True Confession: " I Am a Horrible Yoga Teacher."

It was an "AHA" moment. Suddenly I got it. Something that had been going on for years came into consciousness with the sharp boom of truth and I was/am embarrassed. I share about it here hoping to save others from this shameful fate.

 The evening began normally enough. My lightly attended class was even lighter than usual with only one student. I love when that happens. The attendee gets my full attention and often shares more than I would hear in a fuller class. On this night Sam complained of stomach problems likely brought on by some terribly stressful circumstances in his life. After some discussion as to his interest in addressing this yogically, I set about teaching breathing and digestive exercises that can be helpful in such circumstances and soon realized that though Sam had been taking class with me for a couple of years he still didn't have the first clue about belly breathing. What?! No belly breahting!?! How could this be?!?!

 The most basic, primary thing taught to all beginning yoga students. The relaxing foundation on which all other yoga relaxation and correct pranayam rests and my student who I had seen over 50 times didn't know about it. Fie! I have been remiss.

 I set about correcting this problem by teaching what I know about this, but the situation was even worse than I thought! Before getting to how deep the problem went I want to digress with a short review of belly breathing and its importance to proper relaxation. I do this to inform the uninitiated reader, to remind the knowledgeable and to begin to make amends for my egregious error during more than 15 years of teaching.

One of the earliest lessons and something I do whenever I have new students who come for more than a week or two to my mixed class, is to lie down place hands on either side of the navel and feel the expansion and contraction of the belly on inhalation and exhalation.
Sometimes they have trouble feeling it since their stomachs are so tight and it takes time to allow themselves to relax the belly. This might take weeks of attempts for some students. I explain that belly breathing is natural breathing. We are all born belly breathers. Baby's belly breathe. As we tense up, put on our emotional armor and become acculturated (or take Pilates) we learn to tighten the belly on inhalation. Unlearning this takes time, focused attention and desire. It is something I did when I was a tween some 40 plus years ago and since then I have become a 100% belly breather. Not just in yoga class, I belly breathe all day, all night and even when I sleep. I switched back to natural breath and never  looked back. Unfortunately, I forgot that my students weren't doing this and that I needed to emphasize it to help them to experience it.  Big whoops!

OK so this is belly breath is natural breathing. We all did it as baby's and like so many things from infancy we have learned to do it differently. But why is it so important to relaxation? There are two main reasons that I know of. One is that relaxed abdominal breathing is less work than tightening the stomach or drawing it in to make the chest larger. The other is that working the belly is a way of holding tension. Fully relaxing the stomach requires softening the abdomen and this naturally leads to, you guessed it, belly breathe. This bears repeating. When the belly is relaxed the abdomen becomes soft and naturally expands on inhalation. It is a marker of relaxation. Like many things in yoga we modify what we do with the body and our minds take the hint. So softening the abdomen and letting the belly expand on inhalation makes it easier to relax. Cool huh?

Even though I had taught this to Sam years ago, I haven't been reminding him about it enough that it sunk in. Now here's where it gets worse. I checked with Sandy, a student who has been taking with me for 15 years. You can see how my teaching has informed the way she does her postures and I'm proud of my connection with her. I have created a special series of pranayam and guided relaxations for her and she has heard my explanation of belly breathing dozens of times as new people joined our class over the years and you know what? She is not belly breathing throughout our yoga class nor did she realize she ought to be. Oy vey. There are lots of other Yiddish words, mostly of self denigration that I think of here but won't share (email me if you must know them).

 Beating myself up about this isn't helping anyone,however. (except perhaps the random Yiddish lover) Clearly I have to reemphasize breathing and specifically belly breathing in my classes. While I have been reminding my students to keep breathing slowly and deeply and through the nose as much as possible I've been leaving out the important expansion of the abdomen on inhalation and contraction on exhalation in those reminders. OM forgive me.

Spooky Bendy Yoga Skellys Take the Caribbean Rest Cure

Spooky Bendy Yoga Skellys: The Flexible Yoga Skeleton

Bendy Yoga Skellys Centering In Preparation For Their Big Night

Bendy Yoga Skellys: Paparazzi find them on remote island....

In life these skellys were powerful jet setters and they still find they are drawn to their old haunts. They may be stuck with the clinging of mind for all eternity, but hopefully they will find the peace they need to move on to the next tier of existence.
Bendy Yoga Skellys on the Beach

Bendy Yoga Skelly: Flexible Skeletons for Eternal Fun!
You can help these skellys deepen their practice and find the closure they need. For more information about adopting your own bendy skellys visit

Mysore Yoga Strap: Soaring to Great Heights

Fasten Your Seatbelts For a Wild Ride

Mysore Yoga Strap: Soaring to Great Heights

Meghan Loggia who demonstrates this next sequence is not your average yoga teacher. She is also a trapeeze artist and trained aerialist. There is little wonder that she can do things I will never be able to do and it would be unsafe for me and quite possibly you to attempt. This material is for your entertainment and information only. Some poses are easier than others. Always know your limits and be careful.
     That said, Meghan does some things that are beautiful to look at and great exercise. Please enjoy this visual seminar in Advanced Mysore Yoga Strap Flying. Familiarity with the material on these pages will enhance your experience on this page. Basic Mysore Yoga Strap Moves and Intermediate Mysore Yoga Strap Flight Plans

Mysore Yoga Strap: The Goddess of Flight Welcomes You!
Yes she greets you and like any goddess worth the name she teases and taunts you with impossible goals. It took me days to figure out how she managed to get into this posture and now that I know how I'm still too timid to try it. Hail to the goddess may she forever soar.


Mysore Yoga Strap: Namaste Pose

This pose is sort of advanced intermediate. Once you are very comfortable on the strap you may want to attempt it. There are two or three tricks that help. 1) Put the tops of your feet into the strap, not your toes. 2) Pull your upper body through the strap carefully. Too fast or far and you will tip forward and that could get ugly quick. 3) Once safely through feel the exquisite balance as your feet, thighs and arms lock you into place. 4) Don't forget to smile. Namaste.

Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Power Crunch

In the Suspended Power Crunch, once you've figured out the balance of the strap behind your calves, reached to just below your knees and curled up, you get to the hard part. Having enough fortitude left to come down slooowly. And you better take it easy since your head will be the first thing to suffer if you don't!



Mysore Yoga Strap: Forward Bend with One Leg Up

One way to do this pose is to start with a regular Backward Hang or Forward Hang . Once you are comfortably hanging entwine what will be your upper leg in the strap as firmly as you can, then bring your other leg through the strap and down by your face. If this sounds too complicated or scary you are not ready for this pose.

Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Head to Knee Pose

This is another advanced intermediate pose. From a regular Forward Hang reach one leg up and entwine it in the strap, then reach the other leg down toward your face and pull it in. There is a high degree of safety since both legs are on the opposite side of the strap from your body. Still, entwining the upper leg takes some getting used to and great flexibility is need to make this pose look as lovely as Meghan does. For those that do get here the benefit is a fully floated forward bend with no annoying gravity on the leg or back ;--)



Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Boat Pose

It is sometimes challenging to find equilibrium when your pelvis or waist is resting on the strap. That balance and the fact that raising your feet sends your head down is what this pose is about. The trick is to find enough balance to reach back and hold the strap with your hands before raising the legs and head.

Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended T Position

This is a grea pose for developing arm and shoulder strength and flexiblity. It is advanced not because it is hard to get into nor dangerous to do but try holding it for more than a couple of seconds. Are you still smiling? If so you may be ready for the next pose!



Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Bridge Pose

Strength, flexibility and endurance are all required to reach back and grab your feet from the supported T position to create this Suspended Bridge. I hope you are still smiling. If not go back and start over. ;--)

Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Inverted Bow Pose

This is another advanced intermediate pose. Once you are doing a Forward Hang you are practically in this pose. Your legs are already on the outside of the strap. You just have to bend them a bit and then let your hands leave the safety of the floor to reach up to the feet, while your face is inches from the rug. Your attention needs to focus on your waist and thighs to make sure the strap is firmly in place. If you have any doubt this is for you, it is not.



Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Inverted Split

Do not try this without your hands in place. It is our old friend Backward Hang with one leg coming forward and the back leg dropping. This makes the strap less firmly attached. Holding the strap in place helps.

Do Not Try This At Home - For Experts ONLY!!!

Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Inverted Flying Split Pose

I looked away for a minute and the next thing I knew Meghan was upside down with no strap support at all except the grip of her two strong hands. Yikes. Hail to Meghan, Goddess of the Strap.


Mysore Yoga Strap: Unimagined Uses Await You

Between the webpage on the Yoga Life Style site, the intermediate pose blog and this advanced pose blog I've shared over 2 dozen ways to employ the Mysore Yoga Strap. On our Facebook Page there are albums with even more. Always remember, it is not how you use it but how you feel when you do it that matters. I'll let Meghan sum it up as only she can.

For basic flight and purchase information.

Mysore Yoga Strap Intermediate Flight Plans

Once You Feel the Wind Under Your Wings You May Want to Try These Poses

Mysore Yoga Strap: Intermediate Flight Plans
Meghan Loggia, yoga teacher at the Living Seed in New Paltz, NY, aerialist and radiology student, shows us some ways to use the Mysore Yoga Strap that will help you to experience these poses as never before. For this blog to make complete sense familiarity with the material on this webpage helps.
Mysore Yoga Strap: Backward Hang with Legs Extended
Like a bird leaving the nest for the first time the pose above does not go far from the standard backward hang. Simply spread your legs to let this flight begin. Stretching the big muscles in the legs and buttox while tractioning the spine is an awesome combination for lower back health!
MysoreYogaStrapSuspendedPigeonPose Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Pigeon Pose
What a pleasure to stretch the thighs, hips and psoas without the pressure of gravity. You can really choose the degree of stretch and not have to work so hard ;--) Again starting with a standard backward hang simply let one leg drop back and reach for it with your hands. If you can only reach the foot with one hand that is OK too! This is a beautiful pose as you emulate a proud peacock who is happy to be flying upside down.
Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Scorpion Pose
Starting from a forward hang reach down and walk the hands forward. Be careful not to push up too much with your hands or you may start to slip out of the strap. Of course you are in a position where you can gently glide down if that does happen. This is a wonderful pose for working on your backward bend and your upper body strength at the same time.
MysoreYogaStrapSuspendedFullForwardBend Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Full Forward Bend
Starting from a forward hang with the strap set higher than it would be for scorpion, reach down and grasp the legs. You will find it is a completely different stretch than when there is gravity on the legs as in the standing version or weight on the buttox as in the seated verstion. Full Forward Bend Suspended floats in a way this normally very grounded pose has always wanted to.
Mysore Yoga Strap: Angled Rotation Flight Simulation
One of the things I most like to do on the Mysore Yoga Strap is to lean my weight into it and let it support me, close my eyes and just glide around. It really feels like flying and is exhilirating and soothing at the same time. Many of the poses can be enhanced by rotating as you do them. I'm not sure why but that soaring feeling is sweet and spinning is just plain fun.
MysoreYogaStrapSuspendedTriangle Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Triangle Pose
It is sometimes challenging to find equilibrium with one limb supported by the strap. It adds a whole new dimension to balance poses. Another variation from this position is to bring the hand by the foot up to the strap on the side opposite the first raised hand. Now the hips and torso are squarely forward. Here you can work on your split while being able to adjust your weight going into the stretch by how much or how little you pull up on the strap.
Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Chataranaga
Flying Crocodile was never like this before. One way to get into it is to slide through from a Forward Hang. Another is to do a jump back into the strap. The higher the strap the more the challenge!
MysoreYogaStrapSupportedShoulderstand Mysore Yoga Strap: Supported Shoulderstand Pose
In Supported Shoulderstand the Mysore Yoga Strap takes some of the weight off your shoulders. It also lets you work on your Angled Shoulderstand with less weight on your arms. This angle is also easier on the neck than traditional Shoulderstand. Get into it by doing a Shoulderstand and leaning the legs in or by doing a Back Hang and oozing down the floor before forming your Shoulderstand.
Mysore Yoga Strap: Suspended Relaxation Pose
What could be better after an hour of working out on the strap than to bend your knees and land for a few minutes while gaining many of the benefits of inversion that include iIncreased blood flow to the heart and brain, reduced pressure in the legs and feet, immune boost from stimulating the lymphatic system and the mental stimulation that comes from the world being upside down.
Mysore Yoga Strap: Suggestions For More Advanced Poses
What bored already? Just kidding. You don't really have to be yawning to be excited to see the road ahead. I was with Meghan the whole time she was on the strap but there are poses in this next set that I can't even remember how she got into them, much less can I explain them. It is lots of show and very little tell. I call it. Mysore Yoga Strap: Soaring to Great Heights
For basic instruction and purchase information please go to the Mysore Yoga Strap page at Yoga Life Style.