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

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

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

Bonus Daily Meditation Challenge

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

TOP 5 MEDITATION POSITIONS / ASANAS

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

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Siddhasana – Adept’s Pose

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

Start in a comfortable cross legged position. Then spread your knees a bit further, and bring your feet in towards your groin – keep your leg on the mat and tuck your ankles/shins over each other. Look down and make sure there is no empty space between your legs and feet. Keep your torso straight and tall over your hips. Take note of your rib cage. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open. You can put your hands on the ground and gently press to lengthen your back, or rest your hands on your knees. You can pull a bit on your knees to help open your chest and help keep your back straight. You should keep your head, neck, and shoulders aligned over your hips in any seated pose. Your hands can either gently rest on knees and/or in your favorite mudra/placement for meditation. PS if any poses are uncomfortable, try with a couch pillow or block under your seat! Try not to move your body while meditating, I find it helps to switch my legs each day of practice for any cross legged positions to even out my posture!

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

2. SEATED IN A CHAIR – SEATED MEDITATION

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

3. SHAVASANA – CORPSE POSE – RECLINED / SUPINE MEDITATION

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Shavasana – Corpse Pose

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

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

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

4. TADASANA – MOUNTAIN POSE – STANDING / WALKING MEDITATION

Tadasana – Mountain Pose

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

5. VIRASANA – HERO’S POSE – KNEELING MEDITATION

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Virasana – Hero’s Pose

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

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

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Virasana – Hero’s Pose with Block

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

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

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


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

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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!

Get the Daily Yogi App – Get quick access to
today’s practice and daily pop-up reminders!

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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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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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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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Vrksasana – Tree Pose

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

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

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

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

Vrksasana – Tree Pose

Vrksasana – Tree Pose with Prayer Hands behind Back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upper BodY

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

Sukhasana – Easy Pose

Sukhasana – Easy Pose

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

Siddhasana – Adept’s Pose

Siddhasana – Adept’s Pose

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

Padmasana – Lotus Pose

Padmasana – Lotus Pose

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

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

Virasana – Hero’s Pose

Virasana – Hero’s Pose

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

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

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

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


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

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Asanas – Poses – Day 1 – Sun Salutations

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

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

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

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

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

Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

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Top 5 -Yoga Mats – Daily Yogi

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

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

Top 5 Yoga Mats

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

1 – Retrospec Solana Extra Thick Yoga & Pilates Mat

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

2 – BalanceForm GoYoga Mat

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

3 – SKL Travel Yoga Mat

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

4 – Reetual Hot Yoga Mat

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

5 – Heathyoga Alignment Mat

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

How to Clean your Mat

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


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

Next INTRO CHALLENGE STARTS 11/01/2020

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Top 5 – Yoga Equipment

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

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

Top 5 Yoga equipment for new yogis

1 – Yoga Mat

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

2 – Foam Blocks

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

3 – Yoga Strap

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

4 – Couch Pillows

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

5 – Wii Fit with Balance Board

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

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

Mirrors

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


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

Next INTRO CHALLENGE STARTS 11/01/2020

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Vyaghrasana – Tiger Pose & Yoga Abs Workout

Good morning Yogis! Today is International Tiger Day to raise awareness about this endangered species. Please consider supporting conservation efforts through WWF’s Tx2 Initiative.

We will talk about Vyaghrasana (Vyah-GRAH-sa-na) or Tiger Pose today. This Asana is a great foundation for an awesome Abs and Glutes Yoga Workout!

Since it is Tiger Day and we are still in COVID quarantine in the US, I could not resist wearing my Las Vegas tiger dress! PS Yes I am wearing shorts underneath. Who knows when it will be safe enough to prowl the Vegas Strip again?! Hopefully the attention will raise donations to help save the tigers 🙏

That said, I really do not want to be an Instagram Yoga model.. I want to partner with them! Please contact me if you would like to be featured on upcoming Asana Days!!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Vyaghrasana / Tiger Pose Ab Workout! Details for Vyaghrasana and instructions for Ab and Glutes Workout below!

We will start in Bharmanasana – Table Top. Keep your hands grounded, and lift one leg straight up and back into Vyaghrasana / Tiger Pose, then perform a “crunch” before repeating! Check for pics of this sequence below.

Feet – Starting in Bharmanasana – Table Top, with tops of feet laying on mat. You will keep one knee and foot grounded here on the mat, and lift the other foot straight back and up – start with lifting the right foot!

Legs – Your legs should start hip distance apart in table top. Your right leg should be lifted straight back and up. I recommend keeping a bend in the back leg.

Hips – Try to keep your hips parallel to the floor from Bharmanasana (Table Top), through Vyaghrasana, into the crunch, and back. If you are a more advanced Yogi, you may want to move your hips slightly to add a bit of a Cat/Cow motion with your torso.

