Asanas – Poses – Adho Mukha Svanasana & Shisulasana

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

Happy Monday Yogis! As our 30 Day Challenge group is working on a detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we will review these Asanas along with our challengers. Or, if you prefer, you can practice a twisted/sister version of each pose during this series. Today is the last day of this series!

Sun Salutations AsanaAdho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog
Twisted/Sister AsanaShisulasana / Dolphin Pose

Ajaneyasana - low lunge pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose
Parivrrta Ashta Chandrasana - high lunge with twist pose - yoga pose yoga at night girl wearing white long-sleeved shirt and purple pants
Shisulasana – Dolphin Pose

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to go “back to basics” with either Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog or Shisulasana / Dolphin Pose. If you want to begin to work on inversions, Shisulasana / Dolphin Pose toe-taps is a great beginner exercise to build arm and core strength!

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Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Which Asana did you choose to practice today? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Bhujangasana & Salamba Bhujangasana

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

Happy Wednesday Yogis! As our 30 Day Challenge group is working on a detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we will review these Asanas along with our challengers. Or, if you prefer, you can practice a twisted/sister version of each pose during this series!

Sun Salutations AsanaBhujangasana / Cobra Pose
Twisted/Sister AsanaSalamba Bhujangasana – Sphinx Pose

Bhujangasana - cobra pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
Salamba Bhujangasana - sphinx pose - yoga pose yoga at night girl wearing white long-sleeved shirt and purple pants
Salamba Bhujangasana – Sphinx Pose

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to go “back to basics” with either Bhujangasana / Cobra Pose or Salamba Bhujangasana – Sphinx Pose. If you are a new Yogi, I recommend sticking with Bhujangasana / Cobra Pose rather than the full Urdhva Mukha Svanasana / Upward Facing Dog expression of the pose. Be careful working into backbends if these are new to you!

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Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Which Asana did you choose to practice today? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Chaturanga Dandasana & Dandasana

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

Happy Friday Yogis! As our 30 Day Challenge group is working on a detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we will review these Asanas along with our challengers. Or, if you prefer, you can practice a twisted/sister version of each pose during this series!

Sun Salutations AsanaChaturanga Dandasana / Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Twisted/Sister AsanaDandasana – Staff Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana - four-limbed staff pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Chaturanga Dandasana – Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Dandasana - staff pose with strap - yoga pose forest yogi girl wearing black, outdoors yoga in the woods
Dandasana – Staff Pose

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to go “back to basics” with either Chaturanga Dandasana / Four-Limbed Staff Pose or Dandasana – Staff Pose. Either of these Asanas are great foundations for Yoga Workouts – see Chaturanga Dandasana / Four-Limbed Staff Pose for arm workout and Dandasana – Staff Pose for glute workout!

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Mats and Equipment for Newbies!

You may want to try a strap, couch pillow, blanket, or bolster to help yourself ease into Dandasana of you have tight hamstrings.

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This page contains affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Which Asana and yoga workout did you choose to practice today? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Phalakasana & Purvottanasana

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

Happy Thursday Yogis! As our 30 Day Challenge group is working on a detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we will review these Asanas along with our challengers. Or, if you prefer, you can practice a twisted/sister version of each pose during this series!

Sun Salutations AsanaPhalakasana / Plank Pose
Twisted/Sister AsanaPurvottanasana / Reverse Plank

Phalakasana - plank pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Phalakasana – Plank Pose
Purvottanasana - reverse plank pose - yoga pose forest yogi girl wearing black, outdoors yoga in the woods
Purvottanasana – Reverse Plank Pose

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to go “back to basics” with either Phalakasana / Plank Pose or Phalakasana / Plank Pose. Either of these Asanas are great foundations for Yoga Workouts – see Phalakasana / Plank Pose for arm workout and Purvottanasana / Reverse Plank for glute workout!

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Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Which Asana and yoga workout did you choose to practice today? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Anjaneyasana & Parivrtta Anjaneyasana

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

Happy Wednesday Yogis! As our 30 Day Challenge group is working on a detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we will review these Asanas along with our challengers. Or, if you prefer, you can practice a twisted/sister version of each pose during this series!

Sun Salutations AsanaAnjaneyasana / Low Lunge
Twisted/Sister AsanaParivrtta Anjaneyasana / Low Lunge Twist

Ajaneyasana - low lunge pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge
Parivrrta Ashta Chandrasana - high lunge with twist pose - yoga pose yoga at night girl wearing white long-sleeved shirt and purple pants
Parivrtta Ashta Chandrasana – High Lunge Twist

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to go “back to basics” with either Anjaneyasana / Low Lunge or Parivrtta Anjaneyasana / Low Lunge Twist. Please note that I usually choose to practice my Sun Salutations Series in the morning currently with High Lunge as this Asana is easier on my knees, and I can perform without even a mat quickly in the morning, and even outside! I also have incorporated the suggestion from one of our Yogis, and I cactus my arms on an exhale through the lunge into Phalakasana / Plank Pose.

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Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Which Asana did you choose to practice today? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Uttanasana & Parivrtta Uttanasana

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

Happy Tuesday Yogis! As our 30 Day Challenge group is working on a detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we will review these Asanas along with our challengers. Or, if you prefer, you can practice a twisted/sister version of each pose during this series!

Sun Salutations AsanaUttanasana / Standing Forward Bend
Twisted/Sister AsanaParivrtta Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend Twist

Uttanasana - standing forward bend pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend
Parivrrta Uttanasana - standing forward bend with twist pose - yoga pose yoga at night girl wearing white long-sleeved shirt and purple pants
Parivrtta Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend Twist

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to go “back to basics” with either Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend or Parivrtta Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend Twist. Both of these are great hip openers, and Uttanasana will always be special to me since this Asana helped me finally touch my toes!

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Mats and Equipment for Newbies!

You may want to try a block or bending your knees slightly if you cannot reach the floor – focus on keeping a straight back more than straight legs!

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This page contains affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Which Asana did you choose to practice today? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Talasana & Vrksasana

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

Happy Monday Yogis! As our 30 Day Challenge group is working on a detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we will review these Asanas along with our challengers. Or, if you prefer, you can practice a twisted/sister version of each pose during this series!

