Today is the start of Aquarius Season – Happy Birthday Aquarius Yogis! We will cover an Asana today inspired by Aquarius – Navasana (nah-VA-sa-nuh) or Boat Pose. Remember that Aquarius is the water BEARER, an air sign not a water sign!
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Boat Pose Asanas inspired by the start of Aquarius Season!
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Navasana – Boat Pose
This Asana is a great full body workout, and is especially great for the core. I practice Ardha Navasana or Half Boat Pose. The full expression of this pose is with stretched legs, with whole body in a V.
You will enter this pose by sitting on the mat in Dandasana or Staff Pose with your hands on the mat. Lean back slightly, tighten your core, and lift and bend your knees, to come into Ardha Navasana as above. Lift arms and lefts to parallel to the floor. Keep shoulders down and back. Hold for 30-60 seconds. To come out, lower your legs back to the mat. I recommend Crab Pose after this Asana to counter, and repeat these two poses for a Yoga Workout!
When you are ready, you can straighten your legs to come into the full expression of this pose below Paripurna Navasana or Full Boat Pose. For an extra leg challenge, put a block or book between your knees!
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Do not push yourself to pain on your Yoga Journey! Many Yogis of all levels embrace all kinds of blocks and props. Do not hesitate to grab a couch pillow for extra support, a block for extra support or when you cannot reach the floor, or a strap for extra arm-reach and leverage.
Please comment and let us know how Boat pose was for you! Do you want to share an Asana inspiration for your sign’s pose? Always remember, be kind!
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!
Good morning Yogis! Happy Fall! Today is not only the Fall Equinox, but it is also the start of Libra Season – Happy Birthday Libra Yogis! We will cover an Asana today inspired by Libra – Tolasana or Scales Pose. This is one of the few arm balances and advanced poses I can do! I had to try to channel my Libra friend with that smile, which was quite difficult in this challenging Asana.
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Tolasana or Scales Pose inspired by the start of Libra Season! The full expression of this pose is from Padmasana or Lotus Pose, but there are variations for both the Lotus Legs and full Arm Balance to make accessible for beginner Yogis. This Asana is a great workout for the arms and core!
Tolasana – Scales Pose
Start in either Padmasana / Lotus Pose, or cross your legs and bring one foot on top of the opposite thigh to come into Half Lotus. If neither pose is comfortable, stay in a comfortable cross-legged position.
Place your hands on the mat, palms down and middle fingers pointing straight to the sides and fingers spread. Exhale and press into the mat with your hands, as you contract and lift your legs and seat off the mat. If you cannot lift your entire seat off the floor, come into Half Lotus and lift your hips off the ground, using your other foot on the mat for stability. Hold for a few breaths if you can, and slowly lower back to the mat on an exhale.
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Please comment and let us know how Scales pose was for you! Did you try full Lotus Legs? Were you able to lift your seat from the mat? Do you want to share an Asana inspiration for your sign’s pose? Always remember, be kind!
Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras with the third of the Niyamas – Tapas or Discipline. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Utkatasana (oot-kah-TA-sa-nuh) or Chair pose is my choice to represent Tapas. This is a challenging pose, and a great workout when held for an extended time. The literal translation from Sanskrit is Powerful or Intense Pose. If you hold this Asana for a full minute, I am sure you will feel why this pose was named “Intense”!
I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing a new Hip Hop Vinyasa.
Each Tapas day, we check in on our progress with the daily habits we have set for ourselves. It typically takes 30 Days to set a new habit (which is why I love these 30 Day Challenges!) so if you have kept up on your daily habit you have likely successfully formed a new habit! Congratulations, keep it up.. perhaps it is time to add a new daily habit to your routine!! If you have not kept up, examine why you did not, and consider if you want to keep this goal or set a new one. Evaluate the reminders and/or rewards you set for yourself, and perhaps modify these systems to ensure your success! Yoga is a practice, and successfully changing our habits is about consistency, so we will keep checking in on our goals on Tapas Days.
As mentioned we are in a daily Asana Challenge, which I have kept up with by wearing workout clothes to bed and practicing first thing in the morning. I also have a daily habit of practicing French or Spanish with Duolingo… I am pretty pleased with myself to have a 29 Day Streak, about to hit 30 tomorrow! I have missed fewer than 20 days in all of 2020, but there is just something very rewarding about the increasing number of days in a row. And, lastly, this daily Asana Challenge has helped put me on the right path to meet another goal – hitting all three rings on my Apple Watch.
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Chair Pose for Tapas Day! This pose is common in all styles and levels of Yoga. It is a great alternative to backbends to stretch thighs and back, and is a fantastic workout for legs and glutes when held for 30-60 seconds!
Inhale and lift your arms above your head, palms facing in, and sit your hips back as if you are sitting back in a chair. Keep your shoulders down and back straight, and try to get your thighs as close to parallel to the ground as possible. It is more important to have a straight back than to “sit” lower into your chair. Look up between your hands if comfortable.
Take deep breaths into your belly (perhaps try Vilona Pranayama) and hold this pose for at least 3-5 full breaths. I recommend playing with weight in your feet a bit through this pose – generally you should keep all weight in your heels. Perhaps try lifting your toes slightly from the mat! Or, shift your weight into the balls of your feet, and try lifting your heels slightly from the mat, preparing for more advanced variations of this pose like Awkward Pose (a Hot Yoga favorite) and Drinking Bird Pose. Or, try placing a block between your knees for an even more challenging lower-body workout!