Torso – You will start with torso parallel to the floor. Keep straight for your first try. As you become comfortable with Vyaghrasana, you may allow a bit of a backbend, and curve back slightly to get a bit of a Cat/Cow motion through this Ab Workout.

Arms – You will start with your hands directly under shoulders, pointing straight ahead in Bharmanasana (Table Top). New Yogis can stay here. More advanced Yogis may want to lift the opposite arm as their lifted leg straight ahead for an added balance challenge, and curl in to touch knee to elbow on the crunch.

Head and Neck – Keep the neck neutral. New Yogis may want to keep the gaze down on the mat. More advanced Yogis who are adding back bend motions should lift the head up and gaze straight ahead as they lift their leg into Vyaghrasana, and drop gaze to the ground (perhaps even touch nose to knee) as they come into their crunch.

Try to do this in sets of 10 on the right, and then repeat 10 on the left. I usually do 20-30 on each side.

Bharmanasana – Table Top
Vyaghrasana – Tiger Pose
Marjaryasana – Cat Pose Variation – Yoga Crunch

PS If you want to try an intermediate level chest-opening variation of this pose, tighten you core for strength as you reach back and grab your extended foot with the opposite hand. This is Eka Hasta Vyaghrasana or One-Handed Tiger Pose. You can also try this pose reaching the left hand back directly back to the left foot for an even more difficult balance! Hold Eka Hasta Vyaghrasana for 3-5 breaths on each side.

Eka Hasta Vyaghrasana – One-Handed Tiger Pose

Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Have you tried this Yoga Ab Workout? Always remember, be kind!

PS please remember to consider supporting Tiger conservation efforts through WWF’s Tx2 Initiative.

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Special Announcements

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

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

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

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Asanas – Poses – Yin and Restorative

Balasana – Child Pose

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

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

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

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

Beginner Yin Yoga

Restorative Yoga (bolster or large firm pillow required)

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

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Asanas – Poses – Bikram/Hot Series

Dhanurasana – Bow Pose

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

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

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

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

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

Hot Vinyasa Series

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

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

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Asanas – Poses – Iyengar Series

Virabhadrasana II – Warrior 2

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

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

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

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

Beginner Iyengar Series with Props

Iyengar Series with and without Props

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

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Asanas – Poses – Vinyasa Series

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

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

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

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

Beginner Vinyasa Series

Power Flow Series

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

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Asanas – Poses – Hatha Series

Utkatasana – Powerful or Chair Pose

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

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

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

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

Recommended Hatha Yoga Videos

Beginner Morning Hatha Series

AM Connection Hatha Series

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

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

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

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

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

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana

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

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

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

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

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

Adho Mukha Svanasana Variations

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

“Walking the dog” into Adho Mukha Svanasana

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

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

Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana – Three-Legged Down Dog

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

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Bhujangasana – Cobra

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

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

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

Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bhujangasana – Cobra
Lifted Forearm Variation

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

Urdhva Muhka Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog

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

Sarpasana – Snake Pose

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

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

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Chaturanga Dandasana – 4 Limbed Staff or Yoga Push-Up

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

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

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

Chaturanga Dandasana – 4 Limbed Staff

Chaturanga Dandasana – 4 Limbed Staff Pose

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

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

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

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

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

Variations

Ashtanga Namaskara – Knees-Chest-Chin

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

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

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

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

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

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Phalakasana – Plank

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

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

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

Phalakasana – Plank Pose

Phalakasana – Plank Pose

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

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

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

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

Head and Neck – Look straight down or perhaps a bit ahead of you on your mat. Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders.

Phalakasana Variaions

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

Phalakasana – Modified Plank

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

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

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

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Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

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

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

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

Ashta Chandrasana – High Lunge & Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

Ashta Chandrasana- High Lunge Variation

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

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

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

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

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

Head and Neck – Keep your Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders. Either gaze straight ahead, or look up between your hands if you feel comfortable.

Variations

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

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

Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

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

Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge with gentle back bend

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

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


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

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Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend

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

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

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

Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend

Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend

Feet – Your feet will stay grounded in the same spot as they were in Tadasana / Mountain Pose. Make sure your big toes are touching. If possible, make sure the back of your heels are touching. If you have a lower back injury like I do, you may find it easier to keep the heels slightly apart. Claw your toes into the mat slightly to keep your arches from falling into the mat.

Legs – Make sure your legs are comfortably straight. Perhaps keep a slight bend in the knee, or a deeper bend if you have very tight hamstrings. Always make sure you avoid hyper-extending or locking your knees in this pose!

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

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

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

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

Uttanasana Variations

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

Ardha Uttanasana – Half Standing Forward Bend

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

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

Uttanasana Variation – Rag Doll

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

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

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats