September Self-Improvement Month 2020 – Reflections and Yoga Philosophy

Good Morning Yogis! Today is the last day of September and our Daily Asana Challenge for September. September is National Self-Improvement Month. I find challenge-focused months super helpful for my own motivation, so as we complete our daily Asana practice challenge for September I am announcing another challenge for October – Daily Meditation! You do not have to participate in this or any of our particular monthly challenge themes, we will be continuing our daily Positive Practices drawn from the 8 Limbs of Yoga throughout next month.

As September Self Improvement Month and our Daily Asana Challenge are drawing to a close, I want to discuss an important common concept from Yoga Philosophy – Practice not Perfection! If you participated in the 30 Day Asana Challenge, how did you do? I will say, I was not perfect! I had a couple of travel days in September, and I missed a couple of my scheduled full-length Asana classes and only did a couple rounds of Sun Salutations. But, you know what… that’s okay! I still had about 28 of 30 days I hit my goal… that is probably 20 more days of full-length Asana classes than I would have done without setting this goal, and I hit my Apple Watch activity rings for the month! Our Tapas daily habits should be viewed the same way! It is great if you adhere perfectly to your goals. But you know what, sometimes life gets in the way.. if you miss a day or even a few days, just get back to it. One slip up does not mean defeat or failure. I have heard success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. So, keep practice not perfection in mind on your Yoga and/or self-improvement Journeys. This is a concept we will revisit – click here for more quotes about not focusing on or being demotivated by perfection. I am adding a few more of my favorites at the bottom of today’s post!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to reflect on your progress, keeping “Practice not perfection” in mind. This can be with your progress with Asanas or our challenge during September, your daily habits, or whatever you wish!

Today is the last day of our Daily Asana Challenge for September. Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For our reflective day today, I recommend a Hatha class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner AM (20 Minute), which I modify with more advanced versions of poses including full side plank, standard extended side angle, and lowering slowly from plank to Chaturanga Dandasana / Yoga Push-Up… I typically practice Asana most consistently in the morning, and this is my favorite morning series!

I have been building strength and doing this series quite a bit throughout September, so I am excited to finally move up to Intermediate AM (20 Minute) next month! Please note I have been occasionally working this beginner series for multiple years, but my focus on daily Asana has helped me finally take the step to the next level… progress, not perfection!

Remember, it usually takes 30 days to create a new habit! I am going to do my best to keep up with at least 15-20 minute AM Asana sessions. Either way, we will revisit daily Asanas in 2021 to reinforce this habit.

Please comment and share how you did with your progress, and celebrate your victories! Did you participate in our daily Asana challenge or keep up with your daily habit? Are you planning to participate in the meditation challenge or set another new goal? Always remember, be kind!

I prefer today’s picture quote and the ones below over the shooting for the moon and landing among the stars, which is beautiful imagery, but scientifically not very accurate.

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dali
“Change happens outside of your comfort zone.” – Robbie Kramer
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford
“Fail early, fail often, in order to succeed sooner.” – Tom Kelley

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World Heart Day – Uttana Shishosana – Extended Puppy / Melting Heart Pose

Good morning Yogis! Today is World Heart Day! This holiday was created by the World Heart Foundation 20 years ago to help combat and raise awareness for cardiovascular disease. Please take the time today to consider your heart health, and consider any positive steps you may want to take to improve your heart health such as limiting salt intake, quitting smoking, or scheduling a medical check-up. If you are 40 or over, consider scheduling a lipid panel if you have never had your cholesterol checked. So, for World Heart Day today, we will talk about another new Asana commonly referred to as Melting Heart Pose: Uttana Shishosana (OO-ta-na she-SHOW-sa-nuh) which literally translates as Intense or Extended Puppy Pose.

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Labor Day today, I recommend a Yin or Restorative class, which will use our featured Asana for today.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Intermediate Flexibility (30 Minute).

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Uttana Shishosana or Melting Heart Pose, or perhaps try an Asana series working into this pose for World Heart Day! This is a common pose for all levels Yogis and all styles of Yoga, especially restorative classes. This pose is often considered a hybrid between two common favorites: Balasana / Child’s Pose and Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog. This pose is easiest to enter from Table Top.

Uttana Shishosana – Extended Puppy / Melting Heart Pose

Uttana Shishosana - extended puppy melting heart pose with block - yoga pose girl sunny day yoga on the beach
Uttana Shishosana – Melting Heart / Extended Puppy with Block

Uttana Shishosana – Extended Puppy / Melting Heart Pose

Legs, Hips and Feet – Start in Table Top, with your knees under your hips and feet hip distance apart. Your legs will stay in place as you move into the pose. Hips should stay neutral – try to keep your hips right over your knees! I often end up relaxing back into my hips as I relax into the pose. Take note of your booty – it should be almost tucked under rather than sticking out.

Torso  – Keep your back, neck, and head in a straight line – notice any rounding in lower back, and adjust your tail bone and ribs.

Arms and Head – Start in Table Top, with your hands under your shoulders. To come into Uttana Shishosana, slowly walk your hands forward as far as possible as you bring your chest to the mat. Make sure to keep your shoulders down and back, away from your ears. Rest your forehead or chin on the mat.

Hold this pose for as long is comfortable. Walk your hands back up to Table Top to come out.

Uttana Shishosana - extended puppy melting heart pose - yoga pose girl sunny day yoga on the beach
Uttana Shishona – Melting Heart Pose

PPS If you are comfortable with Uttana Shishosa, please tag @dailyyogi with your pictures on Instagram!

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Equipment and Yoga Mats!

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


Please comment to share your experience or any questions! Have you tried Uttana Shishosana / Extended Puppy Pose before? Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 6 – Meditations

Good Morning Yogis, it is Upper Limbs Day! We just finished a series covering each of the 4 Upper Limbs of Yoga, so today we will have a KISS (keep it super simple) Day!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Meditation Practice of your choice for Upper Limbs Day. You can try our breath-focused meditation, another Dharana focused meditation, or another guided meditation of your choice. We are starting a daily meditation challenge for October, so please feel free to share any favorite guided meditations or meditation practices!

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September. Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Upper Limbs Day today, I recommend a meditative Yin or Restorative session.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing Intermediate Relaxation (30 Minute)!

Please comment and let us know which meditation you tried. We are starting a daily meditation challenge for October, so please share any favorite guided meditations or meditation practices!! Always remember, be kind!

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Pranayama – Breathing – Day 6 – Bhastrika Pranayama – Bellows Breath

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Pranayama Day! We celebrated the first day of fall last week, and the days are getting shorter and cooler. So, today we will learn a warming and energizing new technique – Bhastrika Pranayama or Bellows’ Breath!

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Pranayama Day today, I recommend a gentle morning Hatha class, perhaps after trying out this new technique!

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner AM (20 Minute), which I modify with more advanced versions of poses including full side plank, standard extended side angle, and lowering slowly from plank to Chaturanga Dandasana / Yoga Push-Up… I am still working arm strength to do the Intermediate version of this class. I typically practice Asana most consistently in the morning, and this is my favorite morning series! PS I keep Ocean for the background sound in my Yoga Studio App, to help remind me to use Ujjayi Pranayama or Ocean Breath!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Bhastrika Pranayama, an energizing Pranayama Practice. We will start diaphragmatic breathing, which is part one of this breath. Please note this is a technique that should be practiced on its own, NOT during Asana practice! This Pranayama is best first thing in the morning, or if you need an energy boost during the day. Also, this technique is best on an empty stomach, or at least a couple hours after eating!

This is a great technique to watch and follow along – click here for video instructions!

Diaphragmatic Breath

  • Start by evaluating your current breath pattern. Place one hand on your chest, and the other on your belly. Breathe in and out, and notice when the hands resting on your belly and chest move to indicate expansion. You SHOULD use your diaphragm and breathe into your belly, so your belly expands on the inhale and contracts on the exhale. Most of us breathe shallowly into our chest only, and our belly hand never moves!  
  • Breathe in and make sure your belly expands, pushing your hand out as your entire torso fills with air.
  • Breathe out, contracting the belly, making sure you empty the lungs completely
  • Continue breathing in to a full count of 6, and out to a full count of 6, using your diaphragm to fill your lungs with air, and contract the belly to empty lungs completely. Focus on keeping your chest hand fairly still, and using your diaphragm to breathe into your belly.

