Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 10 – Meditative Practices – Mandalas

Happy Friday Yogis! We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October’s Emotional Wellness Month. Additionally, today is Upper Limbs Day. Today we will try a new Dharana Meditative Practice – Mandalas!

Dharana is the 6th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as concentration. I prefer to think of Dharana as intense focus, a bit stronger than “concentration”. This is typically the second step for meditation – after letting the outside world slip away, we then direct our focus inward. Please see our deep dive of Dharana for more info. Most of the meditative practices we think of are therefore Dharana practices – see our full list!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Dharana Mandala Meditative Practice! Please see blank Mandalas below, or consider one of my recommended Mandala coloring books… I am excited now years later I have the opportunity to share some of my favorite Mandala colorings! I prefer colored pencils or crayons for Mandala coloring books, because unfortunately my coloring sharpies bleed through the pages.

Or, if coloring is not your thing, try out a Mandala Kaleidoscope Meditation! I am not a huge fan of the new-agey music (unless using a special HZ), and prefer muting and listening to a meaningful song or album. You may also want to look into Tibetan Sand Mandalas!

Blank Mandalas

Check out my favorite Mandala Coloring books and supplies


Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Meditative Mandala exercise! If you have another favorite Mandala practice or coloring book, then please share! Always remember, be kind!

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Pranayama – Breathing – Day 8 – Nadi Shodhana Pranayama – Alternate Nostril / Channel Clearing Breath

Good morning Yogis! Or actually, perhaps ohayou gozaimasu – おはようございます is more appropriate! We are changing our daily post times to 7am Toyko Time, so Yogis in Asia and Australia can stay coordinated with US and Europe-based Yogis. PS US Yogis – did you know Japan does not use daylight savings time? We now have initial and reminder posts for Instagram – our initial posts will move up to late morning for Yogis in the east / late evening for Yogis in the US, and Instagram reminder posts will post in late morning for Yogis in the US. Daily e-mails are moving forward. For the moment, app notification reminder times will not change, but may move up next week for our intro challenge. This should be our last post time change.. we will keep our post times coordinating with the Date Line!!

Either way, let’s get started for Thursday’s Pranayama Day Practice!

BONUS DAILY MEDITATION CHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October! For Pranayama Day today, my meditation for the day is a Guided Pranayama Practice – Nadi Shodhana.

This is our last Pranayama Day for our special meditation month, so today we will cover a meditative Pranayama practice – Nadi Shodhana (NAH-dee show-DAH-nuh). This literally translates as “channel-clearing” but we frequently use a more descriptive translation of alternate-nostril breathing. This technique is meant to clear the body’s energy channels, and I find it is super cleansing for the entire respiratory system – you may want to keep some tissues handy for this technique, and do not perform if you have a stuffy nose!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Nadi Shodhana or Channel Clearing, a Pranayama Practice. Most of us have tried diaphragmatic breathing, which is part one of this alternate-nostril breath. We recommend trying this breath technique during 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.

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama – Channel Clearing / Alternate-Nostril Breathing

  • Get in position – you will want to come into a comfortable seat. Place your left hand on your left knee. Bring your right hand into a Vishnu Mudra, folding your first two fingers to your palm (or if this is not comfortable, bring all three center fingers to the palm, or rest your index and middle fingers on your forehead/third eye)
  • Use the right thumb to close the right nostril. Exhale and then inhale fully through your left nostril only, keeping your diaphragmatic breath technique, breating into your belly.
  • Move your right ring and pinky finger to close the left nostril. Exhale and then inhale fully through your right nostril only.
  • Continue this alternate-nostril breathing for 3-5 minutes. Remember, exhale and inhale, then switch sides.

This technique can be quite confusing – you may want to follow along our recommended video this first time!

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Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Pranayama exercise! Have you tried this alternate-nostril breath? Do you have another Pranayama practice you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Day 6 – Supta Kapotasana – Reclined Pigeon Pose

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 absolute favorite hip opener and one of my favorite Asanas – Supta Kapotasana (SOUP-tuh kah-poe-TAH-sa-nuh) or Reclined Pigeon Pose.

Bonus Daily Meditation Challenge

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October! For Asana Day today, our meditation is a Guided Meditation on Releasing and Letting Go as we will be doing physically with today’s Asana!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try today’s Asana – Supta Kapotasana or Reclined Pigeon. This pose is great for lower back pain, and especially for sciatic nerve issues.

Supta Kapotasana – Reclined Pigeon Pose

This is a deep hip opener – make sure to practice on both sides! There are many Kapotasana or Pigeon Pose variations. This is considered the easiest version, but I find it the best and most versatile. I enjoy moving my legs around a bit to find and target different tight spots in the hips.

  • Start laying on the ground face up in Shavasana – Corpse Pose. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground.
  • Begin with your right foot on top – bring your right ankle to your left knee, making your legs into a figure 4.
    • If you are a new Yogi or have very tight hips and already feel a stretch.. stay here! Breathe deeply into your hips in this pose.. I find new male Yogis may need to practice this for up to a year before being comfortable enough to move into the full expression of this pose below!
    • If you are staying here in Ardha Supta Kapotasana or Half-Reclined Pigeon Pose, hold this pose for as long as comfortable while taking deep breaths into any tension you feel in your hips. I usually hold 30-60 seconds per side in my regular practice.
    • Switch your legs so left leg is on top, and repeat on the other side.
Ardha Supta Kapotasana – Half Reclined Pigeon Pose
  • Reach your hands around your leg and clasp around your left knee.
  • Exhale and hug your left knee in towards your chest. Breathe deeply into your belly and hips, and let your hips and lower back release.
  • Hold this pose for as long as comfortable while taking deep breaths into any tension you feel in your hips. I usually hold 30-60 seconds per side in regular practice. I occasionally hold this Asana for up to 5 minutes, moving my knees closer or away from my chest, or side to side slightly to target problem areas.
  • Switch your legs so left leg is on top, and repeat on the other side.
Supta Kapotasana – Reclined Pigeon Pose

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

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

You may want a couch pillow, or perhaps a folded-up blanket for extra support under the head.

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried the half or full version of this Asana before? Always remember, be kind!

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Santosha – Contentment – Day 7 – Mindfulness

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Santosha / contentment Day. Today we are going to introduce Mindfulness, a concept and practice that relates to Santosha.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is fully being present or “in the moment” without distractions, and observing your inner and/or outer world without judgment. This is a practice embraced by both Eastern Philosophy and Western Psychology as key for both contentment and stress reduction. Many enjoy Yoga because it brings Mindfulness with focus on breath, moving between poses, and being present in our bodies. Mindfulness can help reduce anxiety, remain calm in stressful situations, support positive thinking, and increase the quality of our lives.

More on Mindfulness and Benefits

Psychology Today – Understanding, Practicing, and Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindful – Getting Started with Mindfulness (and Meditation)

Bonus Daily Meditation Challenge

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October! For our Mindfulness-focused Santosha Day today, our meditation is a  Mindfulness Guided Meditation.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice for Santosha Day is to try to practice Mindfulness. Like many other challenging mental practices in Yoga like Aparigraha, remember this is a journey and be patient with your progress in this difficult practice, especially if it is new for you!

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

  • Go on a walk, and perhaps literally stop and smell the roses.
  • Take a run and feel the wind on your face.
  • Being around water is especially calming, maybe head out for a walk down the beach, around a lake, or by a river.
  • Go for a hike and appreciate the beauty around you, rather than focusing on finding a perfect selfie spot.
  • Take note of your thoughts during a stressful situation, and observe them without judgment rather than getting caught up with them.
  • Bring Mindfulness to your eating by paying attention to all five senses, chewing slowly, and truly enjoying every bite!
  • Sit quietly, and go through all of your senses one by one to appreciate your surroundings.
  • Try a body scan, especially in Shavasana after Asana practice, in a comfortable chair, or before bed.
  • Check out more Mindfulness practices from Mindful.org

Please remember Mindfulness is a difficult practice, so please be gentle with yourself!

