Pranayama – Breathing – Day 7 – Yogic Breath – Three Part Breath

Good morning Yogis! Or actually perhaps good evening is more appropriate.. we are changing our post times to 2am Mountain Time along with our instagram posts to make it easier for Yogis overseas to stay on time with us! Daily e-mails and app notifications will not change. Other than this posting time change, today is a KISS (keep it super simple) Day! So, we are going to revisit Yogic Breath, a Pranayama Practice.

BONUS DAILY MEDITATION CHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October! For Pranayama Day today, try our Breath-Focused Meditation with our Three Part Breath Below!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Yogic Breath, a Pranayama Practice. Most of us have tried diaphragmatic breathing, which is part one of this three-part breath. We recommend incorporating this breath technique into your Asana practice, and bringing it forward into meditation! This is also a great calming technique for anxiety.

Diaphragmatic Breath

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

Yogic Breath / Three Part Breath

  • PART 1 – Belly: Diaphragmatic breathing is the first part of three part breath! Make sure you complete 10 full inhalations and exhalations, counting to 6 for each inhale and exhale.
  • PART 2 – Ribs: After 10 complete belly breaths, after expanding into your belly – try expanding your rib cage outwards on inhales and allowing to compress on exhales.
  • PART 3 – Chest: After 10 full inhale and exhalations with rib cage expansion – first fill your belly, then expand rib cage, then try allowing your clavicle (collar bone) to rise as you fill and empty your lungs completely for another 10 breaths.

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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? Have you tried this full three-part breath? Do you have another Pranayama practice you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Day 5 – Top 5 Meditation Positions / Asanas

Good morning Yogis! We just wrapped up practice of each of the Niyamas, and we are now on to Asanas, the 3rd Limb of Yoga. Today we will cover my Top 5 Positions or Asanas for Meditation.

Please try all of these meditation poses, at least briefly and see which feels best for you! Please note there is no right or wrong here.. I am sharing MY Top 5, but many others may disagree with me. For example, I find Virasana / Hero Pose comfortable for an extended time only with a block under my seat, and occasionally find Lotus Pose enjoyable, which is too intense for many Yogis.

Bonus Daily Meditation Challenge

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a meditation in the position / Asana of your choice. We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October. Try our breath-focused meditation, or perhaps a meditative drive or hike! If you prefer guided meditations, for Asana Day today try a Restorative Asana class with Guided Meditation.

TOP 5 MEDITATION POSITIONS / ASANAS

1. SIDDHASANA – ADEPT’S POSE – CROSS-LEGGED SEATED MEDITATION

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Siddhasana – Adept’s Pose

I enjoy Siddhasana (sid-DAH-sa-na) or Adepts Pose for Meditation. This is basically my comfortable seated position, and that is just how I always envisioned meditating! This Asana is basically a slightly more difficult version of Sukhasana / Easy Pose.

Start in a comfortable cross legged position. Then spread your knees a bit further, and bring your feet in towards your groin – keep your leg on the mat and tuck your ankles/shins over each other. Look down and make sure there is no empty space between your legs and feet. Keep your torso straight and tall over your hips. 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. 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. You should keep your head, neck, and shoulders aligned over your hips in any seated pose. Your hands can either gently rest on knees and/or in your favorite mudra/placement for meditation. PS if any poses are uncomfortable, try with a couch pillow or block under your seat! Try not to move your body while meditating, I find it helps to switch my legs each day of practice for any cross legged positions to even out my posture!

Make sure you keep your back straight, not rounded in any seated position! If you notice your back rounding in this pose, move your legs back out to Sukhasana / easy pose, making a small triangle of empty space between your legs. I prefer Siddhasana over Sukhasana, because bringing in my feet helps me maintain a straighter back. I also prefer Siddhasana over Padmasana / Lotus Pose for meditation, since Lotus can get a bit strenuous on my ankles for an extended time.

2. SEATED IN A CHAIR – SEATED MEDITATION

Chair Yoga is very common, and chairs are often the most comfortable seat we can find! It is important to be comfortable and maintain your posture if you will be sitting for an extended period of time, and a chair can help with both. Driving is also my favorite meditative activity, so sitting in a chair (driver’s seat also counts to me) makes this #2 for my Top 5!

3. SHAVASANA – CORPSE POSE – RECLINED / SUPINE MEDITATION

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Shavasana – Corpse Pose

Shavasana or Corpse Pose is often considered the most important Asana, especially after Asana Class. I occasionally enjoy deep meditations if I need help to fall asleep, and it is absolutely required to be in bed in Shavasana for those guided meditations! One of my favorite things about meditation in Shavasana is that I can breathe more deeply into my belly than I am able to in a seated position.

Lay on your back, and allow your legs and feet to gently splay open. Rest your arms a few inches away from your body, with palms facing up. Close your eyes, and allow your entire body to relax and sink into the mat. You can use a couch pillow under your head and/or knees, or any modifications to make this pose more comfortable for an extended time. I occasionally take Shavasana with knees bent and feet on the floor, and/or with elbows bent and hands under my head or cactus-arms to the side.

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

4. TADASANA – MOUNTAIN POSE – STANDING / WALKING MEDITATION

Tadasana – Mountain Pose

Tadasana / Mountain Pose is often thought of as neutral standing, but this a power pose for many Yogis. Yoga Retreats frequently offer meditation walks or mindfulness hikes. This is something I try with our Santosha practices of enjoying the present moment! A meditative walk or hike is a great way to begin meditating, especially if mindfulness practices are new to you, or you have difficulty calming the mind while sitting quietly.

5. VIRASANA – HERO’S POSE – KNEELING MEDITATION

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Virasana – Hero’s Pose

Virasana / Hero’s Pose is actually the most comfortable seat for many Yogis. However, this is my Top 5, and I find kneeling positions strenuous on my feet and knees for extended periods of time. I can only hold kneeling positions comfortably with a block under my seat! I do enjoy meditation in a kneeling position, resting my hands on my knees.

This is a kneeling Asana, and usually much more comfortable for Yogis with tight hips than the cross legged posses above. Start kneeling with knees and toes together. Then, bring the toes apart, and sit yourself down between your legs. Make sure to keep your back straight, with hips, shoulders, and head in line. This pose can be rough on my knees, and sometimes bothers my heels and tops of my feet if I’ve been wearing high heels. I find this pose much more comfortable with a block under my seat as pictured below.

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Virasana – Hero’s Pose with Block

CHECK OUT OUR Other Top 5 lists
TOP 5 YOGA Equipment and Yoga MATS!

I would recommend a block, couch pillows, or perhaps a folded-up blanket for support under the seat. Pick your favorite chair for a seated meditation, or comfortable shoes for a meditative hike or walk!

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


There you have it, my Top 5 Meditation Positions! Please comment to share if your Top 5 would be different.. I know many Yogis enjoy seated positions other than Adept’s Pose, or prefer Savasana to any other position. Always remember, be kind!

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October Emotional Wellness Month 2020 – Intentions and Yoga Philosophy

Good Morning Yogis! Happy October! October is National Emotional Wellness Month. I find challenge-focused months super helpful for my own motivation, so today we are starting another challenge for October – Daily Meditation! You do not have to participate in this or any of our particular monthly challenge themes, we will be continuing our daily Positive Practices drawn from Yoga Philosophy throughout next month. Consider getting the Daily Yogi App for reminders if you are participating – this is a great Tapas tool!

