Blog Archivi - Ameriga Giannone Mind Body Alchemy
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Schermata 2022 01 11 alle 11.37.26

How can you stand out as a Yoga Teacher?

Thanks so much to those of you who replied to my email and blog post on how to thrive as a yoga teacher. Some of the struggles you shared with me are:  – I am underpaid for the classes I teach, and I have to teach lots of yoga classes to make a living, – I don’t have many students in my classes, and it’s hard to find and retain new yoga students. – I have not taught many classes since the end of your first YTT, and I don’t feel very confident. How to solve this? The #1 Key Solution is: you have to be an outstanding yoga teacher. So now you might be wondering: How do you become an outstanding yoga teacher? Today I’d like to share with you one secret that really helped me stand out as a Yoga Teacher when I first started. As a practitioner, I noticed that I was naturally drawn to practice with teachers who were experienced in touching bodies. Through their hands-on assist, I could go a lot deeper into the poses, and often even experience postures that I had no idea I could possibly do. On top of this, those were the teachers I felt mostly connected to: they were NOT just teaching from their mats, their energy was present in the room as they walked around, and even if they taught always the same sequences, my practice was different because of how they manually helped me each time. So very soon I started to study the Art of Hands on Assist, which goes hand-in-hand with the Art of Teaching without Demonstrating. I took several Ashtanga courses with some Indian teachers, I learned lots of vinyasa assists with Shiva Rea. In 2020 I flew to Byron Bay to assist my beloved teachers Gregor Maehle and Monica Gauci in one of their Ashtanga Trainings and practice hands-on assists under their supervision. Then Covid hit and of course we all know how the story ended. Lots of us started to teach online and lots of new teachers were educated fully online in their Teacher Trainings.  Yet in person teaching is the highest form of passing on yoga (and personally, my favorite!).So especially if you teach a lot in person, mastering the art of Hands-on- Assist is really a KEY to build loyalty with your students. Why does it work so well? Because your students want a teacher that understands their unique anatomy, that can help them in postures that they cannot do otherwise, and that is really caring for them, and not just doing their own practice while they teach. If you can be that teacher, expect your classes to be full of students who will be raving fans! And of course, if you have more students in class who follow YOU, your studio will increase your salary because you are an “asset teacher” for them. In other words, you bring people to them. The bad news is that both Hands-on and teaching without demonstrating are a true headache for a new yoga teacher. These skills are NOT taught generally in a 200 HRS Yoga Teacher Training, and less so in an online training. This is why since 2020 I have been offering a 60 hrs residential module called “Art of Hands on Assist”, as part of my 300 hrs YTT. You can take it as a stand-alone module, or as part of the 300 hrs program. This module will take your teaching to the next level thanks to the following elements:  – 10 hrs of Anatomy (which you can study online prior to coming over). These classes will help you understand the myofascial tissues + the bones that you move when you manually adjust a student.  – A daily Masterclass where you will practice assisting a peak pose on each other. By teaching twice a day you will feel what a student feels during a hands-on assist, as well as help other students get into more complex shapes while in the flow of the class.  – Hours and hours of practice hands-on-assists on each other. During the two daily practice labs, you will instruct the students you are adjusting. In this way your will train the very important skills of adjusting and also teaching without demonstrating. – A daily workshop where we study a family of asanas such as: inversions, backbends, arm-balances, and more. You will receive help from other students and help them in turn, hence learning to assist all sort of complex postures in a workshop setting. During the course you will learn to assist over 40 postures, both Vinyasa Flow poses and Ashtanga ones.  And of course in the free time (every day from 12.30 to 5 PM) you will enjoy la dolce vita in Sicily at the stunning Stagnone Lagoon.  If you are curious to discover more click here I hope to see you this summer, and in only one week boast your confidence by leveling up your teaching skills, take your own practice to the next level, and have an amazing time in the gorgeous Stagnone Lagoon ! <3

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Schermata 2022 01 11 alle 11.38.46

From Teaching every day to Thriving every day!

