A few months ago, we held an ‘Ask Me Anything’ community event where DOYOU readers were given a chance to ask the awesome Erin Motz any questions they had about yoga and asana practice.
A lot of readers also asked and talked about the 30-Day Yoga Challenge and how it helped them on their yoga journey, and we are absolutely stoked that you guys loved it!
So in case you missed out on the event, here are some of the questions about yoga from the community, paraphrased and simplified. Check them out in case some of them echo yours as well!
1. I love hip openers but I don’t feel that I’m opening more each time. Any advice you have on a daily hip opener on or off the mat would be most helpful!
Submitted by @cherylette
Erin: Could be your bone structure (which you can’t change) or could be your form (which you CAN change!). Depends on which poses you’re struggling with. Kneeling lunge is one of my favorites because it opens the hip while stretching the hamstrings, which aid a great deal in hip stretchy-ness!
2. Do you have a recommendation as to how often someone should practice yoga?
Submitted by @yossarian
Erin: I always think a few minutes a day is better than one hour-long class once every two weeks. That way, you get the power of exponential growth. So if you can do 5 minutes of breath work and a couple Down Dogs every evening, that’s better than putting it off indefinitely until you can find 60 minutes.
3. How do you know you're "ready" for teacher training? I feel like there are so many factors involved and would love your input!
Submitted by @bendywolf
Erin: Everyone’s different. I never felt “ready” even after I’d been teaching for a while! My teacher kind of pushed me in that direction before I felt ready and I’m glad she did! I’d say in general it’d be when you feel like you have a style or a message to share and you crave the ability to get it out there.
4. I’m overweight and I’ve been doing yoga on and off for a while but I still can’t do Chaturanga even with my knees down! Also, which poses are best for improving posture?
Submitted by @hvanbrakel
Erin: It took me FOREVER to be able to do it too! Every body’s different, so if there’s one thing that’s taking you longer to master, don’t stress over it. Remember what else you’re improving in and appreciate that too. You could also do regular, old-fashioned pushups with your knees down to build upper body strength. For posture, I like Cobra and Locust the best and Cat/Cow for something a little gentler.
5. Is there a flow that you can suggest in case of cold and cough, maybe combined with pranayama work?
Submitted by @arienuccia
Erin: Depends on how congested you are! If you’re super stuffy, then stay away from anything too rigorous. Otherwise, do what feels good! Some detoxing twists and forward bends with mild inversions like Down Dog and Legs Up the Wall are great.
6. Loved your 30-day challenge, was just curious if you plan to make longer videos that are around the length of a traditional yoga class?
Submitted by @acmarie7
Erin: Actually, there are several of those on my Ultimate Home Yoga Practice Package here on DOYOU. :)
7. What would you say is the biggest change you’ve gone through during your transition from simply a student to both a student and teacher?
Submitted by @poet598
Erin: Good question! Probably that I’m so NOT interested in fancy poses and such. When I started out, I was obsessed with getting to be super advanced and now I just really don’t care, haha. As long as I feel good in what I’m doing, I’m happy! And that’s what I teach my yogis, too.
8. Most of your sessions are 15 minutes or so—is that the length you recommend for daily sessions? Or do you recommend more than one session a day?
Submitted by @mase208
Erin: I think whatever you can commit to daily is what you should do. For most people, 60-90 minute classes every day just aren’t easy to make…which is why I did my videos in bite-sized pieces. Otherwise, I always think something is better than nothing, so whether that means 5 minutes or 50, it’s all good in my opinion.
9. I’m not capable yet of doing the Scorpion pose, same for headstands. I find it frustrating! How can I build strength? I don’t want to hurt myself!
Submitted by @antonia
Erin: Scorpion is a super deep chest opener/backbend, so lots of Cobras and Up Dogs, Bridge, Wheel, and Chaturanga pushups for upper body strength. Headstand is much more accessible as long as you’re confident and your neck isn’t susceptible to injury. Just keep a wall behind you!
10. What has been the most significant benefit that yoga and living a healthy lifestyle has given you?
Submitted by @eliezar
Erin: Awareness. I'll know if my posture has been off if I feel my shoulder feels a certain way, or that I need to do some core work if my low back feels tired, or I need to slow down my caffeine intake because I can tell when my blood pressure is up. It’s the little things, and that all came with time, but I don’t think it would have had I taken a different path.
**Some questions have been edited for brevity and clarity.