Sun Salutations AsanaTalasana / Palm Tree Pose
Twisted/Sister AsanaVrksasana / Tree Pose

Talasana - palm pose variation - yoga pose forest yogi girl wearing black pants and bright hooded yellow sweatshirt, outdoors yoga in the woods
Talasana – Palm Tree Pose
Vrksasana - tree pose - yoga pose forest yogi girl wearing green dress, outdoors barefoot yoga in the woods
Vrksasana – Tree Pose

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to go “back to basics” with either Talasana / Palm Tree Pose or Vrksasana / Tree Pose. Both of these are great balancing poses for new Yogis! I find practicing balancing Asanas brings a calming stillness after focusing on holding the pose.

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Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Which was your favorite of these arboreal Asanas? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Day 8 – Finding Your Center

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

Happy Sunday Yogis! As our 30 Day Challenge group is working on a detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we will review these Asanas along with our challengers. Or, if you prefer, you can practice a twisted/sister version of each pose during this series!

Sun Salutations AsanaTadasana / Mountain Pose
Twisted/Sister AsanaSukhasana, Siddhasana, Padmasana & Virasana

Tadasana - mountain pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Tadasana – Mountain Pose
Padmasana - full lotus pose - yoga pose forest yogi girl wearing black, outdoors yoga in the woods
Seated Asanas

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to go “back to basics” with either Tadasana / Mountain Pose or finding your preferred comfortable seat. I consider finding your preferred grounding pose to be finding your center . Most Yoga classes start and end with these Asanas. Each of these centering Asanas are great poses for meditation.

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Mats and Equipment for Newbies!

You may want to try a block, couch pillow, blanket, or bolster to help yourself find a comfortable seat.

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This page contains affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Which was your favorite of these seated poses? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Day 7 – Sun Salutations

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Happy Thursday Yogis! During our last intro challenge, we covered a twisted/sister version of each Asanas, and during our January challenge we will take a closer look at transitions between each pose. Since I am still recovering from an injury, we are going to stay with our Challenge Group and have a KISS (keep it super simple) Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Also, focus on incorporating Diaphragmatic Breathing or Ocean Breathing, and try to get a “flow” with one deep inhale or exhale for each pose as you are moving through this Asana series.

The next few days as new Yogis doing our 30 Day Challenge are learning this series, we will re-examine variations of each of the poses in the Sun Salutations Series.. stay tuned!

Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? If this is part of your morning practice, how many repetitions do you do? Always remember, be kind!

Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

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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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Shisulasana – Dolphin Pose

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

Good morning Yogis! We are completing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, and today is our last twisted or sister version for Daily Yogis.

The final Asana in this series is Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog. Today we will cover its sister pose, Shisulasana (SHIH-suh-LA-sa-na). This is a great Asana, and one I did not start practicing until my teacher training! Since Adho Mukha Svanasana can be rough on the upper body for new Yogis, this is a great alternative. This pose is also one of the first poses to really work on for inversions. In fact, this pose is often called Ardha Sirsasana or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana since it is half way to these advanced inversion Asanas. Today we will try Sun Salutations with Shisulasana, and perhaps try some toe taps for those Yogis who want to try to work into inversions!

PS I am currently working into more advanced arm balances and inversions.. it has taken me many years to build enough upper arm strength, and inversion and balance Asanas are the most challenging on my Asana journey. I have heard what we avoid we most need to learn, so I will include my experiences as I safely work these in to my practice!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side, coming into Shisulasana / Dolphin Pose rather than Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog. I find it a bit easier to come into Dolphin from Salamba Bhujangasana / Sphinx since my forearms are already grounded. Jump to today’s variations!

Shisulasana – Dolphin Pose

Shisulasana – Dolphin Pose

Feet – Your feet should still be about hip distance apart. Coming from either Bhujangasana / Cobra or Sambhala Bhujangasana / Sphinx, your feet will flip and you will end with the balls of both feet on the mat, reaching your heels towards the mat. You can bring your feet a bit closer in to help your heels start reaching the mat. It is very difficult for heels to reach the mat when hamstrings are very tight, so be gentle with yourself in this pose, and perhaps walk your feet in or walk the dog into this pose.

Legs – Keep your legs straight and make sure you do not hyperextend your knees. Perhaps walk your legs back and forth a bit, since you may want a bit of a different angle than you are used to in Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog.

Hips – On the EXHALE you lift your hips up to the ceiling/sky to come into this Asana. Try to keep you hips pointing up and back, as you lightly press your chest back towards your thighs to deepen this stretch.

Arms – The main difference between Shisulasana and Adho Mukha Svanasana is Dolphin’s bent elbows. I enter this pose from Sphinx or Table Top by clasping my hands together into one fist, and pressing my fist and my forearms into the mat as I lift my hips. Once you are comfortable in this pose, you can release your hands and press palms firmly into the mat.

Head and Neck – Keep your head and neck neutral, and either close your eyes or gaze gently down at your mat or legs.

Shisulasana – Dolphin Pose Variations

If you would like to try the inversion work, try some toe taps in Shisulasana! Make sure your forearms stay grounded, and lift one leg up, keeping your hips centered. Try some hip circles as high as your leg will go, touch toe down a couple times, and repeat on the other side on the next round of Sun Salutations. The next step working into inversions is to practice falling, but you will want to work on building balance and strength in Shisulasana for quite a while before ‘taking off’ on inversions!

Shisulasana Toe Taps

Please comment to share your experience with this exercise! Have you practiced Shisulasana before? Do you include inversions in your current practice? Always remember, be kind!

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Salamba Bhujangasana – Sphinx Pose

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

Good morning Yogis! Did you know today is International Yoga Day?? Let’s all make sure we get on our mats and practice today! That is my plan, as we continue our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series.

The traditional Asana in this series is Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (ORD-hvah MOOK-ha Sva-NA-sa-nuh) / Upward Facing Dog, but I typically prefer practicing with Bhujangasana (BOO-jawng-GA-sa-nuh) / Cobra. Today we will be performing our Sun Salutations series with Salamba Bhujangasana / Sphinx Pose for the most gentle backbend. PS The literal translation from Sanskrit is Supported Cobra Pose.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will progress from the Phalakasana / Plank portion of the series down to the mat, and breathe back up again into Salamba Bhujangasana / Sphinx Pose.

Salamba Bhujangasana / Sphinx Pose

Salamba Bhujangasana – Sphinx

Feet – Your feet should still be about hip distance apart. However, if your toes are still tucked, you should release and lay the tops of your feet down on the mat.

Legs – Keep your legs straight and laying flat on the mat if coming into Bhujangasana / Cobra. We will talk about legs for Urdhva Mukha Svanasana / Upward Facing Dog a bit later.

Hips – Keep your hips grounded and even on the mat to come into Salamba Bhujangasana / Sphinx.

Arms – Keep your hands spread and right under your shoulders as you lower from the Plank portion of the series as if you were coming to come into Bhujangasana. On the INHALE raise your chest from the mat into a gentle backbend, and walk your hands forward in front of you, placing your forearms flat on the floor and parallel to each other. This is the main difference between Cobra and Sphinx – the supporting forearms. Cobra can be lifted or raised slightly from the ground, but palms stay under shoulders, rather than in front of you.

Head and Neck – Keep your head and neck neutral, and either close your eyes or gaze gently ahead. If you are comfortable with back bends and want an extra stretch along your front, you may gently lift your chin a bit at the peak of the pose.

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Please comment to share your experience with this exercise! Have you tried this “Supported” Bhujangasana / Sphinx pose before? Always remember, be kind!

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Dandasana – Staff Pose

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

Good morning Yogis! As our 30 Day Challenge group is continuing a detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we are covering similar, sister, or switched around versions of each pose!

Our Challenge Group is covering Chaturanga Dandasana – Four-Limbed Staff or Yoga Push-Up. Today we will cover Dandasana, or Staff Pose. This is probably the only altered pose this week that is easier than what our Challengers are covering!

Basically, this pose is sitting on the ground with your feet straight in front of you. However, as with many of the “basic” poses, there is a lot of alignment to consider for the proper expression of this pose!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a modified and more challenging version of our Glutes Yoga Workout. Today, we will start in Dandasana / Staff, lift into Purvottanasana / Reverse Plank, and HOLD. I like to work up my hold times… I start with 10 reps of holding in Purvottanasana for 3 breaths, 10 reps of 5 breath holds, and then 5 reps of 10 breath holds. If you’re up for a challenge, perhaps try 10 reps of the 10 breath holds. Either way, you’ll certainly feel the burn by the end!

Dandasana – Staff Pose

Dandasana – Staff Pose

Feet – You should keep heels on the mat, and feet flexed straight up, with toes pointing to the sky. I have to admit, this was a bit weird for me coming from a dance background! This is yet another yoga pose where your toes should be straight ahead and flexed, NOT turned out and pointed.

Legs – This pose can be very tricky for Yogis with tight hamstrings! It is more important to have a straight back here than straight legs. Try your best to keep legs on the ground. Activating the quads can help release tight hamstrings. If you feel your back rounding, allow your knees to bend slightly, and/or put a couch pillow under your seat!

Hips and Torso – Your sit bones should stay grounded to the mat. To help hamstrings release and keep a straight back, err on the side of sticking your booty out a bit rather than tucking it under. Your torso should stay aligned over your hips – check your hips, ribs, and shoulders are stacked right over your hips. Perhaps try a few cat/cow motions with your torso, and settle in a neutral middle spot.

Arms – Keep you shoulders pulled down you back to help open your chest and keep a straight back. If you are comfortable, you can rest your hands on your thighs. I like to press my hands into the mat, fingers pointing straight to the side, to help both straighten and stretch out my back a bit.

Head and Neck – Keep your head in line with the rest of your body, looking straight ahead. Note 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.

This pose is tricky for Yogis with tight hamstrings. Try a couch pillow under your seat and/or use a strap to help posture and work chest towards thighs.

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Equipment and Yoga Mats!

I recommend getting a strap, and perhaps a couch pillow or blanket for Dandasana!

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


Please comment to share your experience with this exercise! How many reps were you able to do of the 10 second holds? Do you prefer this lift and hold, or the standard lifts we did yesterday? Always remember, be kind!

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee

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Asanas – Poses – Day 2 – Sunday Seats – Comfortable Seats for Meditation

Good morning Yogis! Yoga classes often start with Tadasana or Mountain Pose, a standing grounding pose. On the other hand, some classes start with seated grounding poses. We will cover a few of these comfortable seats for meditation Asanas for today’s Sunday Seats.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try the seated centering Asanas. Firstly, please try all of them, at least briefly, and see which feels best for you! Please note different seats are comfortable for different bodies. I enjoy Padmasana / Lotus Pose which many Yogis find very uncomfortable, and I find Virasana / Hero’s Pose a bit rough on my knees and best with a block under my seat. Also, these seated poses are also the best positions for your meditation and Pranayama practice! Perhaps select your favorite as your comfortable seated position for your meditation practice going forward!

Upper BodY

Firstly, you should keep your head, neck, and shoulders aligned over your hips in each pose. Secondly, keep your shoulders down and back, and try to keep your back from rounding. Finally, your hands can either gently rest on knees and/or in your favorite mudra / placement for meditation. We will focus just on the lower body in each of these positions. Also, if any poses are uncomfortable, try with a couch pillow or block under your seat! Lastly, I find it helps to switch my legs and do both sides for any cross legged positions to even out my posture!

Sukhasana – Easy Pose

Sukhasana – Easy Pose

Sukhasana (sook-HA-sa-nuh) is basically just a comfortable seated position! Firstly, look down at your legs – you should see a small triangle of empty space. Keep your torso straight and tall over your hips. Then take note of your rib cage. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Finally, notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open. You can put your hands on the ground and gently press to lengthen your back, or rest your hands on your knees. You can pull a bit on your knees to help open your chest and help keep your back straight.

Siddhasana – Adept’s Pose

Siddhasana – Adept’s Pose

Siddhasana (sid-DAH-sa-nuh) is basically a slightly more difficult version of Sukhasana / Easy Pose. Start in Sukhasana / Easy Pose. Then, spread your knees a bit further, and bring your feet in towards your groin. Next, look down and make sure there is no empty space between your legs. Finally, make sure you keep your back straight, not rounded! If you notice your back rounding in this pose, move your legs back out to Sukhasana / easy pose. I prefer Siddhasana over Sukhasana, especially because bringing in my feet helps me maintain a straighter back.

Padmasana – Lotus Pose

Padmasana – Lotus Pose

This is a comfortable seat for advanced Yogis only. Please do not force yourself into this pose! Many Yogis work Ardha Padmasana (ARD-ha pahd-MA-sa-nuh), or Half Lotus and can only express the full pose after extensive Asana practice. Make sure you keep your back straight, not rounded! I ALWAYS do an Asana series in this pose, cross my legs the other way, and repeat! This leg base is used in many other advanced Asanas and variations, such as Tolasana / Scales Pose and advanced Matsyasana – Fish Pose.