The story of how my yoga teacher journey changed radically Since I left my center last year, I have been relying on teaching yoga full time for a living. I know that there are many yoga teachers who are teaching an unbearable number of classes, and still struggle to make ends meet, but teaching yoga full-time DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THAT. So in the next posts I will share with you my strategy to have a thriving yoga career, without having 10,000 followers on Instagram or a marketing team behind me. Just so you see how fun and laid back your life as a yoga teacher could be, I want to share with you my 2022 schedule:  – I am teaching two 200 hrs TT online (for a total of 4 to 6 hrs per week for 6 months), – Once a month, I teach online at the TT and coaching programs of some colleagues (all sorts of topics that I am super passionate about, from Yoga Psychology to Anatomy and so on). – I am recording a couple of online courses for online platforms, on Yoga Anatomy and Pills of Yoga for Life.  – I will be teaching 6 in-person retreats/ teacher trainings in spring and summer. – I am also teaching occasional Masterclasses at Yoga Studios all over Italy (sneaking them in during my holidays in the Alps) and Yoga Festivals (the next one at the Bhakti Festival in Florence at the end of June). I no longer teach daily, and every time I teach in person I attract the most amazing crowds of people, who are aligned with me in their passion for Yoga & Personal Growth.  Work hardly feels like work anymore to be honest. How did I do it?  You probably remember me at Floripa Yoga & Kitesurf House, where I teaching every day to all sorts of people (also those who would laugh at kirtan, and walk out of the class after the first plank!), and being exhausted all the time, never having energy to have dinner with my students or going out. Maybe you feel like this too: You have no time nor energy for anything physical other than your yoga practice.You feel drained from speaking all the time.You feel stuck in one yoga studio (while everyone else seems to be working from a tropical island).    Those of you who have been on a retreat with me since last year know how much my lifestyle has changed in the last two years. Now I am only teaching people who come to me because they are attracted to what I can offer (and will not walk away from my class after 10′!). I teach a very sustainable number of classes (sometimes, it’s just one retreat per month + some classes here and there), and definitely I have time for hobbies, friends, and living the gypsy life in my new van (Did you see that on Instagram??)  Even though this started off in a way I hadn’t plan (I split with my ex, and working together was no longer an option), I used this life-revolution to plan a better lifestyle for myself (and Avaya). And this is what was lacking for me before: I was making a living, but not designing my life.  In the coming days I will be sharing some posts with my recipe for freedom.  Before that, however, I would like to know:  How is your yoga teaching journey going?  Hit the comment button to let me know any areas where you are feeling stuck or need help.

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What if we lived our lives AS IF there were NO IFS ?

A life-lesson from Rock-Climbing Have you ever stopped to consider the cost of asking yourself  “what if”? Very often we are not even aware that we are asking ourselves this question. Yet, we take into consideration the “WHAT IF”- which is “the worst case scenarios” and this impacts our behavior and the final outcome.  The thing is: When you visualize something scary you will end up being scared. So thinking about the “what if” is the best way to get stopped from manifesting what we truly want to manifest. You know that you need to push things in life to get what you want, but you are scared that the worst case scenario happens. You want to move from A to B, but you are afraid that on the way to B, you could lose what you already have (A) without eventually making it to B. I have experienced that when I decided to change my career (like a dozen times!), when choosing to cut a relationship that wasn’t functioning, and of course, in handling my business too. Recently, rock-climbing taught me a great life lesson on this. You might know that when you lead climb, you are climbing up and anchoring yourself for safety on “bolts” placed on the wall, usually at a distance of 1-2 meters from each other. The closer you get to the next bolt, the longer you fly down if you fall. Climbing is like living To me this is a great metaphor of anything in life: we need to get away from the comfort zone- the bolt we are hanging on- and face the fear of falling, knowing that the closer you get to the next bolt, the more disastrous the fall you could catch. Yet what climbing also taught me is that, I should NEVER ask myself the question “What if I fall now?”. That question is disempowering. It instills the doubt that I cannot make it in my mind, and that doubt is like a worm that eats any certainty. And the thing is, certainty is power. We need certainty to manifest what we want in life.  I need certainty that I can get to the next bolt, and certainty manifests itself as presence: in the presence of certainty there are no thoughts and no distractions. Certainty is a state of pure focus and concentration on what I am doing.  If I am in a difficult section and I start wondering “what if I fall?”, I will not be able to make it through. SO, the only question allowed is: How do I climb up?.  At the beginning of January I had one of those climbing experiences that can change your life (well, climbing does that). My friend Daniele decided it was time for me to climb some harder routes. He offered to belay me on a wall that was harder than anything else I had climbed before. (To belay means, he was the one holding the rope for me as I climbed).  The route didn’t seem that challenging until the third spit, when the fight started. I flew down 3-4 times, but I was still quite close to the third bolt. After spending some energies going up and down, and wasting some time, I decided I was going to do a dynamic movement and hopefully catch a good grab with my hand that looked higher than anything I had tried until then.  I didn’t ask myself: what could happen if there is nothing really good for me to hang on? What if I can’t reach that spot with my hands? What if I don’t have enough strength? What if the belayer doesn’t catch me? I couldn’t ask myself those questions, because if I did, I would just stop where I was. My friend Daniele says always “Don’t think, just climb”. And this is precisely what I did. I did that move, it felt almost like a jump and I caught something that was stable enough to climb up a few more centimeters and clip-in the fourth spit. Once I clipped in, I looked up to keep going. You don’t congratulate yourself when you have 6 more spits to go.  I kept going: the route became increasingly more physical, so I had to ask for blocks to rest every now and then.  The more difficult it became, the deeper I focused. I wasn’t thinking about anything. I was leveraging my energies, resting my forearms, and looking at the wall to find the best route. I had entered the so-called flow state.  Once you enter that space of mind, it’s like being possessed and obsessed by only one goal: getting to the top. Not once did it occur to me that I could give up, nor the possibility of flying down on some difficult sections. When I was resting I was still looking up to figure out the best direction ahead. I was sweating drops of determination. My eyes could only see the top of the route. I didn’t have any pain in my feet even though I was wearing new climbing shoes.  Amidst this head-space, I felt like in the middle of a fight. The opponent: my own limitations. My own limiting inner voices. I was determined to win. What stops a climber (at least, a beginner climber like me) is the thought: “what if I fall?”. But once you stop considering that worst case scenario, you are bound to make it. Because in fact, you WILL fall.  If you are not falling, you are not really climbing for your level. Falling then becomes just a side hustle of getting better, and going higher. And to make it less scary, climbers in fact refer to it as “flying”. And flying is part of climbing. If you climb, you fly. Hope is your enemy How does hope feel in your body?  “Mmm.. yeah, I hope I can get up there and finish the route”.  In climbing hope doesn’t work. Because  hope is

