online pranayama

  • Yoga for Pregnancy

    I’m sure this comes as no surprise: Prenatal yoga is incredibly beneficial for expectant mothers. Prenatal yoga offers moms-to-be a way to maintain the health and well-being of their physical, mental, and emotional bodies. Prenatal yoga can enhance sleep, lessen stress and anxiety, increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles involved in childbirth, and alleviate lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches and shortness of breath associated with pregnancy.

    Tree Pose

    But the benefits don’t stop there. Prenatal yoga is not only beneficial to the mother; it’s also good for the health of the little human evolving inside. Decreasing the risk of pre-term labor, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and intrauterine growth restriction — a condition that slows a baby's growth – prenatal yoga offers many benefits to the baby.

    A typical prenatal yoga practice usually takes an integrated approach. Gentle stretching, breathing exercises (pranayama), mental centering, asana, and deep relaxation are all incorporated and encouraged. These classes are incredibly accessible and usually verge on the more restorative side of the yoga spectrum.

    We’ve recently added two free prenatal yoga videos with the lovely Ashley Albrand, featuring a pose to relieve back pain and a beneficial form of pranayama.

    Prenatal Back Pain Relief

    Grab two blocks and a blanket for this free online yoga video. This restorative yoga pose is a wonderful way to relieve back pain associated with pregnancy. If you are in your 3rd trimester, you should not roll over on your back, but rather sit up. In this online yoga video, Ashley is about 4-1/2 months into her pregnancy.

    Back Pain Relief

    Prenatal Breathing Practice

    This form of pranayama is great to add into your prenatal yoga practice. In this free online yoga video, Ashley will teach alternate nostril breathing with mula bandha, an ancient technique for activating and toning the first energy center or chakra located at the pelvic floor.

    Alternate Nostril Breathing

    Also, learn a simple yoga pose – Legs-Up-the-Wall – with Desi Bartlett in this free online yoga video to alleviate edema or swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet during pregnancy.

    Yoga for Edema

    The 9 month journey of pregnancy is a time to be gentle with yourself. It’s also a time of preparation. Turning to yoga will help prepare the body, mind, and spirit for labor and childbirth. Yoga teaches all the essential tools – concentration, focus, breathing techniques, and strength – required to bring life into the world.

    ~TJ

    Note: To find YogaVibes' selection of full-length prenatal yoga videos please use our Class Search feature. Just check “Prenatal” under focus to choose a class.

    Photo Credit: Tree Pose via www.tuckertiayra.tumblr.com

  • Weekend Intention: Shift Into Stillness

    If you’ve had a wildly busy week, take an opportunity this weekend to settle down and shift into complete stillness.

    Shoelace Pose

    First, experience some deep, passive stretching to open up your body and help set you up for a comfortable, seated meditation.

    Yin Yoga for Athletes with Ted McDonald

    As an athlete, this is Ted's favorite sequence. Whether you're on the slopes, on the golf course, on the bike, on a run, or on the court, it doesn't matter. Even if you are not an athlete this sequence will benefit you by relieving tension, lengthening connective tissues, and cleansing your energetic system for a healthier body and calmer mind. It is best done in the evening before bed. You won't regret making it a regular part of your routine! Life is really grand, and now you'll feel why! Have blocks and towels or a blanket available to modify the poses. (19 mins.)

    Ted McDonald Yoga Online

    Yin Yoga to Begin Meditation with Gigi Yogini

    Sometimes one of the biggest distractions for our meditation practice is how uncomfortable it is to sit. Even if you're a beginner and want to start with 5 minutes of conscious breathing, it is often a good idea to prepare yourself with some yin yoga to deeply stretch the hips. In this online yoga video, open your body and concentrate on your breath. After some yin yoga poses, you will practice a simple counting technique to stay focused during meditation. Have a blanket available to prop up your hips. (21 mins.)

    Gigi Yogini Yoga Online

    Follow up your yummy yin session with one of two simple online meditation videos with Ashley Turner:

    Meditation to Access Inner Power

    Ashley Turner will talk you through a short pranayama practice and guide you through a short meditation to access your inner power, located at your third (manipura) chakra, in this free online yoga video. 

    Ashley Turner Yoga Online

    Meditation 101

    This free online meditation video is designed to introduce you to the practice of meditation. Ashley Turner talks you through setting up for, and practicing, a short, seated meditation.

    Ashley Turner Yoga Online

    Give your body and brain a period of stillness and silence this weekend to recharge and renew.

    ~TJ

    Photo Credit: Shoelace Pose via www.yogaaddict.ie/blog

  • Gigi Yogini on Throat Chakra Healing

    Do you experience difficulty expressing yourself? Speaking your truth? Do you silently conduct negative, self-critical conversations with yourself about yourself? If you experience any of these communication drawbacks, you may be up against an imbalance, or blockage, of your throat chakra.

    Throat Chakra Opening

    Worry not. This is not an incurable condition. In fact, there are ways to heal a throat chakra imbalance through the physical practice of yoga.

    Gigi Yogini teaches that simple exercises combined with song can unblock this subtle energy center and unleash your ability to express yourself freely and genuinely:

    These days, it’s not often that you sing in a yoga class. But singing is a great way to open the fifth energy wheel in the body, the Throat Chakra (Vishuddha), which is known as the purification center that relates to self-expression.

    It is said that when our throat chakra is open we can transform negative experiences into wisdom.

    Opening this energy wheel can bring about balance between the past, present and future. When we learn how to express ourselves by using our voices so say what is most true, and to ask questions when we need clarification, we create a sense of freedom.

    This chakra not only reflects verbal communication but also includes non-verbal communication and the way we silently speak to ourselves.

    Sometimes I hear how critical the negative mind can be and my observing mind is shocked. I often try to counterbalance the mean and insecure thoughts with a powerfully positive and uplifting mantra or statement. Using affirmations with my actual voice helps me overcome the limitations expressed by my subconscious one.

    While opening the throat chakra is often an energetic practice, it can also be aided physically.

    In the video below, we do some simple physical exercises to release any tension in the jaw, face, neck and we even sing a little song you might know and love. The point is to loosen up physically, and mentally, to have some fun.

    Speaking your truth takes practice and sometimes it’s easier when you can smile and laugh. This way you can remind yourself of who you really are.

    Practice Gigi Yogini's Throat Chakra Opener - a playful online yoga class exploring mantra and affirmative singing.

    Throat Chakra Opener with Gigi Yogini

    Smile, maybe laugh, and find balance in the way you communicate to the world and to yourself.

    ~TJ

    Photo Credit: Image via www.instagram.com/nessavendetta/

  • Weekend Intention: Leave Your Ego at the Door

    "After the demands of the ego and its greed surrendered, the struggle for fulfillment of personal desires lessens; life takes on a new zest like a breath of fresh air." ~Swami Sivananda Radha

    Leave the Ego at the Door

    The ego is bound to creep its way in while you’re on the mat. As human, there’s really no way to permanently escape it. It is your sense of self or I am-ness or, as my neuroscience professor coined it, it is your I-function. The I-function is the part of the self that wants and desires. It functions as the doer, the storyteller, the maker, the feeler, and the thinker. It is YOU.

    The problem with your ego is that it can make everything about YOU. It makes everyone and everything seem totally separate and disconnected from your self. The goal of yoga, however, is unity and oneness. The goal of yoga is to realize our profound connection with all creation. Yoga reveals that it's not all about YOU.

    In your practice, how do you deal with the ego? How do you break away from it? How do you leave it off the mat? And how do you experience this sense of profound oneness?

    One word: Nonattachment. Nonattachment is the practice of breaking free from all of your wants, desires, things, and emotions. Nonattachment is not allowing yourself to get pulled down or distracted by the things unfolding in your external world. Nonattachment is all about quieting those ego demands.

    Okay, so how do you go about doing that?

    Man...it's a pretty heavy process. The first step, however, is fairly simple. Just become more aware of what you cling to in your practice. Make note of your distractions, feelings, thoughts, annoyances, etc. Through heightened awareness, you can start to loosen the ego’s grip a little bit. Also, as you begin to identify those things you are clinging to, you being to realize that it’s really not those “things” that are the problem. The problem is YOU. Yoga is about getting rid of everything that causes you struggle. Interestingly enough, your own ego creates your struggle because it tells a false story - a story of disunity and disconnect. Bad ego!

    To practice leaving the ego at the door, get sweaty with some flow this weekend. Practice one of two strong online Vinyasa flows taught by Elisabeth Halfpapp and Jodi Carey, both filmed at Exhale Spa. Link breath to movement to create a steady and consistent flow from pose to pose, encouraging a moving meditation. In these online yoga videos, be prepared for mental and physical challenge. Also, be willing to let go. Let go of those ego demands and limitations!

    Elisabeth Halfpapp Yoga

    Jodi Carey Yoga Online

    Also, practice Kia Miller’s free online yoga video exploring an Ego Eradicating pose combined with Breath of Fire. Because, come on...who doesn’t need a little bit (if not A LOT) of ego eradication?!

    Ego Eradicator with Kia Miller Yoga

    During your practice, cultivate awareness of all the things that make you lose focus, cause you upset, etc. See what pops up. Post practice, put some pen to paper to record what surfaced. Do these things pop up a lot on mat? Off the mat? Why are they popping up? Just take inventory to get a feeling for your ego’s sneaky ways.

    Do yoga to loosen the ego's grip and be free of its limits. Do yoga for your soul; not your ego.

    ~TJ

    Photo Credit: Image via www.healingthroughdoing.tumblr.com

  • Backbends & Bandhas with Jeanne Heileman

    This week we’ve put in two fresh yoga videos with Jeanne Heileman exploring backbends and the energetic lock, Jalandhara Bandha.

    Bandhas Photograph of advanced practitioner Petri engaging all three bandhas (energetic locks)

    Backbends to Access More Love

    Backbends will either excite you or scare you, depending on how you are wired and what type of body you own. One of the major misunderstandings of backbends is that they come out of us, from within. This online yoga class will explore backbends from the inside out. You will first be introduced to Jalandhara Bandha, a method of cultivating energy to open the upper chest, which tends to be tight for all of us. You will then move through a warm-up sequence similar to all Vinyasa flow classes, using the breath to generate heat. You will practice a number of seemingly mild backbends that when coupled with mantra and breathing techniques, will open the energy of goodness that lies deep within your heart. If you can do these backbends in this method, your body will be able to handle any type of backbend. (63 mins.)

    Jeanne Heileman Yoga

    Jalandhara Bandha

    A bandha is a bond or lock created with the body. Bandhas are used in the asana practice, pranayama exercises, and certain meditations. In this free online yoga video, you will explore the energetic lock (bandha) at the base of the throat known as Jalandhara Bandha. Jeanne will guide you through a short warm-up. Create heat in the body by flowing through bridge pose. Connect to your breath via deep Ujjayi breathing and breath retention exercises. Practice Breath of Fire to create even more heat and find access to Jalandhara Bandha. The point of this energetic bond is to build and create more space in the body. You will find that when you lock this inner energy you enhance your ability to access certain poses. Try it with the wisdom and guidance of Jeanne Heileman to transform your practice. (10 mins.)

    Jeanne Heileman Yoga

    Cultivate expansion in the body to expand your practice.

    ~TJ

    Photo Credit: Bandhas via http://earthyogi.blogspot.com

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