As we begin Emotional Wellness Month and our bonus daily meditation challenge, I want to discuss an important common concept from Yoga Philosophy – Setting Intentions! If you have attended Yoga classes at a Yoga Studio, you likely have heard your teacher recommend setting an intention for your practice that day. We have talked about keeping Santosha / contentment in Asana practice to avoid injury. I often set Pranayama / Breath as my intention for Asana practice with a mantra of “breathe” or “just breathe”, since in more dynamic classes I forget to maintain my preferred Ocean Breath as the Asana series picks up speed. Here is a great article with more on intentions and mantras on and off the Yoga mat.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to set a positive intention for yourself for October, keeping October’s mental and emotional wellness theme in mind. This can be big or small:

Part of the reason we set intentions in Asana practice is to have something positive to come back to that we want to focus on. Additionally, we will have this to return to when we meet challenges. I set “just breathe” as my intention for nearly a decade now, and I do truly breathe into difficulties on the mat, and I have improved my breath during Asana practice by keeping this in the back of my mind. There is much to be said for the power of positive thinking.

Although I do believe in the power of positive thinking and believe this helps with emotional wellness, I will discuss my own views on this a bit later this month. Here is more info if you do not want to wait!

More on the Power of Positive Thinking

The Law of Attraction & Power of Positive Thinking Intro

11 Ways to Boost Positive Thinking

Today is the first day of our Daily Meditation Challenge for October! Some of my favorite guided meditations are Manifest Meditations, which harness the powers of positive thinking, visualization, and the law of attraction. Today my meditation practice is one of my favorite 10 Minute Manifest Meditations.

Please comment and share how if setting positive intentions is part of your Yoga or Asana practice. Are you taking other steps to improve your mental and emotional wellness this month? Are you going to join us in our daily meditation challenge for October? Always remember, be kind!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diaphragmatic Breath

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

Bikram Pranayama / Hot Yoga Breath

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

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

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Asanas – Poses – Day 3 – Shavasana – Corpse Pose

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

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

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

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

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

Shavasana – Corpse Pose

Shavasana – Corpse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diaphragmatic Breath

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

Vilona Pranayama / Retained Breath

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

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

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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 Adrha 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


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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Pranayama – Breathing – Day 3 – Yogic Breathing – Three Part Breath

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

Before we get into twisted and modified versions of poses in the detailed breakdown of the Sun Salutations Asana Series discussed yesterday, we will take two days to cover the remaining 8 Limbs of Yoga.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Yogic Breath, a Pranayama Practice. Most of us have tried diaphragmatic breathing, which is part one of this three-part breath. We recommend incorporating this breath technique into your Asana practice, and bringing it forward into meditation! This is also a great calming technique for anxiety.

Diaphragmatic Breath

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

Yogic Breath / Three Part Breath

  • PART 1 – Belly: Diaphragmatic breathing is the first part of three part breath! Make sure you complete 10 full inhalations and exhalations, counting to 6 for each inhale and exhale.
  • PART 2 – Ribs: After 10 complete belly breaths – after expanding into your belly, try expanding your rib cage outwards on inhales and allowing to compress on exhales.
  • PART 3 – Chest: After 10 full inhale and exhalations with rib cage expansion – first fill your belly, then expand rib cage, then try allowing your clavicle (collar bone) to rise as you fill and empty your lungs completely for another 10 breaths.

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? Have you tried this full three-part breath? Do you have another Pranayama practice you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!

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Top 5 -Yoga Mats – Daily Yogi

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is your choice of Asana from any Asana Style. Perhaps browse my Top 5 Yoga Mats list below, and see if your mat is the best fit for you! Or skip to my tips for how to clean your mat!

I LOVE High Fidelity and its Top 5s, so I am doing another Top 5 for Yoga Mats today. As I mentioned yesterday in my Yoga Equipment Top 5, a new Yogi should get a real Yoga Mat.. towels just do not cut it! There is a huge variety of Yoga Mats out there. Here are my Top 5 favorites:

Top 5 Yoga Mats

Note – I am short, 5’1. If you are a tall Yogi, make sure you pay attention to mat length.. you will definitely want an extra-long yoga mat!!

1 – Retrospec Solana Extra Thick Yoga & Pilates Mat

As I mentioned yesterday in my Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies, the main feature in a Yoga Mat to consider is thickness. I had a back injury and have concrete floors, so I need a very thick mat for comfort. A standard mat is 1/8″ thick, but the Retrospec Solana Mat is available 1/2″ or 1″ thick. As I mentioned yesterday, the main down-side to an extra-thick mat is that I cannot feel the ground through the mat, and this makes balancing poses harder. Thick mats are also not very easy to bring back and forth to the studio, even with a carrying strap. However, if you need extra cushioned mats for your everyday yoga practice like I do, try the Retrospec Solana Extra Thick Yoga & Pilates Mat.

2 – BalanceForm GoYoga Mat

This is a solid inexpensive standard yoga mat. It is standard thickness, average friction, and comes with an easy to use carrying strap. If you are a newbie Yogi who does not need an extra cushioned mat or any of the added features with the specialty mats listed below, BalanceForm’s GoYoga Mat is probably the best fit for you.

3 – SKL Travel Yoga Mat

My every day mat is extra thick, but that is the worst kind of mat for traveling, especially in luggage. I love to travel with a foldable travel yoga mat. The most important consideration with travel mats is the texture. Many travel mats are super thin, but they are frequently too slippery for me. Also, surprisingly, some travel mats are very heavy. I love the SKL Travel Mat texture – soft and leathery. It folds up well into its included travel bag, and is even machine washable!

4 – Reetual Hot Yoga Mat

I LOVE Hot Yoga. If you do not also love Hot Yoga, move on to the next on our list! But, this is my Top 5 Yoga Mats and I certainly want a mat for Hot Yoga when it is safe to be in the studio! If you also drank that kool-aid and practice Hot / Bikram Yoga, you have likely experienced Hot Yoga sweat slips. The Reetual Hot Yoga Mat helps avoid this slippage. Yes you can probably use a towel, but I prefer this mat that does the work for me.. I do not like to move a towel around or have it bunch up under me. This mat is also standard thickness, so you can feel the ground in Bikram / Hot series balancing Asanas. It’s a bit pricey, but the best sweat-absorbing mat for Hot Yoga I have found.

5 – Heathyoga Alignment Mat

Alignment Yoga Mats are all the rage right now, so I have to include one in my Top 5 Yoga Mats list! A ton of premium yoga mats are on the market like the popular (original?) Liforme Alignment Mat and Cork Alignment Mat. A lot of the high end alignment mats are fairly expensive, heavy, and cover nearly all the special features listed above in one mat. My favorite affordable every day alignment mat is the Heathyoga Alignment Mat – average thickness, not too heavy, and sufficient friction to avoid slipping.

How to Clean your Mat

Not sure how to clean your Yoga Mat? I make my own cleaner in a little spray bottle – a mix of equal parts water and white vinegar with a couple drops of tea tree oil. I use this regularly, and wipe down with a hand towel. I like this spray to clean my luggage too! I sometimes use a spray bottle with water and a little dish soap when my mat gets extra dirty outside. If you do not want to make your own mat cleaner, there are plenty of great pre-made cleaning sprays.


There you have it Yogis, my Top 5 Yoga Mats. Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this list! If you have a favorite mat that I did not mention.. let me know! Stay tuned tomorrow to sync up with our 30 Day Challenge Group! Always remember, be kind!

