Introducing the 2018 Live Be Yoga Tour Ambassadors

This year during YJ’s six-month cross country excursion, ambassadors Jeremy Falk and Aris Seaberg explore the trends that will shape the future of yoga in the West.

Jeremy Falk

As a full-time yoga teacher in San Francisco, Jeremy Falk finds inspiration in observing how yoga is practiced and embodied around the globe. His own yoga journey began in 2003, and was ultimately transformed when he landed in Rishikesh, India, for five months in 2012. “The profound effects the city had on my mind and spirit were inescapable and life changing,” he says. Falk completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training there before returning stateside. He has since studied with prominent Bay Area yoga teachers Stephanie Snyder, Janet Stone, and Jason Crandell, finishing a 500-hour training. His mission: “At the end of the day, my passion is to heal the world by empowering people through the practice of yoga.” 

See also Live Be Yoga: Highlights from the 2017 Tour

Aris Seaberg

In order to stay grounded while her mother was fighting terminal cancer, Aris Seaberg turned to yoga in 2014. The practice sparked a transformation that quickly led to a 500-hour Akhanda Shakti teacher training and additional study of prenatal, kids, and trauma-informed yoga. On top of all of that, Seaberg opened her own studio in Orange County, called Luminous Soul Tribe, designed to help community members stay healthy and balanced in body, mind, and soul. Seaberg sees the future of yoga as all-inclusive and therapeutic. “I have learned how helpful yoga can be for dealing with stress, grief, PTSD, injury, illness, and more, and I want to be part of a bigger movement that shares this incredible practice,” she says.

How Meditation & a Powerful Trip to India Changed Teacher Max Strom Forever

Fifteen years ago, yoga teacher Max Strom traveled to Varanasi, India. What he witnessed there sent him on the road to emotional transformation.

From time to time, nearly all of us are prompted to reassess our priorities. The trigger is usually an event or an interaction that leads to an epiphany. In that moment, we see the essence of who we really are. This can spark spontaneous and sudden growth at a deep level, altering the course of our lives.

One of the events that helped jolt me awake happened in India, almost 15 years ago.

My traveling companion and I had arrived by train at the teeming city of Varanasi—a pilgrimage destination for Hindus of all denominations who believe that bathing in the water of the sacred Ganges River remits sins, and that dying in Varanasi ensures the release of a person’s soul from the cycle of death and rebirth. Many Hindus travel to this holy city to die and be cremated on the series of steps leading down to the river, called ghats, and to have their remains scattered in the water.

11 Yoga Essentials and Practice Inspiration for Spring

From practice inspiration to books, jewelry, yoga mats and more, gear up with these hand-picked favorites from YJ editors.

What You Need to Know about a "Neutral" Pelvis and Spine

Tom Myers explains what it means to practice with a “neutral” pelvis and spine, why it’s important, and how to know when you’re there.

Join Tom Myers for a seven-week online introduction to anatomy for yoga students and teachers. You’ll learn how to think of movement in holistic, relational, and practical ways, and how to identify common postural patterns, as well as strategies for cueing, to awaken parts of the body that may need work. Sign up for Anatomy 101 here

The wonderful insights you find in asana practice need to come back to your daily life, right? Finding neutral—or what I call coming home to your body—is a practice of its own. What is your neutral? No matter what part of the body we’re talking about, it’s good to know the answer to this question, so you don’t keep returning to a position that doesn’t serve you or your yoga practice.

There are lots of differing opinions about what constitutes a neutral position. For yogis, Tadasana (Mountain Pose) describes a neutral standing position: easily resting upright, stacked up in gravity, and bearing weight on centered, balanced feet (figure A, in the slideshow below).

A second form of neutral is called “anatomical position”—a term coined in the early 1900s to describe the version of neutral that makes sense for anatomical naming (figure D). This neutral position is expressed in yoga as Savasana (Corpse Pose): lying horizontal, resting out of gravity, and fully supported with your arms open.

The Beginner's Guide to Common Mantras

Searching for a meaningful mantra to use in your practice? Here are four powerful pieces to get you started.

The mantra: Om

Pronunciation: a-u-m
Translation: The primordial sacred sound
Why chant it: Om is said to be the first sound heard at the creation of the universe. When each syllable is pronounced fully, you should feel the energy of the sound lifting from your pelvic floor all the way up through the crown of your head.

The mantra: Om śāntih śāntih śāntih

Pronunciation: a-u-m shanti hee shanti hee shanti hee
Translation: Peace peace peace
Why chant it: Because we could all use more peace in our lives.

See also The Science Behind Finding Your Mantra (and How to Practice It)

The mantra: Gāyatrī mantra

Om bhūr bhuvah svah | tat savitur varenyam | bhargo devasya dhīmahi | dhiyo yo nah pracodayāt

Pronunciation: A-u-m bhoor bhoo-va-ha sva-ha | tut sa-vi-toor va-rain-yum | bhar-go day-vas-yah dhee-muh-hee | dhi-yo yo na-ha pra-cho-duh-yat
Translation: Earth, heaven, and all between. The excellent divine power of the sun. May we contemplate the radiance of that God. May this inspire our understanding.
Why chant it: It’s one of the oldest Sanskrit mantras and very sacred in the Hindu tradition. It invokes the light of the sun and helps us to transcend suffering. It should only be chanted at dawn, noon, and sunset.

Mantras 101: The Science Behind Finding Your Mantra and How to Practice It

Ever wonder what you’re chanting during yoga class that always seems to instill a profound sense of calm? Take a look at the neuroscience behind how mantras make potent additions to your yogic practices, and find one that works best for you.

Looking for a spiritually satisfying life after college, musician Tina Malia moved to Fairfax, California, an artsy city north of San Francisco, and began attending sacred music concerts. Something in the ritual and the chanting moved her to tears and kept her going back again and again. Eventually, she started experimenting with the music on her own. One day, friend and fellow musician Jai Uttal invited her to sing backup in his band, the Pagan Love Orchestra, which combined chanting mantra with rock, reggae, jazz, and African music. Malia jumped at the chance to play and sing these sacred sounds and words—believed by practitioners to change states of mind and elevate consciousness.

“I loved the syllables and the way they rolled in my mouth, but I didn’t yet know how much I would grow to need them,” says Malia. Even though she was gaining success as a musician and was surrounded by loving friends, Malia was silently sinking into
depression—an ailment she had struggled with on and off since she was a teenager. As a twenty-something, feeling lost and lonely in the world again, she was ensnared by negative thoughts and even contemplated taking her own life. “It was like I was falling down this pit,” says Malia, now 40 years old. Nothing she grasped for to ease her pain—food, sex, movies, alcohol, even spiritual books—gave her anything more than a quick and fleeting fix.

Sadie Nardini's Glazed Matcha Donuts Recipe

Sadie Nardini, wellness expert and founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, shares her recipe for vegan, gluten-free glazed donuts. Satisfy your sweet tooth and bask in the benefits of her star ingredient: antioxidant-rich matcha.

Sadie Nardini’s go-to glazed matcha donuts from Fit Girl Treats 

Makes 12 regular donuts or up to three-dozen mini donuts

“After I started doing yoga and high-intensity interval training—and especially once I hit 40—I realized my weekly donut habit wasn’t going to cut it. I searched far and wide and found this amazing recipe from Leah Boston, a plant-based food blogger and creator of Fit Girl Treats. Her donuts are baked, vegan, gluten-free, and full of antioxidant-rich matcha—known worldwide for benefits like supporting heart health. They’re perfect for when you’re craving something sweet!”

