique in the way of using anti-gravity asanas. Aerial Yoga is said to release tension, increases flexibility, is thrilling and has a very low negative impact on the joints.

8. Jivamukti Yoga

Jivamukti Yoga is a modern form of yoga founded 1984 in New York. Jivamukti aims to find a way to enlighment through practicing compassion towards all living beings. Jivamukti combines Hatha yoga with Vinyasa flow style yoga and is based on 5 pillars: Those are Shastra (study of Sanskrit and ancient yogic teachings like Patanjalis eight limbs or the Bhagavad Gita), Bhakti (devotion and humility), Ahimsa (non-violence, veganism), Nada (development of a sound body and mind: deep inner listening and chanting) and Dhyana (meditation and connection with spirituality).

9. Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga was founded by Bikram Choudhury about 30 years ago. In Bikram Yoga, you are working your way through a set of 26 postures, which makes it quite similar to an Ashtanga class. However, what makes Bikram classes unique (and a bit controversal) is that those classes are held in closed rooms where temperature is set up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (or 40 degrees Celsius). Bikram yoga is a practice where you’ll gonna sweat and challenge your body- a lot!

10. Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga has been designed to create health, wellbeing and balance by releasing Kundalini energy in our bodies which is said to be stuck in the lower spine. For this, different breathing techniques are being used. A Kundalini class consists of several kundalini exercises called kriya: Repetitive movements that are synchronized with the breath. Kundalini Yoga usually involves dynamic breathing, chanting, mantra, meditation. Classes may get very intense as a lot of blocked energy is being moved and released.

Read our yoga program which might be the perfect fit for you. 

The seven Chakras – Foundation and Meaning

Long ago, ancient cultures developed a system to explain why disease, imbalances and suffering in our bodies occur. According to old Hindu beliefs, life force (prana), is carried throughout our bodies in channels. This energy is being collected in seven energy centers called chakras. Chakra is the Sanskrit word for wheel. Chakras can be seen as rotating circles spinning energy around our bodies. When energy is blocked or cannot flow freely, then imbalance develops.

This blog post is about the foundations of chakras: What are the seven chakras, where are they located in our bodies, to which emotions do they correspond, what happens if our chakras are out of balance, and what can we do to balance our chakras again.

The seven Chakras – Foundation and Meaning

1. Root Chakra – Muladhara

Muladhara Chakra

Survival – Earth – Foundation

Muladhara or root chakra is our survival chakra and related to the element earth. Our root chakra derives from the words Mula meaning ’to root’ and Dhara, which is ‘support’. Our root or earth chakra is all about foundation and grounding. Think of it as feeling safe, rooted and surviving on this planet. Such as, it corresponds to the beliefs: “I am. I feel safe. I trust myself – I trust others. I deserve to be here. I love my body”.

Out of balance

  • Weak: abandonment, social isolation, insecurities, sadness, depression, low self esteem
  • Too high: selfishness, distrust, greediness
  • Body: lower back pain, overweight or anorexia, constipation
  • Addictions: food, alcohol, sex
  • Stimulation: grounding, yoga (focus on hips, legs, feet), walking in nature, gardening

2. Sacral Chakra – Swadhishana

Water – Creativity – Emotions

Our sacral chakra is related to our emotions, to sexuality and creativity. It is located below our belly button and corresponds to the element water. Our Sacral Chakra brings creative energy to enjoy life – it is about your identity as a human or ‘the place of the self’, as it is translated. We say “I feel. I’m in touch with my emotions. Creativity flows through me. My sexuality is vibrant. Relationships are joy. I attract like-minded people who support and love me.”

Out of Balance

  • Weak: too emotional, no (or bad) emotional or social boundaries, codependent and overly attached, guilt
  • Over active: not in touch with emotions, fear of change, need to manipulate and control, fear of intimacy, frustration
  • Body: problems with reproductive organs, kidneys, bladder
  • Addictions: sex, work, relationships, sugar
  • Stimulation: massage, music, warm bath, calm yoga (yin yoga, restorative yoga, hip openers)

3. Solarplexus Chakra – Manipura

Fire – Will Power – Energy Center

Our third energy center is known as Solarplexus or Manipura Chakra. It is located just between your navel and below the center of your chest and the seat of will power, confidence, energy and personal power.

Manipura Chakra is connected to the element fire, that is the source of energy and activity that makes you feel like a warrior. The words “I do. I am strong. I am motivated to get things done” do best describe the Solarplexus Chakra.

Out of balance

  • Weak: lack of self-esteem, can’t handle criticism, fear of rejection, weakness, passivity
  • Over active: anger, forcefulness, focus on professional and social status, dominant
  • Body: digestive organs, food allergies, diabetes
  • Addictions: sugar, caffein, food, compulsive cleaning
  • Stimulation: power yoga, fitness, swimming, trekking

4. Heart Chakra – Anahata

Air – Love – Connection

The heart Chakra is the 4th Chakra and is centered right in the center of your chest. The heart chakra connects the three chakras located at the lower body with the three chakras located at the upper body which are following next. Translated from Sanskrit, Anahata means unhurt. When the heart chakra is open and balanced, you are feeling love, compassion and openness for others. One with an open heart chakra would feel connected with the following words: “I am loved. I love myself. I’m open to receiving. I want to share. I forgive myself. I forgive others.”

Out of Balance

  • Weak: possessiveness, judgmental, fear of intimacy, social isolation, too much focus on the rational
  • Over active: dependency, sadness, desperation, envy, loneliness, depression, hungry for love and attention
  • Body: poor circulations, problems, high blood pressure, stroke, problems with airways, upper back and shoulders
  • Addictions: nicotine, marihuana
  • Stimulation: charity work, reading, writing poetry, romance, heart opening yoga sequences

5. Throat Chakra – Visuddha

Ether – Sound – Expression

The throat chakra is the center for communication. Located at the point of the throat and neck, our throat chakra is the link between emotions (heart, lower body) and our thoughts (head). A person with a balanced throat chakra is able to fully express his or her own truth. Words associated to the throat chakra are: “I speak. I communicate with ease. I feel safe to speak the truth. My voice is heard. I am balanced in speaking and listening”.

Out of balance

  • Weak: talking too much, frustration critical of self and others, loud, confused
  • Over active: Fear of speaking up, dishonesty, low self esteem, social isolation, difficulties with communication
  • Body: sore throat, problems with upper airways, dental health issues, stiffness in the neck, stuttering
  • Addictions: smoking, drugs, excessive workouts
  • Stimulation: Singing, chanting, reading poetry out loud, keeping a diary, dancing, drumming

6. Third Eye Chakra – Ajna

Light – Intuition – Wisdom – Insight

The third eye chakra is associated with the element light. It is located on the forehead right between the eyebrows. Translated from Sanskrit, Ajna means ‘command’ or ‘perceiving’. The third eye chakra is related to Intuition, foresight, the ability to see clearly and higher knowledge. One may say: “I see. I trust my intuition. I’m connected to my true path and purpose. I can hear the voice of my soul. I have unlimited possibilities” in relation to a balanced third eye chakra.

Out of balance

  • Weak: denial, cynicism, extreme pragmatism, not believing in a purpose
  • Over-active: confusion, delusion, no purpose, memory loss
  • Body: headaches, sinusitis, learning disabilities, anxiety, nightmares
  • Addictions: Shopping, possessiveness
  • Stimulations: logging your dreams, meditation

7. Crown Chakra – Sahasrara

Spiritual Connection – Complete Balance – Enlightment

The seventh and last chakra is our crown chakra or Sahasrara. It exists on top of our head, and relates to our nervous system, pineal gland and brain. Where the root chakra is there for grounding us, the crown chakra connects us to the pure universal energy of the divine. In balance, it is related to the beliefs: “I understand. I am complete. I am connected to my higher self. I am light and I let shine. I am here to make a difference. I am part of the Universal flow.”

Out of balance

  • Weak: materialistic, not in touch with spirituality and reality, denial of spiritualism, cynicism
  • Over active: worry, depression, psychosis, mental illness, addicted to spirituality
  • Body: skin problems, overly tired, burn out, oversensitive to light and sound
  • Addictions: psychedelic drugs, material greediness
  • Stimulation: breathing in awareness, chanting, silent meditations

Our Yoga Teacher Trainings are designed around the principles of Yin and Yang. As our modern life is often Yang focussed, we are aiming to bring more Yin and therewith balance into our life again. Learn how, and take your yoga practice to a deeper level by joining our 22-day, 200-hour Vinyasa Yin Yoga Teacher Training in Bali.

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