Next INTRO CHALLENGE STARTS 11/01/2020

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Top 5 – Yoga Equipment

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is your choice of Asana series from any Asana Style. Perhaps try some of our Top 5 Yoga Equipment new Yogis should consider below your practice today!

I LOVE High Fidelity and its Top 5s, so I am going to do a Top 5 Yoga Equipment today. There is SO much Yoga equipment out there.. a lot of super cool pieces (like the yoga wheel or inversion bench) are better for more advanced Yogis. But I wanted to create a good Top 5 list for eager new Yogis, especially those who are new to Yoga in COVID quarantine, and maybe have not tried these at a studio!

Top 5 Yoga equipment for new yogis

1 – Yoga Mat

Sorry to be so predictable with #1, but it’s true! A few poses are fine on the ground or outside, but you really should use a Yoga Mats, which is really just a clean cushion. We will talk bit more about (my top 5) Yoga Mats tomorrow. The main feature to evaluate when purchasing a Yoga Mat is thickness. Texture, weight, and portability are other considerations. I had a back injury and need a very thick mat for comfort, but I cannot “feel” the ground through extra thick mats, making balancing poses more difficult. I have a super thin mat I love for traveling, but I would be sore in my injured lower back if I used it regularly. PS I do NOT use a towel.. towels are not thick enough and do not stay flat, plus Yoga Mats are usually slightly sticky which helps with many Asanas. I will use nothing, rather than just a towel.. If you get nothing else, get a real Yoga Mat!

2 – Foam Blocks

If you have practiced in a studio, foam blocks are usually the first prop you will try. I recommend getting two blocks, so you can use one under each limb in certain poses and Restorative Asana classes. Blocks are especially helpful for new Yogis who cannot reach the ground in in poses like Trikonasana / triangle pose, under the seat in Virasana / Hero pose… even advanced Yogis regularly use blocks for comfort or support, and to help fully express Asanas. They are fairly inexpensive, so I recommend just getting two blocks and a strap in a set for under $25.

3 – Yoga Strap

A strap basically acts as an extension of your arms. This is great for Yogis with tight shoulders who cannot reach behind their back, or Yogis with tight hamstrings who cannot easily reach their toes. This is placed behind the foam block which is used more often, but the strap is very useful, especially for new Yogis. They are fairly inexpensive, so I recommend just getting two blocks and a strap in a set for under $25.

4 – Couch Pillows

If you practice at a Yoga Studio, you will often see large bolsters and blankets. These are awesome props, and especially great for Restorative Yoga classes where you need a lot of support. But often, I miss having a couch throw pillow at Yoga Studios more than I miss bolsters and blankets when I practice at home! I have fairly tight hamstrings so I like a couch pillow under my seat in Dandasana / Staff Pose, or under my head for Shavasana / Corpse Pose. I also like a couch pillow under my knees if I am on them for a long time, such as doing Ab work in Vyaghasana / Tiger Pose. PS If you love Restorative Yoga, I do recommend getting the blankets and bolsters for home.. you’ll want the extra support if you regularly practice this style!

5 – Wii Fit with Balance Board

This is probably one you will not find on any other lists, but this is my Top 5 Yoga Equipment list 🙂 I still have the original Wii with balance board, and Nintendo makes the balance board for the Wii U. I am an old school (slightly reformed) gamer, but I still regularly use my over 15 year old original Wii, especially for fitness! MAKE SURE YOU PURCHASE THE BALANCE BOARD AND GAMES FOR THE CORRECT WII SYSTEM!

The Wii fit Plus game (get plus version, which has more Asanas than standard version) requires the balance board, and there is a Yoga section in the Wii Fit game. There is also a Wii Yoga game, but I have been more than entertained with Wii Fit Plus, Wii Sports and Wii Zumba for years. Using Wii balance board for Yoga tests your balance, and lets you see exactly where you place or shift your weight in various Asanas. I got SO much insight from the Wii balance board for my normal standing posture, my uneven weight distribution in arm-balance poses, and where my weight wobbles in Vrksasana / Tree Pose and balancing poses before I fall over. This is by far the most expensive thing on this list without the Wii or Wii U console even included, but I think it’s worth every penny! It gives you valuable information and immediate feedback you cannot get from anything else. That said, the balance board is definitely not necessary for your daily practice.. though it is a source of super useful info as you take your Asanas to the next level.

Mirrors

PS I am giving Mirrors a bonus #6 spot even though this is a Top 5 Yoga Equipment list – sometimes our bodies are not placed how they feel, and using a mirror at home, at the gym, or in a Yoga (or Dance) Studio makes a huge difference!


There you have it Yogis, my Top 5 Yoga Equipment for New Yogis. Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this list! Stay tuned for my Top 5 Yoga Mats tomorrow, and our 30 Day Challenge Group catching up with us on Monday! Always remember, be kind!

Next INTRO CHALLENGE STARTS 11/01/2020

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Special Announcements

Good afternoon Yogis! I am interrupting our daily positive practice posts for a couple special announcements!

I want to formally announce our 30 Day Challenge – Intro Philosophy, Poses & Positivity starting this weekend! Special thanks to my friends who are about half way through this challenge 🙏 We have two days of intro posts, so you can start any time 8/1-8/3. We will sync up daily practices with the challenge group for August. If you are participating, please consider signing up for our email list, getting the app, or following on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook for daily reminders and notifications.

Also, I am sooo excited to share that Daily Yogi made the Top 50 Yoga Teacher Blog Feeds! We are #39! I am so thrilled since we are new, not an established organization, teacher, or yoga studio with lots of followers.

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Asanas – Poses – Warrior Weekend – Baddha & Viparita Virabhadrasana – Humble & Reverse Warrior

Viparita Virabhadrasana – Reverse Warrior Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are still on the Third Limb of Yoga, Asanas or poses, and continuing with Warrior Weekend! We are going to cover the other two Warrior Poses – Baddha Virabhadrasana (Humble Warrior) and Viparita Virabhadrasana (Reverse Warrior). Though there can be slight differences in “proper” way to perform a pose from teacher to teacher and even within the same class, I am sharing what I keep in mind during these poses when I practice.

You will notice all Virabhadrasanas have the same strong base/legs – front foot pointing straight forward, back foot grounded and pointing to the side.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is trying Baddha Virabhadrasana (Humble Warrior) & Viparita Virabhadrasana (Reverse Warrior). Try to hold each Asana / pose for a few breaths, and try on both sides! We will break down each pose below.

Baddha Virabhadrasana (Humble Warrior)

We will start in Virabhadrasana I – Warrior 1 from yesterday, flip the back foot into Ashtanga Chandrasana – High Lunge, and fold into Baddha Virabhadrasana – Humble Warrior.

Here is a great video to follow along with!

Feet – Feet should be about 3 – 4 1/2 feet apart, flat on the ground. The front foot should point straight ahead, and the back foot should point straight to the side (or pointing slightly forward if hips are tight). As you fold into Baddha Virabhadrasana, you can either keep back foot grounded, or flip your back leg so knee is under, and back foot is grounded with toes/ball of foot into your mat for extra balance.

Legs – Your front leg should stay bent with your knee directly over the ankle. Keep back leg straight, and as you fold into Baddha Virabhadrasana, you may want to flip leg so the knee is pointing down to the ground and back toes are grounded into the mat (high lunge back leg).

Hips – Point both hips straight forward. Bend from your hips to fold into Baddha Virabhadrasana – Humble Warrior, so hips are pointing forward and a bit down.

Torso – As you fold at your hips into Baddha Virabhadrasana, you will rest your torso/chest on your front knee. Next, notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps keep your chest open.

