15 Things That Happen When You Get Into Yoga

Calm

Stress is an inevitable part of life, however being able to monitor it with breath and introspection can change the outcome of many situations. Ideally stress will begin to subside with the tools discovered in yoga.

Strength

Over time the body will become stronger and yoga poses will feel much more accessible. Discovering body awareness and incorporating appropriate cues from instructors can take a practice to another level. Yoga will never be easy, however the body builds up strength to support the practice in time. Certain daily activities that felt difficult before will get easier. Activities such as walking up stairs, balancing to put on shoes or picking up children can become less challenging.

Weight loss

Although many people do not initially turn to yoga for weight loss, it is a surprising bonus. The pure and detoxifying feeling the body experiences after practice sends people in a healthier direction. The body begins to crave nutritious foods and denies heavy meals.

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Happiness

Learning tools to incorporate breathing and body awareness into scenarios that are mentally or physically demanding will change the outcome of many situations. Letting go of self-medication with food, alcohol, or prescription drugs is difficult. However in minor cases, replacing self-medication with yoga can help. The residual buzz from a yoga practice can deliver some of the happiness people struggle to find.

Change

Releasing things that no longer serve or fulfill are some of the first steps toward change. Like-minded individuals, and better decision-making replace toxic relationships, negative friends, and harmful environments.

Diet

Some people have been known to try vegan or vegetarianism at least once. There are teachers that promote non-harming and compassion to living beings with emphasis on a plant based diet. Some bodies can handle not having meat while other bodies need it. The best advice is to do what fits for the individual. What works for one, may not work for all. Ask a doctor if uncertainty arises with diet.

Posture

Many of the postures in yoga strengthen the spine and the muscles surrounding the spine. The majority of the work is to maintain a tall spine in each pose. A great yoga class will train the practitioner to take daily habits such as a hunched over body out of the practice. Overtime, students will learn techniques on how to carry the body in everyday life. Some yoga poses and classes strengthen the abdominals, which improve the posture quite a bit.

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Confidence

There are so many poses and ideologies in yoga that make the practice a lifelong journey. There is always another variation to achieve or a style to discover. One of the most gratifying feelings is when accomplishing a posture that seemed so difficult in the past. Noticing changes in the body and advancement in the practice gives a person that confidence they may have been searching for. Whether it is an inversion/arm balance or holding plank pose for an extended period of time, these small achievements ignite a positive sense of self.

Mindfulness

Bringing attention to areas of a person’s life that may have gone unnoticed in the past is the first step toward mindfulness. Maybe its deciding to stop wearing high heals, or forgoing the pain medication for small aches and pains, or possibly holding back on negative thinking. Maybe it’s noticing how many chips are consumed in one sitting or how the body is sitting while eating those chips. Shedding light on these little moments that are overlooked so often can change how life is lived in a positive way.

Flexibility

In time, tight muscles will release. That stiff and achy feeling when getting out of bed or right into downward facing dog won’t be as common. All bodies are different. Some people are extremely flexible and hypermobile, while other’s bone structure won’t allow for a super flexible practice. Finding the appropriate flexibility for each body type is the healthier way to think about it. Forcing or pushing the body to become flexible like the person on the neighboring mat is not a safe decision. It is extremely important to balance that flexibility with strength.

Obsession

The yoga practice can become addictive because of the mental relief it offers practitioners. Yoga is a lifetime practice with so many different postures, variations, and lineages. Some people practice intensely on a consistent basis to achieve their goals faster. This is when injury occurs. Many people learn the hard way and ultimately realize that a safe, strong practice will result in longevity of the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons.

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Body awareness

Depending on which route is traveled in the yoga world; learning about the body is an incredible discovery. How often does a person cross their legs every time they sit, with the same leg over? Understanding how body patterns and daily routine can affect well-being is tremendous.

Clarity

Lifecan be very hectic and stressful with to-do lists and priorities. The mind eventually becomes cluttered putting up roadblocks in our path to clarity. The physical yoga practice is helpful with clearing the mind, however the meditative aspects of yoga can change thoughts drastically. A daily meditation practice is known to clear the mind and bring clarity to situations in which we feel limited.

