yoga poses

  • 5 Yoga Poses for Skiers with Gwen Lawrence

    After a long day on the mountain, pass on that sought-after hot toddy or libation of choice and try yoga.

    gwen lawrence yoga online

    In any sport, it's essential to be proactive when it comes to injury prevention. In skiing, this means...

    • Cultivating strong legs to endure long, challenging slopes.
    • Building exceptional back and abdominal strength to maintain perfect form for maximum control.
    • Finding more openness and flexibility in the hips to protect the knees and better manage falls and unstable surfaces.
    • Observing and combating muscular imbalances to support a smooth, graceful run down the mountain.

    Yoga helps to achieve all of this. 5 yoga poses, in particular, work wonders to bring your body into a state of equilibrium, so you can ward off injury and tackle the slopes for years to come. Join YogaVibes teacher, Gwen Lawrence, for a free online yoga demo designed to help you complement and counter the swift, high-energy movements on the mountain.

    1. Chair Pose: This pose is the ultimate leg-strengthener and develops the form needed to maneuver through even the toughest of runs. Chair pose also serves to reinforce spinal strength and proper alignment. Gwen’s Direction: Try chair pose holds for 10 breaths. To counter, hold a standing forward bend. Repeat the sequence 3 to 5 times.
    2. Bow Pose: After holding perfect form and keeping that precise angle at the hip joint, you must tend to the hip flexors. If not addressed, tight hip flexors can wreak havoc on the low back and compromise the alignment of your spine. Gwen’s Direction: Strike 3 bow poses for 30 seconds each. Breathe deep! Between each bow, enjoy 3 to 4 breaths in child's pose. Ahhh.
    3. Forearm Plank: Unlike its close relative, plank pose, forearm plank asks even more from your core and really digs deep into your abdominal strength while simultaneously challenging your spinal alignment and body positioning. Gwen's Direction: To be in prime slope shape, practice 3 one-minute holds, paying special mind to your alignment. No drooping of the mid-section!
    4. Chair Twist: Practicing the basic chair pose with a twist will stretch the obliques, facilitating subtle changes in your core that will direct your skis. Stretching the obliques (the muscles along the ribs and side body) will enhance your ability to endure the aerobic element of skiing, improving your control and boosting your lung capacity. Added bonus: Extra quad work to enhance leg strength! Gwen’s Direction: Hold chair twists 30 seconds on each side for 2 to 3 sets.
    5. Rock & Rolls: Before you hit the slopes, try these movements to shed light on where your balance is at. Gwen’s Direction: Lying on your back, bring your knees into your chest. Hold the legs behind your thighs and close your eyes. Do not peek or you will wreck your analysis! Inhale and exhale deeply and rock and roll 6 to 7 times. On the 7th rep, stop in the seated position and open your eyes. See where you are. You may be quite surprised to find yourself facing the opposite direction or on your neighbor's yoga mat! Whatever your imbalances end up being, you'll be astounded by the outcome of this little trick. Trick Analysis:
      • If you pull or turn right, your right hip or low back may be tight and require work (or vice versa).
      • If you inch toward the front of your mat, you may require extra deep hip flexor stretching. Tight hip flexors may cause lumbar hyperlordosis or "swayback" - a condition that occurs when the lumbar region is regularly stressed.
      • If you traveled over to the right of your mat, but are still facing forward, consider upper back and shoulder work (and vice versa).

    gwen lawrence online yoga video

    If you want to keep tearin' up that powder, follow the wisdom of Gwen Lawrence and settle into these poses before and after you tackle the slopes.

    Gwen Lawrence is the founder of Power Yoga for Sports and works with athletes in professional basketball, football, baseball, hockey, and soccer, Olympians, and college athletes.

    Image courtesy of Gwen Lawrence 

  • Yoga for Killer Legs

    warrior poses

    Want that strong, sculpted, sexy stride?

    Well, step away from the squat rack and onto your yoga mat for a powerful leg workout.

    There’s no need to be an eternal slave to the gym and all of its strength-building machines and trinkets. All you need is your own body weight and a set of standing and balancing poses to shape up your lower limbs.

    Unlike weightlifting, which tends to target particular muscle groups, yoga's standing and balancing postures work to condition all muscles of the legs, often strengthening and stretching the muscles simultaneously. This simultaneous action overtime (eccentric contraction) gives your muscles that sleek, elongated yogi look as opposed to that compact, bulky weightlifter look. What’s more, standing poses have therapeutic applications. These yoga poses strengthen the muscles that protect the knee, hip, and ankle joints to help strengthen your physical foundation.

    To power up your legs, join Gwen Lawrence in her newest online yoga video: Legs Rule Supreme.

    Gwen’s signature style of creative Vinyasa combines a hybrid functional strength feel. A more energetic style of yoga, this leg day workout will guide you to link breath with movement through a challenging sequence of postures, dynamic holds, and core exercises. Placing heavy emphasis on standing postures, this online yoga class will target your legs, quads and hamstrings. Work on finding your stability and opening up the legs. Strengthen the muscles that protect your knee and hip joints. Anticipate a challenging, yet accessible, online yoga experience designed to get your legs burning and your heart pumping. (62 mins.)

    yoga for legs

    Keep up this legs-for-days flow and you’ll walk away with a strong, sexy stride in no time!

    Image Credit: Warrior II by Christine Hewitt Photography (www.yogicphotos.com)

  • Yoga to Relieve Cold Symptoms

    viparita karani Legs-Up-the-Wall pose is good for almost anything that ails you, including respiratory ailments and headaches.  

