Physical Therapy Meets Yoga, an Interview with Nicole Mullins

fullsizeoutput_29e5Nicole Mullins PT/E-RYT is a physical therapist and yoga teacher with over 20 years experience working in orthopedics and seven years in therapeutic yoga. Currently, Nicole is the clinical director at Embody Physical Therapy and Yoga. She will be leading an Intermediate Anatomy Workshop for yoga teachers and experienced students at Yoga One on June 10-11. For more information and to register, go here

Yoga One: Which practice were you introduced to first in your life, physical therapy or yoga? And how long have you been practicing each?

Nicole Mullins: I was introduced to physical therapy long before I was introduced to yoga. Of course I knew yoga existed, I just didn’t have any experience with it or anyone who practiced yoga. I have been a physical therapist for 22 years and have always actively sought out additional training to stay current.

I took my first yoga class 17 years ago, but didn’t really start practicing until about 8 years ago when I jumped into a 200-hour teacher training. From there, I took workshop after workshop to really hone my skills and understanding of yoga.

Yoga made so much biomechanical sense that it soon replaced most of the therapeutic exercise I did with my patients.

YO: How has yoga informed your clinical work in physical therapy?

Nicole: I think the combination of yoga and physical therapy is both revolutionary and uncommon. It is a brilliant marriage that allows me to offer so much more to my patients than I was ever able to before. Yoga is so much more than just asana (the physical exercises). Yoga recognizes the undeniable mind-body connection and how we must address the whole person to affect positive change.

YO: Good alignment is something every yoga student wants to have, but it can be difficult to learn without years of practice or private instruction. If you could teach every yoga teacher and student the biomechanics of one pose, which would it be?

Nicole: There are actually two poses that I think are vital and necessary for everyone! From a purely biomechanical standpoint, I would teach tadasana, or mountain pose. Tadasana is the foundation of all standing poses and so many other yoga poses. Knowing how to find a neutral posture is necessary to be able to safely move into and out of poses and minimize risk of injury or overuse.

From the standpoint of overall well-being, I would choose savasana, or corpse pose. Most of us are unable to truly shut down and let our minds and bodies relax. The purpose of savasana at the end of a yoga practice is to let the nervous system integrate the experience of the physical practice. Learning how to do this properly can be extraordinarily beneficial and healing.

YO: What have you learned recently that really interests you?

Nicole: In addition to studying manual physical therapy and yoga, learning about essential oils and natural healing, I have also been studying osteopathic techniques, including visceral manipulation. “Viscera” refers to our organs. This technique has been around for many years and embodies the concept of treating the whole person. We cannot just address the muscles and joints without considering every other system and structure in the body.

The viscera and their orientation in our body is a crucial component in our ability to move and function with ease. Scar tissue and adhesions from surgery, injury, illness and infection can change an organ’s ability to move naturally. These adhesions are frequently manifested as musculoskeletal injuries, including back and neck pain. Adding this technique to my practice along with yoga and has been truly pivotal.

Learning new techniques and knowledge about the body is what makes me so excited to be a yoga teacher and physical therapist. It’s what makes me even more excited to share what I have learned through teaching so others can grow in their practice as well.

Embody (370 of 404).jpgYO: We’re excited you’re offering an Intermediate Anatomy Workshop at Yoga One, can you share one topic you’ll be covering in depth?

Nicole: The workshop will touch on many topics, but one I consider to be the most important is what constitutes a neutral spinal and pelvic alignment. We will explore the biomechanical relationship between the spine, pelvis, shoulders, and hips. You will learn why the shoulders and hips are cornerstones of a healthy spine and you will experience this in your own body via asana in the training.

YO: That sounds amazing! Who would benefit the most from this type of workshop?

Nicole: This workshop will benefit any yoga teacher or student who wants to understand more about how and why the body moves as it does. This workshop is for anyone who wants a deeper, fuller knowledge of biomechanics and how it applies to yoga in particular.

If you want to be inspired to teach yoga more confidently, excited to share what you will have learned, and ready to see the benefits in your students, please join us.

Intermediate Anatomy Workshop

led by Nicole Mullins at Yoga One
10-hour course, eligible for Yoga Alliance continuing education credits

Saturday June 10th 12:30-6:30pm
Sunday June 11th 12:00-6:00pm

Pre-registeration required: $175 by June 1st / $225 by June 8th (last day to register. No refunds.)