Self Inquiry

Depending on the person, there will be interest in becoming a yoga instructor. Even if teaching isn’t the goal, some become certified to understand the practice on a deeper level. Spirituality is a huge part of the path of yoga. Studying yogic philosophy or reading up on spiritual teachings can help. Learning more about who you are as a person is a growth process unlike anything else.

Love

I have found that if you love life, life will love you right back.”- Arthur Rubinstein. Learning to move through life from a place of love is one of the best feelings in the world. Whether it is love for one’s own body, other people, or the love of life in itself, positive outcomes normally result in this way of thinking.

Yoga can turn a person’s world upside-down, literally and figuratively. Diving into a yoga practice in order to gain wisdom, peace, and physical strength is one of life’s best-kept secrets. As time goes on, life will continue to change for the better with the help of a little thing called yoga.

 

(The original article link: http://yogatime.tv/blog/15-things-that-happen-when-you-get-into-yoga/)

Meditation & Letting Go

We all are attached to things. Maybe it is past relationships, feelings of hurt, or regret for having done or not done some things. Yet, holding on to these things cause suffering, and stifle our growth.

Now my question to you? What do you need to let go of?

Meditation helps you let go by giving you:

· Clarity of mind, which allows you to see when you are holding on to things

· Inner strength to let go of habitual thought patterns, and focus on something else

· Ability to accept and enjoy the present moment, whatever it is.

There are many things you can do to help you let go. Here are some steps I recommend.

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(1) Recognize.

What exactly do you need to let go of?

Be specific. Instead of saying “my previous relationship”, try to find exactly what it is about your previous relationship that you are clinging to. Maybe it was the dream of it working out; or the company and attention of your partner.

Find exactly what it is. And learn to recognize whenever that attachment is present for you.

(2) See the suffering.

See how much this attachment is causing you suffering, in one form or another. It is making you waste your precious time and energy in the past, rather than living in the present moment. It is dragging you, preventing you to make changes in your life. And it is creating more emotional drama.

The more you understand the trouble that clinging brings you, the easier it is for you to let go of it.

(3) What is possible?

Think about what is possible for you once you let go. All the good things that can happen for you once you free that energy.

This increases your motivation to let go.

(4) Decide right now.

Make a firm decision to let go, and accept things as they are.

Even if old thoughts and emotions come up again, it’s ok, because now you can reaffirm your decision to let go.

(5) Get busy.

Get busy with positive things, things you can control. Like doing your yoga practice, moving forward in your career/studies

This will then take more of your time and energy, helping you switch old of the old attachment.

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Nostrils Breathing

We also did a breathing exercise that is a very powerful way to balance your emotions and nervous system.

This is one of the several techniques of Pranayama (Yogic Breathing).

- Close your right nostril with your right thumb, and breathe in through the left nostril, counting 3

- Then close your left nostril with your right index finger, open the right nostril, and breathe out counting 6

You can go for 4-8, or 5-10, 6-12, etc. The important thing is that we are aiming for the  exhalation to be longer than the inhalation (ideally double). That may be hard in the beginning, so you grow into it as you go.

Breathing should be soft, even, and as soundless as possible. Do not force yourself, it should be comfortable. So adjust your count according to your capacity.

In the beginning it may be a bit hard to get the exhalation twice as long as inhalation, but by time and patience we get there.

You can practice this for 5~10min. It is very relaxing. After that you can just breath normally, and follow with your meditation practice of focusing the attention on the breath, on a mantra, or on the space between the eyebrows.

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Meditation Not Progressing

Finally, on the third part of the class we talked about common reasons why your meditation maybe is not progressing so well.

They are

1. You don’t practice every day

2.  You expect results too quickly

3.  You don’t relax the body (asanas) and breath (pranayama) before meditation

4.  You keep changing your technique

5.  You keep your mind too busy or too distracted during day (media, thoughts, restlessness, etc.)

5 Poses For Seriously Sculpted Arms

You don’t have to spend hours at the gym pumping iron to get those lean, sculpted arms we all dream about. Many people are surprised to learn that yoga can be an excellent exercise to tone the arms and shoulders. Certain yoga poses require you to hold the burden of your own body weight, leaving you with some serious guns.

1. Downward Dog

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Begin on your hands and knees with your fingers spread out wide. Press firmly through your palms and knuckles, tuck your toes under and lift your knees off the ground to straighten your legs. Press the floor away from you as you lift your hips upward while drawing your ribs in.

