asana

  • Strike A Pose: Warrior I with Weights

    Virabhadrasana I

    This week’s strike-a-pose yoga video is brought to you by Danielle Diamond, founder of Xen Strength Yoga with Weights. In this free online yoga video, you will first explore a traditional Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I) pose to learn the general alignment. After your Warrior I is aligned and solid, you’ll approach a more innovative way to practice this asana by adding in light hand weights.

    As you practice this Warrior I exercise with weights, you’ll receive all of the benefits of your classic Warrior I pose including:

    • Stronger shoulders, arms, legs, and ankles

    • A stronger core and back

    • Greater openness in the hips, chest, and lungs

    • Enhanced focus, balance, and stability

    • Increased circulation and respiration

    • A lovely stretch in the arms, legs, shoulders, neck, belly, groins (psoas), and ankles

    • Boosted energy throughout the entire body

    When you amp it up with weights, you’ll receive all of that goodness, plus extra benefits, including greater strength in the core and upper body. Amp up your Warrior I to mix things up, challenge yourself, and boost your strength.

    Go at it, warriors!

    yoga with weights

    Dig this online yoga video with Danielle Diamond? Check out more of her free yoga videos and full-length Xen Strength yoga classes online at YogaVibes.com.

    Photo Credit: Warrior I www.ahimsatribe.com

     

  • Strike A Pose: Seated Forward Fold with Danielle Diamond

    pachimottanasana

    Contrary to what I oftentimes see going on in a yoga class, this pose is not a heroic attempt to hurl your upper half forward, forcefully followed by foot yanking. Come on, now. Settle down. Sure, the go all-out approach has its place and time. For this pose, however, let’s assume the pretty and proper approach.

    In this free online yoga video, Danielle Diamond, Xen Strength Yoga creator, will instruct the basic alignment of a seated forward bend, dubbed Paschimottanasana in yoga lingo. Work toward feeling rooted, creating a long spine, and opening up your front body as you take it forward. After you play a bit with the pose, realize your limit. Maybe even pull back a little on the intensity to find that sweet spot in the pose - that place where you are at once comfortable, correctly aligned, and challenged.

    yoga online

    If you dig this online yoga video with Danielle, you’ll definitely want to check out her additional free online yoga demos and Xen Strength yoga videos.

    Forward Fold via www.peacelove-yoga.tumblr.com

  • Yoga Beyond Asana

    Many of us step foot on the mat for asana purposes, but usually, if all goes well, we leave realizing that yoga is something more. Maybe we leave the mat feeling lighter and happier. Maybe we feel more energized and awake. Maybe a refreshing, uplifting sense of calm has washed over us. Maybe we leave feeling more ourselves than we have in a long time.

    Yoga does that. It delivers more than expected. It shows us that the practice extends beyond the physical realm. It’s not simply about the shapes we create on the mat. Yoga runs deeper…

    dhyana
    • The asanas are useful maps to explore yourself, but they are not the territory. ~Donna Farhi

    • Vogue and Self are putting out the message of yoginis as buff and perfect. If you start doing yoga for those reasons, fine. Most people get beyond that and see that it's much, much more. ~Patricia Walden

    • The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren't enough. ~Amy Weintraub

    • You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. ~Sharon Gannon

    • Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it. Yoga is universal.... But don't approach yoga with a business mind looking for worldly gain. ~K. Pattabhi Jois

    • I would like for people to realize that yoga is not about touching your toes. ~Gary Kraftsow

    • I like the physical part, but I'm also drawn to the spiritual. For me, yoga is not just a workout—it's about working on yourself. ~Mary Glover

    • The beauty is that people often come here for the stretch, and leave with a lot more. ~Liza Ciano

    • Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind. ~Patañjali

    • Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are. ~Jason Crandell

    • Yoga has a sly, clever way of short-circuiting the mental patterns that cause anxiety. ~Baxter Bell

    • Yoga is essentially a practice for your soul, working through the medium of your body. ~Tara Fraser

     

     

  • Strike A Pose: Headstand with Sri Dharma Mittra

    "In yoga, Asana can help put you on the road to enlightenment.” ~Sri Dharma Mittra

    headstand Sri Dharma Mittra striking a variation of Headstand...

