What Are Yoga Teacher Credentials & Why Do They Matter?

Hello Yoga Nerds! 

Well, maybe you aren’t a yoga nerd but were just curious about a new blog. In either case, welcome!

Today’s journey is all about breaking down those acronyms the yoga world has suddenly become quite attached to and why knowing them matters for students.

Long ago, becoming a “yoga teacher” was similar to an apprenticeship. A master teacher, or guru, would allow a pupil to follow him (it has almost always been a him, as yoga was originally predominantly practiced by men; this is still the case in India). This guru and pupil would spend years together practicing not simply the poses (“asanas”) but also the eight limbs (“sutras”) of yoga. Eventually, the guru would announce the student to now be ready to teach.

The path to becoming a teacher today is often quite different. There are weekend workshops that students can attend in order to be able to teach others immediately afterward. There are also teacher trainings that are thorough and rewarding but do not have the acronyms attached. Finally, there are Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance approved yoga teacher trainings-and our first acronym: YTT.

Yoga Alliance is the largest nonprofit representing the yoga community. The nonprofit came about in the mid-90s after teachers in the U.S. had been debating the need for a standard guideline for training teachers. This is because not all teacher trainings are created equal. While not perfect in its oversight, Yoga Alliance has formed a minimal standard to meet each of the levels of certification: Registered Yoga Teacher 200 hour (RYT 200), Registered Yoga Teacher 500 hour (RYT 500), Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 200 hours (E-RYT 200), Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500 hours (E-RYT 500), Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT), and Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT). In addition, there are designations for schools, but we will stick with just teachers for now.

To look at it simply, if the designation includes a number, that is the minimal number of hours that teacher has formally trained. An “E” designation has met additional requirements and can now train other teachers either through continuing education workshops or full teacher trainings. A teacher’s education is not complete here, however, as Yoga Alliance requires continuing education hours in order to maintain credentials.

Why do these acronyms matter? Perhaps in some ways, they don’t. For instance, most teacher trainings will take money, and no matter who signs up, anyone who pays can obtain certification. Second, even with the standards, not all teacher trainings are identical. There are different formats, styles, focus, and education, just like at colleges and universities. All forms of training are supposed to meet the curriculum guidelines encompassing techniques, training, and practice; methodology; anatomy and physiology; philosophy and ethics; and practicum. Other teacher trainings offer additional hours and materials, such as reiki certification or requiring students to participate in as well as observe a set number of classes taught by an experienced instructor.

Ultimately, what the acronyms offer to students is a little insight into their yoga teachers’ experiences. While it is incredibly important to mesh with a teacher’s personality and teaching style, it is also important to know that your teacher is knowledgeable. Yoga Alliance has created a set of standards for both teachers and schools in an effort to create growth, diversity, and access to safe practices for students. This is perhaps the most important aspect for a student looking for a teacher: knowing that your instructor has met specific qualifications and has the skillset to guide you through your practice safely.

I’ll see you on your mat.

Light and Love,

Paige, MA RYT 200

For the curious readers, here is a list of your Performance Locker Mind Body Team:

Samantha Samson-Miller, 200 RYT (Be the Love Yoga Registered Yoga School)

Dr. Maureen Mead, MD, 500 RYT (Union Yoga Registered Yoga School)

Paige Trisko,200 RYT (Be the Love Registered Yoga School)

Charise Mcclendon, Certified Pilates Teacher Recognized by Pilates Alliance  (Balanced Body)

We are honored to be a part of your journey!

For further reading and the nitty gritty breakdowns:

Click Here for Yoga Alliance Standards and Click Here for Yoga Alliance Teacher details!

Meet Alana The Perfect All-Around SUP

Meet Alana The Perfect All-Around SUP
In this video, Casey introduces the Alana an All Around Stand Up Paddle Board by Naish designed specifically for women paddlers.
If you have you been dreaming about owning your own paddle board, come visit us at Performance Locker and test any of our Naish demo boards! We are here to help you find the perfect paddle board.

We proudly sell Naish boards simply because, we wanted to offer the community top of the line, professional, and high-quality boards that will last ride after ride and year after year.

All of our SUP sales come with a free paddle, a private lesson, 2 SUP Yoga classes, and 10% off up to $250 of Quiksilver or Roxy gear good for six months after purchase! E-mail info@performancelocker.com for more details.

More “Cardio” is not the answer

It seems to me that “cardio” has become the Penicillin of Fitness.

High blood presure? More Cardio.  Carrying a few extra pounds? More Cardio.  Feeling tired and low on energy? More Cardio.  Gain muscle, get faster, become a millionaire…… all through more cardio.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by my sarcastic tone cardio will not fix all your problems, infact there a many that average American face that increased cardio will actually make worse.

Cardio is so “over perscribed” simply becasue it’s easy.  It’s easy advice to give and easy to take action on therefor it gets over used.

We should know by now the easy fix is not ususally the best or most effective one.  The changes that lead to long term sustainable results are often more complex and can be difficult to implement.  I’m not try to be a downer just a realist, change is tough.  It is more difficult to take an objective look at lifestyle choices as the cause and fix of any issues we might be having. How much sleep am I getting?  What am I doing to manage daily stress levels?  What is my daily processed food intake?  How much activity am I getting?  How much time do I spend outdoors?  What foods work best with my body (just because someone else calls it “healthy” does not mean it agrees with you)?

In the end more cardio becomes the over simplistic answer to a more complex question.  For the average American (you and me) more cardio can actually be a huge problem.  Most of us are sleep deprived, under nourished and over stimulated; never forget that exercise (as good as it is) is still stress.  What happens when you take someone who is not getting enough sleep, eating food they can’t obtain nourishment from and constatnly at a 11 level freak out at home and work because the big report deadline is on the same day as little Johnny’s soccer game and add more stress to their week?  The math on this one is not hard to do.

The take away her is two-fold;

First, think balance.  When we look at the big picture adding more cardio doesn’t’ fit but to see that we have to zoom out and try to see the whole picture.

Second; Sometimes things are complicated.  We love simple, easy and actionable but life is not always that way and that’s ok.  It’s ok to seek answers and search for truth and it’s ok to get help along the way.  My experience is if a piece of advice can fit into a Twitter post there is probably more to the story and deserves some more diving into.

Yoga Pose Breakdown: Savasana/Corpse Pose

Savasana/Corpse Pose
1. Lay down onto your back. Keep neck long and chin tucked. Create space for your underarms to breathe.
2. Let your body feel heavy here. Feet rest towards the corners of your mat and can fall open in opposite directions.
3. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Stay here for 5-10 minutes.
4. To come out roll to your side and curl into a little ball. Don’t rush coming up, take your time.
Pose Benefits: Savasana naturally boosts the immune system and restores and relaxes the body’s energy by calming the nervous system. This pose also calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression. Corpse pose also can reduce headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and reduces blood pressure.

Deepen your practice at Performance Locker. Our teachers combined bring over 10 years of experience to our studio. Sign up for class online at performancelocker.com/yoga

Sam Samson RYT 200

Why Should You Try Boxing?

Boxing Is Fun

Enjoying something is probably the number one reason why anybody ever got good at anything. The one thing boxing has over many traditional fitness exercises is the added element of good old plain FUN! If you ever plan to be successful at anything, it helps if you find the experience enjoyable. Otherwise, it becomes work, becomes a chore, and you’ll quit before you ever get a routine going. This is the problem with many traditional workout routines.

Literally EVERYONE we’ve seen that puts on a pair of gloves for the first time has fun. Hitting the focus mitts becomes a game and they enjoy the challenge. There are so many pieces of equipment in the studio and so many skills to master that boxing never becomes boring. Even after the boxing session ends, clients feel inspired to go home and watch videos online to become inspired by other boxers. There are very few exercises that leave this lasting impression. Can you imagine someone going home and fantasizing about burpees? Give boxing a try and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

Boxing Is Challenging & Great For Your Health 
Many people understand that boxing is challenging but have the perception that boxing is going to war, and they imagine themselves having to throw and absorb punches like Rocky. Let me give it to you straight: that’s not the case at Performance Locker. Our classes are for people who do not want to get hit in the face! You will be physically challenged learning how to move efficiently and effectively, all while hitting real targets (not the air). All of our classes are designed for any ability level and everyone is welcome to try! Boxing improves your cardiovascular system, bone density, and helps to reduce stress.
Boxing Improves Confidence
Boxing is a great confidence booster. The sport molds fighters out of average people.

Boxing is challenging but when you overcome those challenges you will feel so confident in yourself that you can do anything that you set your mind to!

Performance Locker offers boxing on Tuesday’s at 6:30pm – Thursday’s at 12pm –
and Saturday’s at 7am. Boxing gloves provided or you can buy your own on-site.

Sign Up for Boxing Right Now  » Click Here to Register! 

*Supporting researched provided via an Article by Johnny N from Expert Boxing

Yoga Pose Breakdown: Upward Table Top

Upward Table Top

1. Start in a seated position, bend both knees with soles of the feet firmly planted on the mat. Feet hip distance apart.
2. Place hands behind you, fingers pointed towards your toes, and spread the fingers out. Let both shoulders melt back and lift your heart forward. Stay right there if you are already feeling the stretch.
3. If you wish to deepen the pose inhale engage the core and lift the gluts off the floor until your shoulders, hips, and knees are level like a table top. Stay there for 5 full breaths.
4. Exhale to slowly lower back down onto the mat.
5. Hug your knees into your chest and wrap yourself in a big hug.
6. (Optional) You can lay back and take a few moments for Savasana or Corpse Pose to help your body relax and restore.

Pose Benefits: Upward table top pose stretches the shoulders, chest, and ankles. This pose strengthens the arms, wrists, back, and core.

Common Mistakes: Turning the hands outward. Pushing the ears into the shoulders (do your best to keep the neck long). Sink the hips down in the full version. Caving into the chest.

Deepen your practice follow the link below to register for class:

 Sam Samson RYT 200

Yoga Pose Breakdown: Seated Forward Fold

Seated Forward Fold

  1. Begin seated with legs straight out in front of you and flex through the feet like you’re trying to push your foot flat into a wall.
  2. Inhale lengthen the spine and sweep arms overhead. Reach out through the fingertips and exhale to relax the shoulders.
  3. Inhale to prepare and exhale hinge from the hips as you fold forward. Hands soften to chins, ankles, or around the feet if available. Only go as far as you can keep the spine flat/straight. If the spine curls or rounds back off in the stretch.
  4. Take 5 breaths here and focus on the integrity of your spine. Use inhales to lengthen the back and exhales to melt further into the fold.
  5. To come out safely reach the arms out in front and come back to a tall seated position, hands rest at the heart.

Pose Benefits: Forward bends stretch the hamstrings, spine, and shoulders. This pose can help relieve headaches and stress!

Common Mistakes: Rounding the spine in order to reach the hands closer to the feet. Keeping the feet relaxed when they should be flexed to help stretch the back of the legs & feet.

Like what you see? Click Here to join us for class!

Sam Samson RYT 200

Yoga Pose Breakdown

This Yoga pose breakdown is brought to you by our very own Sam Samson RYT 200hr!

Seated Supine Twist/Lord of the Fishes

1. Begin with both legs out in front of you.
2. Bend right knee and place foot on the inside of the left knee. If you wish to experience a deeper sensation place the foot on the outside of the right knee.
3. Inhale lengthen the spine and wrap the left arm around the right knee opposite hand plants behind you for support.
4. Inhale to lengthen the spine, exhale to deepen the twist. Look over your back shoulder. Take 5 full long breaths here.
5. As you prepare to come out inhale, engage the core and bring torso back to the center. Repeat on the right side of the body.

Pose Benefits: This pose stretches hips, thighs, shoulders, and hamstrings. Twisting postures give the internal organs a much deserved massage. And it feels great after a long day!

Common Mistakes: Slouching/rounding the back once in the twist and crowding the shoulders into the ears. Also, the leg that is extended long on the mat tends to relax when your focused on the twist; instead it should be active to stretch the hamstrings and to stabilize the pose.

Like What You See? » Click Here to Join Us for Class!