2. Plank

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From downward dog, shift forward making sure your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. Keep your gaze lifted about 6 inches in front of your fingertips, elongating the neck. Suck your belly button in toward your spine to activate your core.

3. Chaturanga

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Keeping your elbows directly over wrists, slowly lower your body down to hover a few inches above the ground. Keep your back flat and don’t let your chest drop or sag. Your elbows should be hugged along your ribcage at a 90-degree angle.

4. Upward Facing Dog

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From Chaturanga, keep your gaze forward and lift strongly from the core. Move your body forward while pressing into your hands to straighten your arms. Keep your chest lifted and thighs off the ground.

5. Dolphin

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Come back into a plank pose, then lower down to your forearms, making sure they are parallel to one another and shoulder width apart. Slowly begin to step your feet in toward your face, continuing like you would to downward dog. Lengthen your tailbone away from your pelvis and continue to press your forearms actively into the ground.

(The original article link: http://www.youbeauty.com/fitness/yoga-poses-strong-arms)

5 Yoga Poses for Flat Abs

1. Plank

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Your arms should be shoulder-width apart and directly below your shoulders.

Focus on tightening the core muscles while you’re in this position, and make sure your butt stays in line with the body and doesn’t drop down or raise up below your body line.

Hold for 30 seconds. Work towards holding this position for up to 2 minutes.

2. Boat Pose

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The is one of the key yoga poses for flat abs, so don’t miss it…

Begin by sitting firmly on the mat with your legs out in front of you and your hands just slightly behind your hips.

Slowly raise your legs up to a 45 degree angle using your arms to help you balance.

Once you feel balanced and steady enough, slowly raise your arms to the outside of the knees.  Bend your knees slightly if you are not yet flexible enough to fully straighten them.

Hold for 30 seconds. Work towards holding this position for a full minute.

3. Warrior III

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Begin with your feet placed firmly on the mat and your arms reaching towards the sky. Slowly lean forward, keeping your arms raised and raising one leg at the same time.

This pose requires a lot of concentration, strength, and balance.

Rather than focusing on trying to keep your leg balanced and steady, focus more on your core and using the core to keep your body align and balanced. Draw strength from the core, not the legs.

4. Superman Pose

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Lie face down on the mat with your arms out in front of you. Slowly lift your arms and legs up at the time, as high as you can comfortably reach and hold the position as long as possible.

Focus on using your core to hold the position rather than your arms and legs.

5. Revolved Chair Pose

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Begin in chair pose, which is a slightly seated position with your legs together, your back slightly leaning forward, and your arms reaching straight outward in line with your head.

Slowly reach your right arm down to outside of the left foot, and reach your left arm straight upward.

Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat and hold for 30 seconds on the other side.

 

(The original article link: http://avocadu.com/yoga-for-flat-abs/)

3 Reasons Men Should Do Yoga

Today, there are more yoga studios and yoga classes than ever, but a lot of people—men in particular—remain confused about what happens inside those classes and how they should feel about it. Is it stretching, meditation, some combination thereof, or something else entirely? Could it be the secret to unlocking your tight hips and superhuman athletic potential, or will it just make you sprout a man bun and go all new agey?

Wonder no more! Here’s why you have nothing to fear—and everything to gain—from adding a little yoga to your life.

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1. Yoga Increases Range Of Motion

You may think that range of motion is the same thing as flexibility, but it’s a little different. Many guys know they have a tight muscle group or two—most frequently the hamstrings, glutes, pecs, and shoulders.

But they may not realize the limitations any of these place on their ability to train through a full range of motion. The more you train them through a limited range of motion, the more limited you become as a lifter—and a functional human being.

2. Yoga Improves Breathing

You might think that you breathe perfectly fine. But you’d probably find yourself challenged by how much yoga asks you to focus on inhaling and exhaling, particularly while you’re attempting to hold tough poses in unfamiliar movement planes.

As a yoga class gets more intense, the breathing slows down rather than speeding up. This teaches you to take in long, slow breaths when you need them most, expanding your lung capacity to allow you to take in the same or greater amount of oxygen from fewer inhalations.

More importantly, you’re training your body to oxygenate itself more efficiently. That’s important for cardio activity, strength training, and yes, muscle-building.

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3. Yoga Enhances Overall Health

Most athletes take as a given that their athletic activities are healthy, which, of course, they are. But training in the red all the time eventually causes wear and tear on the body, particularly without space for diverse movement and quality rest. Yoga not only helps you feel good after hard training, but it provides other more distinct health advantages.

More efficient breathing helps reduce blood pressure and lowers the stress response, for one. Yoga has also been shown to be excellent for helping to prevent or reduce problems associated with sciatica, carpal tunnel, or even rotator-cuff issues. In most cities, you can even find classes that are designed specifically for people rehabbing from injuries or with back pain. Don’t take any of this to mean that yoga is “easy.”

Sure, it can be sleepy and new-agey, but it can also give you a challenge that you totally didn’t see coming. But even when it’s intense, a well-run yoga class is somehow gentle on the body. This is a great way for you to live a longer active life. Don’t fear it. It’s not weird, exotic, or demonic. Start at an appropriate level—even if that’s at the bottom—and give it a serious try. Then report back in the comments.

(The original article link: http://www.bodybuilding.com/content/6-reasons-men-should-do-yoga.html)

#7Dayyoga: A 7-Day Yoga fitness Challenge

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How often should you practice yoga? Research shows that a little bit of yoga everyday is better than a lot of yoga once or twice per week. Join our 7-day yoga fitness challenge now! We reward all the participants who complete the #7dayyoga challenge with One Week PRO Yoga Classes of Daily Yoga App.
How the #Fabuary Fitness Photo Challenge Works
 
–To get started, share the #7dayyoga challenge on your Facebook.

–To keep your mind and body active, make sure to do the daily yoga sessions of the following calendar.

–Don’t forget to post your fitness photos and add “#7dayyoga” on Facebook after your practice.

Please follow the calendar to start the challenge:

Day 1: Quick Stress Relief

Day 2: Easy Spinal Movement

Day 3: Daily Yoga for Abs

Day 4: Daily Yoga for Back

Day 5: Hip Opener

Day 6: Yoga for Body Toning I

Day 7: Easy Flexibility Improvement

Make sure you’ve downloaded Daily Yoga App, to follow this #7dayyoga fitness photo challenge, you’ll need to do the yoga sessions associated with each of yoga of the calendar.

The photo can be a yoga pose, a fitness selfie or the screenshot of  the result page”Sync to Daily Yoga” when you finish a session.

Now pick a day to start off ! And Have fun!

Leave questions or suggestions for us in our Facebook comments .

4 Reasons to Breathe Right

In part three of this three-part series on The Science of Breathing, discover a few of the ways focusing on the breath in yoga—and in everyday life—can improve your overall well-being.

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1. Happiness + emotional stability

Manipulating the breath can alter how we feel, accounting for as much as a 40 percent variance in feelings of anger, fear, joy, and sadness, according to findings in the journal Cognition & Emotion. The breathing instructions used to evoke joy in the study? “Breathe and exhale slowly and deeply through the nose.” Sounds a lot like Ujjayi!

2. Weight Loss

Yogic breathing practices increase levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat tissue that signals the brain to inhibit hunger, according to research from Shirley Telles, PhD, director of the Patanjali Research Foundation in Haridwar, India.

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3. Better exercise stamina

A cardiologist at the University of Pavia, Italy, compared  a group of mountaineers who practiced slow breathing an hour a day for two years before attempting to climb Mount Everest to a group who didn’t. The breathing group reached the summit without needing the supplemental oxygen the other group did, and their blood and exhalation samples showed they were using 70 percent of the surface area of their lungs, an amount that maximizes the O2 taken in.

4. Longer life

Just one session of relaxing practices like meditation, yoga, and chanting influenced the expression of genes in both short-term and long-term practitioners, according to a Harvard study. Blood samples taken before and after the breathing practices indicated a post-practice increase in genetic material involved in improving metabolism and a suppression of genetic pathways linked with inflammation. Since chronic inflammation has also been associated with such deadly diseases as Alzheimer’s, depression, cancer, and heart disease, it’s probably fair to say that better breathing may  not only change your life but may also save it.

Chair Yoga

Chair Yoga is a simple path of yoga practice. It is suitable for beginners. With Chair Yoga, you can quickly relax at home or at work and recharge with good energy.

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1. Stretch the arms upward. You can fold your hands and turn them to the sky. Stretch as it does you good. Relax.

2. Massage your body from head to toe. Visualize a sun in the sky above you. Think while massaging the mantra “light”.

3. Bow down with your upper body, stretch your hands to the ground and visualize the earth beneath you. Think the word “earth”. The head shows to the earth. Then shift up with your upper body, stretch out your hands to the sky and visualize the sky above you. Think “heaven.” Move now dynamically several times from top to bottom and think “sky” or “earth.” Thus, the tensions dissolve in your stomach.

4. Move your head several times forward (nod) and back (neck). Concentrate on your body and send light to the front over the sternum and to the back over the spine to the feet. Think the mantra “light”.

5. Move your shoulders in your own way. Release the tensions in the shoulders and neck. Circle with your shoulders forward and backward.

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6. Turn yourself in your spine several times gently as far as possible to the left and to the right. Focus on the spine and think several times the mantra “spine“.

7. Breathe deeply into your belly and fill you with breath energy (prana). You can also breathe in the pelvic floor or the soles of the feet. Find out what brings you best to rest.

8. Move your feet in your own way. Release the tensions in the feet. Think in the feet the numbers 1 to 20.

9. Move a hand in blessing and think: “I send light to (name). May all people be happy. May the world be happy.”

10. Meditate and bring your thoughts to rest. The back is straight and the stomach is relaxed. What is the best hand position for your meditation? Relax. Come back.

6 Yoga Exercises to Do at Your Desk

Many of us sit behind our desks and stare at computer screens for far too much of the day. Although concentrated work can be beneficial to our jobs, it can be taxing on our bodies. The following yoga exercises will help you relieve any tension you might feel after too many hours of poring over spreadsheets. The poses also provide long-term benefits with regular practice. Each pose takes fewer than two minutes to complete, and you can do the whole series in just 10 minutes—but I promise you’ll feel the effects long after.

Breathe deeply throughout the poses because sending oxygen to your muscles allows them to relax.

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Shoulder Rolls (2 minutes)

· Sitting upright, lift your right shoulder to your ear. Slowly roll your shoulder around and back, dropping it away from your ear.

· Lift your left shoulder to your ear. Slowly roll your shoulder around and back, dropping it away from your ear.

· Continue these rolls three more times, alternating right and left.

· Lift both shoulders up to your ears and hold for a breath. Release them, slowly rolling your shoulders around and back, dropping them away from your ear. Repeat five times and then relax your shoulders.

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Open Chest Stretch (1 minute)

· Sit near the edge of your chair and interlace your fingers behind you, palms together and facing your back.

· Lean forward slightly, lifting your arms so that you feel the stretch in your chest.

· Inhale slowly, lifting your chest.

· Exhale and relax your shoulders away from your ears.

· Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.

· Slowly release your hands and return them to your sides.

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Neck Stretch (1 minute)

· Sit upright without letting your back touch the back of the chair.

· Hold your head directly over your spine, as if there is a string lifting the crown of your head up.

· Drop your right ear toward your right shoulder without lifting your right shoulder or turning your head.

· Take several breaths in and out, feeling the stretch on the left side of your neck.

· To create a deeper stretch, reach your right hand over your head and place it on the left side of your face. Hold the pose for at least five more breaths and then release your hand and straighten your neck, gently massaging your neck and shoulders with your left hand.

· Repeat on your left side.

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Chair Twist (2 minutes)

· Sit near the edge of the chair, but turn your thighs toward the right side of the chair so that you are sitting diagonally. If you have an armrest on the side of your chair, bring your thighs as close to it as possible.

· Move your arm to the back of the chair on the opposite side, taking hold of the chair back with your right hand. With your left hand, take hold of your right knee or armrest.

· Breathe deeply, focusing on lengthening your spine.

· Twist to the right, pressing your right hand against the back of the chair to deepen the stretch. Focus on drawing your shoulder blades down.

· Breathe deeply, completely filling and emptying your lungs. Hold the pose for 10 to 15 breaths.

· Return to the center.

· Repeat on your left side.

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Reverse Prayer Pose (2 minutes)

· Sit near the edge of your chair. Reach your arms around behind you and bring your palms together, fingertips pointing down.

· Rotate your wrists and turn your fingertips in toward your spine until your fingertips are pointing up.

· Slide your palms back together in prayer position.

· Use one hand to help pull the other hand up further on your back, to a comfortable spot. Be sure your shoulders are straight, not rounded.

· Press the outside edges of your palms lightly into your back. Press your palms together gently.

· Press your feet into the floor.

· Breathe deeply, completely filling and emptying your lungs. Hold the pose for 10 to 15 breaths.

· Exhale and release your arms.

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Twisted Arms (2 minutes)

· Sit upright without letting your back touch the back of the chair.

· Reach your arms out in front of you at shoulder level.

· Tuck your right elbow into the crook of your left arm, and curl your forearms up into a 90-degree angle. The backs of your hands will be against each other.

· If you can, place your left fingers on your right palm, keeping palms straight in a single line with your nose.

· Breathe deeply, completely filling and emptying your lungs. Hold the pose for 10–15 breaths.

· Return to the center.

· Tuck your left elbow into the crook of your right arm, and curl your forearms up into a 90-degree angle. The backs of your hands will be against each other.

· If you can, place your right fingers on your left palm, keeping palms straight in a single line with your nose.

· Breathe deeply, completely filling and emptying your lungs. Hold the pose for 10 to 15 breaths.

· Exhale and return to the center.

7 Poses For Yoga Newbie

Are you a yogi-wannabe but too intimidated to enter a group yoga class with no yoga experience? Well, it’s time to zen out and fret no more. After you practice these seven basic yoga poses, you’ll have a perfect foundation for performing yoga that will be having you scream (or whisper) “Namaste” from the hill tops…or your yoga mat.

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Downward Facing Dog: One of the foundation poses for yoga is the downward dog. Many Yoga “Flow” classes will start in downward dog and slowly build a sequence adding other yoga poses building from this beginning stance. From standing position, bend over, placing your hands to the floor. Walk your hands out until both your hands and your feet are completely touching the mat. You should resemble a downward “v.” Take your legs out to shoulder width apart and spread your fingers apart. Press through your palms and keep your hips pushed back. Keep your neck relaxed and hold this position.

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Downward Dog Split Pose: A natural transition to downward dog is moving into a downward dog split pose, also known as three-legged dog. From downward dog position, you will slowly lift one foot in the air, creating a smooth line from hip to ankle. Focus on keeping your standing leg strong and planted.

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Warrior Pose: There are many variations of the warrior pose, but the basic foundational warrior pose consists of separating your feet in a parallel split stance (about 4-5 feet away). Turn your back foot out pointing away from your body. Keep your hips and torso rotated forward towards your front foot. Take a deep breath and on your exhale, bend your front knee into a 90 degree angle. Raise your arms forming a straight line at shoulder height and keep your gaze at your fingertips in front of you.

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Plank Pose:  Plank pose in yoga is traditionally used when coming into or out of downward dog in a sequence and consists of holding yourself up on hands and toes, while carefully ensuring that your body is a straight line, and shoulders, hips, and ankles remain in the same plane by holding your core tight and not allowing your hips to rise or dip. This can be modified by resting on your knees, rather than toes.

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Cow Pose: Cow is a great stretching pose that stretches your back muscles. Begin on all fours on your mat ensuring that your hands are just under your shoulders and feet are under hips. Spread your fingers and tuck your toes to stretch your feet. Begin with a flat back and slowly lift and round your spine by tucking your tailbone and pushing your butt out. Take your gaze to the ceiling. Take a deep breath, and on your exhale, return to starting position.

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Cat Pose: Similar to the cow pose, start on all fours and begin with a straight spine, head facing floor. On your exhale, create a curve in your back by rounding your spine up and taking your gaze to your belly button. Slowly inhale and on your next exhale return to starting position.

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Child’s Pose: This stretching pose is frequently used throughout yoga classes in between more difficult poses to provide a time to recover before moving forward.  Child’s pose stretches your back, ankle, hips, thighs, and knees. Start by kneeling on your hands and knees and separate your knees about hip-width apart. Slowly sink your hips down towards your ankles, lengthening your back as you rest your forehead on the mat. Breathe deep and focus on relaxing your muscles so that your stretch is lengthened with each breath.