To come out of Utkatasana, inhale and straighten your knees back to Tadasana / Mountain Pose, then exhale and lower your arms – you may want to come all the way forward into Uttanasana / Standing Forward Fold to counter this pose after holding for a long time.
PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!
Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried Utkatasana or the more advanced variations before? Always remember, be kind!
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
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.
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!
Good morning Yogis! Our challengers are continuing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, so we will learn about similar poses. Our challengers are learning about Phalakasana or Plank Pose. So, we will cover its reverse, Purvottanasana / Reverse or Upward Plank today. This an arm balance and foundation for a great Yoga Workout for the core and buns!
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Purvottanasana / Reverse Plank Yoga Workout! If this is a new pose for you, then perhaps try just 5-10 repetitions of your reverse plank, holding for a full breath at the top. If this is familiar to you, then see how many you can do and share!
Feet – You will be balancing with a majority of weight on hands, but make sure to put a decent amount of weight in the heels of your feet for stability. I try to keep my feet slightly apart for more stability. Try to place the bottom of your feet flat on the floor
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. Try to keep your feet flat on the mat as you lift your booty up for an added challenge. If you are unable to support yourself with straight legs, then bend your knees and plant your feet to come into Catuspadapithamasana or Crab Pose (aka reverse table top) instead – see picture below.
Hips – Your hips and glutes are the key to keeping your body straight from head to feet or knees. Therefore, tighten and lift your glutes to keep your hips in line with the rest of your body!
Arms – This pose is great for building arm strength. I have heard directions for fingers pointing either straight back or straight forward – perhaps try both! Starting from Staff / Seated, make sure your hands/wrists are directly below your shoulders, and arms are straight. Spread your fingers wide to help support your weight, while keeping middle fingers pointing straight forward or back. Press into your palms as you tighten your glutes and core to lift your body from the floor into a straight line. Make sure you are keeping shoulders down and back, not shrugging up to your ears.
Head and Neck – Keep your head and neck neutral, try not to let head drop down or get out of line with your sine. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press up/sideways, then bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders.
Catuspadapithmanasana – Crab Pose
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Please comment to share your experience or any questions! What did you think of this exercise? Which way did you point your fingers? Do you think you will add these arm strength exercises to your routine? Always remember, be kind!
We will talk about Vyaghrasana (Vyah-GRAH-sa-na) or Tiger Pose today. This Asana is a great foundation for an awesome Abs and Glutes Yoga Workout!
Since it is Tiger Day and we are still in COVID quarantine in the US, I could not resist wearing my Las Vegas tiger dress! PS Yes I am wearing shorts underneath. Who knows when it will be safe enough to prowl the Vegas Strip again?! Hopefully the attention will raise donations to help save the tigers 🙏
That said, I really do not want to be an Instagram Yoga model.. I want to partner with them! Please contact me if you would like to be featured on upcoming Asana Days!!
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Vyaghrasana / Tiger Pose Ab Workout! Details for Vyaghrasana and instructions for Ab and Glutes Workout below!
We will start in Bharmanasana – Table Top. Keep your hands grounded, and lift one leg straight up and back into Vyaghrasana / Tiger Pose, then perform a “crunch” before repeating! Check for pics of this sequence below.
Feet – Starting in Bharmanasana – Table Top, with tops of feet laying on mat. You will keep one knee and foot grounded here on the mat, and lift the other foot straight back and up – start with lifting the right foot!
Legs – Your legs should start hip distance apart in table top. Your right leg should be lifted straight back and up. I recommend keeping a bend in the back leg.
Hips – Try to keep your hips parallel to the floor from Bharmanasana (Table Top), through Vyaghrasana, into the crunch, and back. If you are a more advanced Yogi, you may want to move your hips slightly to add a bit of a Cat/Cow motion with your torso.
Torso – You will start with torso parallel to the floor. Keep straight for your first try. As you become comfortable with Vyaghrasana, you may allow a bit of a backbend, and curve back slightly to get a bit of a Cat/Cow motion through this Ab Workout.
Arms – You will start with your hands directly under shoulders, pointing straight ahead in Bharmanasana (Table Top). New Yogis can stay here. More advanced Yogis may want to lift the opposite arm as their lifted leg straight ahead for an added balance challenge, and curl in to touch knee to elbow on the crunch.
Head and Neck – Keep the neck neutral. New Yogis may want to keep the gaze down on the mat. More advanced Yogis who are adding back bend motions should lift the head up and gaze straight ahead as they lift their leg into Vyaghrasana, and drop gaze to the ground (perhaps even touch nose to knee) as they come into their crunch.
Try to do this in sets of 10 on the right, and then repeat 10 on the left. I usually do 20-30 on each side.
PS If you want to try an intermediate level chest-opening variation of this pose, tighten you core for strength as you reach back and grab your extended foot with the opposite hand. This is Eka Hasta Vyaghrasana or One-Handed Tiger Pose. You can also try this pose reaching the left hand back directly back to the left foot for an even more difficult balance! Hold Eka Hasta Vyaghrasana for 3-5 breaths on each side.
Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Have you tried this Yoga Ab Workout? Always remember, be kind!
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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
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.
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.
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.
Check out our new video below and in our Phalakasana post for some variations and yoga workouts!
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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!