Feeling Alone During Deployment-3 Kids Means Never Alone

Feeling Alone During Deployment

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Feeling alone during deployment with kids, what an ironic phrase. Am I really alone?  No, I am actually rarely alone.  And this is the rub of this deployment thing. I have three kids to manage and a dog, who actually belongs to my husband, but he is not here, is he.  So I never feel alone, yet I always feel alone, yet I am always feeling alone during deployment with kids.

Three busy Turner Kids

I am feeling alone during deployment with kids in the duty of driving them to and from ballet (4x a week), gymnastics (2x a week), swim team (2x a week), music lessons (1x a week), seminary (2x a week), church youth meetings (1x a week),  allergy shots (1x a week), and horseback riding lessons (1x a week).  I leave a kid alone to do their homework while I am out dealing with a different kid and I hope that the homework is being done.  I arrive home to a dark house with three kids who need dinner after all our lesson and the dog, who has been alone, now wants to play. 

Mochi- the little doggie who weasels her way into my heart and onto my mat

Feeling Alone During Deployment with Kids is Exhausting

It is exhausting, this feeling alone during deployment with kids. I feel like I am barely holding on most of the time.  Before deployment I was not very flexible and during deployment, I am even less so.  Our lives need to run like clockwork because it is already more than I can handle so any cog thrown in the wheel will do me in!  Heaven forbid I oversleep by 15 min (my alarm goes off at 5:00am, unearthly hour) because then I will not get a shower before I am off to teach yoga three times a day.  At least I am alone in the shower.

Should I take time for some breath retention practice to try to take some control of all these feelings? I am still feeling alone during deployment with kids…

Feeling Alone During Deployment with kids- It’s all for a good reason!

But, this man…..

This man is who I am doing my best to support.  Yes, I probably whine to him more than I should and he listens with patience (the benefits of being married to a social worker.)  I am proud of him as the Director of Operations on the base and I get more proud when I can hear the excitement in his voice as he details what he is learning and the opportunities he is having. 

I know that this is a growing experience for all of us. I rely more on my kids to help out so that I do not feel so alone in my daily duties and decisions. I rely on FaceTime to run my feelings and concerns by Josh. I rely on yoga to help me to remember to breathe and stretch out my stress. I rely more on the Lord to make the difference and I am never truly alone.

Are you in preparing for a deployment or in the midst of one?  Get my Top 10 List for Surviving Deployment!

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8 Tips for Thriving in Ashtanga Yoga- Demystify Practice

8 Tips for Thriving with Ashtanga Yoga

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Ashtanga yoga is a very physically demanding practice so we need tips for thriving in Ashtanga Yoga. But the time and energy you put into it will be worth it if you approach your practice with some ashtanga yoga tips in mind:

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8 Tips for Thriving in Ashtanga Yoga- Demystified

  • 1. Lower your expectations of your body- many of the poses in the Primary sequence are demanding physically and you may have to build up some strength. Remember that yoga is Practice. The fun is in the journey!
  • 2. Practice everyday- Just 15-20 min daily will keep your muscles warm and flexible and will help you build the strength you need for all the chaturangas in the Primary series!
  • 3. Utilize your props- Blocks and straps (paid link) can help a lot with those tricky poses.
  • 4. Work with a teacher- Find a teacher that understands the ins and outs of Ashtanga. You need to learn Ujjayi breath and how to utilize the Bandhas (energy locks)
  • 5. Learn how to breathe- Ujjayi breath of course!
  • 6. Are you sore? Two more weeks! Ashtanga yoga may bring up pains from old injuries or just muscle aches that never knew you had. Don’t give up! This is just the body adjusting. Learn the difference between good pain and bad pain by listening to the breath.
  • 7. Learn modifications- All yoga poses can be modified as you take your Ashtanga journey. Using yoga props (see 3) and working with a good teacher (see 4) will help you learn modifications to suit your body. I think this is one of the best tips for thriving in ashtanga yoga. Modifications will help you to understand what is possible for your body. Here is a modification video of the Surya Namaskara A and B sequence.
  • 8. Get a quality mat- I started yoga and felt I did not need a mat at all. Wrong! I quickly learned that I enjoyed a thick mat that rolled flat every time and a mat that was sticky enough so that I did not slip in adho muhka svanasana or when I began to sweat. My favorite is Manduka (paid link) !

I hope you enjoy and use the 8 Tips for Thriving in Ashtanga Yoga.  Next, check out my yoga program, Ashtanga for Dummies!

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Yoga for Gratitude for Beginners- 5 Open Heart Practices

Yoga for Gratitude for Beginners

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I teach yoga for gratitude for beginners. Yoga can fill me with so many emotions- joy, calm, energy, peace.  Since yoga is such a part of my life, it comes full circle that I would seek out yoga to elicit gratitude.  Let’s practice five asanas together this week to feel gratitude. (And try this Mantra exercise for more gratitude.)

Yoga for Gratitude for Beginners- 5 Open Heart Practices

Humble Warrior- Clasp your hands together behind your back in Warrior II.  Inhale, look up, exhale fold forward toward the bent leg with the crown of head reaching toward the floor.  This will stretch the inner thighs, hips, and shoulders.  Dedicate this pose to someone you love and feel grateful for them. Yoga for gratitude for beginners may bring your emotions in line with your loved ones.

Anjanyasana- Sink hips down, draw in the lower belly, and reach the chest open as you gaze to the sky.  Try to close your eyes and focus on the breath to sink deeper into the pose. To feel yoga for gratitude for beginners, dedicate this pose to a place you love and feel gratitude for the time you have spent in that place.

Wild Thing- From Downward facing dog, lift you right leg into the air.  Bend the right knee and let the foot guide your body to flip.  Lift the hips to the sky and feel the heart space open. Feel the stretch through the sides of the body and the energizing effects of the backbend. Make sure to try both sides! Dedicate this pose to your amazing body.  Feel gratitude for what your body allows you to do.

Ustrasana- With the knees hip width distance apart, start by placing your fists on your lower back.  Lean into the hips and press the front of the body forward.  If you think you can deepen the pose, release the hand to the heels.  Dedicate this pose to something you have achieved.  Feel gratitude for those who have helped you along the way.

Malasana- Take your feet as wide as your mat and turn the toes out.  Bend knees and come into a yogi squat.  Widen your feet to help you bring your heels to the floor.  Bring your hands to heart center and your elbows to the knees to help open the inner thigh and hips. Dedicate this pose to something that brings you great joy.  Feel gratitude for this emotion.

Prayer for the Beginner Yogi

I am grateful for you, you who have taken the time to journey with me.

I am grateful that you will take the time to share my joy of yoga.  I wish the same for you.

Namaste


Get started the right way with Yoga for gratitude for beginner yogis! Download for FREE “Top 10 List for Yoga Beginners.”

10 Powerful Mantras for Gratitude Beginners

Mantras for Gratitude Beginners

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Let’s learn about Mantras. I have 10 mantras for gratitude beginners. A mantra is a sound, vibration, or word repeated to focus one’s mind on one point.  The purpose of the mantra is to connect to something higher, like having mantras for gratitude beginners.

Mantras were originally meant to be chanted in Sanskrit, making them more powerful because of their vibrational connections with the Divine.  Mantras make the mind calm as we focus on one phrase.  We could think of them as affirmations that serve to reprogram our thoughts.  It would be like telling ourselves, “I love me,” daily.  Maybe at some point, we would start to believe it!  

Mantras for Gratitude are Powerful

Whether we admit it or not, words have power, and when we speak them or write them, we give meaning to those words.  Mantras for gratitude beginners should mean something to you, and when expressed, that is when they have true power.  We are sometimes guilty of speaking negative thoughts to ourselves.  How wonderful it would be to “brainwash” ourselves out of these negative thoughts with a positive mantra.

How to Say Mantras for Gratitude Beginners

Traditionally, you would chant a mantra with a mala, a string of 108 beads with a main bead like a tassel connecting them together.  I was gifted some beautiful mala beads by a beautiful yogi friend.  One hand rests on the knee and the other hands moves the mala while you chant the mantra (traditionally the sound “Om”) and move the beads.  Each bead takes one chant.  When you reach the guru bead (the tassel), you flip the mala around and start over.  Manta’s do not have religious affiliation like a rosary.  If you have a mala, try your own mantras for gratitude beginners chant today!