Arms – Start with arms behind you, hands clasped with thumbs pointing down. This is an arm bind, or “Baddha” in Sanskrit (technically this pose is “bound warrior” in English). Keep our arms in this bind behind you (or perhaps raise your arms slightly if comfortable) as you lean forward into Baddha Virabhadrasana.

Head and Neck – Keep your head and neck in line with the rest of your torso, and allow both to gently curve as you lean forward and look down into Baddha Virabhadrasana.

Viparita Virabhadrasana (Reverse Warrior)

This is my favorite of the Warrior poses! Start in Virabhadrasana / Warrior II from yesterday, and lean back into Viparita Virabhadrasana / Reverse Warrior.

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

Legs – Your front leg should be bent with knee directly over ankle. Keep back leg straight, with knee to the side.

Hips – Hips should stay open to the side. Take note of your booty – it should be almost tucked under rather than sticking out.

Torso – Start with your torso straight and tall over your hips. As you lean back into Viparita Virabhadrasana, keep your hips and shoulders to the side, but allow your ribs to turn slightly up to the ceiling.

Arms – Start with your arms parallel to the ground, with palms facing down. Drop your back and hand let slide down your back leg, as you flip your front palm and move up and back, keeping your shoulders facing to the side and down.

Head and Neck – Keep your neck neutral, and allow your gaze to follow your top hand until you are looking up and slightly back.

Please comment to share your experience with these Virabhadrasanas or Warrior Poses! What did you think? Which one did you like the best? Always remember, be kind!

Inspiring Viparita Virabhadrasana from @just.hoop.ine
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Asanas – Poses – Warrior Weekend – Virabhadrasana I II & III – Warrior Pose 1 2 & 3

Virabhadrasana II

Good morning Yogis! We are back to the Third Limb of Yoga, Asanas or poses! We are going to take today and tomorrow to cover a few Virabhadrasanas or Warrior Poses. These poses are all very common in Yoga classes, especially Vinyasa style. Though there can be slight differences in “proper” way to perform a pose from teacher to teacher and even within the same class, I am sharing what I keep in mind during these poses when I practice.

You will notice all Virabhadrasanas have the same strong base/legs – front foot pointing straight forward, back foot grounded and pointing to the side. Even Virabhadrasana III, with the back leg off the ground, starts from Virabhadrasana I.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is trying Virabhadrasanas or Warrior Poses 1 2 & 3. Try to hold each Asana / pose for a few breaths, and try on both sides! We will break down each pose below.

Here is a great quick video going through Virabhadrasanas I II & III. Please note this Warrior 1 is a modified beginner version with the back foot pointing a bit forward. I do recommend trying this version if you are a beginner, and working on getting the back foot further pointed to the side as you become more comfortable with these turned-out hips.

Virabhadrasana I

This is the first Warrior Pose, but actually the most awkward for me and the one I practice the least. I typically perfer to replace Virabhadrasana I / Warrior I with Ashtanga Chandrasana / High Lunge as described in the “hips” section below.

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

Legs – Your front leg should be bent with your knee directly over the ankle. Keep back leg straight, with knee to the side.

Hips – Hips are quite tricky in traditional Virabhadrasana 1! Try to point both hips straight forward, even though this will never be 100% possible since your back foot is pointing out to the side. If this pose is too awkward or rough on your hips, flip your back leg so knee points down, and ground back foot with toe/ball into the mat, and come into a more comfortable Ashtanga Chandrasana / High Lunge.

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 – Start with hands on your hips, to try to feel your hips pointing forward as much as possible. If you are comfortable, keep your shoulders down, INHALE and raise your hands to the sky, keeping your arms next to your ears.

Head and Neck – Keep your head in line with the rest of your torso, looking straight ahead or up between your raised hands. 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.

Virabhadrasana II

This is the most well-known Warrior pose! Even if you have practiced this Asana before, it’s worth going back to basics with this pose, making sure you have a solid foundation before “flowing” through this pose in a Vinyasa class.

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

Legs – Your front leg should be bent with knee directly over ankle. Keep back leg straight, with knee to the side.

Hips – Hips should stay open to the side. Take note of your booty – it should be almost tucked under rather than sticking out.

Torso – Keep your torso straight and tall over your hips. 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 – Raise your arms parallel to the ground, with palms facing down. Look left and right and make sure both arms are the same height, and pointing straight forward and back. Hint – many Yogis let the back arm droop a bit!

Head and Neck – Keep your head in line with the rest of your torso, looking straight ahead at your front hand (or straight to the side if easier on your neck). 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.

Virabhadrasana III

This is a challenging balance pose, usually entered from Warrior 1 or High lunge. See how long you can hold for… work up to 3 full breaths if you can!

Feet – Start grounded in Virabhadrasana / Warrior I. Feet should be about 3 – 4 1/2 feet apart, flat on the ground. The front foot should point straight ahead, and the back foot should point straight to the side (or pointing slightly forward if hips are tight). When you lean forward into Virabhadrasana / Warrior III, keep your back foot pointed or flexed to the side, whatever helps your balance.

Legs – You will start with front leg bent with knee directly over ankle. As you lean forward, straighten your standing leg. Work your raised back leg to parallel to the ground, and keep straight with knee pointing down or to the side, whatever helps your balance.

Hips – You will lean forward into Warrior III bending at your hips, not your waist. Your hips will point straight down at the ground when you come into the full expression of the pose.

Torso – Keep your torso straight and tall over your hips. 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 – Raise your arms parallel to the ground, with palms facing each other. Keeping your arms and back leg parallel to the ground helps balance in this pose!

Head and Neck – Keep your head and neck in line with your torso. Look straight down at your mat, or perhaps a bit ahead, whatever helps your balance.

Please comment to share your experience with these Virabhadrasanas or Warrior Poses! What did you think? Which one did you like the best? Always remember, be kind!

Please stay tuned for more warrior poses tomorrow!

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Asanas – Poses – Yin and Restorative

Balasana – Child Pose

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

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

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

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

Beginner Yin Yoga

Restorative Yoga (bolster or large firm pillow required)

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

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Asanas – Poses – Bikram/Hot Series

Dhanurasana – Bow Pose

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

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

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

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

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

Hot Vinyasa Series

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

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

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Asanas – Poses – Iyengar Series

Virabhadrasana II – Warrior 2

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

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

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

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

Beginner Iyengar Series with Props

Iyengar Series with and without Props

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

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Asanas – Poses – Vinyasa Series

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

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

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

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

Beginner Vinyasa Series

Power Flow Series

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

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Asanas – Poses – Hatha Series

Utkatasana – Powerful or Chair Pose

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

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

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

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

Recommended Hatha Yoga Videos

Beginner Morning Hatha Series

AM Connection Hatha Series

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

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Pranayama – Breathing – Day 1 – Ujjayi Pranayama – Ocean Breath

Good morning Yogis! It is Pranayama Day today, the Fourth Limb of Yoga. Today we will be learning Ujjayi (oo-JAW-yee) Pranayama. This is literally translated from Sanskrit as Victorious Breath, but is commonly referred to as Ocean Breath due to the sound of this technique. This is another great cooling and calming breathing technique, and is ideal during Asana practice. You may have learned this in Yoga class before, especially if you have attended a Hot Yoga class.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is trying Ujjayi Pranayama or Ocean Breathing.

Start with Diaphragmatic Breathing for 3 full inhales and exhales.

Open your mouth and inhale and exhale through your mouth. Contract your throat to slightly say “HA” on the exhales. Keep this light contraction in your throat so you slightly say “SA” on the inhales. You will start noticing the ocean sound from which this technique gets its name.

Now, close your mouth. Inhale and exhale through your nose, while keeping this contraction in your throat to keep the ocean sound continuing on both inhales and exhales. As you become comfortable with this breathing technique, try your Asana practice with this Ujjayi Pranayama.

Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Ujjayi Pranayama exercise! Have you ever tried this technique as a standalone or during your Asana practice? Always remember, be kind!

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Talasana – Palm Tree Pose

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

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!

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

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


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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 first pose in many Yoga classes. You will be surprised how much there is to take into account for 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.

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!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Intro – Meditation

The last 4 limbs of yoga build upon all 4 of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These are:

5 – Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the Senses

6 – Dharana – Intense Focus

7 – Dhyana – Full Meditation

8 – Samadhi – Enlightenment

You will notice these practices are all meditation focused. As mentioned, they build upon each other. Unfortunately, these later limbs are individual practice focused, and not all Yogis decide to pursue them on their journeys. Please do share your experiences and tips with the community, but we will let you discover these when you are ready and on your own.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try this Breath-Focused Meditation Practice. Meditation has always been difficult for me personally, with my “monkey mind” but these methods below have worked for me! If you have wanted to begin a Daily Meditation Practice, I recommend starting at 5 minutes, working up to 10 minutes, and consider increasing up to 30 minutes at your own pace. Personally, I meditate for 10-15 minutes at most in the morning to get centered for the day.

Start sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position. Try to find a quiet, comfortable space. Relax and focus on your breath. Allow your belly to expand on each inhale, and contract to empty your lungs fully on each exhale. (Check our Pranayama section for more detail on diaphragmatic breathing).

Notice any outside distractions such as wind or noises from the street, and try to allow them to fade into the background as you calmly turn your focus inwards. Notice any inside distractions coming from your mind, as our inner world/voice is typically used to running wild on auto-pilot. Calmly allow these passing thoughts to fade, and turn your attention back to your breath. 

Start working towards calming your mind. Focus on counting to 10 with your breath. Inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, exhale 4, and continue to 10. If you notice your thoughts wandering, gently let them go, turn your attention back to your breath, and begin again with 1 on your next inhale.

Or, if you prefer more than numbers for your focus, try thinking to yourself “inhale peace and relaxation” each inhale, and “exhale stress and tension” each exhale. Many Yogis enjoy guided meditations to help focus.

Please comment and let me know what you thought of this meditation exercise! If you meditate, how long do you typically meditate for and how frequently? Do you have another meditation technique or guided meditation you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!

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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!

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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Niyamas #5 – Ishvara Pranidhana – Surrender – Intro

Daily Yogi Yamas - Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana

Ishvara Pranidhana (Ish-VA-ra PRA-knee-DAH-na) is literally translated to English as surrender to all-pervading consciousness. The more common translations include surrender or devotion, and the essential concept here is faith in a higher power. This surrender is not about giving up hope when you face your problems, but acceptance. Ishvara Pranidhana is typically the most confusing of the Niyamas, especially for new Yogis or those who do not practice outside religions.

Despite the difficulty of both understanding and incorporating this last of the Niyamas into our lives, it is often one of the most rewarding. We all have good days, and we all have bad days. The essence of this is allowing the bad days to pass, trying to believe everything happens for a reason, and keeping moving forward in positive directions despite challenges we may face. I have called my short temper in the past “Ginger Rage”. Tantrum is probably more appropriate… for example very frequently swearing if I get cut off on the highway. But has my little tantrum helped the situation at all?

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

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

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

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Niyamas #4 – Svadhyaya – Self-Study – Intro

Daily Yogi Yamas - Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana

Svadhyaya (svad-HYEYE-ya) literally translates from Sanskrit as reading or reciting to oneself, but is typically translated as self-study. Svadhyaya includes not only self-study, but also study of “sacred texts.” This includes the sacred texts of Yoga such as the Yoga Sutras where we take inspiration for Yogi Daily’s positive practices. This also includes reading or studying sacred texts of any and all world religions such as the Bible, Buddhist texts, or whatever religious or philosophical texts resonate with you.

Svadhyaya is all about approaching life with the open mind and heart of a scholar, continuously leaning and growing. It is also about actually practicing learning. This is our first Svadhyaya day, so we will focus on self-study and new beginnings rather than scripture.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to start keeping a journal. I have found a journal to be one of the best ways to study and learn oneself, directly from yourself! Buy a guided or blank paper journal, or make a free online journal (password protect for privacy!) with LiveJournal or WordPress. If you already keep a journal or diary, start adding to your entries about this new journey you are beginning with us. Remember to include notes about both events and your feelings.


Want more Ideas for journal day?
Check our Journal prompts board on Pinterest!

Please comment and let us know if you keep a diary/journal now, or if this is new for you! If this is already part of your life, please share how often you write or your feelings and experience with keeping a journal. If this is new for you, let us know if you went paper or electronic, and how you feel about staring this new practice. Always remember, be kind!

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Niyamas #3 – Tapas – Discipline – Intro

Daily Yogi Yamas - Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana

Tapas (TAH-pas) is one of the easiest of the Niyamas to understand. Tapas is derived from a Sanskrit root meaning “to burn”. Tapas is often translated as self-discipline.

Tapas / self-discipline is what helps us build daily rituals and practices. We tap into Tapas when we push ourselves to get on the Yoga mat every day when we do not feel like it, or do necessary homework or work tasks that we find boring, or commit and stick to daily meditation or a healthy diet. I created the Daily Yogi App as a Tapas tool to encourage myself and those who would like to join to be a little better every day.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to select a meaningful positive new habit or practice to do every day, and set yourself up for success. Need suggestions? It can be big or small. Maybe you commit to this Daily Yogi journey of positive practices with our group every day. Maybe you commit to daily Asana / physical Yoga practice. Perhaps you have always wanted to meditate every day… well, today is the day to start! If you always wanted to learn a language, check out the free Duolingo site and app and get started (and feel free to add me, TarrynTyler as your Duolingo friend). If you’re an insatiable consumer of education like me, check out these free EdX online courses from Harvard or look around the EdX site for other free classes from other schools. Maybe you want to eat healthy, or try out a new fad diet, or start taking supplements. Whatever is meaningful for you, make the commitment today!

Now, for the second part.. Set yourself up for success! Tapas is not just about setting a goal, it is about exercising self-discipline and follow through. If you use a calendar or planner, write your goal down every day. Maybe add a daily reminder, alarm, or calendar appointment on your phone. Try getting sticky notes and sticking on your bathroom mirror, just inside the front door, or on your night stand.. maybe all three spots! If you have similar friends or family members, maybe try out an accountability-buddy, a friendly competition, or a group 30 Day Challenge. Perhaps schedule giving yourself a small reward on the weekend for sticking to your new habit for the full week. Also, physically set yourself up for success… buy the right foods and dispose of temptations for diet changes, set out exercise equipment and clothes the night before if you want to wake up and exercise, schedule out your lessons to complete by a meaningful date, etc. Whatever methods work for you, try any and all ways to gently encourage yourself to make positive changes or accomplish your goals.

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Please comment to share your experience if you tried one of our suggestions, or one of your own! Always remember, be kind!

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Niyamas #2 – Santosha – Contentment – Intro

Daily Yogi Yamas - Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana

Santosha (san-TOE-shah) is literally translated as complete contentment. Personally, I find Santosha as similar to practicing the positive of Aparigraha (non-attachment) or gratitude within ourselves, as opposed to with our surroundings. If you are a new Yogi beginning your Yoga journey, it is important to bring this concept of Santosha in your Asana practice.

Many of you will be surprised to hear I could not touch my toes until I was 30 years old! This was not due to lack of effort… I was athletic throughout my youth, and performed various styles of dance throughout my life. However, despite me pushing myself during stretching especially in ballet class, my toes were always *just* beyond my reach. At 24, I sustained a sacral fracture and was basically couch-ridden for over a month. It was a very long and painful healing process, complete with super strong prescription painkillers that did nothing for my pain (ginger problems). After being told I would have pain throughout my life, I finally decided to try Yoga.

I am sure you Yogis either have heard or will hear in the Yoga community “Yoga is not about touching your toes, it is about what you learn on the way down.” I have to admit, when I started getting serious about Yoga, for me it was VERY much about touching my toes. I compared myself to everyone else in the Yoga class who could easily touch their toes or fold into advanced versions of various poses, while I struggled to get half way into the “easy” version. I share this with you, because it is so common for newbies like me!

After continued classes at Yoga studios and home Asana practice, after about three years I could finally touch my toes! I did this not by bouncing or pushing myself in painful deep stretches like I had tried for about a decade in dance, but by gently holding poses while focusing on correct alignment, and breathing myself open. I also learned on the way down that I had been generally holding my breath while pushing myself throughout my dance stretches, completely counter to the way I typically breathed through movement in dance.

I had another lesson in Santosha at a Hot Yoga studio shortly after I began seriously practicing. I started regularly attending beginner classes at a Hot Yoga studio, and heard other students talking about a wonderful hot Vinyasa class held in the evenings. I felt confident after improving in my beginner classes, and decided to check it out. I walked in for the class and saw a few other students MEDITATING IN PERFECT HEAD STANDS in the Hot Yoga room. I was extremely impressed and intimidated. The class started, and it was a super challenging and dynamic Vinyasa class that I could barely keep up with. I ended up spending about half the class in Child’s Pose recovering, and was slightly embarrassed at being the newbie in the room. However, 30 minutes of deep breathing in Child’s Pose in the Hot Yoga room may have been EXACTLY what I needed. This was the day I finally cured the nagging pain in my lower back from my sacral injury, from my story above. Also, at the end of class, one of the shirtless ripped Yogi guys who had been relaxing in an impressive handstand at the start of class told me he did the same thing his first class.

As we progress further into more advanced Asanas / Yoga poses, you will encounter some that you may never do. Some poses, such as Eka Pada Sirsasana / Leg Behind Head Pose or Kurmasana / Turtle Pose, are journeys in themselves. It is essential for Yogis to weave this concept of Santosha / contentment into our physical Asana practice. Do not compare yourself to others in the room, or even yourself from another day of practice. Be compassionate with yourself and your body, and be content with where you are today. Notice and appreciate where you are, and observe yourself rather than judge yourself as you gently move forward on your journey.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to weave Santosha / contentment into your Asana or physical Yoga practice. Notice and appreciate where you are in your practice without judgement. If you are a new Yogi, maybe promise yourself to be gentle with your body, not comparing yourself to more flexible practitioners. More advanced Yogis also should be gentle with their bodies, and perhaps should revisit this concept of contentment with our journeys. Perhaps you have taken time off from practice.. release the guilt, spend a few minutes on your mat, and enjoy the time you make for yourself. Please keep in mind, exercising contentment in your Asana practice is essential to avoid injury!

Please comment to share how you bring contentment and acceptance to your Asana practice, or another aspect of your life today. Always remember, be kind!

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Niyamas #1 – Saucha – Purity – Intro

Daily Yogi Yamas - Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana

We have completed introducing and practicing each of the Yamas and hopefully, we have brightened the world we interact with over the last few days. I remember Ni-yamas as IN-Yamas, or our inner ethics. Niyamas (KNEE-ya-mas) are guidelines for our own personal habits or observances.

Saucha (SOW-cha) literally translates as purity or cleanliness from Sanskrit. This is a logical first for Yoga’s personal observances.. many of us start our day with a shower every morning. Saucha is about purity of the body as well as the mind, and reminds us to take a self-inventory of behaviors in our lives that no longer serve us, like unhealthy habits or negative thoughts.

We are still in the days of COVID quarantine. If I examine my own habits, I am sure my past self who lived in muggy Atlanta and showered every morning would cast a side-eye at my new every other day shower habit. Did I become a dirty hippie when I moved from Atlanta to the mountains of Colorado. Perhaps.. it is certainly debatable 🙂 However the main reason is more closely related to the super dry air at 11,000 feet where I live, that was causing excessively dry skin when I was showering more frequently. Daily Saucha practices will vary depending on your own body and your own needs. We will talk about Ayurveda, a sister science to yoga with many cleanliness rituals, during upcoming Saucha days.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to pamper yourself with a deep cleaning or other self-care. Need some ideas? If you have been stuck inside and allowed some areas your personal grooming to slide, maybe try something like a long shower or bubble bath. Maybe give yourself a pedicure, with a warm foot soak and lotion massage after, whether you paint your toes or not. Perhaps try a tooth whitening treatment. Relax with a face mask and cucumber slices over your eyes. If you want to try a new Ayurvedic practice, maybe try oil-pulling (I recommend 2-15 minutes, not 20-30) with coconut oil. If the days of social distancing are done, maybe book a last minute facial or salon treatment of your choice. Whatever practice feels right for you to integrate Saucha into your day.

Please comment to share your experience if you tried one of our suggestions, or one of your own! Always remember, be kind!

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Yamas #5 – Aparigraha – Non-Attachment – Intro

Aparigraha (ah-PA-ree-GRA-ha) is “non-grasping on all sides” in a direct translation from Sanskrit. It is frequently translated as non-attachment or non-possessiveness.

This is an interesting topic for us in the Western World. We live in a very capitalist society, where most of us are constantly working and pushing for the next cool gadget, promotion, or life milestone. Aparigraha is about both not attaching ourselves to a particular outcome, and also gratitude and enjoying the present moment. If we are focused on the next thing in the future, we often miss out on what is right in front of us. This does not mean we should not put forth our best efforts or pursue things that make us happy, but the key is to focus on the present and actually experience and appreciate each moment.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to make a list of 5 things you are grateful for in your life, right now. Need some ideas? They can be big or small. You may be grateful for physical things like your health or your long hair or your home or your beautiful garden. You may be grateful for your family or friends or pets. You may be proud of something you accomplished or positive personal traits like humor or loyalty. You may be grateful for past learning experiences or positive changes you see in yourself or the world. Or, these are tough times.. if you are proud for getting out of bed or taking a shower, or putting on pants for your zoom meeting, then celebrate small victories! This practice is about finding the joy and blessings in the moment. Focus your attention to positivity and abundance already in your life, rather than putting off your happiness for something in the future.

Please comment to share how this exercise made you feel, or feel free to share your list! Always remember, be kind!

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Yamas #4 – Brahmacharya – Moderation – Intro

Brahmacharya (BRA-ma-KA-ree-ya) literally means “on the path of God” in a direct translation from Sanskrit. It is often translated to English as celibacy or continence. I prefer the slightly less literal translation of Godlike, because it reminds me of a song by a German band, but I believe Brahmacharya’s true meaning to be “moderation.” What comes up for you from these various translations?

I took a course on Japanese Religions as part of my incomplete Japanese minor in college, and this particular practice reminds me of the middle path in Buddhism. What does this mean? Without getting too far into Buddhist philosophy (maybe later.. Buddhist and Yoga philosophy are very similar in some areas), the Middle Path of Moderation is a central tenet of Buddhism and major part of the Buddha’s journey to enlightenment. In this part of the story, he examines his experiences with a hedonistic life of luxury as a prince, and a minimalist austere life of a monk with extended fasting. He realizes neither of these lifestyles is healthy or sustainable for a long time, and a Middle Path of eating a healthy and well balanced diet is more ideal than either extreme.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is making a conscious choice of living in moderation or taking the middle path. Need some ideas? It can be big or small. Look for temptations during the day, and neither indulge nor ignore the craving, but instead make a healthy choice. Like maybe a salad instead of fast food, or fruit instead of candy, or yogurt instead of cake or ice cream. Maybe have just a couple pieces of candy instead of NOMMING the whole bag. Can you tell I LOVE candy 🙂 Or maybe make today the first day taking steps to minimize an unhealthy lifestyle choice. Perhaps get a nicotine gum or patch to stop smoking, or plan a reasonable cut-back schedule with small goals you can reach rather than the cold-turkey approach. If you have been super busy with work and family with our current quarantine situation, ask for help and take 15 minutes minimum to spoil yourself with a bath or workout or even a nap, whatever you need! Or, choose your own way to practice a more balanced lifestyle today that feels right to you.

Please comment to share your experience if you tried one of our suggestions, or one of your own! Always remember, be kind!

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Yamas #3 – Asteya – Non-Stealing – Intro

Asteya (Ah-STAY-ya) translates to English as Non-Stealing, and is another universal moral and reflection of the golden rule. Asteya of course means literally not stealing possessions, but it also means not stealing or being selfish with the time, energy, and ideas of others. The positive opposite behavior of stealing that we want to encourage is generosity. There is a balance between giving and receiving.. one should not allow oneself to be taken advantage of, along with not taking advantage of others.

Asteya can be a deep philosophical consideration for yourself, examining situations where you may be acting a bit selfishly or taking advantage because you can. However, I hate to keep saying it.. but we are in difficult times and many are struggling right now. So, let’s focus on bringing more positivity to the world.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is a random act of generosity. Need some ideas? It can be big or small. If you can, make a donation to a food bank, or charity to help those in need, since many people are out of work and struggling to feed their families. If you are short on cash, ask someone you care about who is having a tough time if you can help with household chores, or yard work, or anything else to make their lives easier and take something off their plate. Go through the pantry, or old clothes, or the garage, and donate to someone you care about or a charitable organization. Whatever feels like the right way for you to practice being generous and sharing with others.

Please comment to share your experience if you tried one of our suggestions, or let us know about one of your own! Always remember, be kind!

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Yamas #2 – Satya – Truthfulness – Intro

As you will notice, much of the Yamas, or Interpersonal Ethics, are based fairly universally agreed upon morals and the Golden Rule. This iteration means being truthful to others and with yourself, in thoughts, words, and actions.

It is important to note that the literal translation of Satya (SAHT-yah) is truth, but it is often translated as Benevolent Truthfulness. This means it is usually better to keep a hurtful truth to oneself. If you determine it is necessary to share a hurtful truth, make sure to do so as gently and compassionately as possible. On a deeper level, Satya is about more than just not telling lies, but about seeing the reality of situations, others, and ourselves.

I think with the current COVID health and economic situations, as well as current events and news recently, we are all suffering with an abundance of hurtful truths (and untruths) in the world. We all can use more benevolent truths.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is sharing a kind truth with someone you care about. Need some ideas? Let’s make it big today… these are hard times and we could all use a big pick me up! Do not compliment someone about something that changes every day, like their hair or outfit. Contact your best friend just to say how much you admire their drive, or loyalty or the ability to always make you laugh. Tell your significant other how much you appreciate the thing you love most about them. Call a friend or family member who had a significant positive impact on your life, and let them know how thankful you are. Message an old colleague or boss who helped you on your path, and thank them for their mentoring. Reach out to someone you love and/or someone you know could use a pick-me-up.

Please share your story if you helped someone you care about have a better day, whether you tried one of our suggestions, or one of your own! Always remember, be kind!

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Yamas #1 – Ahimsa – Non-Harming – Intro

Welcome New Yogis! If you are in a 30 Day Challenge, you may want to check the challenge welcome page and shortcut page, and get free printable calendars and checklists!

Happy June Yogis! I feel it is auspicious to start this Daily Yogi journey on the first of the month!

Many of the translations from Sanskrit to English for the Yamas (YAH-mas), or Interpersonal Ethics, are things you should NOT do. I consider many of the Yamas to be different embodiments of The Golden Rule – “do unto others as you would want done to you.” Of course we aim to not do the negative thing, but on the flip side we also should try to embody the positive opposite.

Ahimsa (Ah-HIM-sa) literally translates to English as “to not harm”, and is often translated as compassion or non-violence. I believe Ahimsa is all about positivity and doing the right thing. To practice Ahimsa, we try to avoid harming others physically or with speech/thoughts, and to practice kindness and compassion. This means nurturing positive actions, words, and thoughts.

Please note that perfect adherence to many yoga principles is not possible for most normal people. Technically, non-harming is impossible for many professions such as farmers harvesting crops or raising livestock, and physicians who may have bad outcomes despite the best training, efforts, and intentions. No one should give up a profession that may result in unintended harm, or fret that an accident or a lifestyle you grew up with (ie a non-vegan diet) will hinder you on your journey. You probably are not a monk, and therefore perfect adherence is not expected of you. That said, you should always do your best within reason to avoid harming others. The main lesson of Ahimsa, in my opinion is to do the right thing, be a good person, and cultivate positive thoughts, words, and actions. What that means to you and your lifestyle is personal, like much of the Yogi’s Journey.

We are in strange times here in 2020. Between COVID’s health, social, and economic impacts, and the mounting injustices that have fueled the BLM protests, I am sure we can all agree the world can use more kindness. So, let’s start easy.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is performing a random act of kindness. Need some ideas? It can be big or small. Bring home a favorite meal or treat for a loved one. Be extra friendly driving in the car, giving someone the right of way. If you can, pay for the order for the person behind you in a drive through. Has that ever happened to you? It happened to my sister, it made her day! If you are reading and we are no longer in the days of social distancing, hold the door open for the person behind you, or help someone who is struggling to reach or carry something. Volunteer. Give to charity. Plant a tree. Whatever feels like the right way for you to actively practice kindness and compassion, or to do your small part to make someone else smile, or make the world better today than it was yesterday.

Please comment to share your experience if you tried one of our suggestions, or one of your own! Always remember, be kind!

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Ashtanga – The 8 Limbs of Yoga – Intro Yoga Philosophy – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

8 limbs of yoga

Welcome, New Yogis! If you are in a 30 Day Challenge, you may want to check the challenge welcome page and shortcut page, and get free printable calendars and checklists! We will begin with some background info before we get into the Daily Yogi practices for our group. For this intro day, we will introduce Ashtanga or The 8 Limbs of Yoga, from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Daily Yogi’s Daily Positive Practices are inspired by the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Our Daily practices will generally cycle through these 8 Limbs and their branches.


What is Yoga?

We will start at the beginning. So.. what is Yoga? Is it exercise? Is it a philosophy?

Linguistically, Yoga is Sanskrit for “to yoke” or “to join” and is often translated to English as “union”. 