Bhastrika Pranayama / Bellows Breath

  • After 5-10 full Diaphragmatic Breaths, close your mouth and begin the Bellows Breath:
  • Exhale forcefully through the nose, followed by inhaling forcefully through the nose.
    • These are quick forceful breaths, about one second for each inhale and one second for each exhale.
    • Use your diaphragm to initiate this breath, so your belly moves in and out quickly with your breath. Note that due to the speed, your breath will likely only reach your chest, not your belly.
    • Keep head, neck, and shoulders still throughout this technique.
  • Complete a round of 10 Bellows Breaths.
  • Move back to Diaphragmatic Breathing for 5-10 complete breaths. If you are getting dizzy, just stick with one round.
  • Complete a second round of 20 Bellows Breaths.
  • Move back to Diaphragmatic Breathing for 10 complete breaths.
  • Complete a third round of 30 Bellows Breaths.
  • Do not practice more than 3 rounds or 60 Bellows Breaths at a time

Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Pranayama exercise! Have you tried this breath technique? How many rounds did you complete? Do you have another Pranayama practice you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Day 4 – Family Health & Fitness Day – Family & Kids Yoga

Good morning Yogis! Today is Asana Day, and it is also Family Health and Fitness Day USA! We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Family Heath & Fitness Day today, I recommend a dynamic Vinyasa series, or try a Family or Kids Yoga Session! Cosmic Kids Yoga has a ton of different classes enjoyable for school aged kids. Or, look for ‘mommy and me’ yoga for options for Yogis with younger children.

Cosmic Kids Yoga – check out the Disney-themed Yoga Adventures!

Yoga with Infants

Yoga with Toddlers

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am trying a new 60 minute Vinyasa, and breaking a sweat for Family Health and Fitness Day!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Vinyasa series, or perhaps a family Yoga series if you have children! Many Kids’ Yoga classes use traditional Yoga Asanas (poses) with fun animal names and animal sounds. This is a great trick for busy parents – get some Yoga in your day, even if it is hard to find alone time in your day! Unfortunately the animal noises and trippy cartoons in Family or Kids’ Yoga may not be as relaxing and meditative as you are used to, but I personally find the physical benefits of Asana practice equally if not more beneficial than the mental benefits.

Today’s Daily Yogi practice is fitness based, but today’s Family Health and Fitness Day USA is focused on both health and fitness. So, I would like to share a couple things I have learned from some of my research on nutrition to cover the health piece. I have a few old friends who are MDs… and though there is a bit more coverage for DOs, I was shocked how little traditional education for MDs focuses on nutrition! These old friends with MDs will be slightly horrified to learn about my interest and continuing education in Ayurveda, so I will mostly hold off on going there… for today (though I still swear by my Ayurvedic Diet that explains why I am a rare American woman who does not like salads and also supports my love of cheese).

The modern scientific community has made many changes in nutrition recommendations in recent years. Remember the Food Pyramid you learned about in school, which recommended 1/3 – 1/2 of your daily calories from grains? That has changed to a Food Circle or Plate, with some very different diet recommendations! Along with this change to 50% fruits and veggies rather than 50% grains, I have seen a lot of recommendations about trying to “eat the whole rainbow” to get more essential vitamins and minerals in your diet, and this seems fairly logical to me. Here are a couple nutrition info-graphics on this, click if you want to print or save for reference!

If you are interested in nutrition and diet, I strongly recommend doing research on MacroNutrients which is widely accepted by the scientific and fitness communities. Or, perhaps do some more digging on ancient Ayurveda if I piqued your interest and you enjoyed our star chart exercise. I’m just a nerd and like all the learning 🙂

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried kids or family yoga before? Please share any favorites.. Vinyasa and Kids’ Yoga are probably the two styles I practice the least! Have you heard these nutrition recommendations before? Always remember, be kind!

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Niyamas – Personal Observances – Day 1 – Agnistambhasana – Fire Log Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras. Our last few cycles we took one day for all five of each of the Yamas and Niyamas, but this time we will take one day for these Limbs of Yoga. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Agnistambhasana (AHG-nis-tam-BAH-sa-nuh) or Fire Log Pose is my choice to represent the Niyamas, or Personal Observances – this Limb of Yoga covers how we should manage ourselves, and in Fire Log we are opening into and gazing at ourselves.

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Niyamas Day today, I recommend an alignment-focused Iyengar Series.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Intermediate Flexibility (30 Minutes).

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Fire Log Pose for Niyamas Day! This is a deep hip opener – make sure to practice on both sides! I consider this a slightly more targeted and intense version of Baddha Konasana / Cobbler Pose.

Agnistambhasana – Fire Log Pose

  • Start in a cross legged position. You hips should stay neutral. Take note of your booty – it should be almost tucked under rather than sticking out. You may want to sit on a block or couch pillow if you notice rounding in your back or shoulders. Keep your back, neck, and head in a straight line – notice any rounding in lower back or shoulders, and adjust your tail bone. Look straight ahead.
  • Begin with your right foot on top – bring your right ankle on top of your left knee. Make sure your knees and feet are stacked, and feet are flexed. Bring shins parallel to front if possible.
  • Inhale and press your hands into the mat next to your hips to lengthen your spine.
  • Exhale and walk your hands forward as far as possible, lowering your torso over your legs. You may want to put a block or couch pillow under your head to help relax into the pose. Breathe deeply into your belly and hips, and let your hips and lower back release.
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths. Walk your hands back to sit up on an inhale.
  • Switch your legs so left leg is on top, and repeat on the other side.

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried Fire Log before? Always remember, be kind!

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Yamas – Interpersonal Ethics – Day 1 – Salabhasana – Locust Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are restarting our cycle through the Yoga Sutras. Our last few cycles we took one day for all five of each of the Yamas and Niyamas, but this time we will take one day for these Limbs of Yoga. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Salabhasana (sa-la-BAH-sa-nuh) or Locust Pose is my choice to represent the Yamas, or Interpersonal Ethics – this Limb of Yoga covers how we should interact with the world, and in Locust we are opening our bodies outwards. There are two versions of this pose that I enjoy practicing, and we will cover both variations.

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Yamas Day today, I recommend a Hatha series.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorite longer classes – Beginner Combination (60 Minutes).

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Locust Pose for Yamas Day! There are many variations of this Asana, ranging from beginner to very advanced. Today we will cover the beginner and intermediate versions of this pose that I commonly practice. Please do not push yourself in these back bends – although these Asanas are great for mitigating lower back pain and strengthening, you can cause injury by pushing beyond your limits. For all variations of Salabhasana / Locust Pose, you will start laying face down on your mat in reverse corpse pose.

Ardha Salabhasana – Half Locust Pose

Ardha Salabhasana – Half Locust
  • Start laying face down on your mat.
  • Work both arms under your body and either interlace your fingers, leave palms down, or make fists. Bring your chin to the mat.
  • Inhale and lift your right leg up as high as possible, keeping both hips even and on the mat. Try to point your foot back as far as possible.
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths, and slowly lower your leg on an exhale. Repeat with left foot.

Salabhasana – Locust Pose

Salabhasana – Locust
  • Start laying face down on your mat. Bring your chin to the mat and arms next to your body.
  • Inhale and lift your head, chest, arms, and legs off the mat as high as possible.
  • Keep your shoulders down and back, away from your ears. Your arms can be straight back, with palms facing in or out (perhaps try both!). Or, perhaps bring your arms straight in fromt of you for a “Superman” Salabhasana Variation (see below)
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths, and slowly lower your entire body back to the mat.

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried both variations of Salabhasana / Locust Pose before? Have you tried a more advanced version? Which is your favorite? Always remember, be kind!

Salabhasana Variation – Superman

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 5 – Samadhi – Enlightenment / Integration

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September. Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Upper Limbs Day today, I recommend a meditative Yin or Restorative session.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing Intermediate Relaxation (30 Minute)!

As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and must truly be attained on your own. We started a series on each of the upper limbs, and covered Pratyahara, Dharana, and Dhyana. Since this is very heavy philosophy, we spread these out, discussing each level in detail on our days dedicated to the upper limbs. The last three limbs – Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are often referred to as the “innermost quest” and studied together.

Samadhi is the 8th and final Limb of Yoga, and is literally translated as “integration”. Many consider Samadhi to be enlightenment. This is typically the final goal of meditation in some Eastern religions and philosophies – enlightenment. I consider Samadhi to be not only the final Limb of Yoga, but a synonym for Yoga. Samadhi is “integration” and yoga is “union” so I feel these are two words for the same goal. As we have discussed, this is a journey.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Meditation Practice of your choice for Upper Limbs Day. You can try our breath-focused meditation, another Dharana focused meditation, or another guided meditation of your choice.

Please comment and let us know which meditation you tried, and what you thought of this study of the upper limbs or yoga! If you have another favorite guided meditation, please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Libra Season – Tolasana – Scales Pose

Good morning Yogis! Happy Fall! Today is not only the Fall Equinox, but it is also the start of Libra Season – Happy Birthday Libra Yogis! We will cover an Asana today inspired by Libra – Tolasana or Scales Pose. This is one of the few arm balances and advanced poses I can do! I had to try to channel my Libra friend with that smile, which was quite difficult in this challenging Asana.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Tolasana or Scales Pose inspired by the start of Libra Season! The full expression of this pose is from Padmasana or Lotus Pose, but there are variations for both the Lotus Legs and full Arm Balance to make accessible for beginner Yogis. This Asana is a great workout for the arms and core!

Tolasana – Scales

Tolasana – Scales Pose

Start in either Padmasana / Lotus Pose, or cross your legs and bring one foot on top of the opposite thigh to come into Half Lotus. If neither pose is comfortable, stay in a comfortable cross-legged position.

Place your hands on the mat, palms down and middle fingers pointing straight to the sides and fingers spread. Exhale and press into the mat with your hands, as you contract and lift your legs and seat off the mat. If you cannot lift your entire seat off the floor, come into Half Lotus and lift your hips off the ground, using your other foot on the mat for stability. Hold for a few breaths if you can, and slowly lower back to the mat on an exhale.

Tag @dailyyogi.world with your Tolasana / Scales Pose Pics on Instagram!

Please comment and let us know how Scales pose was for you! Did you try full Lotus Legs? Were you able to lift your seat from the mat? Do you want to share an Asana inspiration for your sign’s pose? Always remember, be kind!

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Pranayama – Breathing – Day 5 – Bikram Pranayama – Hot Yoga Breath

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Pranayama Day! We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September, so we will learn a moving Pranayama technique common in all kinds of Hot Yoga Classes, that originated in Bikram studios. This breath technique is part of the opening in the classic Bikram series.

Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Pranayama Day today, I recommend a Hot Yoga Style class, which will include this breath technique!

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner AM (20 Minute), which I modify with more advanced versions of poses including full side plank, standard extended side angle, and lowering slowly from plank to Chaturanga Dandasana / Yoga Push-Up… I am still working arm strength to do the Intermediate version of this class. I typically practice Asana most consistently in the morning, and this is my favorite morning series! PS I keep Ocean for the background sound in my Yoga Studio App, to help remind me to use Ujjayi Pranayama or Ocean Breath!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Bikram’s Pranayama a moving Pranayama Practice used in all kinds of Hot Yoga classes. We will start diaphragmatic breathing, which is part one of this breath. I am sure you will have tried this Pranayama technique if you have practiced any kind of style at a Hot Yoga studio – this breath feels particularly great in a hot and humid environment.

This is a great technique to watch and follow along – click here for video instructions!

Diaphragmatic Breath

  • Start by evaluating your current breath pattern. Place one hand on your chest, and the other on your belly. Breathe in and out, and notice when the hands resting on your belly and chest move to indicate expansion. You SHOULD use your diaphragm and breathe into your belly, so your belly expands on the inhale and contracts on the exhale. Most of us breathe shallowly into our chest only, and our belly hand never moves!  
  • Breathe in and make sure your belly expands, pushing your hand out as your entire torso fills with air.
  • Breathe out, contracting the belly, making sure you empty the lungs completely
  • Continue breathing in to a full count of 6, and out to a full count of 6, using your diaphragm to fill your lungs with air, and contract the belly to empty lungs completely. Focus on keeping your chest hand fairly still, and using your diaphragm to breathe into your belly.

Bikram Pranayama / Hot Yoga Breath

  • Clasp your hands together, and bring your fists under your chin with your thumbs at your throat. Squeeze your elbows together.
  • Inhale through your nose into your belly, and allow elbows to float up, keeping your chin in place.
  • Let your your chin float up and exhale, as you squeeze your elbows together.
  • Continue the cycle – allow your chin float down and elbows to float up on your inhale.

Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Pranayama exercise! Do you incorporate Pranayama into your Asana practice? Have you tried Hot Yoga or this breath technique? Do you have another Pranayama practice you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Day 3 – Shavasana – Corpse Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras with the third limb of Yoga – Asanas. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Shavasana (shah-VA-sa-nuh) or Corpse Pose is my choice for Asana Day today – this is possibly the most important Asana, and we have not discussed it yet!

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Ishvara Pranidhana Day today, I recommend a gentle Yin or Restorative class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing Intermediate Relaxation (30 minutes).

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try focus on Shavasana or Corpse Pose in your Asana practice today for Asana Day! Shavasana at the end of your Asana practice is important for your body to take in the changes you made during that session. Also, the Shavasana section of an Asana class is a great time for meditation and Pranayama.

I learned you should have 5 minutes of Shavasana for every 30 minutes of practice. However, this means only 10 minutes of Shavasana after an hour of practice, but I have read about more meditative benefits of Shavasana at 15 minutes and longer. Perhaps adjust your practice schedule to allow for a longer Shavasana today!

Shavasana – Corpse Pose

Shavasana – Corpse

Lay on your back, and allow your legs and feet to gently splay open. Rest your arms a few inches away from your body, with palms facing up. Close your eyes, and allow your entire body to relax and sink into the mat.

To come out, gently roll onto your right side, then press your hand into the mat to come back up slowly into a seated position.

Take deep breaths into your belly (perhaps try Vilona Pranayama or Yogic / Three-Part Breath). You can use a couch pillow under your head and/or knees, or any modifications to make this pose more comfortable for an extended time. I occasionally take Shavasana with knees bent and feet on the floor, and/or with elbows bent and hands under my head or cactus-arms to the side.

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Do you always include Shavasana with your Asana practice? Have you taken a 15 minute or longer Shavasana before? Always remember, be kind!

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Ishvara Pranidhana – Surrender – Day 5 – Balasana – Child’s Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras with the last of the NiyamasIshvara Pranidhana or surrender. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Balasana (bah-LA-sa-nuh) or Child’s Pose is my choice to represent Ishvara Pranidhana. I feel this pose, folding over from kneeing, represents the surrender. There are two versions of this pose that I enjoy practicing, and we will cover both variations.

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Ishvara Pranidhana Day today, I recommend a gentle Yin or Restorative class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing a Forward Folds class that I feel embodies Ishvara Pranidhana.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Child’s Pose for Ishvara Pranidhana Day! Many Yoga Studios where I practiced in the past use only Wide Child’s Pose below. I prefer to use both versions of this pose in my practice. I start with regular Child’s Pose for about 30 seconds with palms up, then expand to Wide Child’s Pose for 30-45 seconds, then close legs and return to Child’s Pose again for 30 seconds before moving on.

Balasana – Child’s Pose

Balasana – Child’s Pose

Start in a kneeling position, sitting on your feet with your knees about hip distance apart. Fold forward from your hips, resting your chest on your thighs. You can rest your chin or forehead on the mat. Bring your arms back behind you and rest your hands on the mat. Palms can face up for more of a stretch between your shoulders, or palms can face down for more of a lower back stretch.

Balasana – Wide Child’s Pose

Balasana – Wide Child’s Pose

Start in Child’s Pose above. Bring your toes together, spread your thighs, and lay your chest between your legs on the mat. Bring your hands forward on the mat in front of you – your palms should always be down on the mat in Wide Child’s Pose.

Take deep breaths into your belly (perhaps try Vilona Pranayama) and hold each pose for at least 3-5 full breaths. I start with regular Child’s Pose for about 30 seconds with palms up, then expand to Wide Child’s Pose for 30-45 seconds, and bring legs together and arms back to return to Child’s Pose again with palms down for 30 seconds before moving on. You can also use a couch pillow or block under your head or chest for extra support.

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried both variations of Child’s Pose before? Can you feel a difference in the stretch flipping your palms in the first version of Balasana? Always remember, be kind!

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Svadhyaya – Self-Study – Day 5 – Trikonasana & Utthita Parsvakonasana – Triange & Extended Side Angle

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras with the fourth of the NiyamasSvadhya++na or self-study. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Trikonasana (trih-ko-NA-sa-nuh) or Triangle Pose and Utthita Parsvakonasana (OOT-hit-tah PARS-va-ko-NA-sa-nuh) or Extended Side Angle Pose are my choices to represent Svadhyaya. I feel like I am literally turning back and looking at myself in these poses, a perfect embodiment of self-reflection.

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Svadhyaya Day today, I recommend an alignment-focused Iyengar class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my old favorites with both of today’s poses – Intermediate Combination (30 Minutes).

Our first Svadhyaya day, we started journals to have a source for self-study. I am using Svadhyaya days to keep up with this practice.. perhaps make another journal entry with me today!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Triangle and Extended Side Angle Pose for Svadhyaya Day! These poses are common in all styles and levels of Yoga. I find these poses easiest to enter from a wide legged stance, flipping my legs into position, and leaning over into the pose. If you have a hard time reaching the ground, these are great poses to modify with a block to help open your chest to the side! Always make sure to perform these poses on both sides – it is easiest to come back up to wide legged pose, flip your feet, and perform on the other side

Trikonasana – Triangle Pose

Trikonasana – Triangle

Feet – Feet should be about 3 – 4 1/2 feet apart, flat on the ground. The front foot should point straight ahead, and the back foot should point straight to the side (or pointing slightly forward if hips are tight).

Legs – Your legs should both be straight. Keep back leg straight, with knee to the side. Keep front leg straight, with knee pointing forward.

Hips – Hips are debated in Triangle! I prefer to keep open to the side, but I have heard many Yoga Teachers recommend keeping stacked ie down to the ground. Perhaps try both, and see which feels better to your body!

Torso – Make sure you are bending from the hips, not the waist. Try to keep your torso facing to the side, as close to parallel to the ground as possible.

Arms – Your arms should be open to the side at your shoulders, palms open to the side. If you can, press your bottom hand into the mat or your shin to help your chest open to the side. If you cannot reach easily, press your hand into a block. Make sure to keep your shoulders pulled down and back, away from your ears.

Head and Neck – Keep your neck in line with your body. If comfortable, look up at your hand. Otherwise, you can keep your head in line with your torso and look down or straight out to the side.

Trikonasana – Triangle (block)

Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle

Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle

Feet – Feet should be about 3 – 4 1/2 feet apart, flat on the ground. The front foot should point straight ahead, and the back foot should point straight to the side (or pointing slightly forward if hips are tight).

Legs and Hips – Keep back leg straight, with knee to the side. Keep front leg bent, with front knee over ankle. Keep hips open to the side. Try to expand the space between your legs as your breathe in this pose.

Torso – Make sure you are bending from the hips, not the waist. Try to keep your torso facing to the side, as close to parallel to the ground as possible. Rotate your chest up to open to the side as much as possible

Arms – Reach your top arm straight over your head near your ear, making a straight line from your back foot to your top hand. If you can, press your bottom hand into the mat or your shin to help your chest open to the side. If you cannot reach the mat easily, bend your arm and rest on your knee, or press your hand into a block. Make sure to keep your shoulders pulled down and back, away from your ears.

Head and Neck – Keep your neck in line with your body. If comfortable, look up at your hand. Otherwise, you can keep your head in line with your torso and look down or straight out to the side.

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried Triangle, Extended Side Angle, or the modified variations before? Always remember, be kind!

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Tapas – Discipline – Day 5 – Utkatasana – Powerful / Chair Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras with the third of the NiyamasTapas or Discipline. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Utkatasana (oot-kah-TA-sa-nuh) or Chair pose is my choice to represent Tapas. This is a challenging pose, and a great workout when held for an extended time. The literal translation from Sanskrit is Powerful or Intense Pose. If you hold this Asana for a full minute, I am sure you will feel why this pose was named “Intense”!

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Tapas Day today, I recommend a vigorous Vinyasa class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing a new Hip Hop Vinyasa.

Each Tapas day, we check in on our progress with the daily habits we have set for ourselves. It typically takes 30 Days to set a new habit (which is why I love these 30 Day Challenges!) so if you have kept up on your daily habit you have likely successfully formed a new habit! Congratulations, keep it up.. perhaps it is time to add a new daily habit to your routine!! If you have not kept up, examine why you did not, and consider if you want to keep this goal or set a new one. Evaluate the reminders and/or rewards you set for yourself, and perhaps modify these systems to ensure your success! Yoga is a practice, and successfully changing our habits is about consistency, so we will keep checking in on our goals on Tapas Days.

As mentioned we are in a daily Asana Challenge, which I have kept up with by wearing workout clothes to bed and practicing first thing in the morning. I also have a daily habit of practicing French or Spanish with Duolingo… I am pretty pleased with myself to have a 29 Day Streak, about to hit 30 tomorrow! I have missed fewer than 20 days in all of 2020, but there is just something very rewarding about the increasing number of days in a row. And, lastly, this daily Asana Challenge has helped put me on the right path to meet another goal – hitting all three rings on my Apple Watch.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Chair Pose for Tapas Day! This pose is common in all styles and levels of Yoga. It is a great alternative to backbends to stretch thighs and back, and is a fantastic workout for legs and glutes when held for 30-60 seconds!

Utkatasana – Chair or Powerful Pose

Utkatasana – Chair

Start standing in Tadasana / Mountain Pose. Separate your feet to about hip-distance apart.

Inhale and lift your arms above your head, palms facing in, and sit your hips back as if you are sitting back in a chair. Keep your shoulders down and back straight, and try to get your thighs as close to parallel to the ground as possible. It is more important to have a straight back than to “sit” lower into your chair. Look up between your hands if comfortable.

Take deep breaths into your belly (perhaps try Vilona Pranayama) and hold this pose for at least 3-5 full breaths. I recommend playing with weight in your feet a bit through this pose – generally you should keep all weight in your heels. Perhaps try lifting your toes slightly from the mat! Or, shift your weight into the balls of your feet, and try lifting your heels slightly from the mat, preparing for more advanced variations of this pose like Awkward Pose (a Hot Yoga favorite) and Drinking Bird Pose. Or, try placing a block between your knees for an even more challenging lower-body workout!

To come out of Utkatasana, inhale and straighten your knees back to Tadasana / Mountain Pose, then exhale and lower your arms – you may want to come all the way forward into Uttanasana / Standing Forward Fold to counter this pose after holding for a long time.

Utkatasana – Chair (lifted heels)

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried Utkatasana or the more advanced variations before? Always remember, be kind!

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Santosha – Contentment – Day 5 – Andanda Balasana – Happy Baby Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras with the second of the NiyamasSantosha or Contentment. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Ananda Balasana (ah-NAN-duh buh-LA-sa-nuh) or Happy Baby pose is my choice to represent Santosha. In addition to having a synonym for contentment in the name, it is hard not to smile rocking back and forth like a happy baby in this pose!

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Santosha Day today, I recommend an alignment-focused Iyengar class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Intermediate Flexibility, and adding an extra Ananda Balasana at the end of this series.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Happy Baby Pose for Santosha Day! This pose is a favorite among all levels of Yogis, and is a great passive hip opener.

Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby Pose

Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby

Start laying on your back in Savasana or Corpse Pose with your knees bent and feet on the mat. Exhale and hug your knees in towards your chest.. you may want to enjoy this pose for a few breaths before coming into this pose!

Inhale and reach your hands between your knees. Grab the outside of each foot, exhale and spread your legs to each side of your torso. Ideally, your thighs will be parallel to the ground on each side of your torso and your feet will be flat up to the sky, but only bring your legs down as far as is comfortable. Your arms should be gently spreading your legs to the sides rather than forcing them down to the ground.

Take deep breaths into your belly (perhaps try Vilona Pranayama) and hold this pose for at least 3-5 full breaths. You can stay still, or rock slightly side to side like a happy baby this pose is named for. When you’re ready, release your feet and come back into Savasana / Corpse pose with your knees bent and feet on the mat.

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried this pose before? Always remember, be kind!

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Saucha – Purity – Day 5 – Parivrtta Sukhasana & Jathara Parivartanasana – Seated & Reclined Twist Poses

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras with the first of the NiyamasSaucha or Purity. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Seated Twist or Parivrrta Sukhasana (pa-ree-VRR-tah sook-HA-sana) and Reclined Twist or Jathara Parivartanasana (jah-TAH-ruh PAH-ree-var-tah-NAH-sa-nuh) are my choices to represent Saucha, since these twisting Asanas assist in detoxification according to BKS Iyengar. I have seen this twisting/detoxifying benefit debated, but most agree that twisting Asanas do help with digestion.

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Saucha Day today, I recommend a gentle Yin or Restorative class which will likely feature these twisting poses.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Twist and Align, which includes many twisting poses!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try our twisting Asanas for Saucha Day! These poses are frequently included near the end of class for all levels Yogis and all styles of Yoga. Make sure to hold these twisting poses for a few breaths, and ALWAYS practice twisting Asanas on both sides!

Partivrrta Sukhasana – Seated Twist Pose

Partivrrta Sukhasana – Seated Twist

Start in a comfortable cross-legged position of your choice – I prefer Siddhasana over Sukhasana. If the cross-legged positions are not comfortable seats for you, you can try in Virasana instead. Whatever seat you choose, make sure your hips and shoulders are aligned and stacked over each other before you begin, and upon returning to center.

Inhale and sit tall, perhaps press your hands into your knees to help lengthen your spine. On an exhale, bring your left hand to the outside of your right knee, and rest your right fingers on the mat behind you to bring your shoulders around to the right.

Lengthen your spine on inhales, and twist a bit further if comfortable on exhales in twisting poses. You can gently press your fingers into your knee to help deepen the twist. Hold for several breaths, and return to center on an inhale.

Make sure to repeat on both sides! If you are seated in a cross-legged position, flip your feet the opposite way and perform again on both sides.

Jathara Parivartanasana – Reclined Twist Pose

Jathara Parivartanasana – Reclined Twist

Start laying on your back in Shavasana or Corpse Pose with your knees bent and feet on the mat. Exhale and hug your knees in towards your chest.. you may want to enjoy this pose for a few breaths before starting the twist!

Inhale and bring your legs up slightly away from your chest so your knees are over your hips, and extend your arms straight out at shoulder height with palms facing down to prepare for the twist. On an exhale, lower both legs down to the right until your right knee touches the ground, making sure your knees stay parallel to or below hip level (NOT tucked up towards your arms, which can cause injury!). Try to keep both shoulders on the ground. If comfortable, you can lift your head slightly and look towards the left, or just keep looking straight up.

Take deep breaths into your belly (perhaps try Vilona Pranayama) and hold this pose for at least 3-5 full breaths. Inhale to lift your legs and come back to center, then exhale your legs down to the left and repeat on the other side.

For a slightly deeper twist you can either hop your butt slightly to the left before twisting to the right, and repeat this little pre-twist booty hop on the other side. For a much deeper twist, you can cross your left leg over right leg before lowering legs to the right, and vice versa.

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried these twisting poses before? Always remember, be kind!

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Aparigraha – Non-Attachment – Day 5 – Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Standing Hand to Big Toe

Good morning Yogis! We are beginning our cycle through the Yoga Sutras, and continuing with the last of the YamasAparigraha or non-attachment. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Standing Hand to Big Toe or Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (OOT-hit-TAH HAH-stah Pa-dahn-goose-THAH-sa-nuh) is my choice to represent Aparigraha, since this is a very challenging balance and full-leg stretch. You will also likely fall over a few times, so enjoy a few laughs working on this Asana! In fact, I usually practice with a variation of this pose, and I occasionally work on the full version but cannot fully straighten my leg. Please see our wonderful featured Yogi @metalynith who is making awesome progress with flexibility and balance in her Yoga practice, and volunteered to model this challenging Asana for me <3!

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Standing Hand to Big Toe
Click above for more of @metalynith’s impressive advanced Asanas!

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Aparigraha Day today, I recommend a passive Yin or Restorative class, or a balance-focused series.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner AM (20 Minute), which includes the beginner version of this pose that I can do! I modify with more advanced versions of poses including full side plank, standard extended side angle, and lowering slowly from plank to Chaturanga Dandasana / Yoga Push-Up… I am still working arm strength to do the Intermediate version of this class!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try some Standing Hand to Foot for Aparigraha Day! This is a challenging pose for for all levels Yogis. Make sure to incorporate Aparigraha, and just practice without expectations, and see how you can progress with this journey pose. Remember – practice not perfection! We will talk about the variations of this pose both with and without the toe hold today! Start in Tadasana – Mountain Pose.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Variation – Standing Hand to Big Toe Variation

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Variation

Feet and Legs – Start in Tadasana / Mountain Pose. Claw your toes into the mat slightly to keep your arches from falling into the mat. Perhaps keep a slight bend in the knee, Always make sure you avoid hyper-extending or locking your knees. We will perform with the right leg first – so shift all weight into your left leg. After placing your hands on your hips, inhale and slowly lift your right leg, trying to bring parallel to the ground.

Hips – Make sure your hips are neutral. Err on the side of tucking your tailbone under, rather than sticking your booty out.

Torso – Notice your rib cage in mountain pose. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open. Make sure you keep your back straight throughout this Asana, and do not let your shoulders or lower back round.

Head and Neck – Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders. Gaze ahead at a single unmoving point to help with balance.

Arms – Place your hands on your hips to stay balanced in this pose.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Standing Hand to Big Toe

Feet and Legs – Start in Tadasana / Mountain Pose. Claw your toes into the mat slightly to keep your arches from falling into the mat. Perhaps keep a slight bend in the knee, Always make sure you avoid hyper-extending or locking your knees. We will perform with the right leg first – so shift all weight into your left leg. After placing your hands on your hips, inhale and slowly bend your right leg and lift your right foot in towards your groin. Grab a hold of your right big toe with your right index and middle fingers. On an exhale, slowly extend your leg forward. It is okay if you cannot get your leg straight – it is better to keep your spine long than have a straight leg.

Hips – Make sure your hips are neutral. Err on the side of tucking your tailbone under, rather than sticking your booty out.

Torso – Notice your rib cage in mountain pose. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open. Make sure you keep your back straight throughout this Asana, and do not let your shoulders or lower back round. If you notice your back rounding, either bend your knee slightly to straighten your back, or work the beginner version of this Asana above until you can come into parallel to the ground without losing your posture.

Head and Neck – Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders. Gaze ahead at a single unmoving point to help with balance.

Arms – Place your left hand on your left hip to help stay balanced in this pose. Keep a hold of your right big toe with your right index and middle fingers, and bend your elbow to deepen the stretch.

To come out of either variation of this pose, first release any toe hold and slowly lower your foot back down to the ground on an exhale. Make sure to repeat this Asana on both sides, and notice any differences in balance and flexibility between sides without judgement!

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Where are you on your journey with this challenging pose? Always remember, be kind!

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Brahmacharya – Moderation – Day 5 – Anuvittasana – Standing Backbend

Good morning Yogis! We are beginning our cycle through the Yoga Sutras, and continuing with the fourth of the YamasBrahmacharya or moderation and Anuvittasana.

Bonus Daily Asana Challenge

Since we are in the middle of a September Daily Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Standing Backbend or Anuvittasana (Ah-NUH-vee-TAH-sa-nuh) is my choice to represent Brahmacharya, since this pose requires moderation – you must gently lean back and avoid straining to avoid injury! This is a great pose for monitoring your yoga journey with Asanas, because you will come further and further into backbends as you increase your flexibility. Moreover, this pose literally translates from Sanskrit as “found” or “obtained” pose. I think further emphasizes the journey aspect of this Asana.

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. So, for Brahmacharya Day today, I recommend a Vinyasa class, which will include this pose as part of Sun Salutations.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner Flexibility (30 Minute), which includes plenty of Standing Backbends!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try some Standing Backbends for Brahmacharya Day! This is a common opening pose series for all levels Yogis and all styles of Yoga. We will now talk about the standing and supported variations of this pose today! Start in Tadasana – Mountain Pose.

Anuvittasana – Standing Backbend

Anuvittasana – Standing Backbend

Feet – Think of your feet as three primary contact points with the ground. These are the heels, pinky toes, and big toes. Make sure your big toes are touching. If possible, make sure the back of your heels are touching. If you have a lower back injury like I do, you may also find it easier to keep the heels slightly apart. Claw your toes into the mat slightly to keep your arches from falling into the mat.

Legs – Make sure your legs are comfortably straight. Perhaps keep a slight bend in the knee. Always make sure you avoid hyper-extending or locking your knees.

Hips – Make sure your hips are neutral to start. Then on the exhale, tuck your tailbone under and press your hips slightly forward to come into the backbend. As you get more comfortable with this pose, you can press your hips further forward to come into a deeper backbend.

Torso – Notice your rib cage in Tadasana / Mountain Pose. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open. First inhale your hands into position, and then exhale as you gently press your hips forward and lean your torso back into a comfortable backbend.

Head and Neck – Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders. Either close your eyes, or gaze softly ahead.

Arms – On an inhale before exhaling back into this pose, bring your arms over your head next to your ears, keeping your shoulders down and back. You can press your palms together, or keep them slightly separated.

Beginner Yogis may want to come into Salamba Anuvittasana – Supported Standing Backbend as pictured below. Point your fingers down towards the mat and press your palms into your hips or lower back, and make sure your elbows stay pointed straight back to help your chest open.

Finally, to come out of this pose, lead forward and lift with your chest on an inhale to come back into Tadasana / Mountain Pose.

Salamba Anuvittasana – Standing Supported Backbend

Come into Anuvittasana / Standing Backbend on inhales, and back to Tadasana / Mountain. or all the way forward to Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend on exhales. Then, repeat a few times. I recommend this series to stretch and warm up the spine and torso at the beginning of Asana practice!