First, start in Siddhasana / Adept’s Pose. Lift and pull in your right foot, and place on top of your left thigh, as close to your hip as possible. You can leave your other leg here, in Ardha Padmasana – Half Lotus. Or, you can pull your left leg up and over onto your right leg, to come into the full expression of Padmasana.

Virasana – Hero’s Pose

Virasana – Hero’s Pose

Since Virasana (veer-AH-sa-nuh) or Hero’s Pose is a kneeling Asana, it usually much more comfortable for Yogis with tight hips than the cross legged poses above. Firstly start kneeling with knees and toes together. Then, bring the toes apart, and sit yourself down between your legs. This pose can be rough on my knees, and sometimes bothers my heels and tops of my feet if I have been wearing high heels. I therefore find this pose much more comfortable with a block under my seat as pictured below.

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Mats and Equipment for Newbies!

You may want to try a block, couch pillow, blanket, or bolster to help yourself find a comfortable seat.

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This page contains affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Which was your favorite of these seated poses? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Day 1 – Sun Salutations

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Good morning Yogis! I have to admit the last few weeks I have been not practicing Asanas much other than my morning Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. I did a bit of research, and most recommendations I found were to perform 12 Rounds of Sun Salutations. I had been doing three on each side, so I am going to work on getting my morning practice up to six per side!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Also, focus on incorporating Diaphragmatic Breathing or Ocean Breathing, and try to get a “flow” with one deep inhale or exhale for each pose as you are moving through this Asana series. Perhaps join me in doing sets of 12 each morning!

The next few days as new Yogis doing our 30 Day Challenge are learning this series, we will examine variations of each of the poses in the Sun Salutations Series.. stay tuned!

Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? If this is part of your morning practice, how many repetitions do you do? Always remember, be kind!

Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are completing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today we are covering Adho Mukha Svanasana, possibly the most popular and famous traditional Asana, that comes to mind when we think of Yoga.

The final Asana to introduce in this series is Adho Mukha Svanasana (AHD-ho MOOK-ha Sva-NA-sa-NA) / Downward Facing Dog. Today we will be performing our Sun Salutations series first with two ways to come into the traditional expression of this pose, and then try a more challenging version.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side, working on the correct alignment for this pose. Since this pose can be difficult for those with tight hamstrings and heels often do not reach the floor for new Yogis, our focus will be Santosha / Contentment again, and accepting and being gentle with where we are on our journeys. Jump to today’s variations!

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog

Feet – Your feet should still be about hip distance apart. However, your feet will flip and you will end with the balls of both feet on the mat, reaching your heels towards the mat. You can bring your feet a bit closer in to help your heels start reaching the mat. It is very difficult for heels to reach the mat when hamstrings are very tight, so be gentle with yourself in this pose, and perhaps walk your feet in or walk the dog into this pose as described below.

Legs – Keep your legs straight and make sure you do not hyperextend your knees. It may be helpful to bend one knee then the other a few times to “walk the dog” and work work into the pose.

Hips – On the EXHALE you lift your hips up to the ceiling/sky to come into this Asana. Try to keep you hips pointing up and back, as you lightly press your chest back towards your thighs to deepen this stretch.

Arms – Keep your hands spread, middle fingers pointing forward, shoulder distance apart. Press into the mat and keep your arms straight, and keep your shoulders pressed down away from your ears.

Head and Neck – Keep your head and neck neutral, and either close your eyes or gaze gently down at your mat.

Adho Mukha Svanasana Variations

The first round, from Bhujangasana / Cobra, come up into Table Top with knees bent and shins flat on the mat hip distance apart, and hands directly below shoulders and middle fingers pointing ahead. On an EXHALE, press your hands into the mat and lift your hips back to come into Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog. Perhaps “walk the dog” into the pose by bending one knee and then the other, to help loosen each leg and work into the pose. Take a couple of full inhales and exhales here, before bringing your LEFT foot forward to come back into your lunge and complete the Sun Salutation on both sides.

“Walking the dog” into Adho Mukha Svanasana

The second round, from Bhujangasana / Cobra, flip your toes, press into the mat, and lift your hips to come straight into Adho Mukha Svanasana without coming through Table Top. Take a full inhale and exhale here, and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

The last round, we will try a more challenging expression of Adho Mukha Svanasana. Come back directly into Adho Mukha Svanasana as in the last round. Now, lift your LEFT leg straight back to come into three-legged down dog. HOLD your leg up here for 10 seconds, pressing both hands and your standing foot into the ground. On an INHALE, bend your LEFT leg and bring your LEFT knee straight under to your chest. Come all the way through and plant your LEFT foot on the mat in front of you, getting your balance as you come directly into your lunge. Continue on to complete the Sun Salutation Series on both sides, making sure to raise your RIGHT leg next time.

Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana – Three-Legged Down Dog

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Please comment to share your experience with this exercise or any questions! Do you prefer coming through Table Top or straight into Adho Mukha Svanasana? Have you tried “walking the dog” before? Always remember, be kind!

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee – Adho Mukha Svanasana

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Bhujangasana – Cobra

Good morning Yogis! Did you know today is International Yoga Day?? Let’s all make sure we get on our mats and practice today! That is my plan, as we continue our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today we are covering Bhujangasana, Sarpasana, and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will progress from the Phalakasana / Plank portion of the series down to the mat, and breath back up again. Since back bends can cause injury, our focus will be Santosha/Contentment again, and honoring and being gentle with our bodies.

The traditional Asana in this series is Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (ORD-hvah MOOK-ha sva-NA-sa-NUH) / Upward Facing Dog Pose, but I typically prefer practicing with Bhujangasana (BOO-jawng-GA-sa-nuh) / Cobra. Today we will be performing our Sun Salutations series first with two versions of Bhujangasana, and then try with the full expression of the traditional Asana in the series. Jump to today’s variations!

Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose

Feet – Your feet should still be about hip distance apart. However, if your toes are still tucked, you should release and lay the tops of your feet down on the mat.

Legs – Keep your legs straight and laying flat on the mat if coming into Bhujangasana / Cobra. We will talk about legs for Urdhva Mukha Svanasana/Upward Facing Dog a bit later.

Hips – Keep your hips grounded and even on the mat to come into Bhujangasana / Cobra. That is the main difference between Bhujangasana and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, two very similar poses.

