Mar 7, 2014
Back to the basics!
If you’re a beginner yogi, here are some starting points to kickoff your journey.
If you’re a seasoned yogi, here some basic flows to build even more strength and intelligence in your practice.
- Ashtanga Yoga Basics with Joan Hyman
Learn the fundamentals of the Ashtanga Yoga system in a slow, safe, and supportive way. Learn the Sun Salutations and the basic standing postures that open up the series. This is a basic Ashtanga Yoga video designed for all levels and anyone interested in Ashtanga. The sequence is taught up to the seated poses and then moves into bridge pose to warm up the shoulders for shoulder stand at the wall, preparing for a simple pranayama to close. Add this sequence to your home practice and take it with you wherever you go! (52 mins.)
- Yoga Basics: Everyday Class with Darcy Lyon
Filmed live at Yoga Tree, this online yoga video is perfect for a morning routine, mid-day refresher or end of day soother. Beginning from the floor, move through a variety of hip openers, standing poses, twists and gentle back-bends. This is a well-rounded practice accessible to all, including yoga newbies, older yogis, or those whose bodies are more stiff. (33 mins.)
- Ashtanga Yoga Basics: Sun Salutations + Standing Postures with Kino MacGregor
This is the perfect place to learn the basics of the Ashtanga Yoga method. The Sun Salutations and standing postures form the fundamental postures and practice of all Ashtanga Yoga students. Kino will lead you through the postures with a focus on healthy alignment and coordination of breath with movement. The Ashtanga Yoga practice is built on three points, known in Sanskrit as the Tristana method. The postures, the breath and the focal point give your mind and body a specific set of instructions to train the body and calm the mind. Use this online yoga practice to build up your Ashtanga Yoga Basics. Be prepared to sweat! (32 mins.)
- Yoga for Men: Beginners with Joan Hyman
This instruction-heavy beginner yoga video is designed for men, but anyone can benefit from this slow-moving, simple flow. Learn the basics, target the hips and shoulders, and gain greater understanding of the language of standing poses. End with light stretching to create balance in the body and mind. (59 mins.)
- Sun Salutations for Beginners with Allyn Cioban
Modified for the beginner, these dynamic movements linked with breath are the essential basics you’ll need to know for just about every yoga practice. Master this sequence and you will be prepared to enter any studios’ level 1 yoga class. This online yoga class also stands alone, rooted in the 5,000 year old traditions of yoga. You may choose to practice it at home for a wonderful daily dose of yoga asana and pranayama! (42 mins.)
Mar 6, 2014
- Style: Power Yoga for Sports (Vinyasa)
- Intensity: Level 1 = All Levels Online Yoga Video
- Focus: Athletes, Runners, Beginners, Hip Openers, Yoga for Men
- Average Rating: 5/5
On the teacher.
Gwen’s unique combination of dance, massage and yoga training experience, coupled with her extensive knowledge of anatomy and nutrition, offers students overwhelming benefits. Gwen is the yoga instructor for 5 Pro teams in New York, including the New York Giants, New York Knicks, New York Red Bulls, and the New York Rangers, in addition to major college teams such as Yale and UNC. She is well-known for her sports-specific Power Yoga for Sports flows (many of which are featured in our online yoga collection!) and training programs.
On the class.
This online yoga class is the perfect complement for all runners, from the avid runner to the weekend warrior. Running can create a very tight lower half and can take its toll on the body. This yoga video features deep stretches and long holds, so you can really dig in, dissolve tension and tightness, and get faster results. You will learn to notice imbalances, so you can address them before they lead to injury. (28 mins.)
What people are saying.
- “My legs are always more relaxed after this class, thanks!”
- “Great practice. Excellent stretch for very tight lower body. Gwen has a great voice…”
For more sports-specific flows with Gwen, check out her ever-growing collection of online yoga classes.
Mar 5, 2014
“Bow Pose…it’s like many things: misunderstood.”
Resembling an archer’s bow (with the torso and legs the body of the bow and the arms the string), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) is an intermediate backbend in the practice.
A lot of not-so-good things tend to come up physically in this pose. Knee pain, sway back, belly suffocation…
But this is only because, as Jeanne says, the pose is misunderstood. Once you get aligned, you’ll realize it isn’t so bad. In fact, it can feel super yummy. Plus, the pose comes with too many benefits to just up and ignore it:
- Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors (psoas)
- Strengthens the back muscles
- Improves posture
- Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck
- Relieves constipation, respiratory ailments, mild backache, fatigue, anxiety, menstrual discomfort
To increase your Bow awareness and receive the Bow benefits, tune into Jean’s online yoga demo. In this free online yoga video, Jeanne will take you through three different therapeutic alignment tips that will address the common problems associated with this misunderstood backbend. This online yoga video is great education for yoga teachers who want to help their students practice a pain-free bow pose.
Try this and have a happy, open heart!
Find more of Jeanne’s helpful online yoga tips + full-length online yoga classes on YogaVibes!
Image courtesy of www.picstopin.com
Mar 4, 2014
Want to boost your productivity? Fortify your focus?
Impose a yoga break on yourself.
If this is the part where you rattle off a long list of excuses – schedules, guilt, time constraints, blah, blah, blah – hold the phone…
Because evidence shows that to stay on schedule, regular break sessions are essential! A growing body of research reveals that brief diversions from mental tasks can strongly enhance your ability to focus on the task at hand for extended periods while also improving productivity and creativity and curbing stress and exhaustion.
Contrary to popular thought and practice, constant stimulation – the go-go-go mentality – is not effective. In fact, the daily grind has a numbing effect on the brain. Constant devotion to a task is registered by the brain as insignificant, so much so that the brain starts removing it from your awareness. And so begins drifting and daydreaming…
The brain is wired to detect and react to change; thus, forced, extended attention to a single mental task (taxes, studying for exams, etc.) actually limits your effectiveness. So, deactivating your attention to that task, whether through yoga, meditation or pranayama, allows you to reactivate your focus.
If you’re in the zone, by all means stay there. But if you’re drifting and daydreaming, take a hint. Take a break from your work and workspace to refresh your internal resources and tap into your energy reserves.
Start here. Join Sean Gray for the perfect online yoga diversion: Recharge! This online yoga class is designed for those that desire a well-rounded yoga break that will hit the entire body, pump some freshly oxygenated blood through the system, and clear the brain to allow it to have a fresh start afterwards. This online yoga video is an excellent midday practice to get you back on track and reactivate your focus. (41 mins.)
For more yoga diversions, visit our ever-growing collection of online yoga videos.
Image courtesy of www.taramackey.wordpress.com
Mar 3, 2014
Remember that when you are in the grips of anxiety that your mind is racing, you are usually dwelling on “what ifs?” and how to control your outer environment. Living with a pattern (both real or imagined) of stress stimulates the nervous system to operate continuously in fight or flight mode, sending messages to the body to produce more adrenaline, increase the heart rate, and decrease the breathing rate, all of which keeps you in the vicious cycle of anxiety you are hoping to break.
When we learn to relax we turn on the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes the rest and digest response. The more we can operate out of this state of being, the physically easier it is for us to move towards a state of equanimity. It can even be helpful to rehearse scenarios that make us anxious, unsettled, and stressed-out while in deeper states of relaxation to re-wire the body’s response to those things that make us feel out of control. True empowerment comes from mastering techniques which help us to turn our stress state into something we can work with and ultimately grow from.
Below are some yoga tips to help you fine-tune your ability to move into a deeper connection to your source of well-being and live more freely in the moment – healthy and emotionally-balanced.
- Practice daily “checking in” and 1:2 breathing ratio. Find a comfortable place (sitting, lying down, or even legs elevated (multi-tasking with an inversion)) and begin to turn your attention on how you’re feeling at this moment. Be as impartial as possible. Witness, make notes without a lot of judgment about whether it’s good or bad. After you’ve got a sense of the state of your emotions, where your thoughts are, energy level, etc., begin to observe your breath. Count the number of beats it takes for your inhale. Gradually increase your exhalation by a few beats. Work yourself towards an exhalation that is double the length of your inhalation. If it is leaving you breathless or anxious to double the exhale, simply stick with breathing out a few extra beats more than you inhale. Do this breathing for 3 to 5 minutes, or count out a full 10 rounds if that’s easier. When you’ve come to a completion of the breathing exercise check in again and notice changes (if any). If there has been a shift, acknowledge it and note that states of mind and emotion are temporary and that you’ve managed (at least during the breathing exercise) to shift yourself.
- If you are having a particularly stressful event or find yourself anxiously turning something over and over in your mind, take some time out to practice the 1:2 breathing exercise. Once you’ve established a nice rhythm, bring your mind back to your current situation and see if you can witness it while keeping the 1:2 breathing ratio. What happens?
- Spend 5 minutes a day in a restorative inversion. Try legs up the wall or legs on a chair with a slightly rolled blanket or towel supporting the neck. This is a nice time to practice the breath and check in.
- Spend 5 to 10 minutes in a restorative yoga posture (more if you have time). This is great to do daily or anytime you feel you need a break – especially if you feel you don’t have time for a break! See if you can break the cycle of feeling that you can’t relax until everything is done. A forward fold like supported childs pose is great. If you have time, pair this with a gentle backbend like supported bridge pose, legs elevated, and another forward folding pose like supported badha konasana (bound angle/butterfly) pose, upavistha konasana (wide-legged forward fold), or paschimottanasana (seated forward fold). End with an 8 breath savasana.
- Take a bath with 8 to 10 drops of lavender essential oil.*
- Drink a cup of herbal tea (like chamomile, or rose).
- Take a brisk 10 to 15 minute walk.
- Call or visit someone who could use a friend to listen to them (especially when you feel no one is listening to you!)
- Sitali (shee-ahh-lee) Breath (10 rounds*).
For an online yoga practice focused on stress and anxiety relief, tune into this restorative practice. Experience a deeper sense of peace, comfort, and relaxation by tapping into your parasympathetic nervous system. This online yoga class promotes well-being, overall health, healing, and boosts immunity. With regular practice of this online yoga video, you’ll find it’s easier to create “calm” off the mat.
*Essential oils have very small molecules that can pass through your skin and through the nose via the olfactory bulb to the limbic system where they stimulate the Hypothalamus. This area of the brain is where the fight/flight response lives and the soothing/calming nature of plant oils like lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, rose, and clary sage (stress/irritation from hormonal changes) can be profound. Essential oils are really nice to add to a warm bath just before going to bed to help ease insomnia and calm “monkey” (restless) mind.
*Sitali or “cooling breath” = inhaling either through puckered lips or a rolled tongue and exhaling through the nostrils with a slight pause at the end of the exhale. This breath is thought to remove fever, still hunger, quench thirst, and alleviate diseases of the spleen. At the least, it is thought to be one of the more langhana (restful, stress-reducing) pranayamas (breathing exercises).
Image courtesy of www.cecilleblog.blogspot.com