Posted in Workshops/Retreats | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond The Mat: Hannah Rae Block

How do yoga teachers feel about their practice? What inspires them to keep teaching and keep practicing yoga? Get to know your Yoga One teachers outside the studio and off the mat. This month’s interview is with Hannah Rae Block.

1. Why do you practice yoga?

I found the practice of yoga when I first moved to San Diego in 2012 and it became an integral part of my recovery from my eating disorder. For me, the practice cultivated balance and bridged the gap between my body, mind, and spirit. My intention when I practice and teach is to let it flow through me, I want to be carried by the wave, letting go of control and feeling every moment of it.

2. What was the most intimidating aspect of your teaching when you first started?

The most intimidating aspect of my teaching when I first started was standing in front of a community and offering a part of myself through my teaching.

3. What gives you the most joy as a yoga instructor?

I find the most joy as a yoga teacher in the moments of genuine connection and alignment. There is a synchronicity, a space of understanding, a progression, to be a part of that, to be a witness to it, fills me immensely.

4. If yoga were a food, car, smell, planet, song, artist, flavor, etc… it would be: I like yoga =)

5. What’s your yoga inspiration?

To pinpoint one inspiration is hard. I am inspired in so many ways. At the core, my inspiration comes from the desire to share the healing and transformation that I have experienced through yoga with others. The practice is so expansive, there is never an end point, I will never arrive. That is inspiring.

6. What classes do you teach at Yoga One?

I teach a Level 1 and 2 Gentle Flow on Tuesday nights at 7:30pm.

You can find our full class schedule here. Om!

Posted in Around the Studio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yoga One Interview with Locale Magazine

From apple picking in Australia to owning an award-winning family run yoga studio in downtown San Diego, Locale magazine interviewed Yoga One co-founders Amy and Michael Caldwell. Go here to read the full article or keep reading below:

Q: What sets Yoga One apart from the competition? 

MC/AC: We don’t think of other studios or yoga offerings as competition. The more people practicing yoga, the better. However, we do take pride in being a family run studio and treating our teachers and students as family. Award-winning Yoga One has been helping San Diego residents and visitors enjoy healthier and happier lives since 2002. We offer depth of knowledge, integrity and heart.

Q: How did you personally get started in practicing yoga?

MC/AC: Our yoga practice began in an organic apple orchard in Australia in 1997. We had both just quit our careers in the Hollywood music business and set out to explore different cultures and lifestyles. While backpacking around Australia, we picked apples to earn extra money and one night, sore from a 10 hour workday, we did a few poses from a book we were reading. We immediately felt better. Over the next three years of traveling around the world and visiting 15 countries, we got more and more committed to deepening our practice. By the time we arrived in India, we were practicing up to four hours a day with some of the country’s top yoga masters.

Q: What advice would you give to a beginner yogi?

MC/AC: Enjoy the journey. Yoga is like a tool kit that can help enhance your life. You can’t use all the tools effectively at once immediately so take your time to understand the basics and build from there. Find good teachers that you resonate with. And if you want to do the advanced version in any pose, simply lift the corners of your mouth.

Q: What’s an inspiring story that you’ve been able to witness as a yoga instructor?

MC/AC: We just received this email from a student who graduated from our Yoga One Teacher Training course at SDSU:

‘Wow, it’s been six months since I graduated. What prompted this email was an abundant feeling of gratitude. I successfully accomplished my first semester as a teacher at University of San Diego. It went so well, they resigned me for the same curriculum section in the spring and extended an offer to three additional group fitness classes! After a successful semester substituting at SDSU, I’ve also received an offer for my very own group fitness section over the winter break and the upcoming spring semester. I cannot thank you enough for the enriching experience I’ve had both as a student of your training and as a teacher in the community.

The by-product of the Yoga One Teacher Training has been tremendous. The insight to my own personal practice alone has gained so much depth…being a teacher, the smiles, gratitudes, blessings, the positivity I’ve witnessed are sooooo fulfilling, and it wouldn’t have been done without you.’

Q: How does it feel to be listed as one of the top yoga studio in downtown San Diego?

MC/AC: Humbling, but after all, we are named Yoga One!

Posted in In the Community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Approaching Grief Through Trauma-Sensitive Yoga

an interview with Monique Minahan

Monique is a yoga teacher whose niche is teaching yoga tailored for grief. She’s the mama of a sweet and energetic toddler and last year compiled her many writings on grief and loss into a short book titled “The Unedited Heart.” This year she launched her more expansive project, The Grief Practice, with hopes of shifting the culture around grief globally.

Yoga One: When did you first start teaching yoga in a way that welcomed all the emotions of grief?

Monique: A year ago I approached a local hospice center with a desire to offer a weekly bereavement yoga class. I wanted to offer an approach that grief wasn’t something to fix, but as something to welcome. Grief is often held in the body and yoga guides us back into our physical form, where we can invite the grief to take up space. To surge. To recede. To flow. To be.

Editor’s Note: Go here if you are interested in taking a bereavement yoga class with Monique in Carlsbad, CA.

Yoga One: What does trauma-sensitive mean in your classes?

Monique: Trauma-sensitive means I teach the class in a trauma-informed way, taking into account how the body lodges traumatic experiences and how I, as a yoga teacher, can unknowingly trigger the body’s memory of traumatic experiences. For example, by the words I use or by initiating touch without permission. I teach the students anchoring techniques that they can “hold onto” when their emotions, feelings or memories become overwhelming.

I have tremendous respect for the power of grief whether it is of a traumatic nature or not. The first thing I say in every class is that it’s okay to cry. It’s amazing the relief people feel when they’re given permission to cry.

Yoga One: What are consent rocks and how do you use them in class?

Monique: They are simply rocks on which I’ve painted “yes” on one side and “no” on the other. I use the consent rocks to let the students tell me whether they want any physical adjustment or touch throughout the class. Touch can be intrusive or healing.  Touch can be unwelcome one day and welcome another.

Inviting the students to choose what parts of the practice support them on any given day is a really important part of this class. In final relaxation, for example, I give options to lie on their side or on their belly. Sometimes students who attend the class are only weeks out from tremendous loss and lying on their back feels too exposed.

Yoga One: Yoga means union. I imagine that union, or healing, after the initial separation and wound of grief is very powerful, especially to experience in community – what have you seen come out of these classes that surprised you?

Monique: I have witnessed some incredibly beautiful and unexpected moments in this class. One time, that I’ll never forget, happened in the first few months of teaching the class.

At the beginning of the class, after we’ve grounded and centered our bodies, I invite the students to bring their hands to their hearts and say the name or names of their loved ones, out loud, or to themselves. Often I see tears as they say the names, which one would expect. But one time there was a woman sitting in the front row. I saw her mouth the name and then she smiled the biggest, most beautiful smile. It broke my heart in a good way, seeing that face of grief that we don’t often see or show. That love that still lives on.

Yoga One: You’re working on a project called The Grief Practice, what is it? 

Monique: In its final form, The Grief Practice will be a large book that is part stories of loss and part mindfulness practices. There will be techniques offered that support the full experience of losing and learning to live with loss.

Right now, I’m collecting stories to include in the book. Not everyone tells their story through writing. Some people tell a story through drawing or photography. I want to share various approaches to story-telling to honor the authenticity of each person’s experience.

The thing about grief is that it’s not linear. That means our stories don’t always have a happy ending or proceed in a linear way. I hope this book will give the world a new perspective on grief, support, and our fellow humans who are grieving. I hope this helps encourage us all to step into this uncomfortable conversation with grief armed with courage and love.

To submit your story to The Grief Practice, go here. 

Posted in In the Community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

19 Ways to Practice Radical Self-Love

by Laura McCorry

When my military husband was deployed, I kept a list on a whiteboard of things I could do to boost my spirits when I was feeling down and lonely. Some were aimed at fostering good mental health, like connecting with other people, while some were simply indulgent treats I was giving myself pre-permission to have and enjoy.

I highly encourage everyone to make your own list and keep it handy! It doesn’t matter if you’re going through the toughest season of your life or if you feel on top of the world –

No matter who you are, no matter what’s going on, you are here and you are deserving of love, especially from yourself!

Here are some suggestions if I had to re-write the list today:

  1. Call a friend
  2. Buy a treat at a bakery
  3. Go for a walk
  4. Get a massage
  5. Take a yoga class
  6. Make a coffee date
  7. Make a wine date
  8. Write a letter
  9. Make a pot of tea
  10. Be a tourist in your own town
  11. Go outside
  12. Visit a state park
  13. Video chat with family
  14. Make art
  15. Read a book
  16. Go to a museum
  17. Listen to music
  18. Meditate
  19. Start a gratitude journal

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.


Posted in Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond The Mat: Heather Fenwick

How do yoga teachers feel about their practice? What inspires them to keep teaching and keep practicing yoga? Get to know your Yoga One teachers outside the studio and off the mat. This month’s interview is with Heather Fenwick.

photo by Scott Bennion


1. Why do you practice yoga?

I practice yoga these days more for the mental and emotional benefits. I love combining the idea of sthira and sukha (effort and ease) while sitting in a traffic jam, or during a difficult conversation.

2. What was the most intimidating aspect of our teaching when you first started?

My first teacher training didn’t include any actual practice teaching, so putting together the words and phrases was a great challenge for me. It wasn’t until later that I was even able to observe a classroom properly so that I could give appropriate feedback! (I can’t blame my teacher trainers though, as that program was jam-packed with useful information!)

3. What gives you the most joy as a yoga instructor?

Teaching yoga is often the best part of my day! I spend a lot of time thinking about how we can make the world a better place, and while I would love to wave a magic wand so that every single person is driven primarily by empathy and compassion, I realize that teaching yoga takes a close second. When we feel good, when we can observe our strengths and our faults, when we can approach pleasure and suffering with equanimity, then we can spread joy, acceptance, and altruism out into the world around us.

4. If yoga were a food, car, smell, planet, song, artist, flavor, etc… it would be: Jim James’s voice of My Morning Jacket. I melt into bliss as my heart cracks open and spills forth.

photo by Kalid Barre

5. What’s your yoga inspiration?

Every single moment is my yoga inspiration. We are here to perfect the art of living, but not necessarily to live “perfectly.” When I’m in line at the grocery store and catch myself planning out my next 8 steps in my list of things to do – I try to take a single conscious breath, look around me and notice what is true in the Here and Now.

For me, living my yoga is when I can hold my head high in times of disappointment or “failure,” and if I can take success with humility and acknowledge that we are all interconnected.

6. What classes do you teach at Yoga One?

I teach Wednesdays Level 1-2 Flow at noon, as well as offsite corporate classes.

You can find our full class schedule here. Om!

Posted in Instructor Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yogi Reads: Women Who Run With the Wolves

by Olivia Cecchettini

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

“Within every woman is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. Her name is Wild Woman, but she is an endangered species.” – Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Summary: Dr. Estes is a Jungian Psychoanalyst who believes that the true spirit of woman has been buried deep in the depths of her soul, to the point that she is somewhat unrecognizable even to herself. Women Who Run With the Wolves is a collection of stories aimed at uncovering the primal woman within.

According to Dr. Estes, there is a connection between women and wolves; she believes they share a psychic bond in their fierceness, grace, and devotion to their families and mate. This comparison defines the Wild Woman Archetype throughout the book. It shows the reader how fulfilling and glorious it is to be daring, to be nurturing, and to be a woman. 

I believe most women can relate to feeling as though their energy has been tamped down by the world… that we all have areas of our lives where we are playing it safe, staying small, and not shining as brightly as we could. What would happen if every woman felt empowered to trust herself? If we came together in community, allowed one another to be vulnerable, and shared stories with authenticity and love? What kind of world would emerge?

Why I Love It: This book is full of inspirational stories that may help you tap into your psyche and open your intuition. I was reminded of life before modern technology made everyone accessible but also less connected. I love that this book reignited my desire for authentic connection, both with my own primal nature and with all of womanhood.

I was still reading this book during International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2017 when so many women (and men) across the country protested for gender equality. I was struck by the sense of community, an awakening among those who have been quiet or scared in the past but who now share their voices. I believe the vulnerability and strength of women can change the world. The time is now – let’s rise together.

Recommended For: All my sisters out there, this book is for you! There is a primal wisdom held deep within us all just waiting to be birthed into our lives. These stories reveal characters who struggle to find this wisdom, before tapping into their innate potential and learning to live more freely from the heart.

I have always felt the call to support and connect with the women in my life. If you are hearing that same whisper or are just ready for change within yourself, I hope this spiritual book will fill you up to the brim like it did for me.

Olivia headshotOlivia Cecchettini
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

Posted in Yogi Reads | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Yoga of Parenthood

by Laura McCorry

toddler walking LMcCorry

The Yoga of Parenthood

I’m a yoga teacher who doesn’t do yoga at home.