At this time, we may feel weary of the state of the world, the uncertainty of our health and the health of others we love.  I find that one way to change my thoughts, is to focus on things or people around me that I am grateful for. 

Mantras for Gratitude Beginners Challenge

Think of ten things to be grateful for and place them on sticky notes all over the house- the bathroom, the kitchen sink, doorways.  Each time you pass a sticky note, chant the mantra ten times.  See how this might change your mind.  I would love to hear what it does for you! Try some Yoga for Gratitude to go along with your mantras!

Get started the right way with Yoga! Download for FREE “Top 10 List for Yoga Beginners.” 

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Ashtanga Primary Series Closing- Powerful Back Bending Experience

Ashtanga Primary Series Closing

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The Ashtanga Primary Series Closing Sequence- You have now arrived at the “bread of the sandwich.” This portion of the practice is primarily focused on back bending.

Ashtanga Primary Series Closing Sequence

When I do a back bend, I like to focus also on the forward lengthening of the poses. This way, I will find balance and not overtax my back. This lifting and lengthening is made possible through a strong focus on the hands and feet creating the base of the pose. We must find a solid grounding point for the hands and feet. If we do not utilize our legs, we take all the strain into the arms and lower back. The legs and feet must create a balance for the arms and hands.

Please note that I would add Urdhva Danurasana (wheel pose) and Paschimottanasana (forward bend) before the shoulder stand. Back bending poses are always countered by forward bends.  This brings us back to a neutral point.

This is a great book to outline the Ashtanga Primary Series Closing Sequence, Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual (paid link)

Back bending asanas are a dynamc tool for keeping the spine supple and healthy. Since the spine houses the nervous system, when our spine is loose, we create clearer pathways for the nerve signals to travel the body. Omit poses that do not feel right and come back to them later. Find the joy of back bending! Rejoice in the opening of your heart!

What is your favorite back bend in the Ashtanga Primary Series closing sequence? Take a journey through the Ashtanga Sequence with Surya Namaskara and Ashtanga Primary Series.

Get started the right way with Yoga! Download for FREE “8 Tips for Thriving with Ashtanga Yoga.”

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How Yoga Changed My Life- 1 Asana at a Time

How Yoga Changed My Life

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This is the story of how yoga changed my life. I have always been a physical person.  I grew up dancing ballet and continued to teach ballet until I had my second child.  I participated in heavy hitting cardio classes until I was 39 weeks pregnant with my third child.  Then I had that third child:

My family in 2011: Me and Pants, Bear 5 yrs, Bub 2 1/2 yrs, and Josh

You see that happy looking family?  What is really going on with the sweet mom there? I always struggled a bit with postpartum depression and my third pregnancy rocked me.  Since Josh and I were outnumbered, I felt that I had to stop doing anything for “me.” I felt guilty for giving more attention to the baby than my other kids and I became angry and resentful.  I cried every night as the sun set. 

After 10 months of these feelings, Josh, my husband, finally said, “You need to get some exercise.”  I remember looking at him like, “how is that even an option?”  I felt that I needed permission to take care of myself.  I could not fathom dragging myself out of bed for the 5:00am cardio classes that I was taking before. My local gym had an 8:30pm yoga class and maybe I could feed Pants, put Bub and Bear to bed, and leave everyone with Josh.  The class time checked all my mommy duty boxes. 

My First Yoga Class

I went to that class.  I did not own a yoga mat and had no intention of getting of one because I did not want to invest money into something that would not last.  So I sat on the bare floor in the back of the room and we breathed.  It felt like the first time I had taken a breath in 10 months. 

How yoga changed my life? We started to move (a vinyasa style class) and I felt my muscles come alive again.  With the breath connected to the movement, I felt both calmed and powerful at the same time.  I felt the control and flexibility of the ballet I loved, and the vinyasa movement took me out of my head.  It was an amazing experience and I wondered why I had never taken the opportunity to try yoga.  Do you think I bought a yoga mat (paid link) ?  Indeed I did!  Many in fact!

I practiced consistently for a year.  In my home life, my outlook was completely changed.  I no longer felt guilty for my outlet because I knew that I was a better mother and wife when I returned from my calming and stimulating yoga.  You cannot help others if your cup is empty.  I could see how yoga changed my life already.

How Yoga Changed My Life- Abroad

My husband’s life was in turmoil however. He was working for a company that was quickly going under and my husband was going down with the ship. Josh started the application for the US Air Force and I looked for ways that I could help support the family finances from our home. 

Since I was not a stranger to teaching, I looked into 200-hour Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training program.  This seemed a good fit because if my husband did get accepted into the military, we would be moving and yoga is something I could teach anywhere.  The training was excellent and I started teaching a group of wonderful neighbors in my home.  Then Josh was accepted into the US Air Force and I became “Yoga Traveler.” This is how yoga changed my life and continues to change my life.

Yoga in Las Vegas, Nevada
Yoga in Misawa, Japan
Yoga in Enid, OK

Do you have a yoga story? This is how yoga changed my life. How has it changed yours?

Get started the right way with Yoga! Download for FREE “Top 10 List for Yoga Beginners.”

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The 8 Limbs of Yoga Journey-Powerful move into Enlightenment

The 8 Limbs of Yoga Journey

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Samadhi is the final realization of the Self, the last limb of the 8 limbs of yoga journey.  When we reach Samadhi, we are absorbed in the highest state of consciousness, or enlightenment. Take an 8 limbs of yoga journey with me.

How do we get there?  We need to follow the five Yamas (the social ethics), the five Niyamas (observances), master the yoga asana (postures), and master pranayama (yoga breathing).  And then are we done?  No!  Yoga is a lifelong journey to the Self.  Let’s explore the four limbs that will take us deeper into the Self and lead us to enlightenment.

The Steps to the 8 Limbs of Yoga Journey

  1. Pratyahara– Turning Inward, sense withdrawal.  To live pratyahara, we control our mind’s impulses and desires and the stimuli coming in through our senses.  We learn to master our senses.  When I taste chocolate, my tongue says “more please.”  But if my intellect says “not right now,” then I have governed my senses with intellect.

Pratyahara Practice from The Yoga Mind (paid link) by Rina Jakubowicz: Enjoy this meditation. Sit on your yoga mat with your spine tall.  Close your eyes and become aware of your taste.  Do not judge, just observe.  Shift to your sense of hearing.  Listen without adding stories.  Move to the sense of smell.  Don’t add preferences, just observe.  Then go to the sense of sight.  Even with the eyes close we can sense colors, lights, and darkness.  Finally, move to the sense of touch.  Notice the clothes on your skin, your hair, hot or cold sensations.  Notice without attachments or desire. Take five deep breaths, open the eyes, and return to the present.

2. Dharana– Concentration, focusing or attention.  We concentrate toward our ideal- self-enlightenment.  Concentration means your intellect is strong enough to keep your mind focused on one thought and avoid all the distractions.

Try this Dharana practice from The Yoga Mind (paid link) .  When we react to something emotionally, ask:

  • Can I stop what I’m doing right now?
  • Do I want to get out this emotion?
  • If the answers are no, come back later when the answers are yes and answer the following:
  • What emotion or thought has taken over me?
  • It is useful?
  • What is the unfulfilled desire I have right now?
  • What is my intellect saying I should do?

Now you can move forward with action!

3. Dhyana– Meditation.  This is our last step in the 8 limbs of yoga journey toward Samadhi.  When we meditate, we should lose the identifications with our body, mind, and intellect.  Now we identify with the Self.  Dhyana is deeper than 10, 15 min a day practice.  Those practices are good for keeping the mind calm, focused, and relaxed, but to reach Samadhi, we need to do more along our 8 limbs of yoga journey.  When we are in true meditation long enough, we enter Samadhi.

“Trying to meditate with a head full of desires is like a plane trying to take off with too much cargo.  Planes must offload the cargo to take flight.  Just as humans must offload their desires to be able to meditate.”

Swami A Parthasarathy

4. Samadhi– And our journey has finished with enlightenment. We have completed the 8 limbs of yoga journey.  Samadhi happens when we have been fully purified by the wisdom gained.  We transcend the body, mind, and intellect entirely.

“Yoga is the journey of the Self, through the Self, to the Self.”

Want to know how to survive with Ashtanga?  Download my FREE list: 8 Tips for Thriving with Ashtanga Yoga.

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Essential Beginner Tools for Yoga- 8 You Can’t Live Without!

Essential Beginner Tools for Yoga

Are you starting a yoga practice? Want to know the essential beginner tools for yoga? I wish I had this list when I was starting yoga. I was convinced that I would not like yoga and I did not want to invest any money in it. I actually did yoga on the bare floor of the gym- no mat!! Can you believe that? How quickly I learned that I LOVED yoga, CRAVED yoga, and wanted to help spread yoga to the WORLD! So, here are my essential beginner tools for yoga.

7 Essential Beginner Tools for Yoga

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  • Yoga Mat- My favorite brand is Manduka. I have the Black Mat Pro (paid link) . It lays flat every time. It is non-slippery. It is thick for back support. I love it. 
  • Yoga block and strap set (paid link) – When starting out in yoga, you may need a few props to help you build flexibility. Blocks can be used for core integration and for reaching to the floor. Straps are used to reach for the toes in forward folds, again to build flexibility. These are essential beginner tools for yoga.
  • Yoga mat bag- For on the go, a mat bag is essential. I like one with pockets for my mat cleaner, tissues, strap, sweat towel. If you get a Manduka mat, I suggest a Manduka bag (paid link)
  • Mexican Blanket (paid link) – I use the blanket for warmth during savasana, I travel with it to use in place of my heavy mat on the go, and I use it for support in gentle supine twists.
  • Bolster- I love the bolster (paid link) for meditation, support in seated stretching poses, particularly for hip openers, and comfort while laying on the ground. 
  • Yoga clothes- Yoga cannot be done in just any type of clothing. My favorite brand is Prana. They are made of sustainable fabrics, are comfortable and functional. I will let them tell you great details about their clothes. Check out their website
  • Lighting- If you are doing yoga at home, I suggest some great lighting to get you in the calm vibe. I love Aukey Table Lamp lights (paid link) . They have three settings of soft white glow, as well as color fluctuation. 
  • Yoga Mat Cleaner Set (paid link) – A cleaner will keep your mat clean and you can throw it right in your mat bag.

That is a pretty comprehensive list to get you on your way with yoga. The tools will make all the difference to your success!

Get started the right way with yoga with my Top 10 List for Yoga Newbies.

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Yoga with a Bolster- 8 poses your Hips and Back will Love

Yoga with a Bolster

Yoga with a bolster (paid link) is a wonderful way to rejuvenate and restore tight hips and back.  We can use the bolster to tilt the pelvis for hip and sacrum opening and we can ease the back with the support of the bolster.  Bolsters should not only be used by beginner yogi’s, but they can add another dimension to our regular yoga practice.  How hard is it to relax our body and slow down?  A bolster can help us to find the joy in supportive movement again! Bolsters (paid link) are also a great prop for prenatal yoga as they will support mom and baby.

Don’t have a bolster at home? No worries, enter to win today!

8 Lovely Poses- Yoga with a Bolster

  1. Supported twist- This pose will stretch the outer edge of the hip and release pressure in the low back.  Enjoy the support of the bolster under the knee and make sure to twist both sides. Allow your body to let go as you relax into the bolster.

2. Upavista Konasana- This pose opens the hips and stretches the inner thigh and groin.  Lay your upper body weight on the bolster to deepen the stretch and ease into the hold. Remember to keep your toes to the sky for optimal inner thigh stimulation.

3. Supta Virasana- This pose stretches the psoas and quadriceps.  It opens the chest and stretches the back.  Place the bolster (paid link) up against the small of the back for support of the spine.  When you lay back, you will deepen the stretch through the front of the body and open the chest as the arms fall to the sides.

4. Supta baddha konasana- Place the bolster against the small of the back again and lay back.  Pull the feet up toward the hips.  The pelvis is angled down to open the hip flexors, inner thigh, and groin.  Supta baddha konasana is wonderful for tight hips and very supportive during pregnancy. This pose is so yummy, you will want to stay and stay!!

5. Legs up- Balance your hips and low back on the bolster (paid link) .  Extend the legs to the sky for stimulation of the metabolism and circulation.  The bolster will tilt the hips and pelvis to help people with tight hamstrings achieve a 90 degree angle. You should not feel any strain in the abdominals as you lift your legs. Try using a strap if you feel your abs straining.

6. Hips elevated on the bolster- This will release pressure on the back, hips, and sacrum.  Try doing a bridge pose from this position and resting on the bolster in between sets. Let the bolster take the strain as you allow the body to rest.

7. Lengthen the legs after a bridge poses.  This pose will stretch the front of the body, especially the psoas.  It will relieve tension in the sacrum. Notice how you retain the open sensation in the chest and front of the body.

8. End your practice in savasana with the bolster under the knees.  This will release pressure in the back and allow you to lay in comfort on the floor.  After these lovely poses- you will want to do yoga with a bolster every day!

Yoga with a Bolster Practice

Try this Restorative Yoga with a Bolster practice.  It demonstrates all of the poses above in a gentle yoga flow. Take deep breaths, enjoy the feelings of moving slowly and deeply.

Rejuvenate and Restore with Yoga

How hard is it for us to slow down?  Why do we have pain in our back and hips?  How can we relieve this pain?  With yoga of course!  Rejuvenate and Restore Program will use gentle yoga sequences to lengthen the hip flexors, open the sacrum, spiral the back, and balance the hips.  You will especially love the yoga with a bolster sequence. Your body will feel relaxed, your spine will be lengthened, and your hips will feel new!

Top 10 Tips for Yoga Newbies- Start Transformative Practice

Top 10 Tips for Yoga Newbies

Are you new to yoga? Not sure where to start? Try out this list- Top 10 Tips for Yoga Newbies. It will get you off to a great start!

  • 1. Purchase a yoga mat (paid link) , strap, and yoga blocks (paid link) . Yoga props makes learning possible. The strap adds extra inches as you are building flexibility and the blocks help you to reach down to the floor for steadiness in standing poses. I have a giveaway for the props. Go ahead and enter, what do you have to lose?
  • 2. Find a good yoga teacher- look for a teacher with experience who knows how to modify poses. Some poses may need easing into for beginners.
  • 3. Learn how to breathe. Breath will warm your body from the inside out, keep your mind focused, keep your body calm, and help you to stretch deeper.
  • 4. Respect your body’s inner wisdom and limitations- Learning to breathe will be a key here. We learn to listen to the body so we don’t push too far too fast. Modifications in poses work well with this tip too. Good yoga does not involve ego!
  • 5. Don’t compare yourself to others. We all have different body types, genetics, structure. Some poses will come easy, some won’t. It is worthless to compare.
  • 6. Have a sense of humor- it is always good to laugh at ourselves when we try something new right? And laughter releases happy endorphins so win win!
Try a little “Happy Baby.” It’s always good for a laugh.
  • 7. Wear comfortable clothing that stays on- I don’t like to wear t-shirts while doing yoga. They always flop over the head while in down dog. I suggest Prana clothing– they are my favorite!
  • 8. Make practice frequent- We may think that we need to attend an hour or longer class. This is great, but sometimes it is better to do yoga every day for 15-20 min rather than once a week for an hour. For a beginner, this will keep the muscles warm and loose which can help you build that flexibility.
  • 9. Modify postures for your body- refer back to 1 and 2. Good props and a good teacher can help!
  • 10. Relax! (This is the best of the Top 10 Tips for Yoga Newbies- Trust me!) You should feel better after yoga than when you started. Do some great yoga and relax in savasana!

Try this morning routine to start your day the yoga way!  Enjoy the Top 10 Tips for Yoga Newbies each time you roll our your mat.

Want some more basics after the Top 10 Tips for Yoga Newbies? This transformative program will teach you how to adjust yoga to your body!

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Yogic Cleansing Practices for Beginners Listen on Spotify! How do we cleanse …

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