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Please comment and share how your Santosha Day went focusing on Mindfulness. Please share any favorite practices or tricks! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 9 – Dhyana – Full Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October’s Emotional Wellness Month. Additionally, we are in the middle of a quick series of daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. We already covered Pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses and Dharana or Intense Focus. The last three Limbs of YogaDharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are often referred to as the “innermost quest” and studied together. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the lower limbs, and sequentially upon each other. However, these practices are all meditation focused, and must truly be practiced and understood on your own. Samadhi is our goal and will be discussed occasionally, but unfortunately beyond at least my daily practices! Today we will discuss Dhyana and try a Meditation to reach this state. Check out our deep dive on Dhyana.

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

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

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

Dhyana Guided Meditation

Our Breath-Focused Meditation – first focus on breath, then allow your mind to quiet.

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

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 8 – Dharana – Intense Focus`- Guided Meditation & Meditative Practices

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October’s Emotional Wellness Month. Additionally, we are in the middle of a quick series of daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. We covered Pratyahara or withdrawal of the sense yesterday. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the lower limbs, and then sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and therefore must truly be attained on your own. Today we will discuss Dharana, and then try a Dharana Guided Meditation or other Meditative Practice.

Dharana is the 6th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as concentration. This comes from the Sanskrit root “dhri” meaning to hold, carry, or maintain. I prefer to think of Dharana as intense focus, a bit stronger than “concentration”. This is typically the second step for meditation – after letting the outside world slip away, we then direct our focus inward. Please see our deep dive of Dharana for more. Most of the meditative practices we think of are therefore Dharana practices – see our full list!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Dharana-focused Meditation Practice. Perhaps try our breath-focused meditation again to prepare for tomorrow’s next level of meditation. Perhaps focus on your breath or body in Shavasana / Corpse Pose after an Asana practice, another meditative practice from our list, try a guided meditation below, or any other method of your own.. whatever feels right to you. We will cover mandalas and flame gazing later!

Dharana or Intense Focus Meditative Practices

Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

Morning Motivational Meditation (10 minutes)

Evening Sleep/Relaxation Meditation (50 minutes)

Grounding Meditation (9 minutes)

Body Scanning Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Loving Kindness Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Self-Reflective Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Positive Affirmation Guided Meditation (12 minutes)

Celestial Visualization Guided Meditation (7 minutes)

Manifest Meditations (Power of Attraction) (10 minutes) 

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

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

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

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 7 – Pratyahara – Withdrawal of Senses – Guided Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We have completed our daily positive practices and meditations inspired by the first four Limbs of Yoga, and are back to the Upper Limbs. We are also in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October’s Emotional Wellness Month. 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 therefore must truly be attained on your own. We will take the next few days in our Meditation-focused month for daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. Today we will discuss the 5th Limb of Yoga – Pratyahara and try a Pratyahara Guided Meditation.

Pratyahara is the 5th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as withdrawal of the senses. “Prati” means against or away, and “Ahara” means food or anything we take into ourselves. So, this literally means to stop taking things into ourselves. This is typically the first step for meditation – letting the outside world slip away, and going inside. The point is not about isolating yourself from outside distractions, it is about withdrawing into yourself, and then allowing outside distractions to fade away. Please see our detailed discussion on Pratyahara for more.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Pratyahara-focused Meditation Practice. You can try this with Shavasana / corpse pose after an Asana practice, with a guided meditation, or on your own.. whatever feels right to you! Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

Bonus Daily Meditation Challenge

We have a bonus daily meditation challenge for October. Today I recommend trying this Pratyahara Guided Meditation perfect for Shavasana after your Asana practice.

Pratyahara Guided Meditation

Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Pratyahara Meditation! If you have another favorite, then please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is siddhasana-1-1500x1124.jpg
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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is virasana-block-1-1500x1124.jpg
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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Tapas – Discipline – Day 6 – World Mental Health Day

Good Morning Yogis! Today is World Mental Health Day and we are in the middle of October National Emotional Wellness Month. I created Daily Yogi as a Tapas tool, to help with reminding and motivating myself to practice the Yoga Sutras. These positive practices from the Sutras support mental health, positive mindset, and Yoga’s path to enlightenment!