At least, not in the way many people understand yoga –
I don’t unroll my mat in the living room while the toddler naps,
even though many days I want to and feel like I should.

My yoga practice doesn’t look the same as it used to,
but neither do I. My body is not the same, nor is my heart.

My yoga is the not-so-silent meditation of watching steam
curl up from the teapot. Three minutes of breathing, of focus
while the little person at my feet repeatedly calls my name.

My yoga is a square of chocolate eaten behind pantry doors
that reminds me to stay present, that this moment will pass,
that I am still myself and sometimes, I don’t have to share.

I feel the fiery embrace of yoga, my muscles holding the pose
of grocery bags over one arm, my child held close in the other.
This is tapas, too. This is the work of daily refinement.

Yoga doesn’t care whether you move through life fast or slow
as long as you are awake for this moment, right now.
We spend forty seconds admiring some clover rooted in earth.

It takes us thirty-five minutes to walk around the block,
my child doesn’t feel time pulling with her thousand fingers.
This, the sacred gift of childhood, to grow rooted in being.

My yoga teaches me to live the way my heart already loves,
and how to choose being over doing, as many times as necessary.


Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.


Posted in Encouragement, Yoga 101 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Partner Yoga

Imagine the perfect Valentine’s evening: Candlelight. Chocolate. Live music. Yoga.

Wait, yoga?

Yes, yoga! Yoga not only strengthens your connection to your self, it can bring you closer together with someone you love. After all, yoga is known for its “heart-opening” poses. Come experience a unique partner workshop and a beloved annual tradition at Yoga One.

Valentine’s Partner Yoga Workshop

with Arati Lane

Friday, February 17, 2017 6:30pm

Get in touch with your partner or reconnect with a good friend through yoga! Come practice poses as a couple, share inner dynamics and celebrate Valentine’s Day! Through a guided practice you will learn to help each other go deeper into alignment and assist each other with hands on adjustments and props.

There will be chocolate and candlelight accompanied by live music.
Bring your loved one or a friend! Make a date to celebrate Love and Yoga!

Pre-registration $50 per couple / $55 day of event, Sign up on our workshops page.

Posted in Around the Studio, Workshops/Retreats | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Becoming One in Ancient Egypt

by Hannah Faulkner

kneeling-twistIndia is commonly known as the motherland of yoga, but what if I told you that yoga originally began in Egypt and then traveled to India hundreds of years later?

Paintings, engravings, and murals from ancient Egyptian tombs and temples show images of figures in positions that represent some commonly known yoga poses.

According to the book, Egyptian Yoga: Postures of the Gods and Goddesses by Dr. Muata Ashby and Dr. Karen Ashby….

We can find the god Geb (god of the Earth) in plough pose engraved on the ceiling of the Temple of Aset (Isis).

Framing him is the goddess, Nut (goddess of the sky), in a forward fold yoga pose.

Further, we can see Geb in a spinal twist and Ra in the squatting position like Virasana, Hero’s pose.

Dr. Ashby proclaims that yoga was practiced in Egypt earlier than anywhere else in our history, long before the evidence is detected in India (including the Indus Valley Civilization) or any other early civilization (Sumer, Greece, China, etc.). This point of view is supported by illustrative and documented scriptural evidence of physical exercises, meditations, and implementation of wisdom teachings in daily life.

It is commonly believed that the practice of the yoga in India began with the use of the Lotus Pose, which is traced to stone engravings in the Indus Valley culture (1500 BCE). However, the use of the lotus pose here could possibly only symbolize the iconography of meditation. This seated flower position represents a spiritual person who develops detachment and dispassion from the world since it sits in the muddy water but is not touched or affected by the mud. Yoga poses, as we know them in the western world, developed much later in India’s history.

Click here to read more about the fascinating connection between yoga and ancient Egypt on Hannah’s blog, Half Moon Yoga and Art.

The San Diego Museum of Man in accordance with Yoga One San Diego come together twice a month (2nd and 4th Saturdays) at 8:30am-9:30am to hold a special yoga class in the Rotunda.


Hannah Faulkner will be teaching class on February 11th, 2017.

Will you join us for this journey in Ancient Egypt?

Buy Your Ticket Here

and be sure to tell the Museum of Man that Yoga One sent you!

Posted in In the Community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment