The Characteristics of Roots Tribe Yoga

At RTY we use the word yoga in the broadest sense. It is an ancient life-style practice that can have significant positive effects on the practitioner, leading to improved overall health, well-being, and happiness. It may also lead to the discovery of personal strengths, greater than the practitioner may have originally believed to be possible.

Roots Tribe Yoga consists of, but is not limited to, the following characteristics:



First and foremost, at RTY we work from a place of Love. Every decision, action, word, and thought should come from a place of Love. Of course, it’s a process that we all continue to work on, but since Love is essentially what we are trying to foster and cultivate, let’s start by being role models and living every moment, as much as possible, from a place of Love.

We use the word Love often, and feel free to let our students know that we love them, and that we are there for them. We begin creating a community with a strong presence of Love by using the word often (and appropriately—explaining the difference between sexual love and other kinds of love, if necessary) and living from a place of Love.

Love is the most powerful force in the Universe!



Movement is essential to RTY. Along with asanas, we explore different kinds of movement including dance, self expression, and movement games. The important part is to get people into their bodies, leading to personal embodiment. Movement is fundamental to health in a variety of ways. So let’s make it fun, and let’s get moving!!



Learning how to breathe properly has enormous benefits to our health on every level: physical, mental, emotional, energy level. Breathing is an important part of traditional yoga, and of Roots Tribe Yoga. We spread the practice by incorporating fun breathing games, bringing increased awareness to the breath, exploring how the breath affects our minds—and vice-versa.

Exhaling twice as long as you inhale signals the “all clear” to your nervous system and decreases your stress response.
-Toni Bergins



We want everyone in RTY classes to feel safe. This means creating a “container” in which the students and RTY facilitators support one another, allow each other to explore different parts of ourselves, and feel at ease with sharing our own experiences. Creating a feeling of safety within the group leads to a sense of community within the group. This is the first step towards creating a greater sense of community within the Human Tribe as a whole.


Fun and Games

Roots Tribe Yoga is FUN. That doesn’t mean every moment is for laughing or goofing off, but there should be a strong undercurrent of joy throughout the practice. This will cause the students to look forward to Roots Tribe Yoga, attend classes, and be prepared for the more serious aspects of the practice, such as mindfulness and meditation.

The games are a great way to practice yoga and provide multiple physical, social, and intellectual benefits to the students.

This manual has numerous games in it that are useful for learning and practicing Breathwork, Movement, and Creativity—Please use them! But do not be limited to the list provided. If you find or create other games that work well for your group, by all means use them! And share them with the rest of us via Facebook or WhatsApp!



Every person, regardless of culture, can relate to music. Roots Tribe Yoga includes as much music as possible to make the experience more tangible to everyone we teach, across the globe. Whether it comes in the form of playing music during savasana, dancing to music, creating music, using mantras, or simply singing together, we use music as the mortar between the bricks to create a solid entity that is inclusive of all.

Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of our soul.



Yoga is also a way of life. It consists of a way of living that is devoted to a constant striving for self improvement. RTY aims to create fun classes, but also to create an avenue through which students can learn to bring the practice of yoga off their mats and into their daily lives. This is done via optional homework assignments, class discussions, group sharing, or Seva challenges; “Seva” is the Sanskrit word meaning selfless service. The Yamas and Niyamas may be useful in exploring integrity and yoga off the mat.



Laughter is the best medicine of all, along with movement. We foster laughter so as to maintain the best possible state of mind in which to practice yoga on the mat, and in life. You are encouraged train in/research/practice Laughing Yoga! It’s easy and fun.



Creativity means innovation, problem-solving, out-of-the-box thinking, imagination, originality, individuality, expression, and curiosity; it is one of the most important skills a person can have. RTY values creativity and strongly encourages the cultivation of creative competency.

Imagination is the gateway to creating the life you want.
-Toni Bergins



We want to create a space in which children feel at ease to explore themselves. This includes their movements, emotions, thoughts, actions, and anything else. A great way to do this is to have students set goals for themselves, after they have become comfortable with the class/the idea of Roots Tribe Yoga. Goal-setting is a great way to focus our intentions on a specific ambition or target, and to track our progress. Start with small goals that are achievable so as to build feelings of confidence and enthusiasm for moving forward.



A major piece of traditional yoga is cultivating mindfulness, also referred to as: awareness, consciousness, alertness, presence. The practice of mindfulness alone could make an enormous difference in world relations. Awareness of our bodies, our minds, our emotions, our actions, thoughts, and words, is what leads to honesty, a genuine nature, humility, and essentially, Unity with others. There are many ways to cultivate mindfulness. Two of the most common, although by no means the only, ways are through the practices of meditation and discussion.

● Is experiencing the body, mind, and spirit in the same place at the same time. It is an awareness of the present moment and of your activity in that moment
● Is being open to more than one perspective and living with an awareness that the ways of the past may not always be the best for the present
● Is learning to experience what is, increase productivity, enhance relationships, and be the basis of creating joy in life
● Incorporates an awareness of breathing as the vehicle used to call attention to the present moment, to renew the body, and to quiet the mind
● Is knowing your purpose
● Is learning to “witness” rather than to react
● Is coming back to the present moment by moment
-Jerry Braza, Ph.D., Moment by Moment



Meditation is a means of slowing down in order to become more mindful. Often we focus on the mind during meditation, but it could also be used to become more aware of what is happening in our physical body, our emotional body, our energetic body, and our intuition. A fun way to get kids into meditation is to tell them about some of the yogi super-powers such as clairvoyance, telepathy, or the more accessible experience of intuition. A good starting place is discussing how to tap into our intuition, and how to trust the information it provides to us.



This is a potentially tricky—yet integral—piece of the puzzle. It is important not to present yoga in a way that might clash with pre-existing spiritual or religious beliefs. However, an important part of yoga is the notion and feeling of belonging to something that is greater than us. The concepts of One-ness and of dharma, for example, are aspects of spirituality that can make a big difference in the lives of individuals.