We are continuing on with weaving practice of each of the Niyamas into our day, and today is Tapas (self-discipline) Day. Each Tapas Day, we are making and/or checking a goal that was important to us. It has been a little more than four months since our first Tapas Day, and I would say I have successfully formed my new habit of (almost) daily Duolingo language practice, and have moved on testing daily Asana and Meditation habits. If you have not kept up with your daily habit goals, examine why you did not, and consider if you want to keep this goal or set a new one. Evaluate the electronic and visual reminders and/or rewards you set for yourself, and perhaps modify these systems to ensure your success!

Bonus Daily Meditation Challenge

If you are having a hard time keeping up with the daily habits you have set for yourself, consider trying and sticking with a 30 Day Challenge! We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October! For Tapas day today, try a Morning Motivation Guided Meditation.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to monitor our daily habit goals, and set a new one if needed. Also, let’s practice some of the recommended activities to support mental health for Mental Health Day today! We have covered many of these practices on the graphic on past days, but I can see get plenty of sunlight and get enough sleep have been missed – perhaps evaluate your sleep and sunlight intake, and take steps to make time for more sleep and sunlight each day! If you want to get an extra Yoga Workout for Tapas Day, I recommend Tiger Crunches – a great Ab and Glute workout!

Yoga is a practice, and successfully changing our habits is about consistency, so we will keep checking in on our goals on Tapas Days.

Please comment and share how you are doing. Have you kept up with your new habit? Are you changing your systems or perhaps setting a new meaningful goal? Is there another 30 Day Challenge theme you would like us to try? Always remember, be kind!

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Utthita Tadasana – Five Pointed Star Pose – Draconids Meteor Shower

Good morning Yogis! Today is the peak day for the Draconids Meteor Shower. This is a fairly minor meteor shower at only 10/hour, but it is one of the few meteor showers that is best viewed in the early evening.. if the sky is clear, try to catch a shooting star tonight! I seriously LOVE stars, all kinds of stars… whether sparkling in the sky, printed all over my footed pajamas, or doodled in the margins of all my notebooks. So today we are taking a break after completing the Yamas and before starting the Niyamas to cover Utthita Tadasana (OOT-hi-ta ta-DA-sa-nuh) or Five Pointed Star Pose.

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October! For our Star Themed day today, my meditation for the day is a Celestial Visualization Guided Meditation.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Utthita Tadasana or Five Pointed Star Pose, and try to stargaze and catch a shooting star in tonight’s Meteor Shower! PS the Draconids Meteor Shower peaks tonight October 7th but is active until the 10th, so you can stargaze another night if visibility is poor today.

Utthita Tadasana – FIve Pointed Star Pose

The literal translation for this pose from Sanskrit is “Extended Mountain Pose” and we will enter from Tadasana or Mountain Pose. The traditional version and variation below are frequently used in Kid’s Yoga, or this is a common transitional Asana that is often passed-through (ie when moving into Warrior Poses) but not often held in adult classes. However, this “Extended” Mountain Pose is a great power pose on its own!

Utthita Tadasana – Five Pointed Star

Feet and Legs – Starting with your legs closed in Tadasana / Mountain Pose, step or hop your feet out as wide as comfortable, at least double hip-width. Try to have your wrists under ankles when you raise your arms around to come into the traditional expression of this Asana – I prefer holding his pose with legs closer together for a solid “power pose”. Toes can point straight ahead, or turn out slightly to point at the corners of your mat. 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.

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

Arms – Exhale and spread your arms wide at shoulder height to come into the traditional version of Utthita Tadasana. Spread your fingers wide, and your palms can face down to the floor or straight ahead.

Hold this pose for as long as comfortable, usually 3-5 breaths.

To come into the variation below, keep your shoulders down and back, and raise your hands above your head.

Utthita Tadasana – Star Variation

PPS If you are comfortable with Utthita Tadasana, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried Utthita Tadasana / Five Pointed Star Pose before? Were you able to catch a shooting star for the Draconids Meteor shower? Always remember, be kind!

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

Utthita Tadasana will not require any props other than a yoga mat.
You can try holding a strap between hands for tight shoulders and to keep arms in line.

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


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

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

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

Yoga with Infants

Yoga with Toddlers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agnistambhasana – Fire Log Pose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ardha Salabhasana – Half Locust Pose

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

Salabhasana – Locust Pose

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

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

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

Salabhasana Variation – Superman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diaphragmatic Breath

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

Bikram Pranayama / Hot Yoga Breath

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

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

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Asanas – Poses – Day 3 – Shavasana – Corpse Pose

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

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

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

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

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

Shavasana – Corpse Pose

Shavasana – Corpse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Balasana – Child’s Pose

Balasana – Child’s Pose

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

Balasana – Wide Child’s Pose

Balasana – Wide Child’s Pose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trikonasana – Triangle Pose

Trikonasana – Triangle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trikonasana – Triangle (block)

Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle

Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Utkatasana – Chair or Powerful Pose

Utkatasana – Chair

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

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

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

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

Utkatasana – Chair (lifted heels)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby Pose

Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Partivrrta Sukhasana – Seated Twist Pose

Partivrrta Sukhasana – Seated Twist

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

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

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

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

Jathara Parivartanasana – Reclined Twist Pose

Jathara Parivartanasana – Reclined Twist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Variation – Standing Hand to Big Toe Variation

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Variation

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

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

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

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

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

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Standing Hand to Big Toe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Brahmacharya – Moderation – Day 5 – Anuvittasana – Standing Backbend

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

Bonus Daily Asana Challenge

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

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

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

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

Anuvittasana – Standing Backbend

Anuvittasana – Standing Backbend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salamba Anuvittasana – Standing Supported Backbend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salamba Sarvangasana – Supported Shoulder Stand

Salamba Sarvangasana – Supported Shoulder Stand

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

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

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

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

Ardha Sarvangasana – Half Shoulder Stand

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

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

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Satya – Truthfulness – Day 5 – Parighasana – Gate Pose

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

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

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

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

Parighasana – Gate Pose

Parighasana – Gate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marjaryasana – Cat Pose

Marjaryasana – Cat

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

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

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

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

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

Bitilasana – Cow Pose

Bitilasana – Cow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dhyana Guided Meditation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diaphragmatic Breath

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

Vilona Pranayama / Retained Breath

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

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

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Shisulasana – Dolphin Pose

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

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

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

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

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

Shisulasana – Dolphin Pose

Shisulasana – Dolphin Pose

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

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

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

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

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

Shisulasana – Dolphin Pose Variations

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

Shisulasana Toe Taps

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

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Salamba Bhujangasana – Sphinx Pose

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

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

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

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

Salamba Bhujangasana / Sphinx Pose

Salamba Bhujangasana – Sphinx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Virgo Season – Goddess Pose

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Utkata Konasana – Goddess Pose

Good morning Yogis! Our Challengers are taking a break from the Sun Salutations pose breakdown for Sitali Pranayama, a cooling breath we covered on the Summer Solstice! If it’s as hot where you are as it is in Colorado today, you may want to try some Sitali again today!

Today is the start of Virgo Season – Happy Birthday Virgo Yogis! We will cover two Asanas today inspired by Virgo – Utkata Konasana / Goddess Pose and Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclined Goddess Pose.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try the Goddess Asanas inspired by the start of Virgo Season!

Tag @dailyyogi.world with your Goddess Pose Pics on Instagram!

Utkata Konasana – Goddess Pose

This Goddess Pose is a standing pose. The literal translation from Sanskrit is Fierce Angle Pose, so try to embody a fierce warrior Goddess for this pose! Only come down as far as you are comfortable! Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Feet – Feet should be about 3 – 4 1/2 feet apart, flat on the mat. Turn your toes out to point 45 degrees out to each side.