    Headstand - the "King of all Asana" - can be a fiddly pose to conquer, especially when dealing with head, neck, and/or shoulder injuries. If that’s the case, we have some cool tricks for you to put into practice.

    Below, find Headstand (Sirsanasa) alternatives and substitutes brought to you by Sri Dharma Mittra, dwelling in New York City at the Dharma Yoga Center.

    Alternative Posture for Headstand

    In this free online yoga video, Sri Dharma Mittra will offer an asana tutorial on an alternative posture for Headstand. For those of you who cannot do Headstand (Raja Sirsasana) for any reason, it is recommended that you learn how to balance on the forearms (Charging Scorpion Pose or Vrschikasana). Forearm Balance allows you to gain the majority of the benefits of Headstand without placing any pressure on the neck or shoulders. This allows the head and neck to really hang loose and relax. Once you have mastered this pose, you will soon be able to practice many of its variations as well.

    "No excuses! When you hurt your neck you still can put your body upside down." ~Sri Dharma Mittra

    forearm balance

    The next asana tutorial is especially beneficial for beginner yogis and for those unable to do regular Headstand.

    Headstand Substitute

    In this free online yoga video, you will discover ways to experience the benefits of Headstand through two extremely simple, modified Headstand variations without ever doing the full expression of the pose. Even in these very basic variations, you will soak up numerous benefits, including relaxation, promotion of thicker hair growth, elevated mental abilities, and increased circulation. Plus, this is an awesome way to begin a relationship with Headstand in preparation for the real deal.

    free online yoga videos

    Drop the excuses and take it upside down.

    ~Tess

  • Impressions of Maha Shakti with Sri Dharma Mittra

    OK. I am completely, for the lack of a better word, obsessed with this online yoga class and totally in love with Sri Dharma Mittra.

    dharma yoga

    Words that come to mind post-practice? Healing, humbling, challenging, relaxing, enlivening, and inspiring.

    This well-balanced, 42-minute class offers a little bit of everything. Start with a brief warm-up of Kapalabhati – an energizing form of pranayama. Follow that up with some unique Sun Salutations, spiced up with lots of side plank action (Vashitasana) and lunge twists. Though this class is beginner approved, expect challenging asana. I’m a yoga teacher, yet I wasn’t able to do everything. Fortunately, there are modifications for most of the poses, making this practice fairly accessible.

    vashitasana Sri Dharma Mittra in full Vashitasana...

    Also, expect lots of Savasana goodness. This surprised me. I’m used to ending my practice in Savasana, so it was kind of hard to accept that it was coming so soon in the practice. I was wondering, “Is this it? Are we there already?” Rest assured, there’s more. After I let go of my Savasana expectations, I definitely appreciated getting into the pose more. Savasana is a lovely opportunity to connect more with the breath and achieve greater stillness.

    Speaking of stillness…

    I love how Dharma Mittra guides you to stillness, even in some of the more advanced poses. In Sarvangasana and Halasana, his message really resonated when he said, “Learn how to meditate during the poses.”

    Sometimes we get so caught up in alignment, adjusting the pose, the elements surrounding us, and/or the activities of the mind, that we completely miss out on the benefits of the pose. Yes, alignment and awareness are important. Yet, in this practice, I found myself letting go and seizing all movements once I found my way into my full expression of the pose. I found myself resolving to stillness and receiving whatever the pose had to offer me in that moment.

    If you are receptive, each pose does have something wonderful to offer you. Sarvangasana for example, “…brings good mental ability, telepathy, cleverness, the veins of your legs rest, it brings radiant health, and some mental powers,” says Dharma Mittra. When you are fidgeting around or caught up in your head, you miss out on the magic.

    Speaking of magic…

    The deep, guided relaxation element of this class is so beautiful and healing. Expect to feel normalized and recharged!

    And last, but so not least, enjoy a simple, brief visualization meditation – the cherry on top of this delicious online yoga experience.

    In this meditation you will construct the symbol Om, visualizing it emerging on the space behind the forehead between the eyebrows. Simply create mental patterns of Om. This space, says Dharma Mittra is, "The seed of your mind – the location of your 6th sense.” By practicing this meditation, you are stimulating your Pituitary gland and tapping into your 6th sense.

    Yogis, it doesn’t get much better than this. Dharma Mittra truly does deliver the best of the best.

    ~Tess

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