Yoga Practice: How To Make It Pleasant

Yoga Practice: How To Make It Pleasant

Yoga practice can be a life-transforming experience. It can recharge your body, mind, heart and soul with new refreshing energies and gently bring all aspects of your being into a state of balance. The practice can include doing poses (asanas), pranayama (deep breathing), meditation and deep restorative rest.

There is one requirement for these amazing benefits to happen: the practice has to be regular. The word “regular” could mean different ideas to different people, and I encourage you to ponder and define it for yourself. At least, if you come back to the mat somewhat consistently, then you can start feeling and noticing positive changes.

No doubt, Yoga is becoming more popular. More studios and styles are popping up. Many of us have tried at least one community Yoga class or tried practicing at home. I attended several Yoga teacher trainings and have been teaching Yoga for the community and private clients for eight years. Following my inner calling, I established my own home Yoga practice more than two decades ago and would like to share some insights with you.

So, what makes a Yoga class a great experience? What helps you as a Yoga practitioner, whether you are a complete novice or a seasoned student, experience a feeling of lightness, recharge, emotional freedom, mental clarity and happiness during and after a Yoga class? Let me attempt to sum up the key points here for you:

1.  Know Thyself.
Throughout your Yoga practice, stay aware of your body’s capabilities and limitations. Accept what you can do in a moment and let go of any comparisons and expectations. Try not to force yourself into the “perfect Yoga image” in your mind. The body may feel very different on different days. Be grateful to your body and its abilities.

2.  Breathe.
Stay focused on your breath and invite your breath deep into your belly and the tiniest parts of your lungs. Breathe as slowly and as fully as you comfortably can. Notice the rhythm, temperature, pattern, length, and smoothness of your breath and allow it to become more relaxed. Practicing on an empty stomach or two to three hours after your last intake of foods and beverages helps relax the chest and abdominal muscles that orchestrate the breathing process.

3.  Soften.
Yoga practice is a time for inner reflection and inquiry. By consciously softening and relaxing your mind and heart, you can tune into your inner being more fully. Mental activities such as thinking, planning, and solving problems or reviewing emotionally upsetting situations are best to deal with outside of the Yoga class, so ask your mind to wait patiently until after the end of your practice.

3.  Listen to your body.
Listen to the feelings, sensations, sounds, urges, inner dialogs and other cues coming from your body. At one moment, you can notice some tightness in your back. Later, it could be a sense of release in your shoulders or neck or a feeling that you need to come out the pose sooner. Observe your body going through the experience of Yoga practice, stay gentle with yourself and respect your inner messages.

The last but not least: before you begin attending Yoga classes in the community or practicing at home, visit your health provider, review your medical history together and decide which type of Yoga practice might be your best fit. Keep your health team updated on any changes in your well-being.

As a general rule, gentle and restorative Yoga practices can be suitable for many different bodies. When you approach your Yoga practice with awareness, your own body will “speak to you” and teach you which poses, techniques and styles work the best for you at any given moment.

I wish you safe and pleasant Yoga experiences! Namaste.

In Health,




Iyengar, B.K.S. (1976). Light on Yoga. Schoken Books: New York

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center. (2008). Yoga: Mind and Body. DK: New York


A Heat Wave on a Labor Day Weekend in San Francisco Bay Area

A Heat Wave on a Labor Day Weekend in San Francisco Bay Area

Finally, the long-awaited Labor Day weekend is here! This year, a heat wave hit the entire Bay Area. Here is an image of a beautiful sunrise I took during my today’s morning jog around eight o’clock in the morning. The temperature was already around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tips for the humans:

  • – On a scorching day when the temperature is in the triple digits, it is essential to wear light and breathable clothes, stay in a cool shade as much as possible and hydrate yourself often by drinking more water. Sweating helps to evaporate the internal heat and prevent the build-up of excessive heat.
  • – Interesting that in some Asian countries there is a custom to drink lots of hot tea when the weather is at its hottest.  It might not make much sense, right? In fact, drinking hot tea helps to sweat more profusely and promote rapid internal cooling. When my family and I lived in the southern latitudes, the typical summer temperature was often above 100 degrees and we served hot tea 4-6 times a day. And yes, each of us was sweating a lot!
  • – What kind of tea might be the best? It could be 1-2 cups of your favorite green or black tea, and a few more cups of herbal teas served with lemon slices. If drinking hot tea on a sweltering day does not resonate with you, a cold or iced tea is always another option. The key is to keep your body moist from inside out. My favorite teas are Organic Jasmine Green Tea and  Organic Peppermint Tea.

