YouYoga…..We Invite YOU to Come Share in Our Fall Offerings….Begins October 1, 2012 September 6, 2012


Ericka shares: Acceptance, Growth and Confidence with Her Yoga Students August 29, 2012

I’ve began taking Yoga 11 years ago after having my first child.  The idea of intentional movement with conscious breath was a welcoming idea due to my dance background. I was blessed to have my first instructor  teach me from the beginning to meet myself were I was at in the moment.  Acceptance lead to growth. Growth gave way to confidence. Confidence birthed a willingness to try new things.

8 years ago, I earned my 200 hour Yoga certification from KC Fitness Link with Darryl Olive.  In January of 2012, I completed my Chair Yoga Certification with Lakshmi Voelker founder of Get Fit Where You Sit.   My goal as a yoga instructor is to share a balanced approach to yoga.  I want my students to understand proper alignment, along with the importance of proper breathe in each pose.  Let’s not forget… a strong sense of self too.  In sharing a strong foundation, my hope is that my students will have the opportunity to find acceptance, growth, and confidence within themselves.

I’ve had the opportunity to teach a Matt Ross Community Center, 50 Plus Program of Johnson County Parks and    Recreation, City of Lenexa Senior Center, as well as Children’s Mercy Hospital, and I’m looking forward to sharing our approach to yoga at our own yoga space: YouYoga

Ericka Bell, CYT 200, LVCYT, Blogger

Creator of YouYoga


NIH Asks Older Adults, “Ever Consider Yoga?” July 10, 2012

Senior in Easy Pose for Meditation


  The National Institute of Health (NIH) recently sent out a bulletin asking older adults if they had ever considered yoga.  It is accompanied by a great video featuring Dr. Marie A. Bernard, Deputy Director, National Institute on Aging.  She is a senior and has been practicing yoga for two years now.  The video only takes a couple of minutes.  Dr. Bernard discusses how she has benefitted from yoga and how other might also.  See the video here.

  While Dr. Bernard started with hot yoga, remember there are many types of yoga, so it is a viable alternative for everyone regardless of current fitness level.  I invite you, using the comments below, to share your experiences with both mat and chair yoga.  Here is your chance to help others understand the positive impact yoga can have on their lives.

  For a Bio of Dr. Bernard click here.                                                                                      


Yoga and COPD July 2, 2012

Chances are that you know at least one person that suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Decease (COPD).  Roughly 12 million Americans suffer from COPD.  COPD, either through chronic bronchitis or emphysema, impacts a person’s ability to breath.   This of course can have a profound impact on the quality of someone’s life.

I know because my mother has COPD.  Back in the 1980’s she quit smoking cold turkey.  Unfortunately, nearly 25 years later, she was diagnosed with COPD.  Based on my observations of her battle with COPD over the last 7 years, living with COPD is complicated and can result in a dangerous downward spiral of health.  Difficulty breathing and ongoing bouts with bronchitis limits your ability to exercise which often results in weight gain which further exasperates the issues with breathing.  You can see how COPD can impact both your quality of life and independence.  The true danger in this is the feeling of losing control of your health that then leads to loss of hope.  While this is not a disease that is limited to seniors, COPD is especially tough on seniors, because it can multiply the impacts of our natural reduction of physical ability that comes with age.

What does this have to do with yoga you might ask?  One of the challenges for people with COPD is finding a way to stay physically active or regain the ability to be physically active.  Exercise to build or maintain lung capacity as well as to maintain a healthy weight is very important in limiting the impact of COPD on those that have it and to maximize quality of life.  The first images that pop into your mind of people doing yoga may lead you to believe that yoga is not the answer, but actually yoga is an excellent option for people of all ages and physical conditions that suffer from COPD including seniors.

Why is yoga a great option for those that suffer from COPD?

