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Filtering by Tag: yoga

Teaching yoga...such an honor.

Nina Joyeux


I truly love teaching yoga. It is a blessing.  It is such an honor to get to be part of people´s lives on this journey that yoga is. Every class I teach leaves me with a deep feeling of gratitude for yoga and the people that share it. It is a bit difficult to put words to the feeling that teaching yoga gives me actually, but if I try I might say it is a profound feeling of being in the right place in my life, right here, right now. 

I started practicing yoga when I was about 17 when I was on my way to become a professional watersport athlete (what?!?! how fast almost 20 years have flown by!). Yoga almost immediately became a balancing practice for me, a time and a way to balance out the somewhat aggressive, or at least very competitive, adrenalin-seeking parts of me. For me, yoga has never been competitive. I think I needed the balance, as the sports I was doing all day were fast,  "extreme,"  and rough, and yoga offered me softness and stillness.  Yoga never was "extreme" for me in a physical sense. I never had a goal of becoming super flexible in yoga, there was never the drive or desire in my yoga practice to achieve a certain asana or to feel like I "succeeded" in the physical practice of asana. Yet, yoga was an "extreme"  practice for me, offering a whole new way of experiencing life. Yoga gives me extreme peace, a feeling of connectedness with nature and all beings, a new sense of calm, quietude and happiness. 

For many years I practiced at home (a little worried that if I went to yoga class too much my competitiveness would kick in... Yoga was my refuge where I never wanted to tap into any competitiveness).  In 2007 I became a yoga teacher and ever since, teaching yoga has been an important part of my life. I love sharing yoga. I love teaching and I love going to other teachers' classes. I love how yoga teaches itself, and I just convey simple parts of yoga as the teacher, but mostly just need to let yoga speak for itself. In class, I often talk about this as "the magic of yoga": how yoga itself—the practice, the philosophy— teaches us as we go. It's as if the right lessons come at the right time, and I believe this ancient philosophy and practice works so organically within us that as we move inward and come to understand ourselves better, the yogic "system" helps us release tension and mind patterns that don't serve us, and reveals the beauty, the love and happiness that exists within us (and in all beings). I love the journey, this path of yoga, and how yoga itself adapts to our needs in any given moments as long as we are open to it. 

I have never left a yoga class (either as a teacher or student) feeling anything but bliss and peace. My husband sometimes laughs when he sees me come home starry eyed after class. Certainly this practice can be challenging and bring up emotional baggage that is uncomfortable, and sometimes I cry in class, but the releasing of emo-baggage is a good thing and a natural part of the process. It's not as if yoga is always easy, but it certainly is rewarding.

This morning I taught a class which had really nice energy. Someone had used the same room to teach yesterday and had left candles all along the walls, so I lit them all, and the room was serene and nice. We went through some sun salutations and focussed on balance asanas. One of the students asked if I could post the text I read out loud, so here it is (this is a sort of paraphrase from somewhere but I am not quite sure from where as this was in some old notes I had in my collection of notes that I use in class to bring up various themes):

"When we practice balance in yoga, we move gracefully towards balance in our lives. We learn how to fail without losing faith in ourselves. By practicing balance we become comfortable with the idea of falling, so that when we are off balance, we don´t  wait until we fall hard, but rather take action ( move gently out of the pose) before we fall. If we fall or come out of the pose, we take a deep breath, remove ourselves from the situation, refocus and come back with renewed calm. We watch our minds and catch it before it starts judging and being self-critical, and learn to truly appreciate that we are healthy, alive, doing as good as we can, and that this is perfect."

If you want to try out a similar sequence to the class I taught today:

3 Surya Namaskar A (for the first two take some extra breaths in Plank pose to make sure you are set up correctly, and add 3 x Bhujangasana, on the last one you can roll up to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

3 Surya Namaskara B (going through the first one slowly with extra breaths in Utkatasana, Plank or Chaturanga Dandasana and Virabhadrasana I)

Closed eyes balance, lifting one foot off floor.