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Reflection on Life

Reflections on life, rock-climbing, and falling. And some questions for you. 1️⃣After 5 days facing my deepest fear of heights, and falling countless times while climbing up, ANYTHING life throws at me right now seems like so much less than climbing a 25 mts wall. The lesson: ➡️ Do something really challenging, if you want to grow your resilience (if you are thinking of coming to our next Yoga & Climbing retreat, it’s May 7-14, 2022). 2️⃣ Falling can actually be fun. It must be the reason climbers call it “flying” not “falling”, which makes it sound much more exciting. But falling is more than just flying: once I was down, since I had to climb back up, I had the possibility of looking at the wall from a different perspective. I could find a different route. The lesson: ➡️Just like in life: every time I have fallen, I have found a better route to climb up. All the times I had to face an unwanted or unexpected change, I have never fallen, I have just flown down and found a different route. And boy, I am at the top of that wall now! ➡️Now, to you: 💆‍♀️ What is one situation that you are trying to control to prevent “the worst case scenario (falling) from happening? Or what is one thing that has happened to you that WAS the worst case scenario? * If the situation doesn’t go as you wish- what are you learning from this? * How could this even be an advantage for you? Be creative! * And now imagine this worst case scenario happening. What are you going to do, after you fall? How will you climb up again? You have all the resources to climb up again. Always. Just ask yourself the right questions to get the right answers. ⭐️ Loving life ❤️

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Schermata 2021 11 05 alle 20.40.36

Neuroscience brought together what science had torn apart

Today we know that there is no mind/body separation, we know that physical symptoms are the expression of a problem of the whole system, not just of a part, and we know that healing is a daily process that can be achieved by changing the habits of who we are (as @drjoedispenza brilliantly puts it is his must-read book). We have entered the second week of our 30-days yoga challenge and yesterday I was reflecting on the fact that I am getting from this challenge much more than I am giving to it. What started as a simple 30-days commitment to do yoga, is leading me to changing my daily routine consciously and radically. We have a workbook with a weekly list of “objectives” that we’d like to cultivate, and every day I can check whether I did them or not. In the list, I put things like doing sports, meditating, and spend quality time with friends. Things that are so simple, and that yet can make me feel so good. I sit at the beginning of the week and put down this list thinking about the lifestyle I’d like to have. So the first question I had to answer was: how is my ideal day? What really prompt me to rethink my “routines” altogether was the fact that I have just moved away from the house and job I had for 8 years. I could have fallen into unconsciously looking to replicate my former life (we are habitual creatures, so even if we are doing something painful, or difficult, we’ll keep on repeating it because our bodies are just used to it and look to do always familiar things (rather than “the unknown”). If I hadn’t had this opportunity to change my life right now, I would have probably stayed in the same lifestyle and routine I created and followed unconsciously for so long. My take on this? You don’t need to lose your job or undergo some dramatic change to take 5 minutes with your journal to answer these questions: What does my ideal day look like? What are the emotions I NEVER again want to feel? What are the feelings that I want to invite in my life? Then look at that page. The answers are all there. Like Krishnamurti said, “in the problem is the solution”.