Legs and Hips – Bend your knees to come into this pose. The full expression is with thighs parallel to the ground, but only come down as far as is comfortable. It is more important to keep your knees over your ankles than to have a deep bend in the leg! Try to keep your hips neutral, but try to keep your booty tucked under rather than sticking out.

Torso – Keep a straight back. 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 – Cactus your arms – hold arms up with elbows at 90 degree angles, fingers spread, and palms facing forward.

Head and Neck – Keep your head in line with the rest of your torso, looking straight ahead. Note where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders.

Supta Baddha Konasana – reclined goddess pose

This Asana is called both Reclined Goddess Pose and Reclined Bound Angle Pose, the literal Sanskrit translation. This comfortable passive stretch is a common pose for Restorative Yoga! You can place a couch pillow under the knees, head, or upper body for support. You can place a cushion or block just below your shoulder blades for a more advanced chest-opening. I try to work this pose in near the end of nearly all my longer Asana practices.

Supta Badha Konasana – Reclined Goddess

Feet and Legs – Your legs should be turned out and feet together. Let your knees fall to the ground, as far as is comfortable.

Hips – Hips should face up to the sky. Take note of your booty – it should be almost tucked under rather than sticking out.

Torso and Head  – Let your back rest or even sink into the ground comfortably in this Asana. Look straight up, and rest your head comfortably on your mat, or perhaps on a pillow.

Arms – Raise your arms above your head on the mat as is comfortable. Keep your shoulders down. Either grab each elbow, or perhaps cactus your arms out to the side.

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 and let us know how Goddess pose was for you! Did you try both Asanas? Do you want to share an Asana inspiration for your sign’s pose? Always remember, be kind!

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Dandasana – Staff Pose

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

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

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

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

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

Dandasana – Staff Pose

Dandasana – Staff Pose

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

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

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

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

Head and Neck – Keep your head in line with the rest of your body, looking straight ahead. Note where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders.

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

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Equipment and Yoga Mats!

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

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


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

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Purvottanasana – Reverse or Upward Plank

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

Good morning Yogis! Our challengers are continuing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, so we will learn about similar poses. Our challengers are learning about Phalakasana or Plank Pose. So, we will cover its reverse, Purvottanasana / Reverse or Upward Plank today. This an arm balance and foundation for a great Yoga Workout for the core and buns!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Purvottanasana / Reverse Plank Yoga Workout! If this is a new pose for you, then perhaps try just 5-10 repetitions of your reverse plank, holding for a full breath at the top. If this is familiar to you, then see how many you can do and share!

Purvottanasana / Reverse Plank Pose

Start sitting on your mat in Dandasana / Staff Pose, with your legs straight in front of you.

Feet – You will be balancing with a majority of weight on hands, but make sure to put a decent amount of weight in the heels of your feet for stability. I try to keep my feet slightly apart for more stability. Try to place the bottom of your feet flat on the floor

Legs – It is more important to keep your body in a straight line from the top of your head to your knees, than to have straight legs. If you are unable to support yourself with straight legs, then bend your knees and plant your feet to come into Catuspadapithamasana or Crab Pose (aka reverse table top) instead – see picture below.

Hips – Your hips and glutes are the key to keeping your body straight from head to feet or knees. Therefore, tighten and lift your glutes to keep your hips in line with the rest of your body!

Arms – This pose is great for building arm strength. I have heard directions for fingers pointing either straight back or straight forward – perhaps try both! Starting from Staff / Seated, make sure your hands/wrists are directly below your shoulders, and arms are straight. Spread your fingers wide to help support your weight, while keeping middle fingers pointing straight forward or back. Press into your palms as you tighten your glutes and core to lift your body from the floor into a straight line. Make sure you are keeping shoulders down and back, not shrugging up to your ears.

Head and Neck – Keep your head and neck neutral, try not to let head drop down or get out of line with your sine. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press up/sideways, then bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders.

Catuspadapithmanasana – Crab Pose

Please comment to share your experience or any questions! What did you think of this exercise? Which way did you point your fingers? Do you think you will add these arm strength exercises to your routine? Always remember, be kind!

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Parivrtta Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge Twist

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

Good morning Yogis! As our 30 Day Challenge group is working on a detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we will cover similar, sister, or switched around versions of each pose! Our Challenge Group is covering High and Low Lunges today. Twisting poses are one of the more frequent variations in Yoga. I love adding twists in certain Asanas to deepen and expand the stretch, and prayer twists in either/both High and Low Lunge are my favorites!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will try three different variations of lunges with different twists with our three repetitions. The key with these twisted lunges, is to remember to turn TOWARDS your front leg.

Parivrrta Ashta Chandrasana & Anjaneyasana – High & Low Lunge Twist

Parivrrta Ashta Chandrasana- High Lunge Twist

The first round, come into Ashta Chandrasana / High Lunge, right foot forward with your hands on your hips and pause here. On an exhale, turn gently to the right, placing your left hand on the outside of your right knee. You can use the pressure from your hand on your knee to help yourself turn, and help your back stay straight. You can rest your back hand on your back leg Take a full breath here, straightening your back on the inhale, and twisting a bit more on the exhale. On an exhale come back to center. Continue with your Sun Salutations, bringing your arms down to each side of your feet, and perhaps pause in runner’s lunge before continuing on to Phalakasana / Plank, and complete the Sun Salutations with twists on each side.

The second round, come into Ashta Chandrasana / High Lunge, right foot forward with your hands on your hips and pause here. Inhale and press your palms together at your heart into prayer hands. Exhale and turn your upper body gently to the right, placing your left elbow on the outside of your right knee. Take a full breath here, and on an exhale come back to center. Continue with your Sun Salutations, bringing your arms down to each side of your feet, and perhaps pause in runner’s lunge before continuing on to Phalakasana / Plank, and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

Parivrrta Ashta Chandrasana – Prayer Twist High Lunge

The last round, we will try an advanced Twisted Low Lunge for those up for a challenge. Come into a deep Anjaneyasana / Low Lunge if you feel comfortable with the pressure on your knee. Exhale and turn gently to the right, with your left hand on your right knee. Come back to center on an exhale, and continue your Sun Salutations series on each side.

Parivrrta Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge Twist

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

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Parivrtta Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend Twist

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Good morning Yogis! As our Challengers are continuing the detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series, we are covering sister or twisted versions of each Asana. Today we are covering the twisted version of the Asana in series.

Parivrtta Uttanasana (PA-ree-VRR-tah OO-ta-NA-sa-nuh) or Standing Forward Bend Twist is a great hip and hamstring opener, especially for those Yogis who are still working at touching their toes!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will pause in Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend, and try one twist on each side! Since we are in a Sun Salutations flow, just hold the twist for a breath or two, not the full 30-60 seconds we normally would do.

Parivrtta Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend Twist

Start in Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend. Please see Uttanasana post for detailed breakdown, since this pose is a variation!

Parivrtta Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend Twist

We will start on the right side:

  • Allow your LEFT leg to bend, and keep your right leg straight.
  • Place your LEFT hand on the ground, on right shin, or on a block as you turn your torso and head to the right side.
  • INHALE – Extend your right arm straight up to open your chest, and look up at your right hand.
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds, and release on an EXHALE back down to Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend. As you hold this pose, lengthen your spine a bit on each inhale, and twist a bit more on each exhale.
  • Repeat on the left side – bending your right leg, placing right hand on mat, and opening to the left.

Please comment to share your experience! What did you think of this exercise? Have you tried Parivrtta Uttanasana before? Always remember, be kind!

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

You may want a block if you have a difficult time reaching the floor. Please see today’s comments for suggestions for hyber-mobile Yogis!

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


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Vrksasana – Tree Pose

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

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

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

Vrksasana – Tree Pose

Vrksasana – Tree Pose with Prayer Hands behind Back

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

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

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

Torso – First notice your rib cage. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Then gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open.

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

Head and Neck – Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders. I usually look up, or gaze softly ahead at a single un-moving point to help with balance.

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

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

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Asanas – Poses – 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