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried both versions of Standing Backbend before? Always remember, be kind!

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Asteya – Non-Stealing – Day 5 – Salamba Sarvangasana – Supported Shoulder Stand

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras with the third of the YamasAsteya or non-stealing. Since we are in the middle of a September Daily Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Salamba Sarvangasana (Sah-LAHM-ba Sar-vahn-GAH-sa-nuh) or Supported Shoulder Stand is my choice to represent Asteya since this is a supported balancing pose, and one way to practice Asteya is examining and maintaining balance in our relationships, making sure to support those who support us.

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Asteya Day today, I recommend a gentle Yin or Restorative class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Intermediate Balance (30 Minute), which includes series moving between Salamba Sarvangasana / Supported Shoulder Stand and Halasana / Plow Pose!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Salamba Sarvangasana / Supported Shoulder Stand for Asteya Day! This is a challenging inversion. If you are a new yogi, only come up as high as you are comfortable! We will start from corpse, and use the core to lift into this Asana

Salamba Sarvangasana – Supported Shoulder Stand

Salamba Sarvangasana – Supported Shoulder Stand

Feet and Legs – Start in Shavasana / Corpse pose, with knees bent. As you press palms into the mat, use your core to lift your legs as close to perpendicular to the floor as you are comfortable. This is one of the few Asanas where it is best to keep your toes pointed, for balance. Keep your legs supported with your arms, perhaps just stay in Ardha Sarvangasana / Half Shoulder Stand (image below) until you build balance and core strength to bring your legs and torso closer to a straight line.

Torso and Head – You will lift your torso from the floor to come into this inversion. Allow your chin to come to your chest. Make sure you do not turn your head or neck to either side in this or any inversion to avoid injury.

Arms – Start in Shavasana / Corpse pose, with knees bent and palms resting on the floor next to your hips. To come into the pose, press your hands firmly into the mat for leverage to lift your legs and torso off the floor. Once you are able, turn your fingers in and grab your hips, using your hands and arms to support your lower body in this inversion.

To come out of this pose, lower your hips and legs over your head into Ardha Sarvangasana as pictured below, release your hands to the mat, and slowly unroll your body down to the mat into Shavasana / Corpse Pose.

Ardha Sarvangasana – Half Shoulder Stand

PS If you are comfortable with variations of this pose, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried either version of Sarvangasana / Shoulder Stand before? Always remember, be kind!

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Satya – Truthfulness – Day 5 – Parighasana – Gate Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras with the second of the YamasSatya or truthfulness. Since we are in the middle of a September Daily Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Parighasana (Pah-ree-GAH-sa-nuh) or Gate pose is my choice to represent Satya, since one of my favorite quotes about truth is the Sufi Three Gate Saying below!

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Satya Day today, I recommend an alignment-focused Iyengar class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner Flexibility (30 Minute), which includes a gate series!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Parighasana / Gate Pose for Satya Day! This is one of the few Asanas / poses that intentionally works a turned – out leg. We will talk about how to get into this pose from a kneeling position today! Start in a comfortable kneeling position.

Parighasana – Gate Pose

Parighasana – Gate

Feet & Legs – Start by kneeling, sitting on your feet. Lift your seat and come up onto your knees, keeping your legs about hip-distance apart. We will start on the right – extend your right leg to the right, turning your leg out, and laying your right foot flat on the ground. Try to keep your standing knee and foot in a line

Hips – Make sure your hips are neutral. Err on the side of tucking your tailbone under, rather than sticking your booty out.

Torso – Notice your rib cage. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open. On the exhale, you will move your torso right towards your right leg, as far as is comfortable. If you are a new Yogi, you may want to just keep your torso fairly upright, rather than allowing your shoulders or hips to come out of alignment.

Arms – Put your right hand on your right hip. Inhale your left arm straight up next to your ear. Exhale and extend your left arm to the right as you lean your torso to the right. Allow your right hand to slide down your right thigh.

Head and Neck – Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders. If it’s comfortable, as you lean to the right, turn your head and gaze down at your right leg.

To come out of this pose, inhale your left arm and torso back up, and sit back down on your feet in a kneeling position. Make sure to repeat this Asana on both sides!

PS If you are comfortable with variations of this pose, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried Parighasana / Gate Pose before? Always remember, be kind!

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Ahimsa – Non-Harming – Day 5 – Marjaryasana / Bitilasana – Cat / Cow

Good morning Yogis! We are beginning our cycle through the Yoga Sutras, and starting with the first of the YamasAhimsa or non-harming. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, I thought it would be fun to feature a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Cat / Cow or Marjaryasana (Mahr-jar-ee-AH-sa-nuh) / Bitilasana (Bih-Ti-LA-sa-nuh) is my choice to represent Ahimsa, since this series is a great opening series to help avoid injury, by gently opening and warming up the back at the beginning Asana practice!

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Ahimsa Day today, I recommend a gentle Yin or Restorative class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner Combination (30 Minute), which includes a cat/cow opening!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try some Cat/Cows for Ahimsa Day! This is a common opening pose series for all levels Yogis and all styles of Yoga. We will talk about how to get into both variations from Table Top or Bharmanasana today! Start in Table Top – with hands directly under shoulders, and knees directly under hips.

Table Top – Bharmanasana
Click image above for our Yoga Ab Workout!

Marjaryasana – Cat Pose

Marjaryasana – Cat

Feet & Legs – Start in Bharmanasana / Table Top or Bitilasana / Cow, with tops of feet laying on the mat. Your legs should stay hip-distance apart in table top. You will keep both knees and feet grounded on the mat in table top through both Asanas / poses!

Hips – Turn your tailbone under and bring your hips forward on an exhale to come into Marjaryasana / Cat from Bharmanasana / Table Top or Bitilasana / Cow.

Torso – On the exhale, you will curl your spine and get as much of a rounding in your back as possible in this pose.

Arms – On the exhale, press your palms into the mat as you curve your back, pressing the mat away from you.

Head and Neck – Curl your head and neck under in line with the rest of your spine, and gaze back at your thighs.

Bitilasana – Cow Pose

Bitilasana – Cow

Feet and Legs – Start in Bharmanasana / Table Top or Marjaryasana / Cat, with tops of feet laying on the mat. Your legs should stay hip distance apart in table top. You will keep both knees and feet grounded on the mat in table top through both Asanas / poses!

Hips – Turn your tailbone up and stick your booty out on the inhale to come into Bitilasana / Cow from Bharmanasana / Table Top or Marjaryasana / Cat.

Torso – On the inhale, you will drop your belly and get as much of a chest opener and curve in the back as comfortable.

Arms – On the inhale, pull back on the mat with your hands to pull your torso forward for more of a chest opening.

Head and Neck – Pull head and neck up and forward from Bharmanasana / Table Top or Marjaryasana / Cat, gazing straight ahead.

Come into Bitilasana / Cow on inhales, and Marjaryasana / Cat on exhales. Repeat a few times. I recommend this series to stretch and warm up the spine and torso at the beginning of Asana practice!

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried Cat / Cow before? Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 4 – Dhyana – Full Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September. Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing Intermediate Relaxation (30 Minute)!

As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and must truly be attained on your own. We started a series on each of the upper limbs, and covered Pratyahara and Dharana. Since this is very heavy philosophy, we are spreading these out and discussing each level in detail on our days dedicated to the upper limbs. The last three limbs – Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are often referred to as the “innermost quest” and studied together.

Dhyana is the 7th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as meditation. I prefer to think of Dhyana as full meditation, a bit stronger and more specific than “meditation”. This is typically the goal of meditation, to fully stop our thoughts and have a quiet mind. After withdrawing inside ourselves and focusing our minds on a single subject with Dharaha, we may reach the level of Dhyana where our thoughts actually stop. In true Dhyana or true meditation, we typically are not aware of this clear-minded state until we come out of it.

Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey! I am working on Dhyana.. I usually can focus on one thing with Dharana, but my mind wanders fairly quickly when I try to quiet it for Dhyana.

Dhyana Guided Meditation

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Dhyana-focused Meditation Practice. You can try our breath-focused meditation again, and then allow your mind to quiet. Or, you can try a guided meditation meant to help bring the state of Dhyana.

Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Dhyana exercise! If you have another favorite guided meditation, please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Pranayama – Breathing – Day 4 – Vilona Pranayama – Retained Breath

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Pranayama Day! We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September.

Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Pranayama Day today, I recommend a Hatha or Iyengar Style class, making sure to monitor your alignment, and perhaps try today’s new breathing technique (variation 3) when poses are held for an extended time!

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner AM (20 Minute), which I modify with more advanced versions of poses including full side plank, standard extended side angle, and lowering slowly from plank to Chaturanga Dandasana / Yoga Push-Up… I am still working arm strength to do the Intermediate version of this class. I typically practice Asana most consistently in the morning, and this is my favorite morning series! PS I keep Ocean for the background sound in my Yoga Studio App, to help remind me to use Ujjayi Pranayama or Ocean Breath!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Vilona Pranayama or Retained Breath, a Pranayama Practice. We will start diaphragmatic breathing, which is part one of this breath. Vilona Pranayama translates as “against the wave” and is a retained breath technique. We recommend incorporating this breath technique into your Asana practice if poses are held for an extended period! Or, you can use this cooling breath technique to calm down after an active workout, or to help with anxiety.

Diaphragmatic Breath

  • Start by evaluating your current breath pattern. Place one hand on your chest, and the other on your belly. Breathe in and out, and notice when the hands resting on your belly and chest move to indicate expansion. You SHOULD use your diaphragm and breathe into your belly, so your belly expands on the inhale and contracts on the exhale. Most of us breathe shallowly into our chest only, and our belly hand never moves!  
  • Breathe in and make sure your belly expands, pushing your hand out as your entire torso fills with air
  • Breathe out, contracting the belly, making sure you empty the lungs completely
  • Continue breathing in to a full count of 6, and out to a full count of 6, using your diaphragm to fill your lungs with air, and contract the belly to empty lungs completely. Focus on keeping your chest hand fairly still, and using your diaphragm to breathe into your belly.

Vilona Pranayama / Retained Breath

  • VARIATION 1 – Retain before Inhale: Diaphragmatic breathing is the first part of this breath! Make sure you complete 10 full inhalations and exhalations, counting to 6 for each inhale and exhale. Then, hold your breath for a count of 6 before each inhale. Your breath pattern will be Inhale 6, Exhale 6, Hold 6, Inhale 6…
  • VARIATION 2 – Retain before Exhale: Diaphragmatic breathing is the first part of this breath! Make sure you complete 10 full inhalations and exhalations, counting to 6 for each inhale and exhale. Then, hold your breath for a count of 6 before each exhale. Your breath pattern will be Inhale 6, Hold 6, Exhale 6, Inhale 6…
  • VARIATION 3 – Retain before Inhale and Exhale: Diaphragmatic breathing is the first part of this breath! Make sure you complete 10 full inhalations and exhalations, counting to 6 for each inhale and exhale. Then, hold your breath for a count of 6 before each inhale AND exhale. Your breath pattern will be Inhale 6, Hold 6, Exhale 6, Hold 6, Inhale 6…

Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Pranayama exercise! Do you incorporate Pranayama into your Asana practice? Have you tried retained breath? Do you have another Pranayama practice you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!

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Labor Day – Baddha Konasana – Cobbler / Butterfly / Bound Angle Pose

Baddha Konasana – Cobbler Pose

Good morning Yogis! Happy Labor Day to all my US Yogis! I was thinking of poses that relate to work for today’s Asana Day, and came up with either Cobbler or Plow. I think Plow / Halasana may be a bit much for some of the Newbie Yogis I know are with us right now, and Cobbler / Baddha Konasana is one of my favorites!

Halasana – Plow Pose

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Labor Day today, I recommend a Yin or Restorative class, which will use our featured Asana for today, and aid relaxation away from work.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Intermediate Flexibility (30 Minute), which includes both Halasana / Plow and Supta Baddha Konasana / Reclined Goddess or Reclined Bound Angle. I am going to modify Agnistambhasana / Fire Log Pose to Baddha Konasana / Bound Angle Pose to get an extra Cobbler in as well!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Baddha Konasana or Cobbler Pose, or perhaps try an Asana series working into this pose for Labor Day! This is a common pose for all levels Yogis and all styles of Yoga, especially restorative classes. The upright pose and most variations are all technically Baddha Konasana or literally Bound Angle Pose. However, I think of Bound Angle or Butterfly Pose as sitting straight up, Cobbler Pose as leaning forward over the legs, and Reclined Goddess as laying back in Supta Baddha Konasana. We will talk about how to get into both variations from Baddha Konasana today!

Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose

Baddha Konasana – Cobbler Pose

Feet and Legs – Your legs should be turned out and feet together. Let your knees fall to the ground, as far as is comfortable. If you have tight hips, you may want to put couch pillows under your knees for support. You may want to scoot your feet a bit forward if you bring your torso forward or back into the Reclined Goddess or Cobbler variations of this pose.

Hips – Hips should stay neutral. Take note of your booty – it should be almost tucked under rather than sticking out. You may want to sit on a block or couch pillow if you notice rounding in your back or shoulders.

Torso and Head  – Keep your back, neck, and head in a straight line – notice any rounding in lower back or shoulders, and adjust your tail bone. Look straight ahead.

Arms – Gently grab hold around your feet. It may help to scoot your legs forward slightly before trying either variation:
To come into what I envision as the Cobbler variation of Bound Angle / Butterfly Pose, gently walk your hands forward and drape your chest over your legs on an exhale.
To come into Supta Baddha Konasana / Reclined Goddess, use your hands for support as you lean back and rest your back and head on the mat. If comfortable, you can bend your elbows over your head, clasp your hands together, and rest your head in your hands.

If your chest or shoulders are tight, try a block under each arm like below for a more restorative version of Baddha Konasana / Cobbler Pose!

Restorative Variation – Baddha Konasana / Cobbler

PPS If you are comfortable with Baddha Konasana, Halasana and/or variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried Baddha Konasana / Cobbler Pose or Halasana / Plow Pose before? Always remember, be kind!

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National Read a Book Day

Good Morning Yogis! We are pausing our journey through the Yoga Sutras for Labor Day Holiday Weekend for another holiday – National Read a Book Day.

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September. Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing Intermediate Flexibility (30 Minute)!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to participate in National Read a Book Day. If you have not read a book in a long time, perhaps grab one off the shelf you have been meaning to read, or try something new and inspiring! I read mostly fantasy novels or self-improvement books, so my suggestions are the addicting Game of Thrones Series (books have much more than the show!!!) or Tony Robbins’s Awaken the Giant Within. PS I most enjoy fantasy novels on an e-reader so I can immediately link dictionary to words like medieval weaponry I may not be familiar with.

If you already read regularly, perhaps try something different today! Get some bonus Svadhyaya / self-study by reading one of Yoga’s Sacred Texts – the Bhagavad Gita or God’s Song. The Gita is a section from the Indian Sacred Epic the Mahabharata. It is the most widely known of these Sacred Texts, and is widely read among modern day thinkers. Oppenheimer quoted the Gita after creating the nuclear bomb, and it is highly regarded by Henry David Thoreau, Carl Jung, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and other great minds.

The Bhagavad Gita is available in our free app!

Also, this is a good time to make another journal entry if you have not kept up with this new practice! I do not typically make a personal reflective journal entry every day, but I am pleased to be reminded to keep up with this on all Svadhyaya days. If you are not sure what to write about, perhaps journal about your thoughts on today’s reading.

Please comment and share your thoughts on the Gita if would like. Have you kept up with your journal, or are you making another entry with me for bonus Svadhyaya day? Always remember, be kind!

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International Day of Charity – Asteya – Non-Stealing

Good Morning Yogis! We pausing our journey through the Sutras for Labor Day Holiday Weekend. Today we are having a bonus Asteya or Non-stealing Day to participate in International Day of Charity, which began in honor of Mother Theresa. So, we will be practicing Asteya with the positive of non-stealing or generosity today!

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September. Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner AM (20 Minute), which I modify with more advanced versions of poses including full side plank, standard extended side angle, and lowering slowly from plank to Chaturanga Dandasana / Yoga Push-Up… I am still working arm strength to do the Intermediate version of this class. I typically practice Asana most consistently in the morning, and this is my favorite morning series!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to participate in International Charity Day for today’s Asteya/non-stealing day. Need some ideas?

  • Consider making a cash donation to your local food bank, hospital, or another nonprofit or charity that is meaningful to you.
  • Ask someone you care about who is having a tough time if you can help with household chores, or yard work, or anything else to make their lives easier and take something off their plate.
  • Purge toys, books, kitchen gadgets, and/or electronics you no longer use, and consider donating as appropriate to a local organization for the elderly, women and/or children.
  • If you have old luggage you no longer use, please consider donating to a foster care agency, since many foster children are forced to move with garbage bags.
  • Double up on some Saucha with a closet clean-out and donate clothes you do not wear any more… or consider starting a wardrobe tracking method to help identify what you do not wear and could donate. PS consider making the extra effort donating directly to local organizations for the homeless, women, or children rather than the easy dropboxes for Goodwill.

Please comment and share how you practiced Asteya and/or participated in International Charity Day today! Always remember, be kind!

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Ishvara Pranidhana – Surrender – Day 4

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September.

Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Ishvara Pranidhana Day today, I recommend a Yin or Restorative Yoga class, letting go and enjoying some passive stretching.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing a new class, Forward Bends (20 minutes). There is just something about forward fold Asanas that embodies Ishvara Pranidhana for me!

We are on the last day of this round of daily positive practices from the Niyamas. We first practiced the fifth of the NiyamasIshvara Pranidhana / surrender by working on practicing acceptance rather than upset reactions to a difficult situation. As we discussed in our intro, Ishvara Pranidhana is the most difficult of the Niyamas to understand and practice, but also one of the most rewarding. So, today we will work again on the challenging practice of acceptance in difficult times.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to practice acceptance when something bad or less-than-positive happens today. Try a deep breathing exercise when you encounter a problem. If you lose your temper, perhaps try to step outside yourself and see yourself reacting to a difficulty, and ask yourself if your reaction was productive. If it is possible, try seeing the silver lining for potential for growth in a bad situation. If you are practiced in religious faith, perhaps try praying for your own peace, calm, and understanding instead of a solution to a problem you are facing. Again, this is a journey and this particular practice today is one of the most difficult, so be gentle with yourself. If at first you do not succeed, evaluate what your reaction contributed, and try again next time. Treat this as an experiment, and see how you feel later after trying different approaches to problems that arise.

Advanced Yogis who incorporate Ishvara Pranidhana into their lives may begin seeing difficulties as challenges to overcome, and opportunities to practice managing our responses. This is one of the keys of long-lasting happiness, since getting upset often does nothing to help a bad situation and only makes things more difficult for ourselves. Instead, try to stay calm, and do not allow a negative encounter to draw you into negativity. Of course, this is easier said than done! Remember, it is a journey.

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Please comment to share how this exercise impacted you. Feel free to share your successes or your struggles with this challenging practice. Always remember, be kind!

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Svadhyaya – Self-Study Day 4 – Meyers-Briggs / MBTI

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September.

Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Svadhyaya Day today, I recommend an Iyengar Style class, making sure to monitor your alignment.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner AM (20 Minute), which I modify with more advanced versions of poses including full side plank, standard extended side angle, and lowering slowly from plank to Chaturanga Dandasana / Yoga Push-Up… I am still working arm strength to do the Intermediate version of this class!

We are continuing on with weaving practice of each of the Niyamas into our day. Today we will continue our fun self-study method series covering the next few Svadhyaya Days. I got very interested in personality typing a few years ago. My two favorite methodologies are called Meyers-Briggs and the Enneagram. I have had some friends get annoyed by my interest in these personality analysis methods, and say they’re like horoscopes… My answer is I think astrology is another fun method to learn about ourselves! I find it much easier to have something to compare to than trying to analyze myself from scratch. Last time we practiced Svadhyaya/self-study by learning about the Enneagram. Today we will learn about Meyers-Briggs Personality Typing, or MBTI. This personality typing method is based on the order of the ways we prefer to process information. There are many websites that go into deep dives of the MBTI system and the types, but for today we will just learn our primary type.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to determine and read up on your MBTI type. Remember to approach with the open mind of a scholar, and use as a tool for self-reflection!

Free MBTI test (basic test should be fine for today)

Type In Mind – one of my favorite sites for deep-dive MBTI research

Review your MBTI test results, and note whether you agree or disagree with your personality typing and resulting personality traits.

If you disagree with your MBTI test results, check the strengths and weakness pages for some similar personality types – you can find a full list of personality types here. When you find YOUR type, it will ‘click’ with you! Also, our past experiences may cause us to “test” as another type. I am definitely a classic ENFJ. However, my test results often come out as ESTJ because of my business background and my constant efforts to be more rational and observant.

We are just scratching the surface of MBTI today. However, you should be aware MBTI typing is not 16 boxes, but generalizations based on combined results from four different personality aspects ie introversion / extroversion.. I view these personality aspects as gradients 0-100, split around the half way point. In other words, an ENFJ who is near 100% extroversion will have many similarities with, but still be quite different from another ENFJ who is at close to 51% extroversion, just barely over the line from introversion.

This is a good time to make another journal entry! Perhaps review the strengths and weaknesses page for your personality type and analyze how they may or may not apply to you. Maybe check out the additional sections for relationships and recommended careers for your type. Remember to approach with the open mind of a scholar, and use as a tool for self-reflection!

Please comment and share your thoughts on your MBTI results if would like. Have you kept up with your journal, or are you making another entry with me for Svadhyaya day? Always remember, be kind!

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Tapas – Discipline – Day 4

Good Morning Yogis! We are continuing on with weaving practice of each of the Niyamas into our day. This is our fourth Tapas or discipline Day. Our intro Tapas day, we made a goal that was important to us. Each Tapas day, we checked in on our progress. It has been nearly a month and a half, so if you have kept up on your daily habit you have likely successfully formed a new habit! Congratulations, keep it up!! If you have not kept up, examine why you did not, and consider if you want to keep this goal or set a new one. Evaluate the reminders and/or rewards you set for yourself, and perhaps modify these systems to ensure your success! Yoga is a practice, and successfully changing our habits is about consistency, so we will keep checking in on our goals on Tapas Days.

We have a Daily Asana Challenge for September. Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Tapas Day today, I recommend a dynamic Vinyasa class.

PS I’m currently reinvigorated and super motivated for my Duolingo Daily Habit after seeing nearly 180 and 365 day streaks from friends. I am at about 90%, but have missed a few days here and there… practice not perfection, but I’m working for it! I’m currently at a 14 day streak, going for 180 🙂

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to get some exercise for Tapas Day and Work Out Wednesday. If you are having a hard time keeping up with the daily habits you have set for yourself, consider trying and sticking with a 30 Day Challenge! We have a 30 Day Asana Challenge going on right now for September! Register and find our Daily Asana group if you would like to join! There are many free Apps for other 30 Day Challenge workouts. My favorite is a free app called 30 Day Butt, which allows the pop-up phone notifications I love so much.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am trying out a Hip Hop Vinyasa Series (25 Minute). I am also going to do a couple of our past Yoga Workouts today – Tiger Crunches for Core and Glutes, and Upward Plank Holds for Glutes.

Please comment and share how you are doing. Have you kept up with your daily habit? Are you changing your systems or perhaps setting a new meaningful goal? Are you joining us with our Asana Challenge? Always remember, be kind!

Vyaghrasana – Tiger Crunches
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Santosha – Contentment – Day 4 – September Self-Improvement Month

Good Morning Yogis! Happy September! September is National Self-Improvement Month. I find challenge-focused months super helpful for my own motivation, so we’re going to continue with a daily Asana practice challenge for September.

Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Santosha Day today, I recommend a Hatha class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner Combination (30 Minute), so I can complete my Beginners Essentials Badge. I would also classify this series as Hatha Style.

We are continuing on with weaving practice of each of the Niyamas into our day. Last time we practiced the second of the Niyamas, Santosha / contentment with ourselves on the mat, by honoring and being gentle with our bodies, and not pushing ourselves to pain… Santosha is the key to avoiding injury during Asanas / Poses, so please make sure to carry this throughout the month if you are participating in the September Asana Challenge! Today we will be focusing on Santosha with our lives, not just our bodies.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to actively exercise Santosha/contentment by focusing on the present moment, ideally in nature. I have heard if we focus on the past we will be depressed, if we focus on the future we will be anxious, and the key to joy is living in the present moment. A couple of the Yamas and Niyamas reflect this secret of happiness hidden in the “now”. I find one of the easiest ways to do this is to get outside and be active! Go on a walk, and perhaps literally stop and smell the roses. Take a run and feel the wind on your face. Being around water is always especially calming for me, maybe head out for a walk down the beach, around a lake, or by a river. Perhaps hike and appreciate the beauty around you rather than focusing on finding a perfect selfie spot. Since we are still in the days of social distancing, maybe pack a picnic and head to the back yard or a nearby park, or read a book on your deck or by the window. Whatever feels like the best way for you to get out of your little bubble, and appreciate the beauty of the world around you.

Also, calmly notice when your thoughts drift back to the past or forward to the future. Try to bring yourself back to the present moment by focusing on the sight, sounds, smells, taste, or feel of your surroundings.

Please comment and share how you did focusing on the present moment today. Did you get outside? Were you able to find contentment in the now? Always remember, be kind!

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