Yoga and Your Bones- Osteoporosis doesn’t have to be scary!

Yoga and Your Bones

Can yoga help bone health? Yes! Yoga and your bones go hand in hand. We can practice yoga for bone density. We all want to be healthy, inside and out.  And we often think about our muscles but do we pay much attention to our bones?  Let’s focus on bones today! Yoga and your bones will thank you!

Yoga and your bones- Yoga can help with bone diseases

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall. Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” Viewed under a microscope, healthy bone look like a honeycomb.


Yoga can be beneficial for people with osteoporosis. Studies have found that practicing yoga can actually increase bone density if done consistently and properly. Yoga also improves balance and flexibility, which can prevent falls and therefore prevent fractures. Weight bearing exercises can help you regain bone mass because they work against gravity.  Bone health is increased if the yoga pose activates muscles and has any part of the body touching the ground.  Sounds like a yoga asana to me. Yoga and your bones can beat osteoporosis! Check out great yoga styles today.

Yoga and Your Bones- Poses to help

Try the following yoga poses to increase your bone health:

Virabhadrasana II

Virabhadrasana II increases stamina and bears weight into the hips and shoulders. Build stamina through yoga and your bones.

Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.

Turn your right foot slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. Firm your thighs and turn your left thigh outward so that the center of the left knee cap is in line with the center of the left ankle.

Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the left thigh parallel to the floor. Anchor this movement of the left knee by strengthening the right leg and pressing the outer right heel firmly to the floor.

Stretch the arms away from the space between the shoulder blades, parallel to the floor. Don’t lean the torso over the left thigh: Keep the sides of the torso equally long and the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Press the tailbone slightly toward the pubis. Turn the head to the left and look out over the fingers.

Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

Dolphin Pose

Dolphin Pose will bear weight into your back, shoulders, and forearms. This is an excellent pose for building core strength. Build strength though yoga and your bones.

Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your forearms on the floor with your shoulders directly above your wrists. Firmly press your palms together and your forearms into the floor.

Curl your toes under, then exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.

Continue to press the forearms actively into the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them away from the spine and draw them toward the tailbone. Hold your head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang or press heavily against the floor.

You can straighten your knees if you like, but if your upper back rounds it’s best to keep them bent. Continue to lengthen your tailbone away from the pelvis and lift the top of your sternum away from the floor.

Stay between 30 seconds to one minute. Then release your knees to the floor with an exhale.

Yoga and your bones with Trikonasana

Stand in Tadasana. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.

Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.

Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tailbone toward the back heel.

Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left thumb.

Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back heel into the floor and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

Yoga and your bones in the future…

This is what I will look like someday! Yoga and your bones!

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

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Pregnancy Yoga Routine- 1, 2, 3, Time for Baby Love!

Pregnancy Yoga Routine

A Pregnancy yoga routine is considered safe if you have been exercising before getting pregnant.  The questions are always what yoga poses are beneficial or risky during pregnancy?  What are the changes that need to be made to a yoga practice in each trimester?  Most agree that the activity should not harm the mother or the child and is better if it is regular occurring exercise.

If you have never practiced yoga before or have some health risks, you would benefit from a pregnancy yoga routine class specifically designed for pregnant students, usually called Prenatal Yoga.  If you are a regular practitioner of yoga or other physical exercise, you should look for a yoga teacher who is able to give advice about how to modify postures in a regular class.

All pregnant yogis can benefit from focus on the structure, muscles, and support of the pelvis.  Mula bandha helps develop a stronger and more flexible set of perineal muscles, more awareness of the pelvic area, and greater ease in the future delivery of the baby.

Starting a Pregnancy Yoga Routine

I completely missed out on the benefits of prenatal yoga for each of my pregnancies.  For my first daughter, I worked full time at a desk job and lived 45 min from my work place.  I did not do any exercise.  In my second pregnancy with my son, I taught ballet.  Ballet has some of the balance strengthening and hip stretches that yoga offers.  I felt pretty good during this pregnancy. 

During my last pregnancy, I wore my body out doing heavy cardio classes until 39 weeks of pregnancy.  It wasn’t until after I gave birth to this last child that I embraced the benefits of yoga.  I was changed by yoga.

A little fun with pregnancy yoga at my YTT 200 Hour Teacher Training in Misawa, Japan. If only it was that easy, right??

Pregnancy Yoga Routine for the First Trimester

Here are some general guidelines for Yoga in the First Trimester:

  • Take it easy as your body is adjusting to changing hormones and energy.
  • Stay with simple and deep inhales and exhales or ujjayi breathing.
  • Do not jolt the body by jumping into asana
  • Minimize twists as they may restrict the air flow to the baby.
  • You can still lie on your belly until you are showing.
  • Develop pelvic awareness with Supta baddha konasana (reclined bound angle pose), Virasana (thunderbolt pose), Upavista konasana (wide-angle forward fold pose), Gomukhasana (cow faced pose), Happy baby, and Malasana (garland pose).
  • Learn a variety of shoulder strengtheners and openers.
  • Practice poses that open hips and stimulate circulation in the legs like Utthita Trikonasa (Triangle pose) and Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended side angle pose.)
  • Look for a good bolster (paid link) as you will need it in the second trimester!

Pregnancy Yoga Routine for the Second Trimester

Pregnancy Yoga fun for my students in my 200 Hour YTT Teacher training in Misawa, Japan. If only it was that easy?!?!

If you want to practice yoga while in your second trimester, here are some tips:

  • The second trimester is the perfect time to build strength and stamina to prepare for the challenges that will happen as the baby grows.
  • The pelvis is no longer protecting the uterus so it is time to start adapting poses with props like bolsters (paid link) and blocks (paid link) .
  • Avoid jarring movements like Navasana (boat pose.)
  • Work on alignment of the spine with bridge roll practice.
  • Use folded blankets (paid link) to support the ribs and hips while laying on the stomach.
  • Practice standing poses to build strength in the legs, hips, and pelvis.
  • Explore hips openers like Bharadvajrasana (Sage Bharadvaj’s pose) and Marichyasana A (Sage Marichi’s pose).
  • Relax with legs up the wall or raising legs with a bolster in savasana.
  • Be aware of sensations when lying on your back.  Start propping the back, hips, and shoulders.

Pregnancy Yoga Tips for the Third Trimester

Tips for yoga in the third trimester:

  • Limit time lying on the back as the weight of the baby puts pressure on the spine.
  • You may notice weakness in the knees and instability in the sacroiliac and other joints.
  • Continue working on postural alignment to give support to the spine.
  • You may find chair yoga supportive in some standing and sitting poses.
  • After week 34, adho mukha svanasana (down dog) and other inversions can cause breech presentation.
  • Enjoy a bolster (paid link) in long holds like Supta Baddha Konasana (see picture above).
  • Rest on your side in savasana with a props between the knees, under the head, and under the upper arm.
  • Always keep breath flow to the baby.
  • Widen the legs in seated forward folds to create space for the stomach

Learn all you need to know about Prenatal Yoga with this program!

Yoga for Me- Take the 22 Yoga Style Quiz!

Yoga for Me- Take the Quiz

Yoga for Me- How do we figure out what is the best yoga style for our ability and personality? There are so many different yoga styles- from calm and meditative styles to styles that never stop moving in sweaty heat. Sometimes, if you end up in the wrong type of yoga class, you may say, “Is this yoga for me?” Yes, yoga is for you- just find the right kind!

You have to consider why you are practicing yoga. Do you want a sweaty workout or do you like the restorative properties of yoga? Do you want relief from back pain or a more spiritual community? Then we have preferences to consider. Maybe you want one on one attention, maybe you thrive on a community. Do you want to be encouraged or pushed to deepen or do you want a compassionate approach? So many questions about how to find “yoga for me.”

22 Yoga Styles

How to find the best yoga for me? You should pay attention to how you feel after class- more grounded, relaxed, open and connected to your body. If you feel inspired and want to take the class again, it is a good fit. Take this quiz to find “yoga for me”! It can guide you in the right direction to get started. Ultimate Yoga Style Guide Quiz.

Acroyoga– Acro-yoga is a partner based practice that blends yoga with playfulness and acrobatics. A base and a flyer work together to explore movements and postures in a safe atmosphere. This style aims to bring trust and community to the yoga world. Co-Founders: Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein

Ananda– This is a gentle practice that emphasizes alignment, pose modifications, pranayama, energy control techniques, meditation, and applied yoga philosophy. Students are encouraged to remain relaxed while silently repeating an affirmation in each pose. Developed by Swami Kriyananda from the teachings of Paramhansa Yogaananda

Ashtanga Yoga- Ashtanga is dynamic and physically demanding. It synchronizes breath and movement to produce an internal heat designed to purify the body. Ashtanga uses many vinyasas and is great for building core strength and toning the body. Prepare to sweat! Founder: K Pattabhi Jois

Yoga for ME!!

