Yoga for Beginners

  • Fresh Vibes: Yoga Basics!

    yoga poses

    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.)

     

  • Affirmation Flow for Valentine’s Day

    yoga and love

    Not into candlelit dinners, "be mines," and copious amounts of chocolates?

    Eh, it’s all very overrated if you ask me...and any other single person out there for that matter.

    So, here’s a sweet alternative.

    How ‘bout an intimate V-Day date with a Valentine that’ll never let you down?

    Yoga.

    Sure, it doesn’t send you temporary gifts of sweet nothings and flowers. Yoga, instead, sends gifts that last - gifts that keep giving again and again and again. It's the ultimate Valentine and the ultimate source of light, liberation, and love. And you know what’s underrated if you ask me: Love.

    So, just in time for this day devoted to love (as all days should be, by the way), here’s a beautifully unique online yoga practice to cozy up with led by the lovely Allyn Cioban: Affirmation Flow - I Am Loved.

    Along with yoga, Allyn has been practicing affirmations for many years. She firmly believes what quantum physics proves - we are, and everything is, made up of vibrating energy. She realized one day that she was reciting affirmations in her mind during her asana practice. It felt really good, so she continued to infuse the two, and eventually created "Affirmation Flow." She later found a book by Paramahansa Yogananda entitled "Scientific Healing Affirmations" which says, "Words saturated with sincerity, conviction, faith, and intuition are like highly explosive vibration bombs." Allyn was excited to learn that what she had created intuitively was rooted in ancient yogic philosophy!

    From all this, she developed one of her most powerful Affirmation Flow sequences: I am loved! This online yoga class will leave you feeling freakin’ amazing. It will nourish your soul, reminding you of the deep source of light and love that is always within you. (54 mins.)

    affirmations yoga

    So, no need to search for love.

    Because you got the love.

    Single or spoken for...

    You got the love.

    Image Courtesy of www.soulbirdcreations.com 

  • Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners

    New to the practice of yoga?

    New to the Ashtanga Yoga method?

    Don’t know where to start your journey?

    Easy. Start here.

    Below, find 3 beginner-friendly Ashtanga yoga videos led by the awe-inspiring, Kino MacGregor.

    yogavibes yoga videos

    First, learn the basics...

    Try Kino's Ashtanga Yoga Basics, exploring the sun salutations and standing postures.

    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 MacGregor will lead you through the postures with a focus on healthy alignments 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.)

    And when you’re ready to take it a little deeper...

    Try Kino’s full Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series for beginners.

    This is the perfect online yoga class for when you are ready to up the ante, but do not consider yourself ready for the full on Ashtanga Primary Series. Kino talks you through the practice at a nice easy pace with lots of instructions and modifications as needed to make the Ashtanga Yoga practice accessible for all levels. You will start off with the Sun Salutations, continue with the Standing Postures, explore a few key Seated Postures, try out Backbends and end with basic Closing Postures. Fit beginners who are inspired to try a one hour practice, are encouraged and welcome to start with this Ashtanga yoga sequence. (63 mins.)

    And for a more therapeutic experience...

    Try Kino’s Ashtanga Yoga Therapeutics class, focusing on opening up the inner thighs.

    Discover all the secrets of your pelvis and find strength and flexibility in your hips. If your inner thighs are tight, this can lead to injury in the knees, tightness in the hips and tension in the inner organs. Key meridians for the kidneys, pancreas, and gall bladder all run through the inner thighs. By targeting the inner thighs in this online yoga class, you will free up stuck energy in the body and become healthier and more flexible. Opening your hips is part of the inner journey that awakens your natural state of flexibility and strength. Take this beginner yoga sequence as an addition to a regular Ashtanga practice or as a therapeutic practice on its own. Appropriate for all levels. (50 mins.)

    Don't put off your practice any longer. Take a leap of faith and dive in!

  • Feature Friday: What’s New?

    We have some tasty new items on the online yoga menu this week to entice you:

    1. Start by taking the focus inward in Jeanne Heileman’s The Third Eye: A Practice Working with Inner Awareness.

      Join Jeanne and students for a strong workout that opens up a whole new world on the inside. This well-rounded practice moves you in a flow sequence from Sun Salutations into Standing Poses, into Arm Balances and Backbends, cooling down with Reclining Forward Folds. What makes this online yoga class special is the attention to the Sixth Chakra, the inner, Third Eye. It is said that when we close our outer eyes, the inner Third Eye can begin to awaken and see the light that dwells within ourselves. It takes time and practice. This online yoga class will not only show you how to start to access this inner light, but give you tips on the journey. The students in this video reported that they loved the experience and found it amazingly powerful. (78 mins.)

    2. Now this next one is especially geared toward the fellas. There’s no excuse now not to try yoga when you have a practice uniquely designed for you. Joan Hyman’s Yoga for Men class, appropriate for beginners, is an awesome opportunity for you guys to get a taste of some broga.

