5 Chill Yoga Poses to Ease Anxiety

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The holidays are upon us, and sometimes that translates to added stress when you have too much to do and too little time.  Whatever the reason for the stress fest, as this happens, sleep and breathing become more difficult, which in turn creates more anxiety—it’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken!

Naturally, I prescribe yoga as the fix. You can try alternate nostril breathing to ease anxiety and calm a busy brain that doesn’t want to stop bouncing around. There are also a bunch of poses geared toward grounding and stilling the mind. Here are a few of my favorites. I recommend doing them all if you have time, or picking a few of your favorites whenever your thoughts won’t stop running around or your anxiety starts to climb.

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Cow/Cat

While these are technically two poses, one is not often done without the other to counter. Alternating between these several times in a row solidly links your breath to your movement and calms the mind. Cat/cow repetitions also relieve any abdominal cramping caused by anxiety.

Come to all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. On an inhale, look up and arch spine, rolling shoulders away from ears for cow. As you exhale, press the floor away with hands and knees, and round your spine (like an angry Halloween cat; see this cat pose image). Do at least five complete breath cycles (five inhales/cats and five exhales/cows).

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Devotional Warrior

Open both the hips and shoulders—two places that tighten when we’re anxious—and improve focus with this pose.

From down dog, step right foot forward, spin back heel down, and inhale arms up to frame head in warrior one. Then allow hands to fall behind you, clasp them behind sacrum, take a big inhale to open chest, and use your exhale to fold yourself inside of your right knee. Stay here for at least five deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.

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Seated Forward Fold

Do this introspective pose when you want to generate self-reflection.

From a seated position, extend legs long in front of you and together. Keeping knees soft, take a deep breath to fill yourself with space, and use your exhale to lean forward into the space you just created. If you have a tight lower back, sit on a block or blanket. Take at least five deep breaths here.

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Twist

Erase any negative energy or unwanted thoughts with twists. With each exhale, picture yourself wringing out like a sponge, getting rid of what you don’t want or need in your body or mind.

Lying on the ground, hug right knee into chest, “T” arms out to either side, and allow right knee to fall to the left. You can stay with a neutral neck or, if it feels good, look to the right. You can also take left hand to right thigh to allow the weight of your hand to ground your twisted leg. Stay here for at least five deep breaths, and then repeat on the other side.

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Legs up the Wall

This pose allows your nervous system to chill, reroutes circulation, grounds you, and brings you back to the present.

Sit sideways next to a wall and then lie down on side, facing away from the wall with butt touching it. Using arms, lift legs up the wall as you roll over onto back. Allow arms to fall on either side of you. Palms can face up for openness or face down for an extra level of grounding. Stay here for at least five breaths or, if you feel good, as long as you like.

Why You Should Try Yoga On a Paddle-board

Is your yoga routine getting a little stale? If you’re looking for a new challenge, yoga on a stand up paddle-board will reinvigorate you and push you to become an even better yogi than you thought possible — all while enjoying the natural splendor of floating on water. And it’s not just for the lucky few in tropical places like Hawaii.  Below, ten reasons you might want to try this new yoga style:

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1. It’s a better workout.

Since the platform is unstable, you have to engage your core more for better balance. Your whole midsection will have to work to keep you balanced and afloat. You have to work harder and focus more on the water.

2. It will refine your technique.

You’ll be more in tune with your poses. For example, during downward dog, if you have more weight on one side, your board will let you know.

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3. It’s more calming.

The sensation of floating helps to alleviate the heaviness that life sometimes throws on our shoulders.

4. It will help you focus on your breath.

Ujjayi Pranayama, or Ocean Breath, is a popular yoga method for breathing because the “ocean” sound is believed to soothe your mind. And some researchers believe that listening to the sound of the ocean can help people to relax. The gentle sound of water lapping while on a paddleboard will help you relax and key you in to the most important aspect of yoga: your breath.

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5. It’s empowering.

Standing up on a paddle board gives you a unique perspective of both the water and the horizon. It’s as close as you can get to walking on water, and the possibility of falling helps practitioners really focus on themselves and their poses. “It’s about letting go of the fear. You get off the water feeling really rejuvenated. It’s empowering.

6. It’s fun.

It’s well-known that novelty is important in exercise regimens in order to stay motivated and happy. According to the National Institute of Health, “Mixing it up also helps to reduce boredom and cut your risk of injury.” There are many different types of yoga, but it’s still easy to fall into a rut. Trying paddleboard yoga will keep you on your toes.

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7. It’s just a touch scary.

The very real possibility of falling into the water provides just enough adrenaline to your workout to keep you focused and motivated. And that could help you fight the ill-effects of stress in your everyday life.

8. It teaches you to get back up.

If you do fall in, you are forced to overcome the set-back, climb back up on your board, and try again — which is a life lesson in and of itself. Conquering the fear of falling in is essential. The quicker you become okay with falling into the water, the better you’ll feel and the easier it will be.

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9. It’s more challenging.

When the board is your mat, there’s less room for error. If you feel like you’ve started to master your normal yoga class, it’s time you tried this.

10. It’s beautiful.

Between breathing fresh air, soaking up vitamin D and enjoying the natural landscape, it beats just about any gym or studio out there. Yoga means union. When it’s practiced outdoors it seems like the union with nature, humanity, and the universe is truly felt.

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6 Yoga Poses to Offer Relief

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Are you dealing with shooting pains or numbness from sciatica? Discomfort is caused when the sciatic nerve (which runs from the lower spine down the back of each leg) gets pinched. It can be caused by an injury such as a slipped disk or pelvic fracture, pregnancy, or tight muscles in the lower back, hips, and legs. Whether you feel yours at night or after sitting or standing for a long time, relief is just a yoga mat away with these six poses.

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Half Moon

If your sciatica symptoms are caused by sitting or standing for long periods, stretching the outer leg can offer instant relief.

Stand on your hands and feet in Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your hands, and rise up into Warrior 1. Open your hips, arms, and chest into Warrior 2.

Place your left hand on your left hip, and stretch your right arm straight out, creating length through the right side of your body. Shift weight onto your right foot, and lift your left foot up. Plant your right palm flat on the ground under your shoulder.

Distribute your weight evenly between your right hand and foot. Lift your left arm up, and gaze toward your left hand. Hold for five breaths, and then release the pose, coming into Downward Dog. Then try Half Moon on the left side.

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Seated Spinal Twist

Creating some movement in the spine through twisting poses can relieve pressure from the sciatic nerve. As a bonus, this pose also targets the oh-so-tight piriformis muscle.

Begin seated on your mat with your legs extended in front of you. Bend both knees and place your left heel as close to your right sit bone as you can. Cross your right foot over your left knee and plant it on the floor so your outer right ankle is next to your left knee.

Reach your right arm behind you, and place your palm on the floor. Cross your left elbow over your outer right thigh to gently increase the twist.

Gaze behind you and over your right shoulder, staying here for five breaths. Then release the twist, straighten your legs out in front of you, and do this pose with your left knee pointing up.

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Open Lizard

This variation of Lizard pose will open a different part of your hip, as well as offer a nice stretch for the hip flexor, which can also contribute to sciatica discomfort.

From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot forward between your palms. Keep your hands on the mat, and lower your left knee to the floor, pointing the toes.

Slowly lower your right knee to the right, so you’re resting on the outside of your right flexed foot. Keep your arms straight, pressing your chest forward just like in Upward Facing Dog. This will help encourage your hips to lower, increasing the stretch.

Gaze forward, and enjoy this pose for five breaths. Then switch sides.

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Locust

Strengthening the back muscles can offer relief, and here’s an effective and relaxing pose to try.

Lie on your belly with your legs together. Place your arms by your sides so your palms are facing up.

As you inhale, lift your legs, head, and upper body off the floor. Keep your hands on the floor for support. As you breathe, extend the crown of your head away from your toes, lengthening as much as you can through your spine.

Stay for five breaths, and then release back to the mat.

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Pigeon

Take this pose as deeply as you want to target the areas of discomfort around your lower back, hips, and thighs.

From Downward Facing Dog, step both feet together, and bring your right knee forward between your hands so your outer right leg is resting on the mat. If your hips are more open, inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat.

Stay here with your hands resting on your hips or your right leg, or walk your hands out in front of you, allowing your torso to rest over your right knee.

Hold here, breathing into any areas of tightness and tension, for at least five breaths. Then place your hands on the mat in front of you, tuck your left toes, and step your right foot back. Repeat Pigeon on the left side.

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Half Wheel

Some people will experience relief from engaging the glutes and hamstrings, so give this backbend a go.

Begin lying flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body and your palms facing down. Bend your knees, placing your heels as close as you can to your bum.

With your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground, lift your hips up. Keep your palms on the mat or clasp your hands together below your pelvis, extending through your arms. Or you can also bend your elbows and rest your hands on your lower back. If your feet are close enough, you can also hold your ankles.

Stay here for five deep breaths, lifting your hips up as high as you can.

5 poses to supercharge your run: yoga for runners

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You’re running. You feel the wind ripping through your hair, adrenaline pumping through your body, then suddenly: a cramp. Tight hamstrings. Sore feet. Your knees. If running pains deter you from being able to thoroughly enjoy outdoor or indoor jogs, do yoga for runners!

We particularly like the way that Daily Yoga structures their Yoga for Runners sessions by making a distinction between pre and post-run stretches. Their pre-run yoga routine focuses on body balance, muscle strength, and joint flexibility and makes use of simple stretches to condition the body for long-distance runs. Their post-run training restores, elongates, and loosens any tension built up in your muscles. Mobile communities like PumpUp and Daily Yoga provide the guidance and structured routines that a personal trainer would give you, but within the comfort of your home.

Our favorite pre-run yoga moves

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Standing forward fold with hands on hips

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Wide-legged forward bend with hands on hips

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Triangle pose (right and left)

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One legged pigeon pose (right and left)

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Warrior Pose II (right and left)

For more instructions on how to do these poses, check out Daily Yoga‘s Yoga for runners series and share about your routine on PumpUp! How do you warm up and cool down before and after your runs? Let us know in the comments below!

10 Simple Tips For Practicing Yoga At Home

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1. Identify a comfortable space:

Yoga calls for a space that is well lit and properly ventilated. It helps if the setting is serene as maximum benefits from yoga can be reaped when performed in a soothing environment. Add candles to light up your room, in case the room is not sufficiently lit. Ensure that there are no sharp objects or furniture around you, as they could cause injuries when stretching during ‘asanas’ .

2. Plan smart goals:

Identify your goals before you start practicing. Chart out a plan for yourself and make sure that it is specific, measurable, achievable, reliable, and timely. Be reasonable in your expectations and bear in mind that yoga is not meant for achieving physical benefits only.

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3. Practice regularly:

The ideal time to practice yoga is early in the morning before the sun rises or in the evening after the sun sets. Decide on a time that is most suited to you and devote that time in its entirety to yoga every day.

4. Switch off any distractions:

Do not multitask while practicing yoga at home. Those endless chores, phone calls and lure of social networking sites can wait for a more suitable time. Your sole focus while practicing yoga must be on your goals and the asanas that you perform. The slightest carelessness can at times result in grave injuries.

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5. Wear comfortable clothing:

It is very important to wear clothing that is comfortable while you perform yoga. A relaxed track pant with a loose-fitting tee is a great option for many. You can also choose from the numerous attires that are available in the market these days. The key is to opt for designs that let you breathe and for materials that absorb sweat along the way.

6. Practice yoga on an empty stomach:

Yoga at home can be practiced at a time of your convenience. However, never practice yoga as soon as you consume a meal. It is ideal to wait for at least a couple of hours after breakfast/lunch or for four hours after dinner before you start your practice session.

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7. Always warm up at the beginning:

As with other forms of fitness, it is mandatory that you indulge in some form of warm up exercises before you get into the more intricate yoga asanas. Warming up  aids in tuning the body for the rigors ahead,  thus protecting it from any untoward injuries.

8. Go slow:

Yoga is meant to nourish your body and soul and to help you lead a calmer and more fulfilling life. Respect your body and give it sufficient time to adjust to the practice. Practicing yoga even for a few minutes every day stretches your body in new ways and therefore it is crucial not to rush through the asanas in a bid to finish early. Listen to your body and increase the time and repetition of each asana accordingly. Doing so is sure to keep injuries at bay.

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9. Breathe right:

It is essential to breathe right when practicing the asanas. Hold your breath only when it is specified. Shortness of breath is your body’s way of asking you to slow down. This is the most important tip in yoga for beginners at home.

10. Always cool down at the end:

Just like warming up is essential to awaken your muscles at the start of a session, cooling down is equally crucial to calm down the rejuvenated muscles at the end of the session. Always wrap up your yoga session with Savasana. This asana is designed to help the body unwind and to restore your breathing and augmented blood circulation back to normalcy.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch with the ‘new you’. Follow the above mentioned guidelines, start your yoga practice at home slowly, continue steadily and rediscover your body and soul.

Daily Yoga: Fitness-On-The-Go

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Do you want to be healthy? There is no need to expend lot of money to buy the utilities or go to fitness center. Instead of doing that thing, you can use your Android phone and install the application that will make your body more healthy without using anything inside your wallet. The application is called Daily Yoga.

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Daily Yoga will give you more than 50 mode of yoga training, more than 400 yoga poses, HD videos, sound, song, community, and much more directly from your Android. Do you want to vanishing your fat or even vanishing stress too? Of course this application can do such thing like that.

Beside of that, you can also choose yoga mode that you want to be follow like beginner, fitness, reduce weight, and many more. Other benefit that you can get from this great application is you can choose how long the exercise will be going. So what are waiting for? Go get Daily Yoga for free and make your body more healthy.

Source: jalantikus.com

Yoga Helps You Defeat Anxiety

Anxiety has taken many peaceful mornings from me. It has taken afternoons, nights and entire days too.

With it comes shaky and sweaty hands, racing thoughts, shallow breathing, and a sense of helplessness. Most of my life I thought that there was no alternative. I spent years trying to find a way to manage my anxiety. I found things that helped a little, but nothing truly took me to a new way of being until I found yoga. It wasn’t immediate. I didn’t walk onto the mat and change forever. But through yoga and my dedication to it, my life is no longer ruled by anxiety.

So, what exactly is it about yoga that helps anxiety?

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1. Pranayama (Breathing):

The simple act of mindful breathing can help reduce anxiety. When you focus on the breath, your mind has a chance to rest and let go of negative thoughts. Yogic breath is also good for the body. Deep breathing increases oxygen levels in the blood supply, which helps remove toxins from the body. It also increases lung capacity and helps improve digestion. Here are some tips for finding your yogic breath.

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2. Asanas (Yoga Poses) and Their Rewarding Challenge:

The practice of asanas (poses) is good for both mind and body. Physically, asanas help release the tension that anxiety creates, allowing the body to feel recharged and healthier. When the body feels better, so does the mind. The challenges you face on the mat reduce anxiety by taking your mind off your worries and fears.

Asanas also teach the student to be patient and let go of things. Just like finding (and re-finding) your balance and mastering a pose, acceptance takes time and patience. Perfection is not only unnecessary, but usually unrealistic. Each time I lose my balance and fall out of a pose I am forced to face my imperfection and accept it. At first, I got frustrated when I fell out of a pose.

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3. Meditation:

Meditation is challenging, yes, but not impossible. The ability to clear one’s mind of all thoughts is a skill that takes time. It is a path, not a goal. Meditation starts by simply taking the time to focus on your breath. Meditation gives your mind a chance to slow down and teaches your body to relax.  In addition, with a regular meditation practice, you will begin to notice patterns in your thinking. The things that trigger anxiety, panic, and fear will become apparent to you. Once this happens, you can learn to change the patterns by recognizing your triggers.

Just step onto your mat… the practice will take care of itself. Through the simple steps of conscious breathing, regular asana practice, and meditation, anxiety is a thing that can be controlled, reduced, and ultimately overcome one breath, one pose, one day at a time. Take hold of your practice. Take hold of your life!

9 Yoga Poses For a Perky Booty

Looking to get a more perky booty? Yoga can quickly lead you to the booty you’ve always wanted. Without further ado, here’s a complete guide to a yoga booty!

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Forget the traditional squats, lunges, and gym equipment. Practicing these yoga poses will shape, round, and lift the booty to where you won’t even need the yoga pants to enhance its appearance! (Just kidding, keep wearing pants after this workout).
There are 3 primary muscles to target when working on shaping the booty: the (gluteus) maximus, medius, and minimus. We will walk through 9 poses to maximize muscle use and stimulate growth in each area. Repeat each move for 5 breaths.

Let’s shape that assana!

Target: Gluteus Maximus
The maximus is the primary gluteal muscle. Extending the thigh backward into any hip extension will activate the maximus. Poses that will strengthen the gluteus maximus are Crescent Lunge, Warrior 3, and Standing Splits.

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Here’s how to do it:
Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana) works the gluteus maximus. Find your edge by dipping the knee to the mat on your exhales, coming up to full Crescent Lunge through your inhale. After 5 breaths in a moving or steady Crescent, lift the back foot off the mat and reach strong through the arms to fly into Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3), also called Airplane pose. Hold the arms, mid-section, and top leg parallel to the mat for 5 breaths. Close in on the maximus burn by kicking the leg even higher into the sky to Standing Splits. Try to keep the front pelvis parallel to the floor by internally rotating the left thigh. Work on walking the hands towards the standing foot.

Target: Gluteus Medius
The medius is situated on the outer surface of the pelvis and works to abduct (pull the thigh away from the midline). Working the medius will tone the upper hips and create a strong and well-rounded side booty. Work the medius by practicing Half-Moon (Ardha Chandrasana), Goddess pose (Utkata Konasana) and Reverse Plank.

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Here’s how to do it:
Find Half-Moon pose from Warrior 3 (Airplane pose) by reaching one arm downward and the other skyward, stacking one shoulder on the top of the other as you work to stack your lifted leg’s hip on top of the standing leg’s hip. Extend through the upper heel and hold for 5 breaths.

To prepare for Goddess, step back from Half-Moon to a wide stance with your feet parallel to the long side of your mat. Point the toes outward at a 45-degree angle and sink the hips to knee-level. Draw your tailbone down and keep the core stable. For an added challenge, bring the heels up to hold Goddess on the balls of your feet, working the calf muscles.

Reverse Plank produces high levels of gluteus medius activation. Sit in Staff pose (Dandasana) with your hands 6-8 inches behind you and your fingertips pointed toward your hips. As you inhale, lift your hips and straighten your arms. Tighten the core, squeeze the glutes, and hold for 5 breaths. Lower down slowly with control.

Target: Gluteus Minimus
The minimus is the part of the booty that is responsible for “THE LIFT”. Practicing Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Bow pose (Dhanurasana), and Locust pose (Salabhasana) will target this portion of the glutes.

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Here’s how to do it:
Beginning with Bridge pose, begin by lying on your back with knees bent and heels close to the hips. Press firmly through the feet to lift the hips upward. Keep the knees directly above the ankles. For an added burn, bring one leg up to the sky and hold for 5 breaths on each side. Lower down slowly and give yourself a pat on the butt.

Flip onto your stomach and bring your heels close to your yoga booty. Reach back with the hands and grab the ankles, keeping the knees parallel. Gently pull on the ankles, open up the chest and broaden the collarbones, kick into your hands to bring the fronts of your thighs off the mat. Breathe deeply through the core for 5 breaths. Lower down, bringing your hands to each side of your body and chin to the mat to prepare for Locust. Using the strength of your entire back body, lift the head, arms, and legs as high as you can. Breathe deeply for 5 breaths and then slowly lower.

To maximize the effects, we recommend performing each pose consecutively for a high-intensity burn. It is the cumulative effect of performing the whole series that will give you the results you’re looking for, so give it your all and go all out! You have nothing to loose, and a yoga booty to gain!!

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7 Yoga Books for Yogis

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Anyone with a passion can DIVE IN DEEP and educate yourself on what YOU LOVE . Our brains are immensely powerful and can handle all the information we want to feed it, we just need to start the journey!

Below are 7 Books for Yogis – anyone can read these and benefit from the amazing information provided. Highly recommend these books for anyone looking to deepen their practice. Some of these read very easily like a sweet song, while are harder to digest. Whatever the end goal, reading anything is a break from our typical online browsing… SO GET COZY, light a candle, make a cup of tea, and bury yourself in these beautiful novels.

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1. Light on Yoga

Written by the man who is credited with introducing yoga to the West, Light on Yoga illustrates and meticulously explains 200 postures with over 600 photos. HOLY WOW! There is no shortage of knowledge here. BKS Iyengar models each pose and provides detailed instruction on how to perform and teach the posture. His style of yoga emphasizes proper alignment, making Light on Yoga – “The Rule Book for Asanas”.

2. Light on Life

This book is absolutely stunning and one of my favorites to recommend. The title itself is enough to make a yogi swoon – Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom. BKS Iyengar recounts his past 70 years of practicing, teaching, and spreading the art of yoga. The context will take the reader deep into his thoughts providing AHA! moments with every page turned. Make sure those reading tools are close by for this one!

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3. Meditations from the Mat

Like the title states, this book offers daily reflections on the practice by outlining the eight limbs of yoga. The writings are simple, relatable, easy to digest, and lighthearted. This is a great book to read first thing in the morning, at night when winding down, or whenever you need some feel good yumminess. It is also perfect for anyone interested in learning the principles behind the yoga practice. **I gifted my mom one for the holidays, she absolutely loves it!

4. The Bhagavad Gita

Referred to as the Gita, this is a 700 verse Hindu scripture. The entire book is a conversation between a prince (Arjuna) and his guide (Krishna). The reading’s purpose is to reveal our life purpose, our dharma, and a framework by which we should live. It is a beautiful, short read that can be repeated time and time again, each time revealing a new concept. *Fun Fact – Mahatma Gandhi was greatly influenced by this book during his fight for independence. It is said that the Gita never left his side, acting as a “spiritual dictionary”.

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5. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Sutras can be thought of as the bible of yoga or the framework from which the practice is built upon. The author, Patanjali, is a revered sage who compiled ancient Indian traditions to create the Yoga Sutras. The book is comprised of four chapters, two focusing on the eight limbs of yoga (Ashtanga) and the other two on action yoga (kriya yoga). Personally, I haven’t read the book yet. If looking to seriously learn where yoga comes from, bury your head here and have those reading tools handy!

6. Nourishing the Teacher

This book was recommended by my YTT program as a vehicle for teaching. It is comprised of five chapters or theme based inquiries: The Gifts of Embodiment, The Wisdom of Yoga, The Hindu Gods & Goddesses, The Alchemy of Nature, and The Wheel of the Year. Each theme concept provides readers with posture ideas, on & off the mat inquiries, inspirational phrases to use, breathing techniques, and a closing class ritual.

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7. The Body Book

Written by Cameron Diaz, this is a phenomenal book for anyone interested in how the body works. While it doesn’t directly relate to yoga, it does contribute to upholding a healthy lifestyle which is extremely important as a yoga practitioner. The book is divided into three parts: Nutrition, Fitness, and Mind. Each portion provides extensive facts, helpful tips, medical opinions, and lighthearted advice from Cameron’s personal journey.

9 Tips to Protect Your Wrists During Yoga Practice

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The alignment often taught in plank requires the (fore)arms to be at 90 degrees with the palms. Furthermore, in chatturanga, the shoulders move over the wrists, further compressing the angle of the (fore)arm to palm to less than a right angle.  This alignment may be too aggressive for some bodies who might feel strain or, even worse, pinching in the wrists when attempting it.

The bad news is that wrists lose flexibility over time, so you should be kind with yourself whenever returning to your mat. The good news is that you can regain some of that flexibility if you practice with awareness toward yourself and follow these easy tips that will protect the wrists, while still promoting opening in areas where there is space available.

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1) Practice your planks, chatturangas and arm balances on a hard surface. Soft yoga mats or fluffy carpets are a no-no, because they let the heels of your wrists sink, decreasing the angle between your forearm and the palm.

2) Plant the entire palm on the mat, then extend the fingers and plant them on the mat.Bent fingers aggravate the wrist! Shift the weight evenly into all of the joints of the palm, moving the concentrated weight away from the heel of your palm.

3) Do rounds of “wrist lifts.” From table top, lift the heel of the palm then lower it. Repeat 15-20 times or until you feel the forearm muscles get tired. Keeping the muscle memory of the wrist lifts still fresh in your mind, try plank or downward facing dog and feel the lightness in your wrists.

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4) Elevate the heel of your wrists by placing your palms on a folded hand towel, purposely increasing the angle between your forearms and the palm. The fingers and the finger mounds stay off the towel, sloping downward.

5) Shift the palms forward of the shoulders in plank to release the wrists. Note that this is not an option for crow or other arm balances because you don’t have your feet on the ground for balance.

6) Modification: bend your elbows during plank to help move the strain away from the wrist area. Elbows must bend backward (toward the toes) and not laterally.

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7) Don’t be scared to bend your knees and lower them to the floor! This is another way to move the weight out of the wrists and into the legs.

8) Try planting your fists instead of palms on your mat. This modification takes the weight completely out of the wrists and helps strengthen it.

9) Use blocks under your palms. The elevation under your palms moves some of your weight into the legs, alleviating the stress on the wrists. You may either keep the palms flat on the block or fold the fingers down, bringing them parallel to the earth.

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Your ideal alignment should be free of pain and it should follow a level of challenge that is appropriate for you. Happy planking!