Question 1: Thank you so much for all of your awesome yoga videos. They help keep me grounded and centered during the week.
I notice you have a lot of knowledge on different yoga brands and I was wondering if you could help me out. I have a larger chest (34D) and it is hard for me to find a sports bra that is both durable AND cute. The cute bras don't seem to cover enough, but the bras that do aren't flattering at all. I am small otherwise and would like to wear tank tops without worrying about my grandma bra sticking out.
Thank you for your time and even more thank you for all of your dedication to your online instruction. You are currently my only yoga instructor and my practice has grown tremendously.
Answer 1: First of all, thank you so much for the kind words. I am so glad the videos and blog are helpful to you! That is always my number one goal.
Secondly, grandma bra!!! Haha, you had me laughing! Ok, I think I might have the perfect option for you. I have a super hard time with bras just fitting properly because my torso in small but my cup size is large. Anyway, I have the same problem because when I find a sports bra that is made for larger cup size, it nearly always ranks low on the cute scale.
But! This past weekend I was in London where I made time to get myself down to Sweaty Betty, a British sportswear brand I had been hearing lots about for months. I wasn't overly impressed with a few of their products (review coming soon), but I really liked their bras. I found them functional especially for people like us because of the hook and eye closure. Hook and eye closure usually translates to grandma bra, but these must be the new and improved grandmas because they are ca-ute in lots of different colors, and the design was always interesting. The best part, though, is that when I went for a run in the one I bought, it did its job and I felt great in it. The only downside is the price, which is on the higher end, but I just told myself that sometimes you get what you pay for. :/
1. Ultra Run Bra, $65
2. Infinity Workout Bra, $60 (this is the one I bought, full review coming soon)
3. Sweat It Out Bra, $65
Question 2: First off, I want to say thank you! Your videos have been very inspiring and motivating for me over the past year. I have been teaching abroad and haven't been able to find a yoga class taught in English that I've enjoyed yet. That being said, my practice has now become 100% home-based. I am surprised to find I am doing yoga much more than I was before paying for classes in the States. I practice the same time every day with you. I look forward to your videos during the day and I find myself skipping out of social plans just to practice my yoga. So again, thank you for completely deepening my practice and helping me trust my own guidance.
What I have been wondering is what your teaching looked like shortly after you received your certification in Thailand. I know most yoga instructors do not pay their bills solely on their teaching, so were you working a part-time job in addition to beginning your yogi path? Or did you just apply to a bunch of places and work all the odd hour classes and put all of your energy directly into building your profession? I am wondering how that all looked for you because I think very highly of your teaching and I am so grateful for the wisdom you share with all of us.
Answer 2: Yoga abroad is very different from the US/Canada, huh? It's amazing to me how different it is! Anyway, great question. No, I wasn't working any other part-time job. My situation is sort of unique because my husband's job, which is seasonal, has us moving around a lot and to different countries, where I sometimes can get a work visa and sometimes can't. When I was first certified, I didn't have a work visa, so I focused instead on learning as much as I could through workshops and master classes with guest teachers when they came to nearby cities. I also gave free classes at a local gym. I wouldn't recommend working for free, haha, but I barely spoke German, and I was a new teacher fresh out of training so I felt like it was mostly for my benefit (whoops, is that bad?) to just get practice as an instructor.
Once I felt confident in my teaching and practice, we moved to a town where I was able to get a work visa and I just taught at every single opportunity I could. One place I worked always needed me to cover people's classes and I never once said no. I was at a place where I felt confident in what I was doing, my German was decent enough to really convey the most important bits, I was making a connection with people and we were building a great yoga community. I really miss it there, actually. I threw myself head first into every work opportunity that I could and when I returned to the US for a few weeks this summer in LA, I scheduled workshops and retreats and in-store events just to keep active in the yoga community.
I really love it. The more I travel, the more I am amazed by how different the yoga culture is in different countries. I am fascinated by what styles of yoga are popular (or not popular), the communities they're a part of, the brands they love and gear they use... It's such a cool experience and I'm so grateful that this is my life.
Question 3: Hi, I need information on eye related issues due to headstand.
I recently read about health benefits of headstand and thought of doing it myself, however wanted to be doubly sure if/what risks are involved. I had myopia (-2.5) and got a laser surgery done, about 4.5 years back in January 2010. Can I do headstand or other inverted asanas?