      Though created for men, anyone can benefit from this basic, slow moving online yoga class. Learn the fundamentals with this instructional-based sequence targeting the hips and shoulders. Gain a better understanding of the language of standing poses. This flow ends with light stretching, creating a well-balanced feeling in the body and mind. (59 mins.)

    3. If you are looking for something short, sweet, yet stimulating, join Annie Carpenter for a "Quickie" SmartFLOW experience, exploring the forearm balance and inversion Pincha Mayurasana.

      inversion Though this online yoga class is short, there is no lack of detail on specific alignment. Annie will help you find optimal alignment while lifting the arms forward and overhead as you work towards one of her very favorite poses, Pincha Mayurasana. (27 mins.)

    4. To top it all off, Join Rolf Gates one of his signature 90-minutes mixed-level Vinyasa flow classes - a Grounding Flow.

      Begin slowly with centering, followed by a slow warm-up. Practice proper standing alignment with a block sequence that will lengthen the side body while helping you ground into the earth. Build heat with a steady, challenging flow that includes Sun Salutation variations, a standing mandala-type flow and standing balance pose sequence. Finish with core work, backbends, and seated hip openers.

    There’s a lot going on here. Third eye awakenings. Broga. Quickies. Centering. Get it while it’s HOT yogis.

    ~Tess

  • The Get-Splits-Quick Solution

    splits

    I’m writing this post for you as much as I’m writing it for myself. The last time I was in full splits, I was holding poms poms. That was about 10 years ago. Oh, my youth.

    Anyways, I’ve been practicing yoga just about everyday for over a year now, and still have not realized the full split (Hanumanasana). Sigh. What’s taking so freaking long? I know, I know. Patience, patience. Practice, practice. I hear you loud and clear. Though recently, I experienced a revelation: What if yoga isn’t enough? More specifically, what if my current practice of yoga isn’t enough? This got me wondering – wondering if a slight shift in my split strategy was in order.

    So, I went digging - digging for answers. Do you dare to know what I conjured up in my quest for the full split? You may not like the answer. The truth is, yoga may not be enough. The truth is, the only way to leap effortlessly into the full split is via lots of stretching. You mean I won’t get full splits if I practice yoga for 1.5 hours per day 6 days a week? Yes, that’s precisely what I mean, provided you have not maintained your natural, youthful suppleness.

    So what’s the solution for us severely stiff beings? Read on, yogis.

    1. Practice Half Split. Duh. But I’m not talking the typical practice of half split. I don’t mean holding this pose for a mere 5 to 10 breaths. I’m talking 5 to 10 minutes. Each side. Hold on…don’t get all worked up just yet. You aren’t going to start there. Start at 1 to 2 minutes each side. Journey your way toward longer holds.
    2. Stretch daily. Get up and stretch for 15 minutes. Focus on stretches that target the hamstrings. Hanging forward fold. Half split. Also, focus on stretches that work the psoas, hip flexors, and quads. Lunge and lunge variations are awesome for this. Kneeling crescent (2 minutes per side) is a great beginning pose. Pre shut-eye, do another 15 minutes of stretching. In total, that’s 30 minutes of stretching per day. Can you and your stiff self handle it? Sure you can.
    3. Be consistent. Consistency is crucial. If you really want to realize the full split, you must devote heavy practice to it daily. No excuses.
    4. Warm up. Don’t crazily attempt to leap into the full split in heroic Hanuman style. Turn up the heat gradually. First, get those hamstrings loose and limber. Practice a hanging forward fold to awaken those testy, tight suckers. Set the timer for 1 to 2 minutes. And breathe. For guidance, tune into Sage Rountree's free online yoga video for athletes demoing a forward folding method to stretch all 3 parts of the hamstring.
    5. Don’t force it. When you are in your fullest expression of the full split, you do not want to feel any pain. Of course, you do want to feel a deep, strong stretch. The place where you experience this intense yet manageable stretch is your edge. When you reach your edge, relax. Set the time for 1 to 2 minutes. And breathe.
    6. Use support. I love using blocks and blankets to support my split and to promote deeper relaxation. There’s no shame in props, yogis! Another great support system is the wall. Practice standing split against the wall to work deeper and deeper into the pose. Again, hold your pose for 1 to 2 minutes per side. And breathe. Check out a free online yoga video with Kim McNeil for prop ideas and modifications and to discover an accessible place to work (and HOLD) this pose.

    There is a get-splits-quick scheme. It’s called stretching. LOTS of stretching. But the thing is, stretching is not enough if it does not come with strategy and consistency.

    So, if you truly aim to master Hanumanasana, join me in this strategic and steady split stretching spree. Take pictures of your daily split practice and progress. Keep a stretching journal. Do whatever it takes to keep you honest and on top of your Hanumanasana game. Here are some hashtag ideas for all you fellow Instagram junkies:

    #HanumanWannabes #SplitSpree #SplitsorBust

    To end, let us invoke Hanuman, the Monkey deity, to inspire and motivate us at the launch of this split undertaking.

    Om Hanumate Namah

     ~Tess

    Photo Credit: Hanumanasana via _danielito's Instagram

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