So You Wanna Be a “Good” Yoga Teacher

Every time I turn around, someone or some place is advertising their upcoming Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). Where I live, it happens a lot. If you are an aspiring Yoga Teacher contemplating all the schools, you are probably thinking this is awesome. Well… Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.

Why maybe?

I’ve been to a few trainings to include a couple of 200 hours worth. Don’t get me wrong, in every training I have ever attended I have definitely learned something. I’ve taken tons of continuing education and those are great because the subject is narrow in scope and thus I can easily digest it and apply to my own teachings. But what about the longer ones, like the 200 hours trainings that train you up to be a teacher? Sure you learn, but when you graduate will you be able to teach with confidence.

This is the real question. Will you feel capable and confident that you will be able to teach a great yoga class? The kind of class that people will want to attend. This is a critical consideration! Because if you say NO and you just dumped $3000 plus on a training, you might be a little pissed. I know I would be.

One of the 200 hours training I attended must of felt the same way because before I got my baseline certificate from the first module of training, they made me teach as a volunteer. I had to teach eight hours of a community service type of yoga. Basically, I had to bring yoga to my friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else I could gather up. I had to write about my experience and submit it to the school. They in turn, reviewed my package and if they felt I did my Karma Yoga as they called it, I earned my certificate and this was just for the first 20 hours of training.

Karma Yoga might sound a little intimidating to some of you, but it is actually a good thing. At the time, I thought, ugh, I gotta do what. In hindsight, those eight classes let me make mistakes and learn from them in a friendly environment. As I continued my learning journey, they would take me aside and provide feedback which had a big impact on who I am as a teacher today.

I have met tons of newbie instructors via social media and also face to face. Many graduate and evolve into wonderful instructors. These graduates usually came from a very supportive and mentoring schools. However, there are a few graduates out there that are questioning their confidence, their abilities, and even asking basic questions us veterans can’t believe they don’t know. The latter makes me sad.

My overall thought is that some schools or studios are just cranking out teachers like a factory. They are in it for the money not necessarily for the student. Think about it, if you attend a local studio’s training and it costs $3000 and then nine others are in your class, that’s 30,000 the studio just brought in! All in six weeks or 90 days. Wow!

My studio business partner and I were talking about this the other day because we often get questions by yoga instructors on topics like trauma and yoga. (We specialize in trauma-sensitive yoga). We have been amazed that some teachers didn’t learn squat about the nervous system, some are pretty weak on anatomy, some don’t feel comfortable about adjustments, some have no idea what to do if they trigger a client into a spiral, and some can’t comfortably put together a safe sequence. This breaks our hearts.

I’ll say this up front, we don’t have a Yoga Teacher Training. What we would like to do is offer a yoga internship or mentorship program to our Newbie Instructors out there. (We are located in Colorado Springs, Colorado). If you are in the local area and are going to or recently graduated from a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) and are feeling less than confident, I invite you to give Lara and I call or to email us.

We know not all schools are created equal or that some of you just need a little more practice. This is where we can help and we want to help!

At our studio, we will make sure you know about the nervous system, anatomy, trauma, sequencing, how to safely do adjustments, teach to special populations, and even how to put together a safe yoga sequence. We bring in outstanding national trainers where you can earn your continuing education credits. Also, we will take your questions seriously. Don’t know something, our studio is a safe environment where you can comfortably learn. Or, if you just need a place to teach your Karma classes, we can offer you a space and the opportunity. We also know that places demand you have at least a year’s teaching under your belt and our place will help you towards those hours.

If this is something that interests you, our studio is called Eighteenth Element Yoga. Our address is 5050 Edison Ave Ste. 115 Colorado Springs, CO 80923. Phone is 719-597-0048. Email, Lara and I at Check out our website.

We will set you on a path towards success!



