5 Elements to Align your Yoga Practice & Your Life!

True North Alignment

True North Alignment is the basis of all the poses practiced in Baptiste Yoga.  It is a neutral and natural alignment that will bring about a lifetime of health and ease in your body. The effects of this powerful alignment are healing and deeply strengthening. True North is used in almost every yoga pose to help create a practice that will leave you feeling integrated and whole.

In “real life” this alignment is designed to help you in making major decisions in life. Before taking life-changing steps, think of yourself aligning what you say, speak, and feel, to achieve Truth North so that you can feel “grounded and confident.” Here’s how:

    1. Ground Down Like Earth

Before you begin a yoga pose it is best to start with a solid foundation, the earth. Set yourself up for success with a solid base.  The same holds true when you apply this to the big steps in life, like deciding on a new job or relationship.

Steps –

      • Stand up and press the four corners (ball and heel) of your feet into the floor/yoga mat
      • Lift and spread out your ten toes
      • Pull your outer shins in
    1. Flow Like Water

      As you proceed in your yoga poses and/or life situation, add some flow. Things don’t always go as planned and flow allows for us to move easily with the changes.

Steps –

      • Soften your joints
      • Keep your pelvis neutral
      • Lift the front of the pelvis
    1. Build an Inner Fire

      Nothing changes if nothing changes. It takes heat (tapas) for us to make a change.  Take the fire and make a change, a shift in your yoga or life.

Steps –

      • Pull your belly into the back side of the body
      • Pull your upper ribs in
      • Tighten everything up in the mid section
    1. Soften Like Air

      Bring softness to your yoga and life by adding air in the form of a deep breath. Soften into the hard places. We tend to stress and suffer, and we forget that suffering is not necessary.

Steps –

      • Draw your upper arm bones back
      • Move your shoulder blades toward your spine
    1. Create Space for Full Expression

      Make space in your body and in your life to fully express yourself. We often hide or shrink down to be who we think we should be. Create enough space on your mat and in your life to be fully present… and take on these changes in life with peace and confidence!

Steps –

      • Hug into your center and express out through hands and feet and look up!

Interested in learning more about applying specific yoga skills to your unique life situations?  Join Julie for Private Yoga Instruction or Yoga Teacher training.



Take a Child’s Pose

Better Yoga Practice – Start with Child’s Pose

The heated power yoga class that you’re taking is about to start. It’s time to get present. Much like an adult birthday party invitation your “presence is present enough.”

The intention of a yoga mind/body practice is to shift into the present time, and out of the past and future. In order for me to acheive this personally, I come down onto my mat and consciously shift my thoughts to the present time –  and away from a rushed morning.  The reality of the yoga practice, as in life, is the fact that you can’t go around it, under it or over it- we must go through it!   In today’s world we are all guilty of being disconnected from ourselves and swept up in this emotional disconnection, by constantly doing and being distracted.  Yoga brings us back to the here and now. As my teacher Baron Baptiste says “you are either now here or nowhere- the difference is a presence”.

Just as when learning to read “… you begin with ABC”.  In Yoga you start with child’s pose, (which is also sometimes called Balasana).  This is a very basic pose & great place to start your Yoga practice.

The heated yoga practice starts in child’s pose and ends in Savasana (or corpse pose) a full circle of life in one practice. Child’s pose is technically an inversion (one of the few safe inversions in pregnancy).

Child’s pose offers the following benefits:

  • calms the body, mind and spirit
  • stimulates the third eye point
  • gently stretches the low back
  • tones the abdominal organs stimulating digestion & elimination

If you have any physical restrictions, including knee injuries, there is a variation of child’s pose where you start on your back with your feet together and your knees out wide to the sides of the room. Another variation uses a blanket under your hips, knees and/or placed under your head; spread your knees wide apart.

Child’s pose can always be used as a resting pose and is especially enjoyable after and challenging pose!

Feel free to ask me more about child’s pose or any other poses before or after class! Remember, you can always sign up for private yoga lessons at Universal Athletic Club to further explore this pose and many others!



YOGA FAQ’s at Universal Athletic Club

We’re glad our members are enjoying our newly-renovated Studio 5 now featuring Heated Power Yoga, in addition to our wellness-enhancing BODYFLOW, Pilates and “regular temperature” Yoga classes. All member feedback is appreciated. Here are answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Q: What types of Yoga classes do you offer at UAC, and what are the benefits?

A: We offer Yoga, Heated Power Yoga and Les Mills BODYFLOW.  All classes are suitable for women and men of every fitness level, from beginner to advanced; no previous Yoga experience is necessary.

• Our main Yoga classes offer a variety of movements to improve flexibility, balance and strength while connecting movement to breath.

Heated Power Yoga is an energetic form of yoga held in a studio heated to 90 degrees. You’ll be led to move fluidly from one pose to the next while connecting breath to movement. You will sweat, release toxins and re-energize your body. Heated yoga especially reduces the risk of muscle injury while increasing flexibility.

BODYFLOW combines Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates set to dynamic music for a full mind/body workout that improves strength, self-awareness and balance.

Q: Do you offer non-heated mind/body classes?

A: Yes, during our regular Yoga, Pilates and BODYFLOW classes, the studio is set to regular room temperature.

Q: How hot is it in your Heated Power Yoga class?

A: The studio is heated to 90 degrees.

Q: How should I prepare for a Heated Power Yoga class?

A: Is it best to come to this class well hydrated. Avoid eating a heavy meal 1-2 hours before class.

Q: What will I need for my first Heated Power Yoga class? What should I wear?

A: We recommend that you bring your own yoga mat, although we do have mats to borrow in the studio. Many poses can be enhanced with simple yoga props, so blocks and straps are also provided in the studio for participants to use during class. In addition, we recommend bringing water and a towel, as well as wearing comfortable, fitted, flexible clothing.

Q: How will I feel after Heated Power Yoga class?

A: Each person feels differently after Yoga. You may feel energized, tired, hungry, or have no appetite at all. Your experience both before, during and after class will be unique to you. This will evolve over time as you grow in your practice. If you find yourself to be sore or tired the next day, remember that this is completely normal. Listen to your body and modify as necessary. Above all,  respect your own flexibility and strength.

Q: Can I take class if I am pregnant or injured?

A: Everyone should consult with their medical professional before beginning any exercise regime, especially if they are pregnant or have an injury. In addition, before class begins, inform the instructor about your pregnancy or injury so he/she can address your specific issues and provide suggestions for  modifications.

Q: How long will it take before I’m good at Yoga?

A: There is no such thing as being “good” at Yoga. Your strength and flexibility will progress at your own pace. Our instructors are present to make sure you are safe and properly aligned; your only responsibility is to respect how your body feels with acceptance and non-judgment.

Q: Is there anything else I should know regarding before, during and after class?

Please bring a water bottle and small towel to every class.
•Please remove shoes before entering the studio, and place these along with your other belongings in the cubbies provided. We recommend leaving valuables at home or in a locked locker.
•Shirts must be worn in all classes.
•Please turn off cell phones/mobile devices or set them to silent.
•Respect the sanctity of the yoga space and refrain from conversation during class.
•Please clean your space and wipe up water and sweat after you complete your session.
•Wipe Universal’s mats with disinfectant wipes available in the room, and replace the mats where they were hung on the wall.
•Remember to take all of your belongings with you when you exit.

Q: What type of Yoga Mat should I purchase if I want my own?

A: We suggest mats that are made with polyurethane. These better absorb moisture to help you get a grip if you get sweaty during practices.

Experienced yogis & yoginis recommend the following brands:

Jade Harmony Mat

Lululemon 5 mm Mat


Thank you for your support of our Mind/Body program. Above all, enjoy this time for YOU!