Vinyasa with closed eyes.

Balance in Adho Mukha Svanasana (lifting opposite leg and arm)


Vinyasa with closed eyes

Ardha Utkatasana (with option of going forward with hands to floor or arm balance)

Vinyasa with closed eyes


Virabhadrasana III variation (arms behind like wings, chest slightly up to get the feeling of flying)


Prasarita padottanasana variation (arms forward to stretch shoulders)

Thigh stretch on floor ("supine ardha utkatasana" or "pigeon")

Legs and arms up in air, circles with wrists and ankles

"Freestyle 5 minutes" (time to do whatever you want or feel like you need)



Remember that if you'd like to join me this summer for my yoga retreat in Karpathos, you can click here to find out more or sign up:)

Finding peace in nature.

Nina Joyeux

Whenever I feel drained, worried or sad I turn to nature for some help.

I know that nature holds that secret, silent medicine that I need. Nature has its powerful, subtle way of transforming my mind and energy from tired, confused, sad or whatever else to light, shining and relaxed.

Sometimes we might forget that nature is always there, right next to us, as if holding your hand and ready to support you through anything you might be experiencing as pain or fatigue. A gentle breeze strokes your hair, some of the sun rays warm your heart, a bird sings and reminds you how important it is to connect with that song that exists in your heart and soul. A tree grows before you in all directions at once: downward through the roots, extending itself down through the earth, relying on and trusting the soil to hold it steady…(we learn of trust and being grounded). The tree reaches its branches freely, lightly up towards the stars (we learn of grace, staying light and always extending ourselves to our highest potential). The trees flowers, leaves and fruits  are magical proof of the diversity that can grow from us if we allow ourselves to stretch our souls and our innate beauty freely in the space around us, unafraid to stand naked and proud (you get my point!?!).

Sometimes our first reaction to stress, pain and fatigue is to hide out in bed, close the curtains and withdraw from the world ( I know that can be my reaction at least!), but the medicine we need to heal our pain is right there in a tree, a cloud, the sky, the ocean. I try to remind myself of this when I am down, and I take refuge in nature. Connecting with nature is my medicine. Nature has a magic effect on me, bringing me to this moment in a heartbeat. As soon as I choose to truly connect with her, everything else disappears, and bliss appears.

Discovering self-love (mini-exercise)

Nina Joyeux

Self-love. Love yourself.

For many of us just reading these words creates resistance in our mind. "I am not supposed to love myself" , "how can I love myself, when I am so…xyz (fill in self-loathing word)", "loving myself is narcissistic..." It can be hard to find self-love when you are used to an internal dialogue that is self-sabotaging.

We tend to block ourselves with self-sabotage of various sorts, and the internal self-hatred is a huge block we better tear down (I promise it doesn't serve us well in any way whatsoever!) So together we are going to start discovering and practicing self-love. For most of us it does´t come easily, and it takes time to let go of bad, old habits of self-hatred, so we need practice and dedication. 

I am going to keep it simple today, because we can easily get bogged down in the details, but I want us to start the process of tapping into the power of a positive internal dialogue. I want you to challenge yourself to play the game, and even if you have to "fake-it-till-you-make-it," and even if it feels very awkward at first, a dedicated practice of self-loving exercises will eventually lead to yourself realizing, believing and knowing that you are in fact beautiful and oh-so-lovable.

The exercise is just a beginning step in the direction of discovering deep self-love which is simply a reflection of the truth: because you ARE BEAUTIFUL and OH-SO-LOVABLE. The truth is that you are AMAZING. I know that already, but if you have any doubts, it´s time to begin this practice. You are not alone. 

So repeat after me (out loud or in your mind, it does´t matter, but you have to "say" or "exclaim" to yourself it, not just non-chanantly read it.)









Peace, love and aloha always,