Posted in Beginner yoga, Community, Community Yoga Practices, Exercise Foundations, Learning | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summertime Lull and Yoga Activities to Bring Clients Back

Summertime is often a lull for yoga classes. It can be frustrating when you are used to a full class and then all of a sudden your numbers drop sometimes drastically.
Some people take it personally but they really shouldn’t. Its not you, its the nice weather and the fact that kids are on summer break so many families take vacations or pursue family activities. I don’t blame the clients. When it is nice outside that is definitely where I want to be. Also, many stay at home parents who usually attend daytime classes when their kids are at school don’t have access to daycare during the summer.
My studio and the classes that I teach throughout town are no different. I have had the fluctuations in my classes also.
To combat that, my studio has taken many opportunities to take our yoga classes outside. Here are some of the things we have done that have worked in our favor. First of all, we’ve made our outside classes donations. People seem to like the donation concept. Two outdoor donation projects we have done are a series of classes called Yoga in the Park and Yoga Takes a Hike.
Our Yoga in the Park is always at the same park and at the same time (early lunch time). We picked several dates during the summer, all for the most part on a Saturday. Our flows are family friendly so the whole family can participate. We then had our city’s newspaper publish our dates (we had to plan ahead).
For Yoga Takes a Hike, we host our hikes once a month on a Saturday morning before it gets to hot. All hikes are easy, family friendly and dog friendly. Here in Colorado, there are a ton of trails but keeping the hikes easy seems to be the best approach. We do light yoga stretches before we hit the trail, allow people to strike a pose at scenic vistas, and a light yoga practice at the summit. Overall, it is mostly a hike with a little yoga flavor.
Another thing we have done is join forces with other studios to put together a community event called Yoga Rocks the Park. (Event cost $15 at the gate). With this even, five studios joined together. We all advertised. We each took a turn to be the host studio which leads a 75 minute class. When you aren’t the host studio, you could be part of the vendor lineup which we definitely jumped on. Our Yoga Rocks the Park seems to be catching on and has been a great opportunity for us to grab a few new clients. We have two more dates coming up.
Finally, we have hosted a series of classes called Kids Artistic Asana. We have hosted these once a month on a Sunday afternoon. These classes consist of an hour of Kids Yoga and then an hour with a specified art project. Our Kids Artistic Asana costs though. For $35 dollars, they get to do yoga and an art project. The studio purchases everything they need so essentially all the kid needs to do is show up and have fun. Based on what parents are telling us, the kids seem to look forward to it and it gives them something to do during the summer.
So those are our classes that keep the clients coming in during the summer. We still have our other programs in place but we have slightly reduced the number of classes we have on our schedule. This limits how much we have to pay our instructors and it gives them an opportunity to take their vacations as well.
All in all, summertime doesn’t have to be a dreaded time for studios and instructors, you just have to get creative and explore opportunities outside. My studio partner and I are already thinking about next summer. We know we will pursue these four activities again next year. We are also exploring doing a little Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga. We currently have indoor SUP boards classes that we teach. This might be fun.


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What’s in a logo? A name?

I’ve been really busy trying to get my yoga studio started and going. Very time consuming to say the least! As I and my business yoga partners develop the business, there is one question that people continuously ask me. That is how did I come up with my studio name and the logo.

Well, I have to say, I didn’t come up with it all by myself. I had help. It was a joint effort on the part of myself and my business partner and friend, Lara.

Buckle up and let me tell you how we came up with our name and logo.

It all started the fall of 2014. Lara and I didn’t know each other, but we had one thing in common, we both signed up and were taking a yoga teacher training. That’s how we met. As we got to know each other, we learned that we had some of the same passions when it came to yoga so we were naturally drawn together. Our complimentary ideologies attracted a friendship.

I wanted to go beyond fitness based yoga and truly help people who needed it the most. People who are suffering from trauma or have life changing injuries. People with PTSD and especially veterans. As a veteran myself, I’ve seen some of the struggles and hardships military men and women and families go through. I felt compelled to find a way I could help. My way of giving back. Lara wanted that too.

Back in November 2014, both Lara and I were watching a documentary called “I am” by Tom Shadyac (Hollywood director of several popular movies). I have to give credit to the film because it was a catalyst that set the studio identity in motion.

In short, the film posed two questions. What’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better? Tom made the film after he was in a cycling accident. He wasn’t healing and was depressed.  His money wasn’t making him happy (he had several mansion type homes, a plane, cars… excess) so he went on a quest to search for true happiness and if he could be a change he wished to see in the world. Doing his journey, he saw two extremes in the world. The super rich with excess and a lot of waste and the extreme poverty who didn’t eat or have shelter let alone things we take for granted. He noticed that some of the happiest people he met certainly weren’t rich and yet they would go out of their way to help another. He questioned how was that so!

After watching that film, I see that in the world and it’s sad.

Today’s world is filled with people so caught up in their own lives. Many don’t take a moment to acknowledge others, let alone lend a helping hand. There is a lot of I’m to important, materialism, and greed. Tom felt he was guilty too.

So with a new sense of purpose, Tom went on a quest to share with others his own awaking as he eliminated the greed and excess in his life and help influence others to do the same.

His thoughts were that we are all the same, we breath the same air. In fact, 1% of the air we breath is Argon which is a recyclable gas so everyone breaths this noble gas to include the great people before before us.

I could go on and on. All in all, the film sparked something in Lara and I.

Yoga is about the breath. We keyed in on Tom’s mention of part of the air we breath was Argon. Argon is the Eighteenth Element. When Argon burns, it takes a fusha color. Our colors in the logo are black and fuchsia. If you look closely, you can see an influence of the periodic table in our logo also.

Before watching the film, Lara and I felt it is extremely important that yoga is for everyone not just the rich or those who choose it for fitness. It was important to us to keep our prices low so it isn’t out of people’s means and two of our trauma programs are free. Several people really truly need it. The less fortunate, those who struggle with trauma in their day-to-day lives, and first responders. Our phrase Lara and I always say to each other; “if you build it, they will come.”

We started taking trauma focused yoga training, talking to trauma workers, and doing a lot of reading. The one thing we came to realize was that a lot of people feel like they are victims to their trauma and as such we keyed in on the Warrior pose because in our eyes, our clients can take back their lives, be their own warrior, and yoga can be one of the tools they use. This is our way of lending a helping hand.

So now you know the rest of the story. Why we named our studio Eighteenth Element Yoga and how our logo evolved. I hope you like it just as much as we do and just maybe we will meet you on the mat sometime soon!



Eighteenth Element Yoga logo

Eighteenth Element Yoga logo

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What Makes a Yoga Class “Trauma-Sensitive?”

This is great question to consider. Chances are there is a person contemplating a visit to your class or studio because he or she was recommended to try yoga by his or her therapist or doctor. What potential clients and even some therapists or doctors don’t know is that there are so many different yoga styles out there and not all yoga is good for a trauma-sensitive person. This is often what your doctor or therapists says…”Go to Yoga.”

So in keeping with doctor’s orders you seek out yoga.

I say again… NOT ALL YOGA STYLES ARE GOOD FOR THE TRAUMATIZED PERSON! In fact, some yoga experiences can cause more harm than good.

As a co-owner and instructor at Eighteenth Element Yoga in Colorado Springs, I am extremely sensitive towards this topic. I also realize that yoga is or can be scary and just considering yoga is a huge step!

To set any potential client’s mind at ease, below is a list of what we at Eighteenth Element Yoga define as a trauma-sensitive yoga class.

1. (Rapport) First of all, just setting foot in a yoga studio especially if you have never ever have done yoga can be an anxiety provoking experience. We understand this at Eighteenth Element Yoga. To lessen anxiety, any client who would like to come in and talk and scope out the studio can. We will listen to your story and answer any questions you might have. You can meet the instructor in advance of the clas if you would like. We will make that happen. All and all, we will accommodate meetings, give tours, and explore any questions a person might have. We understand the importance of you feeling comfortable and safe in your yoga classes. We will make sure you have a “Safety Plan” and/or “Coping Cards.” We have assembled a great team of instructors who have empathy, compassion, and a true concern for every single one of our clients. You won’t find diva or rock star instructors with big egos who don’t have the time of day for you at Eighteenth Element Yoga. Additionally, all of our instructors have bios on our website. Potential clients can check out our instructors before they ever step in our door! Also, another thing that is just as important. Our instructors are available after class in the event you have more questions.

2. (No surprises). There is predictability with our instructors and our classes. No surprises! All can take comfort in the safety and security of this. Instructors will always inform of what is coming before it happens. We understand there is fear in the unknown and by telling you what will happen next, anxiety is lessened.

3. (No searching for the instructor). Instructors stay on their mats in our “Mindful Yoga Resilience class” which is especially geared towards those who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). During this class, our clients will always know where the instructor is at all times. Instructors will never approach a person from behind or catch someone off guard which isn’t comforting for those who with hypervigilance.

4. (Choices). Our classes and studio always promotes choices. We understand that you didn’t have a choice concerning the trauma that happened to you. Take comfort that no one will be forced to do anything. You don’t want to close your eyes, you don’t have to. If a pose isn’t working for you, you have the freedom to come out of it, explore another variation, or to not do it at all. You have the freedom to set up your mat anywhere in the room and we aren’t going to play the shifting game of having to slide your mat over every time someone joins the class. If you and your friend came together, we won’t separate you. (We won’t ever fill our trauma-sensitive classes to the point of feeling crowded). However, if all you do is show up and breath that is totally fine with us. You will always have choices offered.

5. (Grounding). Our classes always have grounding practices. It is our goal to make this practice feel second nature to you. It is important for you to feel centered and anchored, as opposed to spacey and floating around. Grounding practices help provide a sense of support which will give you the courage to move into the yoga poses with a sense of balance and safety. In yoga, our body is supported by the earth (yoga mat) and our Bandhas (body). We take a lot of time in our Mindful Yoga Resilience classes to gain this awareness and to learn that this can be a “coping strategy” in the event your PTSD is triggered. Lastly, grounding can also be the community of the yoga class who have empathy and you’ll find quite the support system at Eighteenth Element Yoga as trauma-sensitive yoga is our mission and we are very community oriented.

6. (Breathing Exercises). Breathing is a huge part of yoga and the same applies in our trauma-sensitive yoga classes. We spend a significant portion of our class on deep and awareness breathing exercises. The techniques will be redundant so you can be sure to master the technique and use it to avoid a trigger or to self-sooth in the event you are in a situation where you are triggered.

7. (Know what’s coming next). Our Mindful Yoga Resilience classes have a structure. You will always know what comes after what. For instance, we will always have a breathing exercise at the beginning of class so you can count on that. We will also tell you what we are doing next. Also, in our Mindful Yoga Resilience classes, our instructors teach from a standardized lesson plan so if you come to multiple sessions with different instructors, you can rest assure class is on target no matter who teaches.  As you progress through our program, we’ll encourage you to explore our other trauma-sensitive classes that are offered at our studio. The recommendations will reinforce concepts and approaches you’ve been exploring in the Mindful Yoga Resilience class. They are perfect follow on class stepping stones. These classes  will feel familiar; however, practices will vary because exploring different approaches encourage new neuropathway connections which then manifests as Post Tramatic Growth; a good thing!

8. (Touching). Touching is a NO GO! We will never touch anyone or physically assist without permission. This goes without saying in a trauma-sensitive class. Also, take comfort that even when you are in any of our classes (even if they aren’t identified as a trauma-sensitive class) that we won’t touch you without your permission. Once again, you have a choice! For the rest of our classes, the studio has flip chips that students have total control of. Don’t want to be touched, flip the chip to indicate as such. There is no need to draw attention to yourself by having to say anything in front of the class. Additionally, we will help all our clients feel their body in space and discover their own adjustments as physical adjustments create dependency when you are working towards your own empowerment.

9. (Present Moment). All of our trauma-sensitive classes encourage “present moment” practices and mindsets. Trauma is a “past event” that likes to keep you in the past with things like flashbacks and nightmares. The future which isn’t even here yet can be stressful to think about. The present moment is a stress free zone and that is where we encourage you to explore. One of the ways we do this is with breathing exercises. Just being aware of the breath makes you be present.

10. (Effective Action). Our trauma-sensitive classes encourage and allow “effective action” practices. These are choices we encourage our clients to make that might make them feel better. For instance, being set up in a certain part of the room, to use or not use blocks, to ask for the lights to stay on verses off, to have extra padding… Things like that.

11. (Limbic-centric practices). Our classes have rhythms. Our trauma-sensitive classes move at a slower and limbic-centric pace. Class won’t be to slow or to fast but at the pace where one can feel the body move, allow sensation, relieve tension, and still feel connected to your breath. Additionally, we remind our students to continuously check in with their bodies. Opportunities are given to allow all to notice or experiment with pose variations or approaches to get into a pose. We feel there is more than one way to discover and explore.

12. (Mindfulness). Our trauma-sensitive classes reinforce “Mindfulness.” This is knowing what happens and feeling when you move your body a certain way. This is listening to your bodies and hearing the whispers it says and honoring those whispers so the body doesn’t scream at you later. Learning to concentrate on what your are doing for instance in a pose. Using breathing practices to energize and fuel your yoga practice, keep you present, and also to sooth and calm whenever you need. You can take your breath where ever you go and let it channel anger and anxiety as you are out and about in your world. All and all, mindfulness will fortify the body-brain connection and rebuild one’s sense of control and safety!

13. (Quiet Practices). In addition to yoga, we introduce various meditation and yoga Nidra practices. These are embedded in our Mindful Yoga Resilience classes. Additionally, we offer classes where all you do is rest and renew (Restorative Yoga), mediation, and Yoga Nidra (Yoga zzz’s). We realize that those with trauma often suffer from racing thoughts, insomnia, and restless legs as they attempt to sleep. Restorative Yoga, Meditation and yoga Nidra practices can help our clients calm themselves, relax, and maybe actually fall asleep. Snoring is a good thing! 

14. (Environment). Environment is critical! We took a lot of care in finding the perfect studio and team. You won’t be startled by loud exterior noises like booming car stereos or people walking by and looking at you through the window. There aren’t excessive mirrors, doors, or windows. Our trauma-sensitive class are room temperature verses extreme heat that reminds you of Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq. We don’t burn weird incense or have weird exotic foreign music. We get that “bells and smells” can be trauma triggers. If music is played, it will be soft and soothing. If any scents are offered offered will be in the form of certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils and rational of use goes beyond scent. (Of course, remember effective action, if you don’t want it, then we won’t use it). Finally, our studio is decorated with a soothing nature theme verses a bunch of subtle hints towards any particular religion.

15. (Language). Like all things, yoga has its own unique vocabulary. To put all at ease, at our studio, we speak everyday language. You won’t hear that weird language that is often commonly heard in other studios and then feel lost because you don’t know what the heck the instructor just said. Additionally, our Mindful Yoga Resilience cues are different. We won’t use commanding language or “out of body” expressions. Instead, we use an invitatory and positive language throughout our therapeutic class; one that emphasizes choice and processes. Our language is transformational. It is inclusive, reinforcing that we are in this together. It keeps you in the present moment vs. the past where your trauma likes you to stay. Finally, our cues are awareness-oriented. 

16. (Appropriate Yoga Poses). Not all yoga poses are right for everyone and that is especially true in a trauma-sensitive yoga class! Our therapeutic classes will never have loaded poses such as Happy Baby and extreme hip and chest openers. And when we do introduce new poses, we will always show several options, and bookend them with a familiar pose. However; in the event that you or someone is triggered during one of our classes (and we have seen this in other studios’ classes), we will help channel the stress response by reinforcing grounding, focusing on breath, and familiar poses and movements that incorporate the large muscles of the Psoas, gluts, or quads such as warriors poses and wide forward bends. Usually, together we can work through the trigger.

17. (Gratitude).  We teach and explore the practice of gratitude. This simple little gesture can be life changing and all of our classes incorporate this tool.

18. (Yoga is just one tool). We understand that yoga maybe a totally new experience and maybe even overwhelming at times. We highly encourage our clients to work with a therapist so the yoga can be an adjunctive treatment. Additionally, we understand that some instructors can fire hose people with a ton of information that you’ll stress over trying to remember everything. To counter that, we offer redundancy meaning we will repeat the things you learn. Additionally, we reinforce what is taught with support material such as free books, homework practices, and practice journals/logs to reinforce what you are learning. We call everything we do “tools” that you can put in your “toolbox.”

19. (Taking out the guess work). You don’t have to guess which class to go to. All of our trauma-sensitive classes are identified by an * symbol and a course description. When you check us out, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out actually how many of our classes are trauma-sensitive.

20.  (Private Classes). We have three classes that have a limit as to who can attend. Our Mindful Yoga Resilience classes are only for those who have PTSD and anxiety. Our Yoga for First Responders is only for first responders (firefighters, police, EMTs, ER nurses and doctors, 911 operators, Flight for Life, SWAT, crisis therapists…). Both of these programs are donation based! 

21.  (Educational Workshops). Throughout the year, Eighteenth Element Yoga has trauma-sensitive educational workshops that great learning opportunities geared towards knowledge, art, crafting, mediation techniques, and the power of essential oils. As a person healing from trauma, this is an opportunity to learn more, perfect techniques, or to channel your creative energy.

22. (Something for everyone). In general, our studio classes are for everyone! Trauma doesn’t discriminate and neither do we. Our classes are affordable, donation-based, and some are even free. We keep our costs low and transfer that to you. We are also backed by generous believers/supporters, non-profits, and their supporting organizations.


There are a lot of yoga choices out there and many places or styles may not be appropriate for someone healing from trauma. Please know that many places claim they are trauma-sensitive when in true reality, they are not. All in all, I hope this provides some insight that not all yoga is right for a traumatized or trauma-sensitive person or someone who struggles with PTSD or anxiety. For a trauma survivor, our goal is to help you reclaim your body more than manipulating you into a pose! The above is Eighteenth Element Yoga’s perspective.

If you are or will be in the Colorado Springs, CO area, stop in and visit us. We are just five minutes from Peterson AFB. You can check us out on and/or on You can also email me at

We take trauma-sensitive seriously and our staff is constantly learning the latest research and healing approaches available in yoga and other mind-body disciplines. Yoga teachers are welcome to attend our trainings.



Posted in Mindful Yoga Therapy, PTSD Yoga, Tension Relief, trauma-sensitive yoga, Yoga, Yoga for PTSD | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Adventures in Creating and Bringing Up a New Yoga Studio: Eighteenth Element Yoga – Just Over 2 Months In


Back in January, I introduced my adventure towards creating a yoga studio. So I thought I’d give you a little update. So much has happened! And…people are wanting to hear about the studio (at least our friends do).


Within the first month, I felt like we had accomplished quite a bit. I’ve learned there is A LOT of behind the scenes work. (That is an understatement!) Things like coming up with a studio name and a mission statement. Then after doing that, we had to establish our business entity through the State Department. Within days, we chose a platform to host our website and then created a profile on every single social media outlet that we could think of. We went on a photo shoot so we could fill our website and social media sites with some material. Finally, we did necessary stuff like get a P.O. box, a joint bank account, and explored Paypal and the Square.

That was all in the first month.


February, was just as busy. During this month, we finalized our operating agreement and started aggressively looking for a permanent home for the studio. While we were looking, we offered classes at both a nearby fire station and library. These classes were either free or donation based. Our strategy for doing this was to allow people to sample what we were about and to build our future community. It is slowly working.

The other major event was that we finally had a logo. (Check it out). We had been working with a graphic design artist. Once we had the logo, we put it on our social media sites, website, and printed schedules. We also started exploring T-shirt designs. Overall, we want people to associate the logo with our studio.