Technically, Yoga is a set of practices, that for many results in a calmer and happier life. Yoga practice involves exercise (Asanas) and much more. Traditional Yogi Texts include the Vedas, The Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Sutras. The 8 Limbs of Yoga where Daily Yogi draws inspiration are from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Religion according to Merriam Webster is “the belief in a god or in a group of gods; an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods.” Therefore, by this definition, Yoga is not a religion. Yoga allows for practitioners of any, all, and no religious background. Also, Yoga philosophy parallels the beliefs of at least five distinct Eastern religions. The various Yogic Texts also alludes to main themes (ie the golden rule, charity, etc) in western monotheistic religions. However, some of the practices some individuals incorporate into their Yoga routine, such as chanting, can have a “religious” feel to others. So, if any practices do not appeal to you, remember you are free to take what works and leave what does not.

There are 8 Limbs of Yoga according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Ashtanga (ahsh-TAHN-guh) is a Sanskrit word meaning “eight-limbed.”

The 8 Limbs of Yoga

1 Yamas (YAH-muhs) – Interpersonal Ethics (5: Ahimsa / Non-Harming, Satya / Truthfulness, Asteya / Non-Stealing, Brahmacharya / Moderation, and Aparigraha / Non-Attachment)
2 Niyamas (KNEE-yah-muhs) – Personal Observances (5: Saucha / Purity, Santosha / Contentment, Tapas / Discipline, Svadhyaya / Self-Study, and Ishvara-Pranidhana / Surrender)
3 Asanas (AH-sa-nuhs) – Poses (Hundreds)
4 Pranayama (PRAH-na-YAH-muh) – Breath (Dozens)
5 Pratyahara (PRAHT-yah-HA-ruh) – Withdrawal of the Senses
6 Dharana (dah-RA-nuh) – Intense Focus
7 Dhyana (dee-YAH-nuh) – Full Meditation
8 Samadhi (sah-MA-dee) – Enlightenment

The first four limbs are varied personal practices, exercises, and habits. The last four limbs are mostly meditation-based and build upon each other. So, I created the tree graphic above to share how I envision the Limbs of Yoga. The first four limbs are roots of the tree, that feed and support the sequential growth of the upper four limbs. We will focus primarily on the lower four limbs with our daily practices. However, we will also touch on some meditation techniques of the upper four limbs.

Sanskrit and Linguistics

A quick note about Sanskrit: as I mentioned before, I am a huge nerd, and particularly love languages. In addition to my native English, I have studied Spanish, French, Latin, Classical Greek, and Japanese. Classical Sanskrit is the language of ancient India, the Vedas, and Yoga. It is one of the original/foundational languages. So, I have been fascinated by Sanskrit roots that trickle down into literally all of the languages I have studied. Also, for those of you who are interested, Classical Sanskrit is supposed to be the true name or vibration for each word. So, I will use both English and Sanskrit / Yoga terms. Also I will also do my best to provide simplified (if not 100% accurate) pronunciations for those of you new to Sanskrit/Yoga.

Ashtanga Vinyasa

There is a specific type of Asana that many refer to as “Ashtanga.” I usually call this style of Yoga “Ashtanga Vinyasa.” Ashtanga Vinyasa is a series of specific, challenging, and dynamic sets of Asana sequences and other Yoga practices. We will discuss this more later.

Daily Yogi App

I also created an app as a Tapas tool, with daily gentle reminders and easy access to our daily positive Yogi practices. The Daily Yogi App is AVAILABLE NOW on both Apple and Android devices. Our app enables pop-up notifications and quick access to our daily positive practices. Additionally, the app also allows for easy research on each of the 8 Limbs of Yoga

We are glad to have you here! Please do what is right for you to succeed! Start your journey with a 30 Day Challenge Group. Follow us on Instagram (where we have second daily reminders!) or Facebook, and join our group bringing positivity to our lives and the world each day! Sign up for daily emails for positive practice suggestions in your inbox every day. Download our app for Apple or Android to enable daily push-reminders, and/or join our group discussions to share your journey.

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Birthday/New Year Resolution

Welcome New Yogis! If you are in a 30 Day Challenge, you may want to check the challenge welcome page and shortcut page, and get Free Printable Challenge Calendar and our First 30 Day Checklist!

Next INTRO CHALLENGE STARTS 11/01/2020

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My first post :D!

Hi everyone, I’m Tarryn Tyler. I finished my Yoga Teacher Training this year. After learning about Yoga philosophy and the Eight Limbs of Yoga, I was looking for ways to help ensure I integrated these teachings and practices from the Yoga Sutras into my life each day. I was unable to find an app, so I tried using my Yoga philosophy flashcards in my day planner to add one each day. Although they helped, unfortunately, my note cards alone did not cut it… I do much better accomplishing my goals with multiple reminders, especially pop-up notifications on my phone! I decided to take what I learned from my varied experiences in the high-pressure corporate world, and created an App to help motivate myself and others to take positive actions to make ourselves and the worlds a little better each day.

I completed my Yoga Teacher Training online due to the recent COVID crisis. We had HUGE discussion groups with a large and diverse group of Yogis on very different journeys. I enjoyed the input from so many people with such different backgrounds, as well as the camaraderie in this isolating time. I also recently joined a 90 Day Yoga Challenge on Facebook with a few of my friends from college, and the daily accountability helped me with physically practicing every day. So, I decided to develop my App to integrate with a full website to form a community from all walks of life to support and encourage each other on our journeys, and keep easy access to favorite past practices.

I love New Years, and I especially love New Years’ Resolutions. I make them not only every New Years, but also on my birthdays and anniversaries. So, today is my Birthday, and my BIG Birthday Resolution is consistently applying one Yoga teaching a day from the Yoga Sutras.

Please note I am FAR from perfect. I made this blog and app because I needed them! I do not really have an “off button” which is perhaps why I was drawn to Yoga. I also do not think I ever learned an inside voice… which is why it is a good thing I have a blog, rather than a podcast! I am just a Yogi and Yoga Teacher, not a master or guru… We are on this journey together 🙂 Also, I am just an Ashtanga Yoga student, not an authorized Ashtanga Teacher yet… which requires a trip to the only approved Ashtanga School in India #goals. As you will learn on this journey with me, I love self-improvement of all kinds, and the main point of my Birthday Resolution is another resolution from New Years.. to try to be a little better all day. That’s the best we can do, right?

So.. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world! I think that line is from maybe both Gandhi and Superman?? You will also quickly learn that I am a huge nerd.. I am an accountant, gamer, former tax CPA, and recovering overachiever who really enjoys learning and deep dark internet research holes. I moved to Colorado and began being outdoorsy and adventurous too. I am sooo excited to share my varied interests that may come up as we integrate different practices into our days. Please feel free to join the community and share your experiences, and/or ignore any suggestions that do not appeal to you.

I have ONE RULE… Please, everyone joining this community and commenting: PLEASE BE KIND. There is enough negativity in the world, and we are in especially stressful quarantine-times right now, so please… only add positivity. We are very protective of the safe space here, and I will be more than happy to stamp out cruelty or negativity here.

So… Welcome Yogis! Feel free to introduce yourself here, or join in along the way. To start, I am going to focus on introducing each of the 8 Limbs of Yoga, and I hope you enjoy learning and incorporating these practices into your day along with me!

Tarryn Tyler Daily Yogi Padmasana Lotus Pose
Padmasana – Lotus Pose
Click for more Seated Asanas

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