Arms – Keep your hands spread and right under your shoulders as you lower from the Plank portion of the series to come into Bhujangasana. Keep your elbows back and tucked close to your body, and forearms on the floor. On the INHALE you may press the hands and arms lightly into the ground as you raise your chest from the mat into a gentle back bend.

Head and Neck – Keep your head and neck neutral, and either close your eyes or gaze gently ahead. If you are comfortable with back bends and want an extra stretch along your front, you may gently lift your chin a bit at the peak of the pose.

Variations – Sarpasana – Snake Pose & Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog Pose

The first round, from Chaturanga Dandasana or knees-chest-chin we lower down to the mat, making sure our hips and legs are flat on the mat and our hands are under our shoulders with forearms laying flat on the mat. Now, lift your forearms from the mat, and lift your torso up off the mat as you INHALE into Bhujangasana / Cobra. This is a great way to see where is safe to work from if you are a new Yogi to avoid injury. Take a full exhale and inhale here before pressing into your hands into the mat on an exhale and moving on to Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

Bhujangasana – Cobra
Lifted Forearm Variation

The second round, from the Phalakasana / Plank portion of the series we will lower down to the mat for Bhujangasana, with hips and legs flat on the mat. Now INHALE and lightly press your hands into the mat as you raise your torso while keeping your hip bones grounded into the mat, perhaps a little bit further than last time without your arms. Take a full exhale and inhale here before moving on an exhale to complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

Urdhva Muhka Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog

The last round, we will try a full expression of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. Come down to the floor, but this time move your hands further down, close to your ribs rather than under your shoulders. Press up and lift your torso and your hips off the ground, until you are supported on the tops of your feet. If you are not able to come into the full expression of this pose, be gentle and just come into a deep Bhujangasana. Or, to get a deep chest stretch without a deep back bend, grasp your hands together behind your back, thumbs to bum, and INHALE up into Sarpasana / Snake.

Sarpasana – Snake Pose

For your own practice, I would recommend evaluating where you are with both honesty and compassion. Do not push yourself in these back bends! Work your flexibility slowly, and you will be surprised in the changes that come over time.

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Please comment to share your experience or any questions with this exercise! Have you tried this “no hands” Bhujangasana / Cobra before? Did you try Urdhva Mukha Svanasana / Upward Facing Dog or Sarpasana / Snake? Which was your favorite gentle backbend? Always remember, be kind!

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee – Bhujangasana
YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

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Chaturanga Dandasana – 4 Limbed Staff or Yoga Push-Up

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series.

Chaturanga Dandasana (CHA-too-RAHN-guh Dan-DAH-sa-na) or 4 Limbed Staff is the most difficult pose for those with weak arms in this series. I have also heard this sometimes called “Yoga Push-Up” a fitting name and good way to think about this Asana. It took me almost 5 years to be able to slowly lower and hold into the Chaturanga Dandasana from Plank! And I am still working on pushing back up into an Urdhva Mukha Svanasana / Upward Facing Dog (like Emily Blunt ideally). Today we will be performing our Sun Salutations series first with Ashtanga Namaskara (ahsh-TAHN-guh NA-mahs-CAR-uh) or knees-chest-chin, and work into the full expression of the traditional Asana in the series.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will progress from Ashtanga Namaskara to Chaturanga Dandasana with our three repetitions. Since this pose is a challenge for me as well as other new Yogis who are working on building up arm strength, our focus will be Santosha / Contentment again, and honoring and accepting where we are on our Asana journey. Jump to today’s variations!

Chaturanga Dandasana – 4 Limbed Staff

Chaturanga Dandasana – 4 Limbed Staff Pose

Feet – You should keep feet in place after lowering from Phalakasana / Plank, about hip distance apart and supported on toes and top of balls of feet.

Legs – Try to keep your body in a straight line as you lower down from Phalakasana / Plank. However, it is more important to keep your body in a straight line from head to knees than to have your legs straight, so feel free to drop knees to the mat to enable you to lower your chest to the mat slowly with control.

Hips – Keep your hips in line with the rest of your body when lowering from Phalakasana/Plank. After lowering to the ground, if coming into Ashtanga Namaskara / knees-chest-chin, you will raise your hips to come into the pose.

Arms – This pose is great for building arm strength, but requires a lot of strength for the traditional pose. As you lower from plank, bend your elbows to slowly lower yourself, keeping your elbow tucked tight next to your ribs. As you are working into the pose, your hands will likely be directly below your shoulders. As you build strength, you should try to work your hands down, closer to your ribs than shoulders.

Head and Neck – Keep your head in line with the rest of your body, looking down. Note 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 straight down at your mat.

Variations

Ashtanga Namaskara – Knees-Chest-Chin

The first round, from Phalakasana / Plank we will lower down to the mat gradually. Many new Yogis basically drop the entire way to the mat in this series, which does not help build the arm strength needed to lower with more control or work into Chaturanga Dandasana. First drop the knees to the mat, keeping your arms straight, maintaining the straight line in your body straight from head to knees. Keep your feet supported by your toes and the tops of your balls of your feet as they were in Phalakasana / Plank. Then slowly bend your elbows, keeping your hands under your shoulders, arms close to your ribs, and elbows pointing straight back/up while keeping your hips lifted. Lower your chest slowly until it meets the mat, and look ahead and rest your chin on the mat. Ashtanga Namaskara is a pose of its own and literally translates to 8 Limbed Salute, and this Asana / pose has eight points of contact with the mat at chin, chest, hands, knees, and feet. Take a full inhale and exhale here before pressing into your hands into the mat on an exhale and moving on to complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

The second round, from Phalakasana / Plank we will lower down slowly, with control, keeping our bodies straight all the way to the floor. Keep your arms tucked close to your ribs and elbows pointing straight up/back, all the way down flat to the mat. Make sure your hands stay just below your shoulders, and Keep your feet supported by your toes and the tops of your balls of your feet as they were in Phalakasana / Plank. As your body hits the mat, look ahead and place your chin on the mat. Now lightly press your hands and toes into the mat as you raise your hips to come into the full expression of the pose again. Take a full inhale and exhale here before moving on an exhale to complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

The last round, we will try a full expression of Chaturanga Dandasana. Come into Phalakasana / Plank and exhale and lower down slowly, with control, keeping arms close to the body again. However, this time we will stop just above the floor, maintaining the straight line from head to heels and active core we held lowering from Phalakasana / Plank. It is easiest to keep hands under shoulders, but work towards having your hands a bit lower than your shoulders as you gain arm strength. Hold here in Chaturanga Dandasana, pressing hands and feet into the mat and keeping a straight line, for as long as you can! Count how many breaths you are able to take in this challenging pose and share with the group! I can personally only hold for about 2-3 breaths at this point.. arm strength is one area Asana/Yoga has helped me improve, but I am still working on it.

For your own practice, I would recommend evaluating where you are with both honesty and compassion. If you are falling to the ground quickly, I would recommend dropping to your knees and coming into Ashtanga Namaskara as in our first exercise. Chaturanga Dandasana helps build arm strength for more challenging arm balances, so I recommend working on the progression to Chaturanga Dandasana if you want to further your Asana practice.

Please comment to share your experience with this exercise! Were you able to come into Chaturanga Dandasana? How long were you able to hold this Asana? Did you prefer Chaturanga Dandasana or Ashtanga Namaskara? Always remember, be kind!

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Phalakasana – Plank

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today we are finally to one of the most popular Yoga Asanas – Phalakasana

Phalakasana (PA-la-KA-sa-na) or Plank is familiar from the viral social media craze a few years ago. This Asana / pose is important to perform correctly and frequently to help develop arm strength. Today we will be performing our Sun Salutations with challenging Phalakasana / Plank modifications that I use myself, so that I will hopefully look like Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow one day (#goals).

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will try three different challenging variations of Plank with our three full repetitions. Since this pose is a challenge for me as well as other new Yogis who are working on building up arm strength, our focus will be back on Santosha / Contentment, and honoring and accepting where we are on our Asana journey. Jump to today’s variations!

Phalakasana – Plank Pose

Phalakasana – Plank Pose

Feet – You will be balancing with a majority of weight on hands, but make sure to put a decent amount of weight in the balls of your feet for stability. I try to keep my feet about hip distance apart for more stability.

Legs – It is more important to keep your body in a straight line from the top of your head to your knees, than to have straight legs. If possible, keep your entire body straight. If not possible or if you feel unstable, bend your knees to the mat and reduce the body weight you are holding up.

Hips – Your hips are the key to keeping your body straight from head to feet or knees. Perhaps lightly tighten your abdominal muscles to help keep your pelvis from drooping.

Arms – This pose is great for building arm strength. Make sure your hands/wrists are directly below your shoulders, and arms are straight. Spread your fingers wide to help support your weight, keeping middle fingers pointing face forward. Make sure you are keeping shoulders down and back, away from your ears.

Head and Neck – Look straight down or perhaps a bit ahead of you on your mat. 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.

Phalakasana Variaions

The first round, come into Phalakasana / Plank with knees bent and resting on the mat, in the modified version. Now the hard part – hold your Phalakasana / Plank for 10 SECONDS. I know, this is a challenge! You may want to activate your abs to help support your weight. Lower yourself to the mat SLOWLY with, control keeping your elbows close to your torso, to continue on to Chaturanga Dandasana / 4 Limbed Staff or Ashtanga Namaskara / knees-chest-chin, and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

Phalakasana – Modified Plank

The second round, either do another modified plank or if you are feeling strong, come into a full Plank for your 10 second holds. Make sure you keep your body in a straight line, and do not allow your hips to droop or raise up and break your straight line. If this is too challenging, allow your knees to drop to the mat and perform your 10 second holds in the modified Plank, and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

The last round, we will try a side Plank on each side, rather than a 10 second hold. Come into Plank with your hands a bit in front of rather than directly under your shoulders. We will open to the right first. Drop your left knee to the ground, and INHALE and open your body towards the right while raising your right arm to the sky/ceiling. You should be facing to the right side, supported on your left knee, left hand/arm, and right foot. If you are comfortable here and want a challenge, straighten your left leg so you are supported on just the outside of your foot and left hand/arm. I typically hold my side plank for a breath or two, not a full 10 seconds. EXHALE down and back to plank or table top, and do another side plank opening to your left. Come back to your standard Plank, inhale, and then exhale down with control to Chaturanga Dandasana or knees-chest-chin, and complete the Sun Salutation series with side planks on each side.

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Please comment to share your experience or ask any questions! What did you think of this exercise? Which versions of Plank hold and Side Plank did you perform? Do you think you will add these arm strength exercises to your routine? Always remember, be kind!

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee

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Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today we are covering both Anjaneyasana and Ashta Chandrasana.

Anjaneyasana (AHN-jaw-nay-YA-sa-nuh) or Low Lunge is part of the traditional Sun Salutations. Warning – DO NOT perform Lunge with your back knee resting if you have an injury, or perhaps try a blanket or pillow for extra support under your knee, or get an extra cushioned mat. Today we will first break down High Lunge or Ashta Chandrasana (AHSH-ta chan-DRAH-sa-nuh), cover how to come into Low Lunge, and perform these lunges a couple of different ways during our continued Sun Salutations practice. Ashta Chandrasana literally translates as 8 Point Moon or Crescent Moon Pose, and Anjaneyasana translates to English as Son of Anjani Pose, and has a very cool mythology.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will try three different variations of lunges with our three repetitions. We will go back to working to incorporating Diaphragmatic Breathing and try to get a “flow” with one deep inhale or exhale for each pose. Jump to today’s variations!

Ashta Chandrasana – High Lunge & Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

Ashta Chandrasana- High Lunge Variation

Feet – We will start with RIGHT foot facing forward. Keep your right foot grounded and pointing straight ahead. Step your left foot straight back 3-4 feet, and ground the ball of your foot into the ground and make sure heel/foot is pointing straight back to come into HIGH LUNGE.

Legs – Make sure your front/right foot is directly above your ankle, and front/right knee is bent at about 90 degrees. If you are staying in High Lunge, your back/left leg should be completely straight, pressing back through your heel. If you are coming into Low Lunge, you can slowly rest your back knee and shin on the mat.

Hips – Make sure the points of your hips are both facing straight forward, and you are not twisting to one side or the other. Try to make sure you are tucking your hips/tailbone under, not sticking your booty out.

Torso – Take note of 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.

Arms – Evaluate where you are in this pose, and arms will be placed accordingly. If you do not feel stable or this pose is new for you, keep your hands on your hips. There are many possible arm variations for this pose. If you feel stable, raise your hands above your head on the inhale, making sure to keep your shoulders down away from your ears.

Head and Neck – Keep your 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 gaze straight ahead, or look up between your hands if you feel comfortable.

Variations

The first round, come into Ashta Chandrasana / High Lunge with your hands on your hips. Inhale your arms up above your head with palms facing each other if you feel comfortable, and notice this challenging balance rising into High Lunge after Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend. Perhaps take a full inhale and exhale here to work your balance. Exhale your arms down to each side of your feet, and perhaps pause in Runner’s Lunge before continuing on to Phalakasana / Plank, and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

The second round, step left foot back and slowly rest knee and shin into Anjaneyasana/Low Lunge if you feel comfortable with the pressure on your knee. If this is not comfortable on your knees, please try a blanket or pillow for extra support under your knee, or stay in High Lunge again this round and perhaps try a twisted variation. Make sure your front knee is above your ankle, and either keep your back foot supported on the ball of your foot or lay the top of your foot flat against the mat if you are in a Low Lunge. Inhale your arms up and take a full inhale and exhale here. Notice how your body feels in High Lunge vs Low Lunge, and the deeper stretch along your back thigh before continuing and completing the Sun Salutation series on each side.

Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

The last round, we will try an advanced Low Lunge for those up for a challenge. Come into a deep Anjaneyasana / Low Lunge if you feel comfortable with the pressure on your knee. This time, raise your hands above your head put your palms together on the inhale, and if it feels right, allow yourself to come into a gentle backbend and gaze up at your hands. PS perhaps try to cactus out your arms as suggested by one of our commenters – I have added this to my morning Sun Salutations Routine! Enjoy this deep stretch in your chest and thighs, and breathe try to breathe into any tight spots in your hips.

Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge with gentle back bend

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Mats and Equipment for Newbies!

Consider a blanket or pillow for extra support under your knee, or get an extra cushioned mat!

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


Please comment to share your experience or if you have any questions! What did you think of this exercise? Which version of Lunge did you prefer with your Sun Salutations? Always remember, be kind!

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Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend – Sun Salutations Poses – Surya Namaskar Asanas

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today we are covering Uttanasana.

Uttanasana (OO-ta-NA-sa-na) or Standing Forward Bend is the Asana / Pose that will always be special to me, since it helped me to finally touch my toes! Today we will break down the traditional expression of this pose, and perform a couple of different ways during our continued Sun Salutations practice.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will try three different variations of Uttanasana with our three repetitions. We had been focusing on breathing the last couple days. Today, since we are working on a challenging Asana, we will focus on bringing Santosha / Contentment to our Asana practice and accept where we are today without judgement. Jump to today’s variations!

Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend

Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend

Feet – Your feet will stay grounded in the same spot as they were in Tadasana / Mountain Pose. 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 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, or a deeper bend if you have very tight hamstrings. Always make sure you avoid hyper-extending or locking your knees in this pose!

Hips – On the EXHALE, you bend from your hips, not from your waist. Try to lift your hips/seat towards the ceiling.

Torso – Notice your bending is from the hips, not the waist. Try to focus on working your chest towards your thighs, rather than focusing on getting nose to knees.

Arms – Evaluate where you are in this pose, and arms will be placed accordingly. If you have space in this pose, you can place your palms on the ground, and press down into the ground slightly. If you have tight hamstrings and are working into the full expression of this pose, wrap your hands behind knees or shins, wherever is comfortable, and help yourself lightly pull your chest towards your legs.

Head and Neck – Keep your neck neutral, and allow your head to hang gently.

Uttanasana Variations

The first round, come into your standard Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend. On the next inhale, straighten your knees, press your hands into your legs/shins/ankles or perhaps a block, and straighten your back into Ardha (ARD-ha) Uttanasana / Standing Half Forward Bend. Exhale and fold back into Uttanasana. Inhale and continue into your lunge, perhaps pausing in runners lunge, and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

Ardha Uttanasana – Half Standing Forward Bend

The second round, come into Uttanasana with your knees bent as much as necessary to completely rest your chest on your thighs. Tuck your chin, grab your ankles with your middle fingers pointing down to your heels, and wrap your forearms so they are as close to parallel behind your calves as possible. Now inhale, and slightly lift your hips. Take another inhale and exhale here, before moving on to lunge and complete the Sun Salutation series. OMG right?? This is a VERY deep hamstring stretch I learned in Hot Yoga, that will help you progress deeper into the traditional version of this Asana.

The last round, come into a comfortable Uttanasana for you, either traditional or with your chest resting on your thighs. This time, cross your forearms and grab each elbow/arm with the opposite hand to come into Rag Doll Pose. Hang for a couple breaths here, and breathe try to breathe into any tight spots in your hips.

Uttanasana Variation – Rag Doll

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Mats and Equipment for Newbies!

This is a great pose to try with a block or two, especially if you cannot reach the ground! Flip the blocks to the proper height to adjust for a parallel back in Half Standing Forward Bend, and a folded fully into Uttanasana!

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


Please comment to share your experience or if you have any questions! What did you think of this exercise? Which version of Uttanasana did you prefer? Always remember, be kind!

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee

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Talasana – Palm Tree Pose – Sun Salutations Poses – Surya Namaskar Asanas

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today we are covering Talasana or Palm Tree Pose.

Talasana (ta-LA-sa-na) or Palm Tree Pose is a slightly change to the pure traditional Sun Salutations series. Typically, the second Asana or pose is Tadasana / Mountain Pose with arms raised above your head, or a slight backbend. I prefer modifying the series here to get a bit more of a stretch in my arms, since I still have a lot of tightness in my upper body from spending so much time at a desk.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. This time, we will do the full series three times on each side rather than just once. Jump to today’s variations!

Talasana – Palm Tree Pose

Talasana – Palm Tree Pose

Feet – Your feet can stay grounded in the same spot as they were in Tadasana / Mountain Pose. 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 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. 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 – 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.

Arms – Bring your arms above your head, keeping your shoulders pressed down and back. Bring you palms to face each other, and interlock your fingers. If comfortable, flip your hands forward and up, keeping your fingers interlocked, so your palms now face up to the ceiling or sky.

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.

Talasana Variations

Stop and take a couple breaths in each Talasana / Palm Tree pose, and feel the stretch in your arms. Perhaps do one round of Sun Salutations with arms just above your head, not locked in the Palm hands, and see which you prefer. Or, perhaps try the traditional version with a gentle Standing Backbend. Also, focus on incorporating Diaphragmatic Breathing and try to get a “flow” with one deep inhale or exhale for each pose as you are moving through this Asana series.