MARCH 2015

It isn’t even the middle of March and already a ton of stuff has happened.

I finally got around to writing our Business Plan which in my opinion is kind of intimidating to get started. However, now that I have a baseline written, it has been fairly easy to allow it to evolve. I think I edit it now about once a week. One thing I’ve learn about the business plan is that it has kept everyone on the same school of thought. It is a necessary evil.

We have continued to explore several T-shirt designs. We’ve sought the opinions of several people. Now, we have quite the variety and have placed an order. It is our plan to sell these T-shirts at our studio store.

Now, the biggest news is that we found a space! Both Lara and I signed the lease on Monday, 9 March 2015. Currently, our studio is being renovated by the landlord’s contractor. This includes adding a wall, painting, and laying carpet and wood flooring. Since seeing the space, Lara and I found inspiration for how the studio will be decorated. (Not telling you yet. It’s a surprise).

Other than that, we have been trying to network and market our studio. We plan to have a grand opening the second weekend in April. We will have a big party (probably catered) and several demo classes that would last 15 minutes or so. Our T-shirts will be available to purchase and we will have 5-Class pack cards to sell. The first month, the T-shirts and loyalty cards will have a special early bird price that will be good for the whole month of April.

Our studio information…

The name of our studio is “Eighteenth Element Yoga.”

We will offer a variety of yoga classes but will specialize in trauma yoga.

We have a Facebook page if you do Facebook. Its and we have a website too. Its If you do YouTube, we have just started putting up videos also.

I’d love for you to check us out. Tell your friends about us (especially if you are in the Colorado Springs, CO area or in the military). Or send us some support perhaps on Facebook.



Posted in creating a new yoga studio, Yoga, yoga studio | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Influences

I can’t believe it is already March! According to the calendar, March 20 is the first day of spring. (I know some of us live in the north and spring shows it’s face at different times. In Colorado, we call it ‘sprinter’). With that being said, if you are like me, spring inspires spring cleaning, spring detoxing, and weight loss efforts.

If you have been following me for a while, you likely know that I recently opened up a yoga studio with my friend Lara. Our studio is called Eighteenth Element Yoga. One of the things we are doing in the studio is a pose of the month and a essential oil of the month. For us, March sponsors Chaturanga and Lemon Essential Oil.

In my opinion, just saying or posting that Chaturanga is our pose of the month or that Lemon Essential Oil is our oil of the month is not enough. You should indicate “WHY.”

1. Is a pose found in most active yoga classes and it is often repeated numerous times.

2. Is not an easy pose and many people don’t do it right thus leaving them susceptible to injuries. The shoulders often fall victim to improper technique so Chaturanga is often nicknamed the “shoulder shredder.”
***Because of this, we felt it was important to highlight this pose. At our studio, we film videos showing pose break downs and various modifications. We will do the same for this pose as well as demonstrating ways to build up strength if a proper Chaturanga (any variation) is currently out of a person’s league.

Lemon Essential Oil
1. Lemon Essential Oil can be a tool towards weight loss. We all know we are supposed to drink water. But the question is how much? Some people don’t know how much to drink or simply don’t like the taste of water. Here is a simple formula for the amount and a possible taste solution. (Just make sure citrus doesn’t mess with any medicines you might be taking).
***Divide your body weight by 2 = how many ounces of water you should drink
Put your water in a “glass” pitcher or glass. (Don’t use plastic with essential oils as the oils will break down the plastic).
For every 20-30 ounces, add 3-5 drops of lemon essential oil. [Only ingest oils marked Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG)].
Drink daily.

2. Lemon is a workhorse additive to a general household cleaner if you are into using green products. It is cheaper and easy to make.
***Find a glass or aluminum 11 – 12 ounce spray bottle.
5 ounces of water
5 ounces of white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
20 drops of lemon oil
Add the water and vinegar to the bottle. Slowly add the baking soda so it doesn’t fizz. Then add the oil. Shake it up and use!