Baptiste Yoga– A combination of vigorous, flowing, heated asana, mediation, and active self-inquiry, Baptiste Yoga is designed to condition the whole body and allow students to step into their full potential. The practice seeks to inspire passion, commitment, and focus by giving students tools to change their lives. Founder: Baron Baptiste

Bikram Yoga– Bikram is a set series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises done in high heat for 90 minutes. It is said to work every part of the body and bring fresh blood to the organs, while the heat serves to detoxify. Founder: Bikram Choudhury

Core Power Yoga– This is one of more vigorous styles of yoga. It combines the practice of Power Yoga with heat for a variety of physically demanding, health focused yoga classes and a complete cardio-vascular strength training workout. Founder: Trevor Tice

Forrest Yoga– An intensely physical practice with a strong internal focus, Forrest yoga involves holding poses for a long period of time in a heated room. This demands everything you’ve got and the intense sequences emphasize abdominal work. The poses will make you sweat, eliminate toxins, and release emotional tension. Founder: Ana Forrest

Integrated Yoga Therapy– This is a personalized practice that uses yogic tools, modifications of poses, breathing exercises, guided imagery, and meditation, to address specific health needs. It is designed for medical wellness settings. Founder: Joseph Le Page

Ishta Yoga– Ishta Yoga integrates the ancient sciences of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, and Tantra. It is breath centered, alignment oriented and combines elements of Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga to expand awareness and generate emotional well-being. Founder: Alan Finger

Iyengar Yoga- This style pays close attention to alignment of each posture. The poses are held for a long period of time and are often modified with props. It is designed to build strength, flexibility, stability, and awareness. Founder: BKS Iyengar

Jivamuhkti– This style incorporates chanting, meditation, pranayama, philosophy, and music in a vigorous flowing asana. It is stimulating physically and intellectually. It brings ancient teaching alive in a contemporary setting. Founders: David Life and Sharon Gannon

Kripalu Yoga– Asana, pranayama, relaxation, and meditation are Kripalu’s Primary tools for promoting physical and mental health and deeper levels of awareness. Students are encouraged to modify poses to discover what works best for them. Developed by Amrit Desai from the teachings of Kripalvananda

Kundalini Yoga– Kundalini is a spiritual practice which uses rhythmic movements, breathwork, and sound to stimulate and move energy through the body. It alternates between kriyas and short periods of relaxation to release stored emotions. Founder: Yogi Bhajan

Laughter Yoga- Laughter Yoga is a combination of deep breathing and laughter exercises. It uses eye contact and childlike playfulness to initiate laughter. This will release endorphins and stress. Founder: Dr. Madan Kataria

Parayoga– Parayoga incorporates asana, pranayama, mudra, mantra, mediation, visualization, and kriya to offer a complete experience. It strives to make the ancient principles of yoga accessible to students and teachers. Founder: Rod Stryker

Power Yoga– This is a fitness based vinyasa practice which is an offshoot from Ashtanga. It builds internal heat, increased stamina, strength, stress reduction, and flexibility. Breath and movement is synchronized. Founder: Beryl Bender Birch

Prana Vinyasa Flow Yoga- A creative, energetic and fluid form of vinyasa flow. It is guided by the flow of energy through the body. It incorporates elements of dance, moving meditation, Bhakti, Ayurveda, and music. Founder: Shiva Rea

Restorative Yoga– Restorative Yoga uses five or six poses each class. Each pose is supported by props that allow students to completely relax and rest. Each pose is held for at least 5 minutes. Poses are light twists, forward folds, gentle backbends. Based on the teachings of BKS Iyengar

Sivananda Yoga– This gentle practice revolves around the principles of proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet, positive thinking, and meditation. Classes follow a set combo of poses and breathwork with relaxation between poses. Developed from Swami Vishnudevandanda from the teachings of Swami Sivananda

Viniyoga– Viniyoga adapts yoga poses and techniques and applies them to each person’s needs, interests, abilities, and desired results. The teachers are skilled therapeutic teachers who emphasize breath and biomechanics of the poses, safe sequencing, and holding poses for longer periods of time. Developed by Gary Kraftsow from the teachings of TKV Desikachar

Yin Yoga– This practice is designed to help you sit longer and more comfortably in mediation. It stretches the connective tissues around the joints (knees, pelvis, sacrus, and spine.) Yin Yoga is a passive practice and involves variations of seated and supine poses typically held for at least 3 minutes to access deeper layers of fascia. Founder: Paulie Zink

Yoga Nidra- Yoga Nidra is yogic sleep. The teacher takes students through a guided mediation that systematically brings awareness to each part of the body. Students find a deep state of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. Popularized by Satyananda Saraswati

Yoga For Me- How to Know You Are in the Right Class

Finding the right yoga for me is a combination of the right teacher and the right style. While in class, tune into your inner voice and see if you notice a few key elements:

  • The teacher honors your physical limitations but can help you move out of your comfort zone safely.
  • You feel safe and supported in the space
  • The teacher is approachable. You can ask questions like, “what yoga for me,” and you can share concerns.
  • The teacher customizes their teachings to the skill level and ability of the students in the class. This is not determined by level or class description.
  • You feel inspired during and after class
  • The teacher addresses everyone- newbies and regulars
  • You can hear and understand the teacher’s instructions.

Macros Recipes for Summer- 5 Ideas for a Quick Meal

Macros Recipes for Summer

How do you prep your meals?  How about macros recipes for summer? I am hypoglycemic and macros recipes for summer makes my body feel good! Macros is a short term for macronutrients, the three categories of nutrients that we eat the most and fill our bodies with energy- fats, carbohydrates, and protein.