If you feel comfortable with this pose series and want to work on balance and increase the stretch, come into the full expression of Talasana for a breath or two. Raise your heels off the mat and balance on the balls of your feet. Then press down through your heels while still keeping them raised slightly off the ground, to get a stretch along your whole body. Focus on pressing down through your heels while being lifted slightly off the floor, rather than getting all the way up onto your toes.

Raise and then press down through heels

Modifications

You may want to try with a strap between your hands if your shoulders are tight, or for a different stretch in the arms.

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


Please comment to share your experience or if you have any questions! What did you think? Do you prefer this series with the palm hands, or traditional arms above your head? Did you try the full expression of the pose with your heels raised? Always remember, be kind!

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee

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Tadasana – Mountain Pose – Sun Salutations Poses – Surya Namaskar Asanas

Good morning Yogis! Welcome to our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series from a couple of days ago. We will begin at the beginning Asana of this Sun Salutations series Tadasana (ta-DA-sa-nuh), which literally translates from Sanskrit as Mountain Pose, and is often the first pose in many Yoga classes. You will be surprised how much there is to take into account with your posture in this seemingly basic standing pose!

I know many of you who have practiced Yoga in the past, especially those who have attended classes at Yoga Studios, are very familiar with this series and the poses in them. However, what really got me interested in Yoga, and start focusing on Yoga rather than Pilates, was ONE class I did not want to take, after sporadically practicing Yoga for over 3 years. This transformation class was an alignment focused mandatory new student class at a Hot Yoga studio I wanted to join shortly after moving to Atlanta in 2013. We went into deep detail on each of the poses in the Sun Salutations series in this class, and I learned I had alignment issues in nearly all of these “easy” poses. I completely changed my practice and focus after only one class.

Also, I expect quite a few Yogi newbies will be joining us on this journey. I was SO nervous to attend my first Yoga class in a studio rather than following a DVD, and being comfortable with these basic poses is often the key to feeling comfortable in a studio practicing with others.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. This time, do the full series twice on each side rather than just once. Stop and take a couple breaths in each Tadasana / Mountain pose, and see if you came back into “proper” alignment. Check where you placed your feet, hips, and shoulder/ears. and gently adjust if necessary before you start again. Also, we will focus on incorporating Diaphragmatic Breathing, and try to get a “flow” with one deep inhale or exhale for each pose.

Tadasana – Mountain Pose

Tadasana – Mountain Pose

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 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. 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 – 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. Allow your arms to rest by your sides a couple inches away from your body, with your palms facing forward or slightly to the outside.

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.

If you are a new Yogi, please be gentle with yourself! Please remember this is a journey, and be compassionate and accept where you are today. I have been practicing over 10 years and am still constantly working to improve my ear/shoulder alignment.

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Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Did you have any surprises going through your alignment from the ground up? Did you notice yourself improving as you repeated this series? Were you able to get the “flow” with your breath? More experienced Yogis.. have you taken a class or otherwise done a “back to the basics”? Always remember, be kind!

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee

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Pranayama – Breathing – Intro – Diaphragmatic Breathing

Before we get into detailed breakdown of the Asana Series poses from yesterday, we will take two days to cover the remaining 8 Limbs of Yoga – Pranayama or breath, and the Upper Limbs.

Pranayama (PRA-na-YA-muh) literally translates from Sanskrit to English as Energy (Prana) Expansion (Ayam). The most common translations of Pranayama are breath or breathing. The literal translation, along with the fact that breathing is its own Limb of Yoga like Asanas / poses or Yamas / ethics, should indicate how important breath is for Yogis. Most of us who have attended classes at Yoga Studios learn quickly that Yoga is more than exercise, and Breath is both a focus and frequently its own portion of studio Yoga classes. 

I wanted to cover Pranayama and Diaphragmatic Breath before getting to the detail of each Asana, because breathing is as much a part of Sun Salutations as the poses themselves! If you do not typically focus on breathing during your Yoga practice, please consider setting Breath as your intention at the start of your next session.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Diaphragmatic Breath, a Pranayama Practice. We recommend incorporating this Diaphragmatic breath into your Asana practice, and bring it forward into meditation!

light blue breath graphic on dark blue background

Diaphragmatic Breath

When I first started practicing Yoga, I was shocked to learn I was breathing “wrong.” This shallow chest breathing seems to be the American Way – try for yourself! Put 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!  

Put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, as you did in the breathing test above.

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.

This is the first part of Three-Part or Yogic Breath!

Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Pranayama exercise! Do you incorporate diaphragmatic breathing like this, or other Pranayama into your Asana practice? Do you have another Pranayama practice you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Intro – Sun Salutation Series

Welcome to the Third Limb of Yoga, Asanas. Today we are learning Sun Salutations! Asana (AH-sa-nuh), or “pose” in Sanskrit, is what most new Yogis think of when they hear the word “Yoga” 

Whether Asana and Yoga are truly synonymous is up to interpretation. As we have learned, Asana is just one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. Some deeply philosophical Yogis consider Asana practice as only one part of Yoga, and its main purpose is to increase flexibility and stability and minimize pain, in order to prepare the body for meditation and then the Upper Limbs of Yoga. Many other Yogis only enjoy the physical Asana practice, and do not care to pursue learning more about the other practices. Whether Asana is your entire practice or just a part, depends on what works for you and your journey!

Asana/Yoga classes come in many styles. These range from more active styles like Vinyasa which combines breath and movement into a rigorous workout that seems like a dance, to Restorative Yoga where relaxing poses can be held for up to 10 minutes. 

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is a traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. We recommend adding to your morning routine as recommended by the traditional Yogic texts – try three on each side. We are covering a modified Sun Salutations C that adds extra chest opening. This Asana sequence is extremely common in most Vinyasa and “flow” classes.

Today I will introduce the full traditional Surya Namaskar sequence, and then over the next few days, we will cover each of these Asanas or poses in detail. Click the photos or links for a detailed breakdown of the pose. Whether you are new to Yoga or an advanced Yogi, please feel free to add your own experience with making these poses more accessible

Surya Namaskar – Sun Salutations

Begin standing with feet grounded, toes together, standing up straight
Tadasana – Mountain Pose

Tadasana – Mountain Pose
Continue reading “Asanas – Poses – Intro – Sun Salutation Series”
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