  1. Yoga is all about breathing – The power of breath and breathing is a core principle in yoga.  In the treatment of COPD patients are taught how to breathe correctly.  Yoga teaches you to control and use your breath as well as helps build lung capacity.
  1. Yoga is all about movement – Yoga teaches you to couple breathing and movement.  Since movement equals exercise, it is a great way to build your physical capabilities.  It makes a great addition to your current exercise program and is the perfect way to get started again if you have not been exercising.
  1. Yoga is all about meeting yourself where you are – Many think yoga is only for the young and already fit.  Yoga, more than any other form of exercise, has the ability to meet you where you are no matter your physical capability or age.  You can start in Chair Yoga and build from there.  I would argue that yoga is the best single physical activity people with COPD can undertake.
  1. Yoga at YouYoga is all about community – When you are trying to overcome any challenge, it is always better to have support doing so.  At YouYoga we have built a community of likeminded people studying yoga for many reasons, but all wanting to do so in an inviting, safe, non-judgmental, supportive environment.

If you suffer from COPD or know someone who does, I encourage you to consider yoga as a way to minimize its impacts, improve your quality of life and to preserve your independence.


Lymphatic System Cleansing Breath April 19, 2012

As I went through my Chair Yoga Certification with Lakshmi Voelker, one of the things I found most interesting was the process of our Lymphatic System and how much it needs our attention to function at its best.  I’ve shared this breath with my students, and I like to pair this breath with Eagle Pose.  Eagle Pose squeezes the lymph nodes found under the arms, and in the groin.  This helps to emphasis the action of the breath by forcing the toxins away from the glands. 

I invite you to read the following information from Lakshmi.  Take the time to understand it, and then take the time to apply it.  You’ll reap the same benefits whether your on the mat, or on the chair.  It’s simple and takes a minimal amount of breathing with awareness to help you body function properly with less toxins,  and the only side-effect is calm and clarity! 

Be well!  Ericka




Understand the power of the breath. Your body is as healthy as its cells. Healthy cells mean a healthy blood stream (circulatory system). Breath is the control system that cleanses the blood stream. It gives oxygen to cells and controls the flow of lymph fluid in the body, which contains white blood cells that protect the body and cleanses the system.

The lymph system is the body’s sewage system. Every cell is surrounded by lymph. We have 4 times more lymph than blood. Blood is pumped form the heart through the arteries to thin porous capillaries. The blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the capillaries where they are then diffused in to the fluid around the cells called lymph.

Cells take necessary nutrients and oxygen for their health right out of the lymph and excrete toxins back into the lymph. Dead cells and toxins then go into the lymph system to be drained out of the body. If the lymph system shut down for 24 hours, we would die as a result of trapped blood proteins and excess fluid.

The blood stream has a pump, the heart. The lymph has only deep breathing and muscular movement as its pump. We must breathe deeply to help stimulate lymph movement.

Learn how to breathe first. (Then, look into your eating habits and body movement. For those of you more interested, visit my Web site to learn about The Rebounder.) Deep breathing creates a vacuum that literally cycles the lymph thorough lymph nodes and, thus, the blood stream; it multiplies the pace at which the body eliminates toxins.

Deep breathing and exercise accelerate this process of cleansing 15 times its normal pace. Fully oxygenating the body has got to be our number one priority. One out of three Americans get cancer. Only one out of every seven athletes gets cancer. Why????? Athletes are giving the body oxygen regularly. They are firing off their internal vacuum—the lymph system—that is then cleansed through the circulatory system. More oxygen gets to the cells and fewer toxins stay in the body.

In the lymphatic system cleansing breath we need to breathe at the 1:4:2 ratio.

We hold the breath four times as long as the inhalation so we can oxygenate the blood.

We then need to exhale twice as long as we inhale because exhaling eliminates toxins such as excess carbon dioxide from the blood and activate the lymphatic system.




The lymphatic system cleansing breath goes as follows:

Start the breath deep within the abdominal area

Inhale for the count of 1

Hold the breath for the count of 4

Exhale through pursed lips slowly for the count of 2.

Conclude each ratio with one inhalation through the nose and one exhalation through the mouth.

Continue the ratio 9 more times for a total of 10 rounds three times a day.

Gradually increase the ratio as the days and weeks pass going to 2:8:4 then 3:12:6 and on till you can comfortably get to 7:28:14. This may take a few weeks to a few months to obtain


Notes from the Students April 4, 2012

"Grandma Jody" Demonstrating a beautiful, Reverse Low-Lunge on a chair at YOUYOGA



…because the workouts are great for flexibility, strength, and self-confidence
…because the atmosphere in the class is totally supportive, peaceful, and unintimidating
…because use of the chair means we always feel secure and unafraid to try the exercises
…because we always have a period of total relaxation at the end, which leads to peace and serenity
…because Ericka has such a soothing voice, kind attitude, and is concerned about each participant
…because it is a wonderful, easy introduction to the whole concept of yoga



Notes From The Students March 28, 2012


A strong, peaceful and confident Tree Pose being demonstrated on a chair at YOUYOGA.

In keeping with the theme of Ahimsa this week….I thought it appropriate to share some kind words from one of our valued Chair Yoga students at YOUYOGA, as well as share a photo of her practicing Tree Pose/Vrksasana on a chair.  The practice of  Tree Pose helps to strengthen the ankle while creating new space in the hip.  This openness in the hip can help to improve the symptoms of Sciatica, which is a pain or numbness in the leg, hip, and/or lower back caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve located at the lumbar (lower back) spine.
It also increases our muscular and skeletal strength in our arches, calves and thighs.  Helping us to create a strong base to improve, or maintain our physical balance.  If we lift our palms above the crown of our head, it can also help to increase our ability to breath, along with improving our circulation.  With greater breath and improved blood flow….our internal organs get the support they need to function properly.
By lifting our arms we also engage the muscles of our back-body…..helping to make it stronger, while improving our posture.  However, if your shoulders sense pain from an injury, or weakness then keep those hands at heart, or belly center.  Remember to keep lengthening the neck away from the tops of the shoulders, as you draw your shoulder blades towards one another.   This action alone will help to develop strength whether the hands are above, or below the heart.  
Lastly, practicing Tree Pose wether sitting, or standing will help to develop a sense of calm and focus.  I think we can all agree calm is worth seeking on a daily basis……for too often it seems that they day isn’t long enough for the task list that awaits our attention.  So whether you’re at work, or at home between taks, or commercial breaks be inspired to take a moment and try Tree Pose…..sitting or standing…..and see what it can do for YOU!  If nothing else it can become a moment of quality time for yourself.  Helping you to create the quality of Ahimsa………loving, compassion, and a sense of worthiness.  All qualities that can help us be better people knowing that we deserve to feel and be well.
Special thanks to Christine for allowing YOUYOGA to share her kind words (found below) and lovely photo with all of  our viewers 😉
“Chair yoga at YOUYOGA is REAL yoga. It’s good challenging exercise and it …makes you feel strong and balanced.You’re doing real yoga and the chair is just there for support. Really, that’s what YOUYOGA classes, and YOUYOGA teachers, are for … a little support when you need it.

You’re never on your own, there’s always an encouraging voice to remind you to be mindful of, and explore, your strength.”



Reflection on Today’s Yoga Practices at YOUYOGA March 8, 2012


the beautiful lotus flower



Today’s classes were so enjoyable. We practiced “playing our edges” by facing challenges with kindness and grace. We also worked with a mindfulness of “Matrika Shakti”….defined as the power of the word.  Begin seeing obstacles as only challenges…..knowing that in-time with a loving consistency all things will unfold. Thank YOU Lakshmi Voelker for sharing this beautiful concept with us. May all of us carry this mind-set as we move through our day……seeking peace, harmony and bliss.