I started the Macros way of preparing my food with recipes from Clean Simple Eats. I have been doing it for so long that now I adjust my favorite recipes from my childhood into macros too. It is simple to create a balance with the app MyNetDiary.

I like lots of variety in my diet so I plan my recipes seasonally. I try to use fruits and vegetables that are in season to save a little in our budget. I am never home to cook when we actually need to eat so my husband and I do all our meal prep in the evenings. We prep two-three days at a time and eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with two snacks throughout the day. Each meal is around 350 calories, divided into macros. I am not a fancy cook, so I pick recipes that are quick and taste good! Macros recipes for summer works for me!

Save Time In Your Day- Macros Recipes for Summer

Breakfast

Breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day. I like something filling and that still tastes good after a night in the fridge. Overnight oats are simple to throw together and taste wonderful. A good breakfast fuels my yoga daily routine!

Snack

I eat every three hours or so. That means two yummy snacks per day. In the summer, we can take advantage of all the wonderful fruits and vegetables of the season.

Lunch

I am always ready for lunch. I do most of my teaching in the morning so my snack is on the go, and I am ready to sit down for lunch when it is time.

Protein Balls

I always have a batch of protein balls in my fridge for in between meals. They help me to avoid the munchies. I know that I am grabbing something that will give me a burst of energy.

Dinner

In these busy times, it is easy to get dinner on your way home. Usually, the choices out will not be as healthy as you could make at home. Having a macros recipes for summer in the fridge will support your healthy lifestyle.

Enjoy your healthy, seasonal, and quick eats. Let me know which is your favorite!

Celebrate Your Power with Yoga- 6 Oils to Free your tight Hips!

Celebrate Your Power with Yoga

Celebrate your power with yoga and find a new sense of freedom.  We can find this power through yoga and essential oils.  Yoga and Essential Oils can be combined together for some strong emotional and physical benefits. We can celebrate your power with yoga poses paired with essential oils.

When we apply essential oils to skin, diffuse them, or drink them, we are taking the plants natural defense system for our own benefit. Aromatically, essential oils can directly affect the airways. It can affect our moods and emotions, and the aroma can purify the air. When used topically, essential oils can be applied directly to a specific area. When oils are ingested, they can directly support the digestive system and our immune system.

How to Celebrate Your Power with Yoga

Let’s have a powerful yoga experience with essential oils.  Place a few drops of Eucaluptus oil (paid link) at the top of your yoga mat.  This is the oil of wellness and will support healthy respiratory function. Place a drop of Peppermint oil (paid link) in a cup to sip on during the yoga practice.  Peppermint is cooling and support healthy, normal digestion.  It fosters joy and offers a reprieve from disappointment. Place Frankincense oil in your hands, breathe it in and rub it on your chest.  This will help with cell regeneration and is a powerful cleanser of spiritual darkness.

Place Frankincense oil (paid link) on your hands and chest.  This helps with cell regeneration and is a powerful cleanser of spiritual darkness. Move through Cat and Cow and into Child’s Pose.  Place Pasttense Blend (paid link) at your hairline to assist with relief in migranes and headaches.  This will also help your regain equilibrium during periods of fatigue.  Move into back bends like Salabhasana or Dhanurasana (pictured below.)

Feel Freedom with Hip Openers

Celebrate your power with yoga as you open the hips through poses like Pigeon, Mermaid, Half Moon, Virabhadrasana II, and Trikonasana.  Hips hold  the creative energy in our body.   They are also the house of deep emotions.  Long sustained hip opening poses will help to us find Freedom from pent up emotional distress.

Place Wild Orange oil (paid link) on your belly.  This may help with muscle soreness and encourages self confidence and positivity.  Continue with hip opening poses to open and release stress and tension.  Gomukhasa will open the outer hips and happy baby will relax the back and open the sacrum to prepare the body for a calm savasana.  Use Roman Chamomile oil (paid link) on your brown swipe in savasana to help with muscle tension and encourage inner peace.

“And the day came when the risk to remain a tight bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin

Have your own Yoga and Essential Oils Experience at home!

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Arm Support Yoga Poses- Strengthen Wrists and Shoulders!

Arm Support Yoga Poses

When we balance our entire body on the hands, it requires focus, strength, and control. Arm support yoga poses are freeing and energizing. Arm support yoga poses bring us closer to the logical fear of falling and this is linked to our ego and the desire of being in control. The irony is that we are trying to loose the ego when we practice yoga. This is why practicing arm support yoga poses bring us a balance between self-confidence and humility. We can also begin to feel a bit of humor and playfulness in our practice because the poses are so challenging. The more we practice, the more we will find these poses attainable.

Here is a little humor as I try to sequence Mayurasana!

Lucky shot!

How to Care for Wrists in Arm Support Yoga Poses

The wrists are at greatest risk in all arm support yoga poses as the weight of body is held on the forearms, hands, and wrists. Be cautious if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and learn to modify the arm balances. You can use a wedge to help prop up wrists until you are free of pain. Try rolling the wrists through a full range of motion, place of back of the wrists on the floor in forward folds, press palms and finger together in prayer motion, or stretch one hand with the other. This will help to prepare your wrists for the pressure of arm balances.

Students should always place hands on the floor with fingers fully extended and knuckles on the flat on the floor and be mindful of alignment- wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Along with wrist support, we should know how to fire up the core in preparation for arm support yoga poses. Abdominal work can help you feel the sense of lifting and radiating out of the core.

Tips for Practicing Arm Support Yoga Poses

  • Practice Adho Muhka Savasana (down dog), Phalankasana (plank), and chaturanga for at least one year to strengthen the wrists, arms, and shoulders so that the body is prepared for bringing more weight onto the hands.
  • Don’t rush through arm balances. Learn them step by step and take your time to open and warm the muscles needed to achieve the poses.
Follow along with me- step by step Eka Pada Koundinyasana A
  • Want to start with an Arm Support Yoga Pose but don’t know what one to start with? Try Bakasana (crow pose) or Vasistasana (side plank)!
  • Arm Balances warm the body and are good preparation for back bends. The arm balances often warm and strengthen the shoulders that are needed for later back bends.
  • Don’t be afraid to utilize props to learn how to lift. See this tutorial about Tolasana (scale pose).

Learn to master the building block of yoga- suyra namaskara! click the box:

5 Yoga Back Bends for Beginners

5 Yoga Back Bends for Beginners

Yoga back bends for beginners can provide deep stretching across the front of the body- the heart center, belly, groin, chest. Yoga students work to feel release and balance between a fear of letting go and balance in their bodies. The focus of yoga back bends for beginners is to open to the full movement of breath and energy in the front of the body. We play with the edge in back bends. We can learn to feel compassion to ourselves and start to understand how yoga back bends can provide a feeling of freedom. We should not focus on perfection, but on opening the heart.

Yoga Back Bends for Beginners

Asanas in the back bend family can be categorized into contraction, traction, and leverage back bends. Each has an important distinction and action.

1. Contraction Back Bends

Muscles along the back of the body concentrically contract to overcome gravity. This means that the back muscles are squeezing together.

Salabhasana A and Dhanurasana are examples of Contraction Back bends

2. Traction Back Bends

Muscles in the front of the body contract to overcome gravity.

The action of lowering the body into Ustrasana is an example of traction back bend.

3. Leverage Back Bend

The arms or legs (or both) press against a stable object like the floor, the wall, or another part of the body, to stretch the front of the body.

Cobra pose is an example of a leverage back bend.

Extension or Flexion

Each type of yoga back bend for beginners can be extension or flexion of muscles. To extend the muscles in the front of the body, try Salabhasana A, Ustrasana (shown above) or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose.)

To feel flexion in back bends try Salabhasana C, or Kapotasana (pigeon pose). The bends require different arm positions that require areas of engagement and release through the shoulder girdle.

4. Shoulder Extension Back Bends

Extension of the arms requires the scapulae to be stabilized by the rhomboids, lower trapeziuses, and serratus anterior muscles. At the same time, the pectoralis majors and minors release.

5. Shoulder Flexion Back Bend

Flexion requires the rhomboids, pectoralis majors, triceps, and latissimi dorsi to release.

How to Build Yoga Back Bends for Beginners into Sequences

Surya Namaskara A is a warming sequence for a reason. It employs back bends in every posture. The exploration of back bends can be done lightly and safely in this beginning flowing sequence. As the body warms, we can move deeper into back bends as long as the body does not strain. Deep and held back bends can be done at the peak of a yoga practice when the body is most warm.

Practicing standing yoga asanas that open the quadriceps, hip flexors, and groin muscles allow for greater hip extension. Try poses like Anjanyasana, Ashta Chandrasana, and Virabhadrasana A to open the hip flexors. These poses teach pelvic neutrality in relation to the extension of the spine in back bends.

Supta Virasana is an one of the best yoga back bends for beginners. It teaches internal rotation of the femurs and prepares for deeper back bends by stretching the thighs, hip flexors, and groin muscles.

Use gentle twists for deep release of tension. Be sure to transition from side to side after holding briefly. Then start to move into deeper and more sustained twists.

Marichyasana C with a bind to open the shoulder girdle and prepare for deeper twists.

Forward folding hip openers like gomukhasana will stretch external rotators and piriformis muscles and will help to release pressure in the lower back and sacroiliac joint. This will make more deeply relaxing forward bends more accessible. Yoga back bends for beginners will make the yoga body feel great!

Would you like to learn ways to ease pain in the hips, back and hamstrings? Check out this program below:

Celestial Yoga- 4 Ways to Honor the Energy in the Sky

Celestial Yoga

Yoga has a way of connecting us to something greater. Celestial Yoga can connect us to mother earth as we follow the path of the sun and abide by the phases of the moon.

Celestial Yoga- The Phases of the Moon

The moon waxes and wanes all through the month. During the time of a Full Moon and a New Moon, we can learn a bit about renewal and release.

New Moon Yoga

With each new moon, we get a restart. We can feel new energy, make a new wish, and set a new intention for the month. Our yoga practice should reflect these feelings of renewal. We should spend some time in meditation and reflection as we come up with new goals for the month.

  1. Prep for a renewal practice with a standing back bend to lift your face to the sky. Follow it with forward folds and twists to renew your digestive system.
  2. Asana practice- Take a low lunge (anjanyasana) with arms extended to the sky. Open your hips with asansa like Goddess pose, Puppy dog, and child pose to feel your creativity release as you seek for a renewal of goals.
  3. Cool down with cat and cow to open your face to the sky. Open the heart and throat with bridge poses and uttana padasana (fish pose) to be open to the possibilities of the month ahead.

Full Moon Yoga

With the Full Moon, we enter in a time of release. It is time to forgive, others and ourselves, and let go of negative thoughts and emotions. Holding onto negative emotions both blocks our body’s energy and takes up space needed for new growth. Our yoga practice should move slowly, we should linger in the poses. We should wait for when it feels “right”, or just what is needed in the moment.

  1. Prep for a releasing celestial yoga practice with child’s pose and cat and cow. These poses will release tight hips where we often hold pent up emotions.
  2. Asana Practice- Create a balance between opening asanas like Goddess pose, Crescent pose, and Warrior II, with folding poses like Uttanasana and Humble Warrior. This will give your body and mind balance between release as you open the heart and renewal as you fold into your center. Trikonasana should not be ignored. Our arms reach equally to the sky and the earth!
  3. Cool your practice with Prasarita Padottonasa, hero pose, and reclining twists. These poses will allow for introspection.

“Aim for the moon, if you miss, you may hit a star.”

W. Clement Stone

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Sunrise Yoga

Yogic tradition is to practice at Sunrise. This celestial yoga practice will prepare the body for the day. Morning practices should move and energize. We can pay respect for the sun, giving thanks for a new day and new opportunities.

  1. Prepare for your yoga practice with Sun Salutations. What else, right?
  2. Asana practices should be stimulating to build your energy for the day. Try balancing poses like Bakasana (crow) and Dancer pose. Get grounded and connected with the earth with Goddess pose.
  3. Cool your celestial yoga practice with deep stretches like pigeon pose and energizing twists like Ardha Matsyendrasana (half lord of the fishes.)

“With a new day, comes strength and new thought.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunset Yoga

Yoga at sunset prepares the body for sleep and helps us to let go of the stresses and strains of the day. We prepare to slow down and tune inside. Our yoga practice should linger in poses. We should be ready to adapt each pose to the body until it “feels” right. We should find that steady and comfortable place and come deeply into the breath.

  1. Prep your celestial yoga sunset practice in sukhasana to deeply connect to the breath. Roll the shoulders, hips, and neck to release tension of the day.
  2. Asana poses can include moon salutations and half moon pose to honor the coming night.
  3. Cool your practice with seated forward folds and seated twists. Release metabolism and circulation with legs up against the wall.

Learn to master the basic and essential sequence, surya namaskara. Create your foundations with yoga in this program!

20 Reasons to Join an Online Yoga Studio

20 Reasons to Join an Online Yoga Studio

The industry of Yoga is changing and if you don’t adapt, you may very well be left behind. Let’s outline 20 reasons to join an online yoga studio. In 2020, due to the onset of Covid-19, many yoga studios closed. Yoga is an exercise with deep breathing, (sometimes heavy breathing), close quarters, hands on adjustments, and often, shared equipment. These qualities did not adapt well for social distancing guidelines and new cleanliness standards.

Many yoga studios could not survive the shut down. This is distressing for the whole yoga community. Many students love the shared atmosphere of the class yoga experience. Many students love the personal touch and hands on adjustments of the yoga teacher. Teachers found themselves out of jobs and missing the community that they had built. I know that the yoga industry is not alone in this tragedy.

But there were silver linings in all this madness. Many studios were able to adapt their teaching style to online. This allowed for the safety of students and teachers and gave a valuable mental and physical outlet in a time of great stress and anxiety. The key is to adaptation (or in yoga terms, modification) of the yoga studio, yoga teacher, and yoga student.

If you are one of these adaptable teachers, studio owners, or student, read on. There are many reasons to join an online yoga studio.

Want actionable yoga tips from me? Ways you can ease pain and modify yoga poses to fit your needs? Then hop on the newsletter! Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

5 Reasons to Join an Online Yoga Studio

I get it, you are not quite ready to switch to online. We like the comfort of the things we have always done and it can be hard to adapt. But think of these reasons to join an online yoga studio as you begin to wrap your mind around change.

  1. You can do yoga anytime you want and as much as you want. Most yoga studios have a class schedule and online studios are no exception. Sometimes you can’t fit your schedule to what is offered due to work, kids, life! But online yoga studios often offer pre-recorded material with a membership program. You can tune in to these lessons as much as you want and anytime you want.
  2. Save time traveling to and from a studio. It is so wonderful to just lay out your mat in your home space and tune in.
  3. No more scrolling through YouTube. There are a lot of free offerings on YouTube, sure. But they are not all in the same place or categorized as you might want. An online studio will have all the classes in one place, in one website. Don’t waste time with the scroll.
  4. Reasons to join an online yoga studio include the freedom to pick if you want pre-recorded yoga lessons or live classes. Some beginners like to learn without anyone watching and some like the feedback of the teacher. An online studio can fit your personality and needs.
  5. Build community with the online world. I am a USAF wife so we move all the time. I started my online yoga studio, Yoga Traveler, to reconnect with yogi’s I have loved and left behind. In an online studio, your community is world wide, good reasons to join an online yoga studio!

5 Things to Look for in an Online Yoga Studio

You have decided that the reasons to join an online yoga studio are compelling, but how do you choose an online studio that will fit you? Here are some tips to help you make a good choice.

  1. Look for qualified yoga teachers who can lead you through yoga safely. Most yoga studio sites will have an “About” or a bio section. Do your research! Yoga Alliance certification is the standard for yoga teachers and yoga schools. You can also look into the teacher’s years of teaching and extra certifications they have acquired in the vast field of yoga.
  2. Variety of classes like pre-recorded lessons, live classes, private yoga sessions for personal attention. These options will give you freedom to personalize your yoga experience.
  3. Good sense of community through live classes or social media groups like FaceBook. One of the hardest things about switching to online learning is the loss of in person community. Studios that work hard to create community and provide connection, will fill that emotional need. For some, this is one the most compelling reasons to join an online yoga studio.
  4. Easily accessed programs. Remember what I said about YouTube? I don’t hate YouTube. In fact, I have a YouTube Channel too, Yoga Traveler. It has a wonderful place! But if you are looking for convivence, an online yoga studio will have all the yoga you need in one place.
  5. A good online yoga studio will have tips and tools to keep you motivated. It can be hard to keep up a habit if you don’t have a regular class schedule to attend. Look for studios that offer challenges, regular live classes, and monthly focuses to keep your yoga practice motivated at home. All good reasons to join an online yoga studio at home!

5 Reasons to Feel O.K. About Paying for Online Yoga Classes

There is a lot of free yoga online (remember my YouTube example?) So you may be asking yourself, “What are the reasons to join an online yoga studio when I have to pay for it?” Let me help you with that question with reasons to join an online yoga studio.

  1. You will be supporting a qualified and well trained yoga teacher who will guide you through yoga safely. This is probably a teacher who’s yoga studio closed down during the COVID shutdown. You paid for classes in a studio right? You will get the same quality of teaching if you did your research when you signed up for a yoga studio online.
  2. You should pay for online yoga if you expect a quality yoga program, either live classes or pre-recorded yoga lessons. Good things don’t come for free right?
  3. You value a yoga community. Good online yoga studios give newsletters about yoga, provide private FaceBook groups, and correspondence from the teacher. Studio owners are invested in their customers. Most of the free stuff out there will not give you any feedback.
  4. You have goals to create a healthy lifestyle and make lasting change so you should pay for someone to help you reach those goals.
  5. You understand that your yoga teacher(s) work hard to provide you a quality experience. Studio owners, online or brick and mortar, are well trained and spend money to stay well trained. They deserve to eat too, right?? All good reasons to join an online yoga studio.

5 Reasons to Join Yoga Traveler Online Studio

Yes, I am passionate about this topic. That is because I am an online yoga studio owner. I wanted to present these reasons to join an online yoga studio because I believe it will benefit you and me both!

  1. I am a well qualified yoga teacher and I want to share my love of yoga with my students. I have seen it change lives so I am trying to spread the blessing of yoga as far as I can!
  2. I strive to create an online yoga community through communication with my students, live classes, and a private Facebook Group. I have a monthly newsletter full of interesting topics about yoga. I can be contacted through my Facebook Group and at my online studio. I strive to be accessible and reach the needs of the students that are loyal to me. For more info about how to connect with me, subscribe below.
  3. I am a well qualified yoga teacher and I want to share my love of yoga with my students. I have seen it change lives so I am trying to spread the blessing of yoga as far as I can!
  4. I have many yoga products to fit your need- pregnancy, military deployment, beginner, Ashtanga training, and more. All are reasonably priced and with payment plan options to match your situation. Check out my Store to find your fit!
  5. I strive to create online yoga community through communication with my students, live classes, and a private Facebook Group. I have a monthly newsletter full of interesting topics about yoga. I can be contacted through my Facebook Group and at my online studio. I strive to be accessible and reach the needs of the students that are loyal to me. For more info about how to connect with me, subscribe below.

Please consider these reasons to join an online yoga studio. I would love to chat about your experience!

How Breath and Life Connect: 6 Oils of Yoga to Live For

How Breath and Life Connect

How breath and life connect- Breath is our life force, without the function of our lungs and diaphragm, we would not function. When we come to a yoga mat to practice, we learn how to use our circulatory system to it’s fullest advantage. Yoga means Union and the movement, asanas, of yoga are not yoga at all if it is not connected with breath. Yoga will help you to learn how breath and life connect.  We can also feel the connection if we pair our yoga practice with essential oilsYoga and Essential Oils can be combined together for some strong emotional and physical benefits.

When we apply essential oils to skin, diffuse them, or drink them, we are taking the plants natural defense system for our own benefit. Aromatically, essential oils can directly affect the airways. It can affect our moods and emotions, and the aroma can purify the air. When used topically, essential oils can be applied directly to a specific area. When oils are ingested, they can directly support the digestive system and our immune system. So, yoga can be paired with essential oils to help us discover how breath and life connect.

Want actionable yoga tips from me? Ways you can ease pain and modify yoga poses to fit your needs? Then hop on the newsletter! Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Breathe: Open to Life

Let’s begin a yoga experience together where we can feel our breath expand and realize the rich life we have to live. Start by cleansing the air around you. Take Elevation DoTerra oil blend (paid link) and place a few drops on the top of your yoga mat (paid link) or blanket. Elevation will stimulate your body’s chemistry when feeling lethargy or sadness. It promotes feelings of self worth and you can breathe it in every time you chaturanga!

Next, place a few drops of Grapefruit oil (paid link) in a cup or water bottle. Grapefruit assists in detoxifying the body and cleanses the kidneys. It teaches true respect and appreciation for the body and its functions. Place Lemon oil (paid link) on your forehead and back of the neck. This may help increase oxygen around the pineal and pituitary gland. It is the oil of focus and the crisp scent improves ability to focus.

With the set up done, you can begin your yoga practice by lying on your back in savasana. When we lay on our backs, we can start to feel the way the whole torso moves when we breathe. We feel not only the chest lifting, but the lungs in the back body and the movement deeper toward the stomach in the diaphragm. This is how we can begin to learn how breath and life connect.

Once the breath has been established, stretch the legs with supta utthita hasta padangustasana. This will lengthen the hamstrings and back and teach you how to breath with the stretch. Our bodies react to stretching by the muscles tightening up. Hold the stretch and breathe slow and steady. As the muscles start to relax, you can pull deeper into the stretch. We begin to learn how breath and life connect.

Open to Life with Asana Movement

Place Bergamot oil (paid link) on your heart. This helps to calm, uplift and energize. It encourages balance, strength, and confidence. Start asana movement that leads you to focus on strong breath like vinyasa, Warrior poses, and chest opening poses. These poses and sequences will link the breath and movement and help you stretch the sides of your body. Gravity weighs down on us and poor posture over time leads to chest compression. Deep breathing and stretching through the side body can help to create space between the ribs and increase lung capacity.

Vashistasana is a powerful pose that heat the body inside and encourage deep, powerful breathing. Breathe: Open up to Life! This is how breath and life connect

Oils of Yoga to Live For

Rub Juniper Berry oil (paid link) over the low back and kidneys. This will support detoxification of the kidneys and may assist with healthy circulation. The circulatory system is how breath and life connect! Continue your practice with deep forward folds like Padangustasana and Padahastasana. These poses will lengthen the hips, hamstrings, and back. When we can move any direction we want, we will love life even more. We learn to value our bodies and what they can do.

Reach down and grab your toes. If it is too hard to reach, just use a block to bring the ground closer to you.

Continue with hip opening poses like baddha konasana. Try to ease any tension out of your body as you feel how breath and lift connect.

Supta Baddha Konasana with a bolster

Finish your practice with Lavender Oil (paid link) applied as a scalp massage. This is calming to the psyche and tissue and assists with relaxation. Lavender can allow you to share your true self with others. Settle back into savasana. You find yourself back to where you started, having come full circle. But this time, your mind and body will be in a different place. Through yoga and essential oils, you know how breath and life connect.

“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.”

Anne Dillard

You can have wonderful yoga experiences at home with online yoga. Check out my Yoga and Essential Oil Program below:

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