nadine fawell

Yoga for tired legs

Yoga teachers stand a lot. Like, a LOT. On a busy day we might teach between four and six hours of yoga, and walk in between classes - so add an hour or two of walking to all that standing, and you have a recipe for very tired legs! 

Some nights, my feet feel so tender that I find myself hobbling, my ankles are puffy, my calves are in spasm. Sound vaguely familiar to any of you who are teachers/ librarians/ retail workers/ hospitality workers/ physiotherapists/ massage therapists? And all the myriad other people who stand in the course of your work? Then there are those of you who are transitioning to sit/stand desks. Them pins gonna be tired in the beginning!

So I thought I would share my 'magic two' poses for tired legs. (I'm quite a fan of magic-seeming solutions to pain)

Magic Pose 1: Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Oh, the joys of sitting on your heels. This just relieves so much tension in my ankles and feet, de-puffs them, and stretches my quadriceps out a bit too.

vajrasana - yoga for tired legs

I sometimes practice Virasana (Hero Pose) instead, sitting between my heels on a flattish foam block. When my knees allow it, of course.

Virasana (hero pose) - yoga for tired legs

What, you ask, about those of us who can't kneel like this because it hurts our ankles/knees? Aha, I have an option for you, too:


Which refers to the sequence below: inhaling to all fours, and exhaling to  release your buttocks towards your heels. It gives a similar kind of relief but without the sustained pressure on your joints that holding a pose would exert.

cakravakasana - yoga for tired legs
balasana - yoga for tired legs

And then there is Magic Pose 2: Legs up the Wall

Is there any ailment this pose can't help? I doubt it.

This is the ultimate langhana (releasing, soothing) pose. I find it helps the muscles and tissues around my damaged SI joints relax, it allows blood and lymph to drain from my tired and puffy legs, and, with my arms out as pictured, also stretches my chest to relieve the hunch-asana that develops over a day of reaching forward to adjust students, working on the computer, etc. Sometimes I even meditate in this postion, when sitting is too uncomfortable.

viparita karani - yoga for tired legs
Yoga For Tired Legs

Sweet relief!

Also check out: Alignment, Anatomy, Geekery. 

5 Ways Eat Pray Love Lies About Yoga in Bali

I've been to Bali - and Ubud in particular - three years in a row. It's no understatement to say I love it. And yes, perhaps (cough) I was slightly influenced to make that first trip by Elizabeth Gilbert's 2006 memoir, Eat Pray Love. 

But it's not quite as the book (and indeed, the movie with Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem) would have you believe. These five things, for example.

1. Bali is not peaceful

Or rather, it is not quiet. It's plenty serene, but the life of the island starts early - and noisily - with the roosters crowing in the dawn. And sometimes the dusk. And also every hour of the day. The roosters were a real shock the first time I went to Bali - they featured heavily in this article I wrote.

But it's easy to remember the place - Ubud especially -  as being very quiet and still, because it's got such a laid-back vibe. I always come home from Bali super chilled out. 

2. It's less of a love place, more of an eat place

Let's be honest, ladies and gents. It's just not that likely you are going to meet your Javier Bardem. I mean, it MIGHT happen. And if it does, you better discuss with your partner how they want to handle that... but for now, let's just appreciate the amazingness that is the food of Ubud, shall we?

balinese food and coffee.jpg

3. There's not really any place to meditate in the buff

In the book, Liz Gilbert slips out of her lover's bed, still naked, to blissfully meditate first thing in the morning. Yes, you could do that too. Except: first you have to find the lover with the perfectly remote house (and possibly you have to dispatch of the roosters).

But who has time, with all the food that needs eating, the cocktails that need drinking, and the massages that need having? Not to mention the morning and evening yoga.

4. You won't be stuck with just the one black dress

Given that she's just spent the best part of a year travelling, our heroine doesn't have much for formal wear, so she just wears her one black dress every night to go on dates with her hot latin lover. 

She really didn't need to do that, because: shopping. Ubud is a mecca for fabulous quirky designer wear, usually ethically made. You just have to stroll down Monkey Forest Road one afternoon and you are likely to end up with three new pairs of yoga pants, some art, jewellery, and an amazing new frock. All for less than half what you'd pay in Australia.

5. Healers probably won't give you a portend that comes true. But you will probably find healing

In the book, GIlbert visits a healer who tells her she will be coming back. That turned out to be true - because she made it true, of course. 

Like this Time article says: 

Today, the ladies all are "very lucky." They will each live to be one hundred and ten. In fact, most days visitors to Ketut can expect the same reading, with minor variations, but few mind. Ketut Liyer is not just a healer famed among locals, but a leading character in American author Elizabeth Gilbert's 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love, and his bamboo mat is an almost necessary stop on Bali's increasingly popular spiritual tourist circuit.