Answer 3: As headstands increase the blood pressure in your eyes, I would definitely ask your doctor before working on inversions. You might have a waiting period before it's safe, or you might be able to do it right away.
Question 4: Hi Candace! I've been watching your videos and reading your posts for some time and I love them, they are great help for my yoga practice. I have a question for you about one particular asana that gives me a lot of trouble: Upavistha Konasana. I really cannot see any progress when practicing this one, I cannot spread my legs enough on the ground nor sit comfortably while doing it. When I try to fold forward I can barely touch my toes and my back always tends to round up... I googled about tips for getting deeper into this asana, but the problem is that the most offered solution is to practice hip openers and I am quite good with those, so I don't know what to do to master this one. Hope you will have a suggestion! All the best!
Answer 4: I can definitely help. It sounds to me like while your hips might be open, the fact that you say the legs don't spread enough and you aren't able to sit comfortably suggests that maybe it's an issue of tightness in the hamstrings and/or inner thighs. I would suggest modifying this pose by sitting on a yoga block as shown here in a regular forward fold. Engage the quads, flex the feet, and point the toes slightly back behind you so your inner thighs are spinning up to the sky. Then bring the hands in front. With each exhale, visualize your belly coming down to the floor. Often times, people are aiming for the chest or the head to get to the floor and that causes the chest to collapse and the back to round.
Related: To further supplement, I would practice the yoga for legs and low back video. Keep at it and enjoy the journey!
Question 5: I just got a yoga mat and it's been heaven practising. It has its own case, like a velcro close-around that keeps it neatly rolled up. When I finish my session, I usually roll it up and enclose it and keep it that way until the next session. However, when I do use it, the ends of the mat stay curled up and I have to find something to straighten it out (like rocks) in order to stop it from rolling back. What can I do stop this from happening? The Rolly Polly Effect?
Answer 5: Check the instructions of the mat - some, like the black mat pro, aren't meant to be rolled up. Although, I suppose if it came with a case... The trick I've used is to roll in opposite ways. So after one session I'd roll it with the sticky part facing up, and then after the next time, roll it with the sticky part facing down. And then each time vary which end is on the inside. Start the roll at the front of your mat after one session, and after the next session, start rolling it from the back of your mat. Hope that makes sense!
Related: A favorite yoga mat.
Question 6: How long am I a beginner before I start doing the intermediate stuff?
Answer 6: Great question! With yoga, there's no exact rule. When you start feeling like your regular routine is seamless and you feel inspired to add new elements, then maybe you're ready for more athletic poses like crow pose or side crow pose.
Question 7: When I attempt child's pose, I cannot sit all the way back on my legs. Is this because I have tight hips or hamstrings? What can I do to help me to sit in to child's pose?
Answer 7: This is a question I hear often, so don't worry, you're not alone. There are a few reasons why this might be happening. It could be compression in your hips or knees, which just means the shape of the bones in the joints just isn't allowing you to get that range of motion. If this is the case, nothing can be done about it, it is what it is (and isn't a cause for concern). If you have a larger belly or chest, then it may be that there just isn't space for you to come fully down. If may also be a matter of a tight back, or tight hips, and if that's the case, try this yoga video for hips.
To be totally honest, I don't find child's pose comfortable at all. Instead, I nearly always take wide legged child's pose, and suggest you try that as well. You could also modify regular child's pose by putting a bolster or a rolled towel between your butt and your lower calves as shown above. You might find that just by modifying for a few weeks or months, you will see improvement and be able to take the full expression. I hope that's helpful!
Question 8: I decided to do yoga after most other exercises left me sore and in pain for a day or so after. I have done your videos for 7 of the last 8 days, every morning, and they have made a big difference. I have lost around 7 pounds and feel better in my hips and legs than I have in years.
My question is, can yoga be used to gain muscle mass as well as tone? I would love to have more strength, well defined arm and back muscles, can I get some of that with yoga?
Answer 8: I'm glad my videos are helping you! I don't think you'll gain a ton of muscle mass through yoga alone. The power yoga will definitely help to tone and define, though. Holding warriors and lunges will work the legs and glutes, planks and chaturangas will work the core and arms, dolphin pose and headstands are excellent for the upper back and shoulders, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Each pose Has its own benefit - some are more physical than others, but basically if you just keep practicing you will likely not only see improvement, but feel it as well. Enjoy the journey!