3. Lemon as aromatherapy has wonderful benefits. It helps eliminate negative emotions, and can increase concentration and awareness. To gain these benefits, you can diffuse it or put a drop or two in a tissue and inhale.

As you can see, Chaturanga and lemon are great stars to highlight as poses and essential oils of the month. But why March? That goes back to my what spring inspires…spring cleaning, spring detox, and weight loss efforts.
Lemon can be used to clean with, it can influence people’s emotions, and it can be ingested (only CPTG) to help with a person’s weight loss strategies. There are a ton of uses for lemon, I only offered 3 ways so I wouldn’t overwhelm anyone.
Chaturanga uses the entire body. It is a great multitasking exercise. So if you are limited in time, include Chaturanga in your yoga practice. If you include it regularly, you’ll see results the form of toned arms and core. Who doesn’t want that?!?!

Happy Spring!


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Partner Yoga

I’m betting that many of you will try out a “Partner Yoga” class this month. Perhaps you explore it on Valentine’s Day or maybe this month since it is the month of the heart.

Maybe you are taking a class. Maybe you are teaching the class. I’m the latter.

As I was designing my class, I got to thinking about what I could do in the class and who might be in my class. A lot of the places where I teach, I have mainly intermediate and newbie yogis and they are of various ages and fitness abilities. A few are what I’d considered advanced; however, the majority are not. The last thing I want to do is throw in all those climb on top of each other and aero types of poses and scare everyone away. (I think that is better suited for when I have more experienced yogis).

So since I don’t know who will come tomorrow, I’ll err on the more cautious side.

Here is what I’m thinking. This is intended to be a flow class. The pace of course can be dictated by who comes. (Mats are side to side, touching on the long side).


* Community Pose – this is extended mountain with inside hands clasped

* Double Side Bend – standing side by side, inner hands rest on partner’s hip/waist, outer hand reaches up and clasps partner’s hand. Bend to the right. Bend to the left.

* Double Backbend – facing each other, hands clasp forearms, lean back into a backbend


Sun A:

Community Pose – step back with outside leg into Star – step back into Community Pose – then flow into a Vinyasa (plank, chaturanga, cobra/upward facing dog, downward Facing dog) — repeat several times

Sun B:

Downward Facing Dog – outer leg lifts up and Hips Stack, perhaps feet high five – back to Downward Facing Dog – inner leg lifts up to step in between hands – twist towards front leg and extend hand upwards for Dragonfly Twist – Hands come to thigh to help come up and into Warrior IIReverse Warrior – finish with a Vinyasa — repeat several times

Sun C:

Downward Facing Dog– inner leg lifts – Warrior IWarrior IIR. WarriorTriangle – outer leg steps back – StarWide FoldStar then pivot to the back of the mat – Revolved TriangleVinyasa — repeat several times. Play with hands, maybe grab a partner’s ankle or reach up and try to find their hand.


* Titanic – one person stands in front of the other and reaches their arms back. Back person takes their arms as the front person leans forward (over the boat).

* Partner Dancer – do one side then the other side

* Double Tree – do one side then the other side


The following are seated poses.

* Double Owl – sit back to back in easy pose. Right hand takes your knee and left hand reaches back towards partner or their knee.

* Heart and Butterfly – still back to back. Legs are in butterfly pose. One person leans back onto their partner (Heart) while the other  folds forward (Butterfly). Trade roles.

* Diamond Pose – Face each other, legs straddled out, grab hands/forearms. One person leans back as the other folds forward. Trade roles.

* Double Boat – Still facing each other, legs zip together and each other’s souls of feet meet as hands come together outside of the legs.


Laying on mats but side by side. Bring knees into chest and find supine twist on each side. Partners can help with a hand on their buddy’s knee.

End in Savasana.

This isn’t a complicated class. All levels can do it. Plus it doesn’t take people to far out of their comfort zone as far as touch is concerned.




Posted in Beginner yoga, Community, Creating Yoga Themes, Deep Stretching, Fun, mind-body connection | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment