Morning Yoga with Essential Oils Video

Big day ahead? This class will help you wake up and get going with a slow, effective stretch. Essential oils enhance the experience, but if you don’t have them don’t sweat it, this is still a pretty great way to start your day. Absolutely beginner friendly, with modifications for sitting in a chair instead of on the ground.

Essential Oils for a Good Day

We will be using Frankincense for centering, Peppermint for energy and Wild Orange, a little liquid sunshine, to put an all-day smile on your face. You could substitute Sandalwood or Cedarwood for Frankincense, Wintergreen or Eucalyptus for Peppermint; and, Lemon or Grapefruit for Wild Orange.

Try making this class a part of your morning routine a few days a week to reap the benefits of increased energy, lower blood pressure, and an overall better mood. In a word…HAPPINESS!

As always thank you for practicing with me and if you like this class, PLEASE subscribe to the channel so we can spend a little more time together.

Subscribe to the Next Level Yoga Channel Here

Wind Down & Relax- Evening Yoga with Essential Oils Video

Had a long day?  Need some help transitioning to evening or bedtime?  This beginner friendly class is designed to give your day a soft landing.  Essential oils help, but are not absolutely necessary, this class is all about relaxation.  You can start out on the ground or seated in a chair.

Essential Oils for Relaxation

We will be using Bergamot for mood lifting, Marjoram for aches and pains and Lavender to soothe the nervous system. You could substitute Lemon or Orange for Bergamot, Eucalyptus or Peppermint for Marjoram; and, Spikenard or Sandalwood for Lavender.

Make this class a part of your post-work or pre-bedtime routine and reap the benefits of stress reduction, lower blood pressure, pain relief and better sleep. In all, a happier you. As always thank you for practicing with me and if you like this class, please subscribe to the channel so we can spend a little more time together.

See you on the mat, Tara

Yoga with Essential Oils Video Now on YouTube

You may already know that adding essential oils to your yoga practice can enhance the experience; but, have you ever wondered exactly how to do that?  In this newest video from Next Level Yoga, we incorporate three of the most popular essential oils to the practice. This Yoga with Essential Oils video is the perfect, beginner friendly way to blend the health benefits of essential oils and yoga.

Yoga with Essential Oils Video

Essential oils have a lot of benefits, from inflammation reduction, to mood adjustment to pain management, it seems like there is an oil for most every situation.  For more basic information on using essential oils in your yoga practice, check out this post, Yoga with Essential Oils

This video is a short, very basic class, accessible to all levels of experience. In fact, the majority of the class can be done either in or standing behind a chair, if sitting on the floor is not possible.

The Essential Oils You Will Need and Where to Get Them.

For this class, you will need the three most popular essential oils, lemon, peppermint and lavender. I use DoTerra essential oils and highly recommend them.  However, there are other oils on the market that are also very good.  If you are loyal user of another brand, by all means please use them with this video.

If you don’t know where to purchase these oils, here are some affiliate links to help you find the products you need from the two most popular brands.  I recommend purchasing the DoTerra introductory kit which contains all three of the oils used in this video.

Introductory Kit- Doterra Lemon, Peppermint and Lavender Kit

Lemon Oil links- Doterra 15ml Lemon Oil – Doterra 5ml Lemon Oil  – Young Living 15ml Lemon Oil

Peppermint Oil links- Doterra 5ml Peppermint OilDoterra 15ml Peppermint OilYoung LIving 15ml Peppermint Oil

Lavender Oil links- Doterra 5ml Lavender Oil– Doterra 15ml Lavender Oil– Young Living 5ml Lavender Oil

If you like the video, please subscribe to the channel and let us know your thoughts.  Also, if you have a favorite oil you would like to see incorporated into a class, let us know in the comments.

Yoga with Essential Oils

Incorporating essential oils into your yoga practice is a great way to maximize the benefits of yoga. I know, it can feel a little out there to think that rubbing a drop or two of some plant oil on you is going to have some tangible effect on your body. However, think about this: before we had modern synthetic based drugs, people cured multitudes of maladies with plants alone. Yoga with essential oils is a great way to experience this effect.

Scientists who are way smarter than me, figured out how to mimic those plants’ chemical compounds and created drugs that have profound effects on the body, curing all manners of disease. So I ask, why is it so far-fetched to believe those same plant oils, in their purest forms, would not have the same effect now?  In short, its not, it just takes a little getting used to the idea. To be clear, no-one is suggesting you should forgo all modern medicine for essential oils, that would be irresponsible, but why not give it a try and see if you realize any benefits?

essential oil science


The use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes is called aromatherapy. Different oils provide different benefits. Some oils can improve concentration or reduce stress, while others help boost the immune system or improve the quality of sleep. Yoga with essential oils is a great way to start to use oils in your everyday life.

There are many different oils out there, the trick is to find what works for you. That will depend on what you hope to achieve. Here are a few essential oil basics: for enhanced relaxation try lavender, marjoram or ylang ylang. Conversely, for energy try peppermint, rosemary or wild orange. For focus and concentration, try grounding oils like sandalwood, frankincense and cedarwood.

Now to amp up those benefits try yoga with essential oils. Here are a few suggestions on how to do that:

  • essential oil diffuser
  • Use a Diffuser: Diffusing aerosolizes the oil molecules allowing you to breathe in their benefits. The most safest and most effective method is to use a diffuser which you can find either online or at most stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond. You simply add water and a few drops of oil and hit the start button.
  • Topical Application. Basically, you rub a few drops directly on to the skin. Always test for skin sensitivity first, and consider using a carrier oil such as fractionated (fatty acids removed) coconut oil to dilute the oil and cover more of the skin’s surface. Depending on the oil and the desired effect, there are a variety of ways to apply, for instance; rub peppermint on your chest or biceps before sun salutations for an energy boost; for relaxation, massage some lavender into the soles of your feet before final seated and reclined poses, or rub some sandalwood into your hands, cup your hands in front of your face to breath in the scent during the initial breathing exercises at the beginning of class.

essential oils topical use

  • Ingestion. Oils that are safe to ingest, such as lemon, lime and peppermint can be added to your water to sip during and after class. Be sure to confirm the oil you are using is safe for ingestion. Personally, I use doTerra products which carry a supplement label, letting you know they are safe to ingest, unless you see a similar label, do not assume you can ingest the oil.

ingesting essential oils

We will be launching some free Yoga with Essential Oil videos on the Next Level Yoga YouTube Channel soon.  The yoga will be absolutely beginner-friendly and will incorporate three different essential oils at different times during the practice.  Here is a link to our YouTube Channel we would love it if you would take time to subscribe so we can notify you when they are available.

Below are some affiliate links to the three oils you will need for our first video. These links will take you to Amazon where the oils are sold at the retail price.  I have included links to the two most popular brands of essential oil.

Lemon Oil links- Doterra 15ml Lemon Oil – Doterra 5ml Lemon Oil  – Young Living 15ml Lemon Oil

Peppermint Oil links- Doterra 5ml Peppermint OilDoterra 15ml Peppermint OilYoung LIving 15ml Peppermint Oil

Lavender Oil links- Doterra 5ml Lavender Oil– Doterra 15ml Lavender Oil– Young Living 5ml Lavender Oil

Yoga Block Party- 5 Great Uses for a Yoga Block

If I intend to teach a class that uses a prop (yoga block, strap, blanket or bolster) I usually have to provide said prop. Therefore, if I am going to lug 35 blocks to class, you better believe I plan to use it for more than one pose.

In a great stand-up bit by Tyler Fischer, he talks about yoga class and says there is always some mystery prop. The teacher will say something like, you are going to need to get yourself a blanket, two blocks and a live turtle. He’s spot on hilarious. Here is a link if you want to check out the whole bit. Tyler Fisher on Yoga Props

Blocks are probably the most versatile of the props. Think of them as a way to bring the ground closer, or, alternatively, make your arms longer.  If you don’t have a block you really should consider getting one.  They come in 3 and 4 inch versions, I recommend the 4-inch,  here are two good ones.  Four Inch Block  or Three Inch Block

Once you have procured yourself block here are five of my favorite ways to use them.

Five Poses with a Yoga Block
  1.  Runner’s Lunge- Use the block to lengthen the arms by placing it under the hands; or,  lower down onto the forearms to drop into the middle-ground between hands on the floor and forearms on the floor. Try them both to see what your body responds to.
    yoga block runner's lunge

    Elevated Runner’s Lunge

    supported lunge with yoga block

    Supported Runner’s Lunge








2.  Revolved Lunge-  use the block to get a little height and allow the ribs to more fully rotate towards the inner knee.

revolved lunge with yoga block

Elevated Revolved Lunge

3.  Bridge.  Placing the block between the knees balances out the strength of the outer leg, which tends to pull the knees apart.  The block between the knees engages those inner leg muscles and forces you to distribute the work between the inner and outer leg more equally.

aligned bridge pose with yoga block

Aligned Bridge Pose

4.  Supported Bridge-  This is a great way to release the hip flexors, align the SI joint and relieve low back pain.  Place the block under the sacrum (the bony area above the tailbone, below the L5 vertebrae).  For a more intense experience, try straightening out one or both legs.

supported bridge pose

Supported Bridge Pose

  1. Pigeon.  Slide the block under the elevated hip, and allow the block to fill in the space between the hip and the floor.  Stay for a minimum of one minute best results.
pigeon pose with yoga block

Supported Pigeon Pose

Short and Soothing Summer Porch Yin Yoga


Need a break? My short Yin Yoga inspired class is now on YouTube. Grab a blanket or big towel, find a quite spot and take 20 minutes to stretch and chill. If you like the class and can find it in your heart to subscribe to my channel, I would be massively grateful.

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga is based on the idea of yin and yang, opposing forces that retain balance in nature. Yin is the the cool, still and calm side, yang is the hot, dynamic and energetic side. As applied to the body, the yin is the tendons, ligaments and fascia while the  yang would be the muscles and circulatory system.

In a Yin yoga class the poses are generally more gentle, held for a longer period of time, and closer to the floor. The idea is to place  the body in a position close to the edge of the flexibility or range of motion, become still and allow the connective tissues to soften as time passes.

This short class is a great little sampler of yin yoga.  Check it out and see if it’s for you.  Here is the Link: Next Level Yoga Summer Porch Yin Yoga short class

If you enjoy this Yin class, please let me know in the comments.

More Yoga Videos from Next Level Yoga on YouTube

Neck and Shoulder Elixir Yoga Class by Next Level Yoga

Hips and Hamstrings Yoga Class by Next Level Yoga

Yin Yang Flow by Next Level Yoga

Upper Body Stretch and Strengthen


Hello Youtube… Summer Porch Yoga has Arrived

My daughter Piper tells me that all the cool kids put their “content” on Youtube; and, we all know coolness is my lifelong goal, so I am uploading my free videos onto YouTube. You can find me wedged between “Crazy Nuttyass Honey Badger” and “Goat Yelling Like a Man” Or, you can follow this link to my Hips and Hamstrings class
(but seriously that Goat is unsettling)

See you there!


Finding the Perfect Yoga Mat

People will ask me which yoga mat is the best, and while I can answer that question with absolute certainty for myself, I think you have to consider a number of variables. Here are some tips to buying the perfect yoga mat for you.

My mat of choice is the Jade Fusion, it was an absolute game changer. Given that I have the boniest knees on the planet, I tried numerous mat and supplemental padding permutations. When I found the Fusion mat, my life changed. No more folding mats or setting up towels, I could just drop a knee and focus on the pose, rather than counting the seconds until I could get back up. I have several of these mats and I let clients use them just so they can see the difference. It is always a transformative moment. Check out the Jade Fusion here

This is not to say I think the Fusion is the right mat for everyone, it has some downside. First, in comparison to other mats, it costs a small fortune. Second, it weighs as much as my cat, so lugging it around can be a burden. And, because of the extra density, it makes balance poses a bit more challenging. But to me, those are prices I am more than willing to pay.

Oh, that’s why it’s so heavy

My standard advice when choosing a mat is the same that I give when buying a cake, look for density. There are some nice mats out there that won’t break the bank. If you have been practicing for a while and are ready to treat yourself to a premium mat, check out Jade and Manduka. I have a Manduka mat that I use at my office and it is really nice, not quite as dense as the Fusion, but a really good mat at about half the price. Check out my Manduka mat here:

There are good options at places like TJ Maxx and Target. Gaiam is probably best known, they have a premium line which I am seeing a lot of, and people seem pleased with them. When looking at mats, try to find a minimum density of 5mm, you can generally tell by the size of the roll how dense the mat is, if it looks like a taquito, it is probably 3mm so move on. Here is a nice Gaiam mat with lots of color choices:

Also, consider length. Standard length is 68” which is fine if you are 5’8″ or shorter. For taller clients, I recommend they spend the extra few bucks for the 74” mat, it is a rarely regretted decision. Extra wide mats also exist, so don’t just buy the first thing you see, get what you need, you are going to spend a fair amount of time, face down on this thing. The Jade 74″ Fusion mat is here Gaiam also has a nice extra long/wide mat as well: 

While there are plenty of mats which will serve you well out there, I have definite opinions about those big puffy “fitness mats.” Stay away from them. They are not designed for yoga, they have no grip, the ends roll up, and they condense to a tissue-thin sheet when you press on them. I cannot tell you how many people have bought them thinking the puffiness will make them more comfortable, only to be disappointed and frustrated when they don’t work.

This guy, yeah… avoid him.

Bottom line when buying a mat, consider how often you practice, if it’s more than once a week, spend a little more for a premium mat. If you practice once a week or less, get yourself a nice quality 5mm from one of the mass retailers. A final word of warning, if you float the idea of getting a mat as a present, be specific about the mat you want, otherwise the decision will be made on color and price and that does not always end well.

I would love to hear from you, please comment below and let me know your favorite yoga mat, and what it is about the mat that you love.


This class combines the two things my clients request most, cork work and balance. I don’t believe balance is improved by standing on one leg, but rather, by challenging the body’s ability to adjust during movements in all planes. Handily enough, all balance work requires core strength. I have combined kneeling core and balance work, with leg swings and lunges, a core isolation flow series, then a long leveraged balance sequence, we finish on our backs with a series I call dead crow progression. Not gonna lie, this one’s a challenge.
You will need a block.