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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Vrksasana – Tree Pose

Doing our 30 Day Challenge? Click here for today’s post!

Good morning Yogis! As our challengers are continuing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we will learn about similar poses. Our challengers are learning about Talasana / Palm Tree Pose, so we will learn about another arboreal Asana – Vrksasana / Tree Pose!

Vrksasana (Vrrk-SA-sa-na) or Tree Pose is one of the most popular balancing Asanas. I am sure you have seen this pose before on at least Instagram or Facebook!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to work on Vrksasana / Tree Pose. Try to hold this pose for 30-60 seconds, and make sure to practice this Asana on both sides!

Vrksasana – Tree Pose

Vrksasana – Tree Pose with Prayer Hands behind Back

Feet and Legs – Start in Tadasana / Mountain Pose, and shift your weight onto one side.. let’s start with the right side. Keep this foot strongly grounded. You should keep your grounded foot pointed straight head if possible.. with my dance background I find it slightly easier to slightly turn this foot out, but I am working towards pointing forward! Then, after you find your balance, bend your left knee as you slightly turn out or externally rotate your left hip. Place the sole of your left foot as high as is comfortable on your right leg with toes pointing down. New Yogis working their balance may want to ground the toes of the left foot into the mat, and rest the left heel on the right ankle. Advanced Yogis may want to bring the left foot all the way up to the groin, or even higher and forward into a half-lotus leg. Intermediate Yogis often place the left foot just below or just above the knee.

NOTE – DO NOT place your left foot on your right knee!!! This pressure on the knee can cause injury.

Hips – Make sure your hips are neutral. Try to tilt your hips forward and back a bit to get a feel for your natural posture. Err on the side of tucking your tailbone under, rather than sticking your booty out.

Torso – First 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. Then gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open.

Arms – I get into Vrksasana from Tadasana / Mountain Pose by firstly placing my hands on my hips for balance. Many Yogis inhale and raise arms above the head in line with the ears, with palms facing each other. However, you can get creative with your arms here! Moreover, if you a New Yogi or are working on your balance, maybe leave your hands on your hips to help balance. Perhaps try prayer hands at your heart, or prayer hands behind your back. Whatever feels right for you!

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. I usually look up, or gaze softly ahead at a single un-moving point to help with balance.

Make sure to perform Vrksasana on both sides! To come out, slowly lower hands and feet to come back down into Tadasana / Mountain Pose.

Please comment to share your experience! Did you try the standard arms, or get creative with a variation? Where did you place your foot? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Yin and Restorative

Balasana – Child Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are wrapping up our introduction to the variety of styles of Asana/poses.

Yin is probably familiar to those in the west from “Yin and Yang” (PS Yang actually rhymes with pong, not pang!). Yin and Yang is a concept of complementary opposing forces. Yin represents dark, shade/shadow, feminine, and passive sides. Yang represents light, sun/light, male, and active sides. Our exploration of Hot/Bikram Yoga was definitely a Yang Yoga Style, and Vinyasa is also a very active style. So, we would expect a Yin class to be passive, and the opposite of an active/Vinyasa style class. Yin classes are often slow paced, with Asanas/poses held for a longer period of time.

Restorative Yoga is a type of Yin Yoga. This style usually utilizes props to support the body in Asanas/poses held for very long periods of time, typically 5-10 minutes. Restorative Yoga is typically extremely gentle and safest for Yogis with injuries.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is a Yin or Restorative series. As I mentioned, Restorative Yoga typically requires a lot of support! I prefer lots of blankets, bolsters, and/or pillows for most restorative poses. I usually only use blocks during restorative practice for support under limbs… I prefer couch pillows for my head! If you do not have a bolster, you can try a large firm pillow.

Beginner Yin Yoga

Restorative Yoga (bolster or large firm pillow required)

Please comment to share your experience with these Yin and Restorative series! Which version did you try? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Bikram/Hot Series

Dhanurasana – Bow Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our exploration of various styles of Asana/poses.

Hot Yoga is probably my favorite style! I know this can be very divisive.. a few of my friends who are Yogis think I’m nuts for loving Hot Yoga so much. I kind of get it.. Hot Yoga is super intense, and many go to Yoga Classes to chill out, not sweat in a room over 100°F! I usually drink an entire large water bottle both before and during the class. However, I find the added flexibility I get from basically doing Yoga in a sauna to be well worth the extra sweat!

Bikram is basically a brand name of Hot Yoga. Bikram Studios are always 105°F (41°C) and 40% humidity. Bikram Yoga is a set 26 pose sequence, and only Bikram Studios can perform this particular series. Many other Hot Yoga studios do similar but not identical sequences, and they may also have cooler “hot” rooms to accommodate Hot Vinyasa or other blended style offerings. Whether true Bikram or another Asana style in a cooler hot room, all Hot Yoga makes you SWEATY! Bonus Saucha/Purity practice – make sure to take a quick shower very soon after all Hot Yoga! When they open, most Hot Studios have showers in case you live far from the studio.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is a Hot or Bikram series. If you are able to, perhaps try to practice these in a warm room or perhaps outside if today is a warm nice day. See if you can find the increased flexibility from Asana practice in a hot area, despite all Hot Yoga and Bikram studios likely being closed for COVID! I am trying in my living room, which is about 85°F on warm sunny summer afternoons if we do not open doors or windows! Make sure you have plenty of water, and if trying the Hot Vinyasa series make sure the temperature is well below the 105°F standard Bikram room!

PS If Hot Yoga is not your thing, perhaps go back to one of your favorite styles this week and try the second video! Also, Hot Yoga can be particularly dangerous or difficult for those with injuries or health conditions, so please evaluate safety with a medical professional before trying Hot Yoga.

Hot Vinyasa Series

Beginner Bikram Series (this 26 pose sequence is traditionally performed twice)

Please comment to share your experience with these Hot and Bikram series! Which version did you try? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Iyengar Series

Virabhadrasana II – Warrior 2

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our exploration of various styles of Asana / poses. Today we are moving on to a slightly more difficult style.

Iyengar is somewhat between Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga. The creators of Iyengar and Ashtanga Vinyasa trained under the same Yoga Master, so it is no surprise there are some similarities! Iyengar, like Ashtanga, is typically a regimented series progression of Asanas / poses, with Sun Salutations in the series. However, Ashtanga is a flow style, while Iyengar instructors usually focus on proper alignment, and often hold the poses for a longer time. Iyengar also often uses props to aid with proper alignment. Because of this approach to Asanas, Iyengar classes are typically a good fit for beginners or Yogis with injuries. I really enjoy learning proper alignment with Iyengar, and trying to bring these “corrective focuses” into flow classes.

Have you used props before? If not, I strongly recommend trying today with an Iyengar series! I typically use blocks and a strap to help get proper alignment in some poses impacted by my tight hamstrings. We will talk more about different props later, but these two are probably the most helpful to Yogis at all levels!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is an Iyengar series. We have recommendations for Iyengar series both with and without props.

Beginner Iyengar Series with Props

Iyengar Series with and without Props

Please comment to share your experience with these Iyengar series! Which version did you try? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Vinyasa Series

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our exploration of various styles of Asana/poses.

Vinyasa is arguably the most common class at Yoga Studios in the West. This is a fast-paced Asana practice combining breath with fast transitions between Asanasa/poses to “flow” almost like a dance. Although these classes are popular, they are not for beginners. You should know many poses very well and sometimes how to transition between these poses

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is a Vinyasa series. Vinyasa and Power Flow are similar, but not exactly the same. Vinyasa refers to the connections between breath and movement. Power flow also has this breath/movement connection or “flow” but is primarily cardio and strength-focused.

Beginner Vinyasa Series

Power Flow Series

Please comment to share your experience with these Vinyasa series! Which version did you try? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Hatha Series

Utkatasana – Powerful or Chair Pose

Good morning Yogis! We have talked quite a bit about working various techniques into your Asana practice, discussed Surya Namaskar / Sun Salutations, and introduced Ashtanga Vinyasa. However, I realize many of you may be new to Yoga, and there are many kinds of Asana styles. We will take a brief detour and introduce some of these other styles of Yoga. Hopefully you will find one or a few favorite Asana styles to integrate into your daily practice, and be more informed to select between class offerings at a Yoga studio. Today we will cover Hatha Yoga and try a Hatha Yoga Series.

We have talked about the 8 Limbs of Yoga. We will be focusing on the Third Limb – Asanas or Poses, covering quite a few Asana styles. There are also 6 Branches of Yoga, which come to us from the Bhagavad Gita. Basically, different Branches of Yoga give different weights and priorities to particular practices from the 8 Limbs of Yoga. We will start with Hatha Yoga, which is both an Asana style and a Branch of Yoga. The Hatha Branch of Yoga actually covers all styles of Asana (from fast-paced Vinyasa to calming Restorative), since Hatha Yoga is the Branch that focuses on Asanas or poses and movement.

Hatha can be translated to English as either “Sun and Moon” (implying balance) or “Forceful”. Even though all Asana Styles and Asana Practices are technically Hatha Yoga, you can typically expect a Hatha class at a Yoga studio to be a more slow paced class than a Vinyasa class, and to have more detailed instructions. Often Hatha classes at studios are the beginner / intro Yoga classes.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is a beginner Hatha Asana series. I am a huge fan of Rodney Yee. I practice at home with videos or apps far more than I do at Yoga Studios. The first Asana Yoga practice I ever tried was in college, with my roommate and a Rodney Yee DVD. So, I feel it is appropriate to start with a couple video options from Rodney Yee‘s Hatha and Beginner series.

Recommended Hatha Yoga Videos

Beginner Morning Hatha Series

AM Connection Hatha Series

Please comment to share your experience with this Hatha series! Which version did you try? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Ashtanga Series

Good morning Yogis! We have talked quite a bit about Ashtanga, or the 8 Limbs of Yoga. This is a direct reference to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. There is also a style of Yoga/Asanas called Ashtanga, or Ashtanga Vinyasa you have likely seen at some Yoga studios. I am just a student of Ashtanga Yoga, not a teacher.. which will require a trip to the one Ashtanga Yoga school in India (one day!). Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a series of specific, challenging, and dynamic sets of Asana sequences and other Yoga practices. There are 6 Ashtanga Vinyasa Series: beginner, intermediate, and four advanced.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is a beginner Ashtanga Vinyasa Asana series. Even though this is called a beginner series, you will see it is quite challenging!

This video is about as gentle and easy as possible for the beginner series.

This video is a more challenging and traditional version of the Ashtanga beginner series.

Please comment to share your experience with this beginner Ashtanga series! Which version did you try? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

Palasana – Plow Pose
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