Moving with a Purpose to Be More “Human”

Moving with a Purpose to Be More “Human”round logo

Our goal with every person who walks through the door at Performance Locker is to improve their quality of life. Plain and simple. Some people have an idea of what they need and pursue those efforts by utilizing our different departments of performance whether it is Yoga, Pilates, Small Tribe training, Chalkboard training, or more intimate settings like 1 on 1 sessions with pre-selected instructors.

The awesome part about being on our team is that you have a set (sometimes two) of highly trained eyes calculating, assessing, predicting, and evaluating your movement to ultimately give you the tools, teach you the patterns, and hopefully take some of the bodily pain and struggle out of your life.

Why we do what we do:

One of the biggest complements I have ever received as a coach is “I used the hotel gym on vacation and I was so distracted by how poorly this person was squatting it almost derailed my workout. They weren’t loading their hips, their shoulders were hunched and their knees were practically touching one another.”

It’s a warming feeling knowing you’ve connected with another person enough to have taught them something they have applied somewhere else. It goes much deeper than someone lying on the studio floor in a pile of their own fluids after a rowing ladder (but that is pretty rewarding too). Its helping people discover connections that have always been there. Long before that person even existed. These things are primitive, but our modern luxuries have helped us create shortcuts.

If you’ve walked through our doors and participated in a class, chances are very high that you have participated in a Functional Movement Screen (FMS). The results of this screen help us determine any flexibility issues, strength issues, breakdowns in neuromuscular patterns, and you probably left finding new muscle groups you didn’t know existed. Which is 100% our goal.

We use these results to tailor our workouts to you. Some people just aren’t ready to do particular movements with tons of weight at an accelerated pace. Every workout you participate in there is a predetermined common goal, your shoulder mobility may not clear you for pull-ups, but you can plan on hitting those same muscle groups with the same intensity within parameters deemed safe for your body.

We don’t try and cram you into something you aren’t ready for; unlike your toddler who is trying to shove the square block through the circle opening. We build you up to it.

As a team, we have set predetermined algorithms to “move” (pun intended) you towards a common goal. That part of the algorithm might be for you to do the pull-up you’ve always wanted, or to clean up your squat, it might even be to tie your shoes without lower back pain, or reach into the back seat of your car without tweaking your shoulder.

There is a method to our madness. We want you to be the best human you can be. We want to help you build a life without limits.

Your friend,

Coach Ben

Cabin Fever Survival Guide

MarchNewsletterOutdoorWe are very blessed here in Michigan to experience all four seasons. However, winter being the longest of all the seasons it is easy to become bored and stagnant. Here are some creative ideas on how to survive the long days of winter and beat cabin fever.

1. Open the Shades
Let the sunlight into your home! Peel back those curtains and roll up the blinds to enjoy the natural light of the outside world. A cost efficient way to help heat your home and bring brightness to your day.

2. Get Outside
Go for a walk, cross country skiing, hiking, or snow shoeing! Any of these outdoor activities will get your blood pumping and fresh clean air into your lungs. Connecting with nature nourishes the mind and body. Sportsman’s Island, Norway Ridge, or around your neighborhood are all beautiful places to take a walk.

3. Eat Healthy
Eat a variety of bright colored fruits and vegetables. Healthy and nutritious food provides more energy and can help boost your immune system. It is a challenge to get enough vitamin D during this time of year. You can find Vitamin D in some foods like, salmon, tuna, orange juice with added vitamin D, and eggs (specifically the yolk).

4. Lend a Hand
If you find yourself with the winter blues don’t worry we have the cure… Helping others! Volunteering your time and energy to those in need will lift anyone’s spirits. You can volunteer at the Humane Society, The Alpena County Library, Community Mental Health, Woman’s Shelter, local nursing homes, and many more places are always searching for great helpers like you!

5. Think Spring
For those of you who just cannot wait for winter to end, start planning your summer adventures ahead of time! Start your garden early by planting inside. You have all the time you need to research places to visit on your summer adventures and look into all the possibilities for your garden to grow.

6. Be Grateful
Take a few moments each day to practice gratitude for the many wonderful blessings you already have in your life. Everything might not be perfect or exactly what you want.. but you may find you have everything you need. An attitude of gratitude can change your life!

No money required – all you need is an open mind and a little time.
These ideas were inspired by Tisha Tolar’s article from Wise Bread.