    Are you a sniffling, sneezing mess?

    I feel ya.

    I’ve been hit hard. Real hard.

    Body aches. Headaches. Scratchy, dry throat. Low energy. Exhaustion. The works.

    And it sucks hard. Real hard.

    But what sucks even more is not being able to keep on keepin’ on with a normal yoga practice. Because when a plague like this hits, it’s super hard to practice yoga at a normal pace or intensity as I'm sure you've discovered or will discover at some point.

    While my natural tendency is to assume the no-pain-no-gain mindset and bust out my practice anyways, I know (thanks to the heightened awareness that yoga has granted) that this would not be in my best interest.

    Heck, I can’t even breathe through my nose! And when you can’t breathe, that’s a telltale sign that it’s best to back off.

    But that doesn’t mean you have to back off from your personal practice entirely. In fact, a bit of yoga could do you good and work wonders for your healing process.

    So yesterday, instead of doing the sweaty, intense Ashtanga Yoga practice I so craved, I listened to my body’s needs and tuned into Ashley Turner’s restorative online yoga class: Yoga to Relieve Cold Symptoms.

    This short online yoga practice is designed to help you increase the flow of oxygen throughout your body and get your prana moving when hit with a cold. You will practice a series of gentle yoga poses that can be held for longer periods (up to 15 minutes) if you are able. The therapeutic postures introduced in this online yoga video will help to:

    • Bring energy to your head and respiratory area.
    • Unclog your sinuses.
    • Expand your chest area to facilitate breathing.
    • Quiet your internal organs.
    • Relax your mind.
    • Release physical and stress-based tension.

    Be sure to listen up to your body and take extra breaths if necessary. Expect to finish feeling more energetic, less congested, and less foggy. Before you press play, make sure to grab all of your prop comforts, including a bolster (or bed pillow), one or more blankets, and/or an eye pillow. (yoga video time = 21 mins.)

    yoga for colds

    Take it easy & be well! 

    Image Credit: Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose via www.sunroseyoga.com  

  • Journey to Vasisthasana (Side Plank)

    There are many reasons to rock Vasisthasana.

    side plank pose

    The benefits of this “one-arm” balancing posture are powerful and plentiful.

    • It’s a strengthener, boosting the power of the arms, core, legs, and wrists.
    • It’s a sweet stretch, enhancing the flexibility of the wrists and the backs of the legs (in the full version of the pose).
    • It’s a stabilizer, improving your sense of balance.

    But before you start receiving all of the perks of this pose, you gotta put in the sweat.

    That’s where Kino MacGregor’s new online yoga video comes in: Yoga Arm Balances.

    Beginners often have a difficult time sustaining Vasisthasana, which is why it makes sense to take baby steps in preparation for the full variation.

    In Kino’s online yoga class, you will do just that! You’ll practice prep yoga poses to get you rough-and-ready for full Vasisthasana or Vishwamtirasana, as the pose is called in the Ashtanga Yoga method.  You will also practice Vasisthasana variations to get you really rockin’ a straight line.

    Alignment is oh-so-important as you’ll discover, as is deep core strength, upper body strength, and a calm, centered mind. The real power of magical arm balances happens when the physical practice reflects a deep inward fortitude. So, when you're ready to build physical strength and mental focus and tap into a reservoir of deep inner power, this is the perfect 36-minute online yoga experience for you!

    Oh yeah...

    Bring a good attitude with you.

    Put on a smile.

    Get ready to sweat.

    Leave your expectations off the mat.

    Think progress, not perfection.

    And most importantly...

    Enjoy the journey! Always.

    ashtanga yoga video

    Image Credit: Vasisthasana via www.firstdaypress.org 

  • 10 Yoga Poses to Beat Holiday Stress

    Getting too caught up in all the holiday hustle n’ bustle?

    We suggest you stop, drop, and strike a calm inducing, replenishing asana. To resolve stress, here are 10 relatively easy yoga poses to sprinkle into your daily practice routine - all poses you can learn for FREE straight from our Strike-A-Pose online yoga collection!

    childs pose

    1. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend): Wake up your hamstrings and soothe your mental body.

    2. Halasana (Plow Pose): Trouble sleeping? Too much going on in your head? This pose can help you settle down and enhance your ability to get to sleep.

    3. Balasana (Childs Pose): Balasana is an incredibly restful, simple pose to practice. When anxiety strikes, this is an effective mind replenishing asana.

    4. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose): Turn your monkey brain off and rejuvenate heavy, tired legs.

    5. Savasana (Corpse Pose): Surrender to total relaxation. Let go of everything. Reset. Awaken renewed.

    6. Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand): Standing on your head in proper alignment can calm your busy brain and strengthen your body.

    7. Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose): Extend your spine, open your heart, and settle busy thoughts.

    8. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend): Trouble staying focused? On mental overload? Fold forward to help your distracted mind unwind.

    9. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog): One of the most widely celebrated yoga poses, this pose is straight up rejuvenating.

    10. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose): Feelin’ low? This twist energizes the spine and boosts your digestive fire.

    And to really kick your stress away, join Jennifer Pastiloff in this free online yoga video filmed at the Yoga Collective in Santa Monica. Release anxieties and boost your energy as Jennifer leads you through her signature Hiya yoga class online.

    hiya online yoga flow

    Do yoga to keep your wits about you during this busy holiday season!

    Image Credit: Balasana (Childs Pose) by Photographer Casino Nelson 

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