Melanie Cooper

Melanie Cooper

Melanie Cooper

Melanie Cooper has been teaching yoga and training yoga teachers. She divides her time between London and Goa, practicing and teaching yoga and sometimes dancing on the beach.

Top Ten Essential Books for New Yoga Teachers

The Heart of Yoga

Here are my suggestions for the top ten books recommended for newbie Yoga teachers. I’d be very interested to hear other people’s suggestions and ideas…

‘Heart of Yoga’ Desikachar – very beautiful classic intro to yoga. ‘Teaching people not poses’ Jay Fields – great tips on how to find your voice as a teacher.

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Why do adjustments?

Adjustments

Giving adjustments is the main thing I love about teaching. It’s amazing how so much communication can take place in relative silence. I see adjustments as a way to help and support people during their yoga practice. I see adjustments as a dialogue, with my hands and intention I ask the student ‘do you want to go this way?’.

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Yin Yoga for Back bending with Ease and Grace

Kapotasana

Back bending with ease and grace requires that the Hip flexors (front of the hips), shoulders, and the whole of the front of the body are flexible and strong. Yin yoga is a way of opening the body with passive stretches held for a prolonged period of time. If practiced correctly it is a very sure and safe way to work on increased flexibility.

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Yin Yoga for Lotus Hips

Lotus

Padmasana or Lotus can be one of the most challenging and frustrating poses for a yoga practitioner. The ankles, knees and hip joints all have to be mobile and the muscles in the legs and the hip girdle have to be flexible. It is all too common for the knee to be injured trying to put the body in lotus before it is ready, so first a word of caution: take your time. There is no rush and it really doesn’t matter if you never ‘get’ Padmasana.

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Beginners Luck

Teaching yoga

Teaching is a special skill and teaching beginners well is probably the hardest of all. Here are some of my suggestions for teaching beginners in a way that is positive and nurturing and compassionate.

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When Yoga makes you angry!

melanie cooper

A new student recently said she had been told that if a yoga teacher knows what they are doing and teaches the class properly then the students should leave feeling energised and good. Did I agree? Well, I thought, I guess that does often happen – but not all the time. Students can leave an asana practice feeling angry, depressed, paranoid, and hopeless. So what is that about? Isn’t it supposed to make us peaceful and serene?

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Is This Spiritual?

Statue of Ganesh

“Spiritual” is a concept or term often bandied around in yoga circles. It can be confusing to anyone – but especially a new student. We go along to a yoga class in our local gym thinking it’d be good to stretch our muscles after our workout. Then suddenly we learn it’s supposed to be “spiritual”. What does that mean? Is this some kind of cult? What’s going to happen to me?

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Moon Days

Full moon

For years I have religiously observed moon days, which means I don’t practice asana on full or new moon. The yogic explanation is that the full moon corresponds to the top of the inhalation when the upward energy of prana is at it’s greatest. So around the full moon we can feel high, energised, emotional and ungrounded. The new moon corresponds to the bottom of the exhalation when the force of apana is greatest so we feel calm and grounded and low energy.

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