¾ cup almond milk, divided
14 pitted Medjool dates
1¼ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (I like Cup4Cup or King Arthur), plus more for dusting
1 tbsp tapioca starch (or tapioca flour)
1 tbsp organic matcha powder, plus ½ tsp, divided (I love Positively Tea Company)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon, plus/tsp, divided
1 tbsp lemon juice
1½ tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 cup organic powdered sugar
1 cup coconut chips or organic shredded coconut
coconut oil for greasing

See also Elena Brower’s Go-To Recipe for Nourishing Comfort Food

5 Ways Kundalini Yoga Can Help You Create the Life You Want

Feel like you need a life change, or to craft better, healthier habits and a more consistent practice? Consider Kundalini. Here’s why it really works.

Are you ready to discover your life’s purpose and activate your fullest potential? Kundalini Yoga is an ancient practice that helps you channel powerful energy and transform your life. And now there is an accessible, easy way to learn how to incorporate these practices into your practice and life. Yoga Journal’s online 6-week online course Kundalini 101: Create the Life You Want offers you mantras, mudras, meditations, and kriyas that you’ll want to practice every day. Sign up now!

Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of deep awareness and transformation. We cannot practice Kundalini Yoga without experiencing magical shifts. I was certified in Hatha yoga before my certification in Kundalini Yoga. I love them both. However, when I need a miracle or the ability to break free of limiting beliefs or fears, Kundalini Yoga is my go-to practice. And here’s why:

1. Kundalini Yoga clears blocks in your energy field.

Kundalini Yoga is a magical science that uses sound, mantra, energy healing, exercises and meditations to release trauma from the energetic body, which surrounds the physical body. It is this field, known as the aura, that holds wounds. When those wounds are healed, radiance can occur. Radiance is the magnetic frequency that draws in beauty, love, and light. Attracting abundance into your life starts in the subtle (energetic) body–not the mind.

Kundalini Yoga helps us recognize that abundance is our birthright and living from our hearts is the surest path to prosperity. When we are able to listen to the whispers of the heart, we are able to tap into the magnetic force of the universe, which is love. When we live in that frequency of love, we feel gratitude. Like attracts like, and therefore gratitude attracts more gratitude.

New Moon Flow: A Playlist for the First Lunar Phase

Hoping to find the perfect music to listen to during the new moon? This playlist from #YJInfluencer Lauren Eckstrom will help you harness the moon’s comforting energy.

Many of us are familiar with the sun’s energy through Sun Salutations, but what about the moon? The moon is full of tranquil, feminine energy that can be tapped into as we move and flow. This energy is rejuvenating and restorative, and this playlist will be the soundtrack of support.

See also Soothing Moonshine: Chandra Namaskar

1. “Intention Feat Morley,” EarthRise SoundSystem
2. “Halving The Compass,” Helios
3. “Beyond This Moment,” Patrick O’Hearn
4. “Somewhere Within Your Soul,” ID3
5. “Dunes,” Chequerboard
6. “Soon It Will Be Cold Enough To Build Fires,” Emancipator
7. “Everything,” Yinyues
8. “Bring You Back,” Beacon
9. “Chesapeake,” Evenings
10. “Anthem,” Emancipator
11. “Know Where,” Holy Other
12. “All the Same,” Vieux Farka Touré
13. “Floating Sweetness,” DJ Drez
14. “Play Delicate, Desire Quiet,” Grace Cathedral Park
15. “Horizon,” Garth Stevenson
16. “Surya,” Todd Boston
17. “Dawn,” Garth Stevenson

8 Top Yoga Teachers Give Their Best Advice for Finding Bravery in Inversions

Why you might be nervous:

A lot of people believe they aren’t strong enough, or that they weigh too much to balance. All that stuff just isn’t true. With proper alignment and practice, you can do this. 

Sara’s tips:

Create an empowering mantra. Envision that you’re already in the pose, and meditate on how you feel when you’re in the inversion. This will melt fear away. Also, go slowly. Most people think the faster they kick, the quicker they will invert. But that doesn’t honor the laws of physics! When you slow down, you can use proper alignment and feel more in control of your body. It also gives you the chance to fall out safely when needed. 

See also: 4 Steps to Free Yourself From Fear of Inversions