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Schermata 2021 12 31 alle 10.42.11


Liberation is when my inner state is independent of the outside circumstances. It’s when I realize that the bigger the loss, the greater the lesson. It’s trust that I am taken care of, and that all that is happening is happening FOR me. It’s gratitude to our enemies and to what seems unfair, because their are the teachers of our path. Thanks for all these adventures mother. Jai Jai Ma.

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Living consciously

The rishis that passed on the knowledge of yoga centuries ago, had it very clear that the biggest obstacle to our own happiness is… US. To be more precise, it’s the uncontrolled state in which our minds dwell. The Katha Upanishad compares the mind to the reins that connect to the horses-the 5 senses. If we don’t have control over the 5 senses and our minds, they can take us-atman,the traveller on the chariot- literally anywhere. I have become very conscious of my mind space thanks to a number of dramatic events that happened to me- my mind was tempted to go back to the drama as soon as it switched on in the morning. If I had let my mind feed itself on the dramatic facts that were happening to me, I would have ended up miserable, resentful, broke, and full of white hair! Instead, I remembered: life is 1% what happens to you, and 99% how you respond to it (E.Tolle). So, I started to watch my mind-space very carefully. I would let in only useful thoughts, only people who knocked the door and brought a gift, only narratives about who I was that empowered me. I became very skilled at leaving out anything else, and anyone else that I didn’t want to have inside me. Ultimately, I though: if I have chosen to cut out certain people from my life, why would I make them live for free in my head? So I want to share this exercise with you- a 7 days mindfulness challenge! ➡️ Watch your mind space every day for the next 7 days: 1️⃣ Don’t linger on thoughts that make you upset. Catch them immediately, let them go. Substitute them with empowering thoughts. 2️⃣ If you have an ongoing difficult situation, focus on the solution, never on the problem. You will find out so much about your internal space – and in particular: what are the most common negative self-talks/judments/dramas you can get out of? I will support you with a story as a reminder every day.

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Connection & Quantum Physics

A few days ago I taught my last class at Floripa. Some students asked me to stream it on Zoom, because they wanted to be part of it, but my gut feelings told me that I wanted to be 100% present just with the people in the room. If you are a yoga teacher, maybe you feel the same- but since the “hybrid” modality started (teaching some people in the room and some on Zoom), I have been feeling like I am also partially in the room and partially with the people who are streaming. Teaching only to the people in the room after so long, felt sooo good, like an energetic bath of good vibes. We were all so connected and sharing our energy with so much intensity that the whole shala was vibrating. I don’t wanna ruin the romance of it, but scientifically there is a reason for that. The key to understand it is quantum physics. Quantum physics tells us that everything in the Universe is made out of immaterial energy and radiates energy. Human beings are made by cells and cells are made by energy, so we literally are vortices of energy. In nature if two energy waves are out of sync this causes what’s technically called “destructive interference”: they diminish in size. Otherwise, if two waves of energy are in sync, it’s called “constructive interference”, and the size of the wave is amplified. In laypeople’s words, we call constructive interference  “good vibes” and destructive interference “bad vibes”. So in that yoga shala, we were all vibrating in synchronicity, and this is why the whole experience was SO strong energetically. So in theory we want all our interactions to increase our energy and not deplete it, and we have a natural sense for it: we have gut feelings when we are next to someone that just doesn’t vibrate in synchronicity with us. Has this ever happen to you? You just can’t stand someone, and there is no reason for it. I have altars in every corner of my house but for some reason I always end up meditating in front of the one in the left corner of the living room: it’s the energy field of that corner that keeps on attracting me there. Often we override our gut feelings, by imposing some rational explanation to what we feel through our thoughts. However, the part of ourselves responsible for bodily sensations and feelings existed way before the thinking part of our brain developed, and it’s the one we share with all the living creatures. Our body is always right. My question is: Is it possible that gut feelings themselves are also conditioned? So you have a gut feeling that someone is lying to, but just because you have been lied before, and not because that person really is lying to you? How do you distinguish between REAL gut feelings and CONDITIONED ones?

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Yoga Philosophy in a nutshell: it’s actually NOT a philosophy.

I remember walking out of my first yoga class, more or less 10 years ago, and feeling different, like this was not my regular workout. And mind you, it was a total workout because that yoga class was a Bikram class- so quite a hard core workout. There was no mention of philosophy or spirituality in the class: in fact, we were all wearing very little clothes and the teacher sounded like a dictator. And yet, I felt that somehow I was more connected with myself, and the whole experience felt somewhat spiritual.  I got hooked immediately, and I started to read books about what I was doing- at the time the only books readily available were the ones by the Sivananda School of yoga.  My biggest question in those time was: why do people say that yoga is a philosophy, if I am going to a class where I actually move and sweat? It took a lot of study, travels, and master’s degree in Yoga Study to answer this question. In this post, I will give you a concise explanation of what yoga actually is, from what I understood in the last 10 years of research and practice. Strictly speaking, Yoga is actually not really a philosophy. Patanjali (considered to be the author of the Yoga Sutras, the root text of the school) borrows the philosophical underpinnings for its treatise from the philosophical school of Samkhya.  Samkhya, a philosophical system that was around well before Yoga, offered a philosophy of the mind. Patanjali, a man of its time, was not interested in telling us too much about the mind, he assumed that the reader already knew everything from being acquainted with Samkhya philosophy.  What Patanjali is really interested on, is how to practically stop “the fluctuations of the mind” (a fancy way to say “stop uncontrollable thoughts”). His text is about the practical stuff, not the theory. You see, the Yoga of Patanjali (I need to specify this, because there were other yogas before, and there have been other yogas afterwards) is really a practical form of psychotherapy, based on direct experience. This of it this way: you can know all the philosophy, but doing it in practice is a different story. I studied Asian philosophies and religions at the University, so I was exposed to concepts such as that the mind is the cause of suffering already in my early twenties. I read dozen of books on the life of the Buddha and buddhism, and on Taoism, which showed me that I could chose how to respond,  and I didn’t have to be miserable by following a mainstream life path that didn’t feel right to me. And yet the impact of all these readings on how I actually responded to life was not so pervasive. Then I begun to sit  in the satsang of famous gurus, and to follow contemporary teachers, looking for the answers. At some point I started to read tons of self-help book, and it all made sense to me.  And yet knowing the theory was not what helped me when I had to endure big losses or life changing events.  I knew the idea that “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”. I knew that “I can chose how to respond”. I knew all that, and yet, at times I could be really down. Feeling stuck. Feeling like a victim. Having a hard time to let go, even though I knew IN THEORY, that it’s best to let go. I would respond defensively and aggressively to feeling threatened by other people. So the philosophy made sense, and it created a convincing belief that I had to do the work, because it made me realize that I had been raised as yet another unconscious human being walking on this earth. But what helped me transform my life, change dramatically the way I responded, overcome the challenges, were the actual practices. “Change your physiology to change your mental state”- says Tony Robbins, yet this quote could be attributed to Svatmarama (the author of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a medieval text that lies the foundations for the hatha yoga we practice today). The guru of modern coaching urges us to move, take cold showers and do breathing exercises to change our physiology, which in turn has a major immediate impact on how we feel. Likewise, the hatha yogin urges the practitioners to use their bodies in different ways, to practice breathing exercises, and to purify them with various practices. Svatmarama is not talking to ascetics- who for many centuries had been the only practitioners of yoga, he is talking to householders like me and you, people with bills to pay and limited time to work on moksha (liberation from suffering). The whole text goes down to a simple concept: change your body, change your breath, and you will change your feelings and your mind. Modern neuroscience approves with all that, and we know today that the dualism between body and mind never really existed: we are whole. I will share with you lots of philosophy in this blog, but the truth is, nothing compares to the practice. The pranayama, the asana, the meditations: they are the real deal. The truths of yoga can be experienced only by direct perception, not by knowing the theory. The Yoga Sutras are a manual for practitioners, not for philosophers. So here you have yoga philosophy in a nutshell: it’s not actually a philosophy, but rather a psychosomatic technique. If you want to change your life, you have to do the practices. 

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“All problems are illusions of the mind” (E.Tolle)

When I leave Italy for a while and come back, I can’t help but notice the ability of people to nourish dramas in their lives in a way or another. And in covid’s year this tendency is exacerbated by the distress of the past months. A while back I read Eckart Tolle’s book “the Power of Now”, and there is a section on this that is so powerful- I thought I need to share it in case you haven’t read that very insightful book yet. Problems are mind-made. A situation that needs to be either dealt with or accepted- yes. Why make it into a problem? Why make anything into a problem? Isn’t life challenging enough as it is? The mind unconsciously loves problems because they give you an identity of sorts. “Problems” means that you are dwelling on a situation mentally without there being a true intention of taking action. When you create a problem you create pain. All it takes is a simple choice, a simple decision: No matter what happens I will create no more pain for myself. “Pain is natural, suffering is optional”

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