Tips for the pets:

  • – What about our furry friends? A pet that you own is part of your family. Do you know that animals are not able to sweat and because of that they get overheated very quickly?Overheating can do severe damage to their internal organs and tissues. Cars and other vehicles do not provide a favorable environment for the pets unless an air conditioner is running and keeping the space refreshing.
  • – Keeping the animals in a cool shade and offering them fresh water during the day is essential. Wet food or rehydrated dry food can provide additional hydration.  One of the foods that my cats love is rehydrated Primal Freeze Dried Nuggets. They also enjoy Chlorella Tablets as a healthy crunchy supplement.
  • – Fresh vegetables are an excellent source of hydration and some pets like eating them as a snack or mixed with their regular food. My friend’s dogs like to chew on fresh carrots and broccoli. My cats like avocados and corn on the cob. If you notice that your pet is interested in fresh vegetables, it might be best to discuss it with your veterinarian.

Tips for the plants:

  • – On a very hot day, the plants need extra care as well. If you have a lawn, a garden or pots with flowers, herbs or bushes, keep your plant family members happy and thriving by giving them extra splashes of water on a sunrise and sunset.

Hope my thoughts were inspiring and helpful to you. I wish you, your family, pets, and plants to have a pleasant holiday!



Ward, E. (2017). How Hot Does It Get in a Parked Car? (video). Available at

Client Linda V, South San Francisco, CA

I worked with Nataliya for 4 months. Before my private Yoga for Scoliosis practice, I experienced various types of discomfort and stiffness. The most helpful was to learn how to practice relaxing poses and breathing into my back while visualizing my spine being in perfect alignment. As a result, I feel better overall as my chest feels more open and my posture is better. The one-on-one sessions have helped me do the poses more correctly and I really feel the difference.

The one-on-one sessions have helped me feel better by stretching more and paying more attention to my posture and my breathing. I am very grateful that I was able to participate in Yoga for Scoliosis sessions. Nataliya answered all my questions clearly and precisely, giving me examples, clarifications, suggestions that were helpful in my practices at home. I appreciate all the pictures and information you provided that made my own practices easier. As always, Nataliya is the best.

Client Alice M, Millbrae, CA

I worked with Nataliya for about 4 months. I experienced different types of discomfort before beginning Yoga for Scoliosis practice with Nataliya. I found the most helpful poses were Tadasana, Viparita Karani and core strengthening pose. My discomfort has been minimized. The yoga practice helped build strength and relieve discomfort in many parts of my body. One-on-one practice helped establishing a home practice, which was the most beneficial for me. I also learned variations of the poses that were unique to my body. I plan to continue maintaining my home practice to keep discomfort to a minimum.

I would recommend one-on-one Yoga for Scoliosis sessions. It was very educational and helpful to know type of scoliosis, the curvature of spine, the alignment of body, and what factors can contribute to discomfort. Learning specific poses to build strength is very beneficial… especially those pose variations that are unique to a person’s body. My YFS practitioner, Nataliya has been a joy to work with and she is an excellent instructor who has helped me immensely in the way she has guided me through the poses and by example.

Client Yuliya K, San Francisco, CA

I worked with Nataliya for about 2 months, in person, by phone and by email. Nataliya was very helpful, enthusiastic, and always willing to answer my questions. Nataliya is truly a very caring, pleasant, understanding, never judging, and very knowledgeable person.

I got the most help with the following:

  • Nataliya made her recommendations based on my age, my personal preferences and my family traditions
  • We discussed my every day intake of foods and beverages
  • She did grocery shopping with me a few times!
  • She suggested better-quality vitamins and supplements
  • She is very educated teacher: I realized that it is possible to improve my health with healthy food and lifestyle choices

My results: I finally lost 20 lbs, I have better energy, I have less of the abdominal discomfort, the pimples on my forehead disappeared, my blood pressure is better. Most importantly, I learned how to take a better care of myself!