Doesn't matter though. Ubud's people are among the friendliest I've ever encountered, and after just a few days, you will feel like family. Add that to the morning offerings to the gods, the daily yoga, and the warmth and ease of the place, and you are likely to find you didn't need a healer to be healed.

PS: Early bird pricing for our July retreat ends 31 May - book now

The Magic Link for better posture (and less pain)

The Magic Link for better posture (and less pain)

If you have a sore back - or tight hips - then you need to know about Kinetic Chains.

Kinetic Chains are groups of muscles that work together as a team. There are chains like this running all though our bodies.

If one link of the chain is tighter or shorter or weaker and you get disharmony in how they move your skeleton. Not pretty. Not comfortable, either.

13 things every new yoga teacher should know

Starting out as a freshly minted teacher can be really daunting, just like any new thing. Teaching yoga is a big responsibility, and that can feel overwhelming. I know it did for me when I first started.

Here are 13 things I wish I'd known back then, when I was quavering in front of a room full of people, seconds from running away. Some are a little scary, maybe, but mostly, they'd have been super helpful to know upfront rather than learn on the job. (FYI we cover these in our training.)


  • Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Learn about them, and be really careful that you don't overstep with your students - or allow them to overstep with you. Timekeeping is an obvious one - start and end on time. But also, you have a position of authority, and a duty of care. Make sure you respect that and then horrible things like we were talking about in this conversation won't happen on your watch (feel free to add your opinion to the discussion if you want):
  • Know your upper limit: most yoga teachers can’t teach more than about fifteen classes a week without getting sick or injured.
  • Travel time is work time. You need to allow for travel time between classes and count it as part of your working day: don’t let people con you into thinking those 15 classes are your total work time!
  • It can be difficult to stay of top of your admin when you are teaching so much: get good at systems (here are some ideas).
  • Rest when you need to: If you start your first class early and/or end your last class late, you need to give yourself time to rest during the day.
  • Eat well. Most yoga teachers work when everyone else has mealtimes. Cooking up healthy food in bulk once a week has always worked really well for me! I do it on a Sunday.
  • Keep learning: as a new teacher, you are likely to have weak points. Back when I first started, mine were that I spoke too softly, couldn’t mirror when demonstrating, and didn’t have strong anatomical knowledge. I’ve fixed them now. 
  • Ask questions. I find that, in the beginning, teachers are afraid to ask their students questions because it might look like they don’t know what they are doing. It’s quite the opposite though: asking your students how they feel in a pose before you adjust them gives you valuable information on where they are at, and also helps them tune in to their bodies. It’s gold!
  • You are doing JUST FINE! You DO know more than your students: they (mostly) haven’t been through teacher training, and you have!
  • Make sure to balance work and the rest of your life. Yoga is a passion job and it can be all-consuming. Make sure to keep up your other hobbies - crafting, gardening, whatever they may be, and to spend time with your non-yoga friends at least occasionally!
  • Welcome constructive criticism: listen to it and learn from it. It’s not the end of the world if someone doesn’t like something about your teaching. In fact, it’s great: it gives you an opportunity to develop your skills and also to work out whether you are teaching in a way that is authentic to you. It tends to take new teachers a while to figure out their groove. You may start out thinking you are going to be a vinyasa teacher and end up teaching therapeutics. 
  • Make sure you have enough time off: at least one full day a week, so that you can recharge and keep hold of your sanity.
  • Your income doesn’t have to come exclusively from teaching. Get creative: you can write or work part-time in retail, hospitality, or your old job. You can sell yoga gear. You can organise events. You can manage a yoga studio. So many options!

FREE yoga & a discount on yoga gear!

I've been working really hard the last few months. Those of you who know me know that's not particularly unusual. I love my job, and I love to work.

But this has been a bigger one than usual. Just between us, I've been putting together a teacher training course. People have been asking me for a while. I was reluctant. I knew how much work it would be to get it right. I think I am on track to getting it right (more info coming soon) and it HAS been a huge amount of work so far.

So I thought it'd be nice to have a bit of fun. 

It's almost midwinter: the longest night of  the year is 21 June, so we are going to run a fabulous FREE winter festival on at Nancy's Bliss Retreat in Ivanhoe.

Two free yoga classes - which will give you an taste of what this year's retreat is going to be like  - plus snacks, tea, and the opportunity to shop the White Yoga line for guys and gals at a discount.

Space is very limited so although the classes are free, you MUST book - email me to grab your spot. Just let me know which class you want to book in to.

Oh, and you don't have to wait till June to shop the yoga gear, or get the discount. Just pop across to the White Yoga site and use the code mmyoga on checkout to get 10% off everything for guys and gals.




EDITED: Yeesh, you are a keen bunch. This event is booked out, less than 3 hours later!