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40 Kid-Friendly Chair Yoga Poses


Below is a list of basic chair yoga poses, which are ancient yoga poses that have been adapted to practice using a chair. These chair yoga poses could be used in your classroom, homeschool, or in a small space for transitions, movement breaks, or for introducing a new topic. The postures serve as an inspiration guide, but please encourage the children’s creativity.

Yoga poses for kids often mimic our natural surroundings and may be interpreted in different ways that will integrate into your curriculum to build meaningful learning connections for your students. Practice the yoga poses to stretch their bodies after sitting for a long time or to energize their minds and bodies for learning. Some things to consider when you are practicing chair yoga with your children:

  • Feel free to adapt or change the chair yoga poses to suit your needs.
  • Focus on having fun with movement, not on practicing perfectly aligned poses.
  • Engage the children. Follow their passions and interests.
  • Create authentic, meaningful experiences.
  • Cater to their energy levels and different learning styles.
  • Be creative and enjoy yourselves, but please be safe.
  • Ensure that the chairs are firm and steady so that the poses are safe to practice.
  • Gently introduce the idea of linking breath to movement.
  • Add breathing techniques that suit your needs.
  • Finish each chair yoga session in a resting pose to allow time for peace and quiet.

Our Kids Yoga Stories characters, Sophia, Luke, Elizabeth, Baraka, Pablo, Mai, and Anamika, demonstrate the chair yoga poses in the list below, followed by the yoga pose name and descriptions.

A List of 40 Chair Yoga Poses for Kids:

Boat Pose for Kids Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Boat Pose:

Balance on your buttocks with your arms and legs straight out in front of you in a V shape, grasping the sides of the chair for balance. Keep a straight spine and open chest.

Camel Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Camel Pose:

Come to a sitting position, with your feet flat on the ground and your legs together. Lift your head, open your chest, squeeze your shoulders, and place your hands on your back of the chair. Gently press your hips forward while shifting your shoulders back, slowly arching your back. Look up, keeping your spine neutral.

Cat Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Cat Pose:

From a sitting position with your feet flat on the ground, round your back and tuck your chin into your chest, stretching your back.

Chair Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Chair Pose:

In front of your seat, stand tall in Mountain Pose with your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees, and keep a straight spine. Take your straight arms up in front of you, look up, and try sinking a little deeper into your knees as if you’re about to sit back down in the chair.

Child's Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Child’s Pose:

Sit back on your chair, slowly bend your upper body to rest on your thighs, rest your arms down towards the floor, and take a few deep breaths.

Cobbler's Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Cobbler’s Pose:

Come to sit in your seat. Bring your legs up on the front of the chair, with the soles of your feet together. Keep a tall spine.

Cobra Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Cobra Pose:

Come to sit at the front of your chair. Open your chest, squeeze your shoulder blades together, look up, and bring your hands to the back of the chair. Arch into a baby back bend.

Cow Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Cow Pose:

Sit at the front of your chair, with your feet flat on the ground. Place your palms on your knees and take a deep breath to neutralize your spine. Then look up slightly, arch your back, and open your chest.

Crescent Moon Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Crescent Moon Pose:

Sit comfortably on your chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Reach your arms up high over your head, bringing your palms together. Tilt your upper body to one side. Come back to center. Tilt your body to the other side.

Dancer's Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Dancer’s Pose:

Stand tall in Mountain Pose behind your chair. Then grab the back of your chair with your right hand, stand on your right leg, reach your left leg out behind you, and place the outside of your left foot into your left hand. Bend your torso forward, with your right hand on the chair for balance, and arch your leg up behind you. Switch sides and repeat the steps.

Downward-Facing Dog Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Downward-Facing Dog Pose:

Come to standing just in front of your chair, facing the chair. Place your hands flat on the front of the chair and slowly step back so that your arms are stretched out straight in front of you. Straighten your spine, ensure your legs are hip-width distance apart, and look down between your legs.

Eagle Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Eagle Pose:

Come to sitting up tall on your chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Wrap your left leg around your right. Bring your bent arms out in front of you, wrap your right arm around your left arm, and bend your knees slightly. Switch sides and repeat the steps.

Easy Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Easy Pose:

Sit cross-legged on your chair and rest your palms on your knees. Close your eyes, if you are comfortable doing so.

Extended Mountain Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Extended Mountain Pose:

Sit comfortably on your chair with your feet flat on the ground, look up, take your arms straight up to the sky, and touch your palms together.

Extended Side Angle Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Extended Side Angle Pose:

Sit towards the front of your chair with your feet flat on the ground with your legs and feet together. Tilt your upper body forward, then twist to the right, rest your left elbow on your right knee, lengthening your left hand towards the ground. Look up and reach your right arm straight up to the sky. Repeat on the other side.

Flower Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Flower Pose:

Come to sit on your buttocks with a tall spine on the chair. Lift your bent legs, balance on your sitting bones, and weave your arms under your legs with your palms facing up.

Forward Bend Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Forward Bend:

Perch at the front of your chair with your legs stretched out in front of you. Place your feet hip-width apart, and flex your feet to rest your heels on the ground. Slowly bend your upper body (ensuring that your chair is stable and reach for your toes. Keep a straight spine and look down at your toes.

Happy Baby Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Happy Baby Pose:

Sit at the back of your seat and shift to balancing on your buttocks. Lift your legs up, hug your knees into your chest, and then grab the outer parts of each foot—right foot in right hand and left foot in left hand.

Hero Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Hero Pose:

Come to rest upright on your seat with your palms resting on your knees. Close your eyes (if that’s comfortable). Breathe deeply.

Knees to Chest Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Knee to Chest Pose:

Sit tall on your seat with your feet flat on the ground. Bend your right knee and hug it close to your chest. Then place it down again. Switch sides and repeat the steps.

Legs Up the Chair Pose | Kids Yoga Stories

Legs Up the Chair Pose:

Lie flat on your back in front of your chair. Then slowly lift your legs and place them on your seat. Keeping your legs together, flex your feet. Spread your arms out to either side and keep your neck in a neutral position. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

Lotus Pose in a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Lotus Pose:

Sit with a tall spine at the back of your chair. Then, cross your legs, weave your feet to rest on top of opposite knees, and rest the palms of your hands on your knees. Relax and breathe.

Lunge Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Lunge Pose:

Stand in front of your chair, then bend over and grab the front of the chair with both hands. Step your right foot back into a lunge position. Keep a flat back and open your chest. Hold for a few breaths, then bring your right foot back up to meet the left foot. Switch sides and repeat the steps.

Mountain Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stores

Mountain Pose:

Sit tall with your legs hip-width apart and feet facing forward. Take your arms straight alongside your body and imagine being a steady, tall mountain.

Pigeon Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Pigeon Pose:

Sit tall with your feet flat on the ground. Bend your right leg and place your right ankle on your left knee. Place your left hand on your right foot and your right hand on your right knee. Switch sides and repeat the steps.

Plank Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Plank Pose:

From Downward-Facing Dog Pose in a chair, come forward to balance on your palms and on your bent toes in a plank position. Keep your arms straight and your back long and flat.

Resting Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Resting Pose:

Sit comfortably in your chair. Rest your forehead on your folded arms on your desk. Rest and breathe.

Reverse Plank Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Reverse Plank Pose:

Sit at the front of your chair, look up, open your chest, and place your hands at the back of your chair. Ensuring that the chair is steady, slowly lift your buttocks to a reverse plank position with your legs and spine straight and feet flat on the ground.

Reverse Table Top Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Reverse Table Top Pose:

Sit at the front of your chair, look up, open your chest, and place your hands at the back of your chair. Ensuring that the chair is steady, slowly lift your buttocks to a reverse table top position with bent legs.

Seated Twist in a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Seated Twist:

Sit upright in your chair. Check that your spine is straight and your feet are flat on the ground. Twist your upper body to the right. Take your left hand to your right knee and your right hand back behind the chair. Repeat on the other side.

Side Bend Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Side Bend:

Sit tall on your chair with your feet flat on the ground and your palms on your knees. Then take your left arm straight up to the sky. Tilt your upper body to the right and place your right hand on the chair. Open your chest, look up, and feel the gentle stretch on your left side body. Come back to center. Switch sides and repeat the sides.

Squat Pose next to a chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Squat Pose:

Come down to a squat in front of your chair with your knees apart and your arms between your knees.

Tree Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Tree Pose:

Come to standing next to your chair. Holding on to the chair with one hand, shift your weight and balance on one leg. Bend the knee of the leg you are not standing on, place the sole of your foot on the opposite inner thigh or calf, and balance. Sway like a tree in the breeze. Switch sides and repeat the steps.

Triangle Forward Bend Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Triangle Forward Bend:

Stand tall with legs hip-width apart in front of your chair, feet facing forward, and straighten your arms alongside your body. Take your right foot back, keeping your ankle bent at a thirty-degree angle. Place your hands on the front of the chair, ensuring that your back is flat and that you are looking straight ahead. Then slowly bend forward as if your hips are a hinge, keeping a flat back and a long neck. Check that your spine is straight. Repeat on the other side.

Triangle Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Triangle Pose:

From a standing position in front of your chair, step one foot back, placing the foot facing slightly outwards. Take your arms up parallel to the ground, bend at your waist, and tilt your upper body to the side. Reach your front hand to gently rest on your chair behind you and reach your other arm straight up. Switch sides and repeat the steps.

Upward-Facing Dog Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Upward-Facing Dog Pose:

Stand in front of your chair. Bend down and grab the sides of your chair with your hands. Step your feet back so that your body is a long plank and you’re resting on your toes. Then straighten your arms and expand your chest. Look up, keeping your neck neutral, and feel a gentle back bend.

Warrior 1 Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Warrior 1 Pose:

Stand tall with legs hip-width apart, feet facing forward, and straighten your arms alongside your body. Step one foot back, angling it slightly outward. Bend your front knee, bring your arms straight up toward the sky, and look up. Use the chair for support under your front leg if necessary. Repeat on the other side.

Warrior 1 Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Warrior 2 Pose:

From standing position in front of your chair, step one foot back, placing the foot so that it is facing slightly outward. Take your arms up parallel to the ground, bend your front knee, and look forward. Switch sides and repeat the steps.

Warrior 1 Pose Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Warrior 3 Pose:

Stand on one leg with your arms straight out in front of you, holding the back of the chair. Extend the other leg behind you, flexing your foot. Bend your torso forward. Switch sides and repeat the steps.

Wide-Legged Forward Bend Using a Chair | Kids Yoga Stories

Wide-Legged Forward Bend:

Stand tall with legs hip-width apart in front of your chair, feet facing forward, and straighten your arms alongside your body. Then, step your feet out wide, bend your upper body, and take your hands to the back of the chair. Bend your arms and rest your forehead on the front of your chair. Feel the gentle stretch in your legs.

Read more at: https://www.kidsyogastories.com/chair-yoga-poses/

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Yoga for lazy people: seven moves to make you happy


You don’t even have to get off the sofa

 

diamond pose (exercise 3), roaring lion pose (5), corpse pose (7)
 Clockwise from top left: diamond pose (exercise 3), roaring lion pose (5), corpse pose (7). Illustration: Son of Alan

1 Surya Bheda (single-nostril breath)

1 Sit up straight in a comfortable, relaxed posture.

2 Close the eyes. Rest your left hand on your knee, with thumb and forefinger together. On the right hand, bend the index and middle fingers, and gently apply pressure to your right nostril with your thumb or fourth finger.

3 Inhale through the left nostril, retain the breath for a moment, remove your hand from your right nostril, cover your left nostril and exhale through the right.

4 Repeat, inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right. Do this for two minutes.

2 Dolasana (pendulum pose)

1 Stand up straight with feet hip-width apart and the arms on either side of the body.

2 Inhale, raising the arms, clasping them just above the head.

3 Exhale and bend over at the waist, keeping hands together.

4 Retain the breath as you swing from side to side, with the forehead tapping first one knee and then the other.

5 Exhale and return to a standing position. Repeat a few more times.

3 Vajrasana (diamond pose)

1 Rest in a seated position with the legs tucked under the body (so your bottom is on your feet).

2 The spine should be straight and the knees close to each other. Sit for one minute.

4 Padmasana (lotus pose)

1 My favourite asana: sit up straight in a comfortable, relaxed posture, with legs extended in front of you.

2 Bend the right knee, placing the right foot on the left thigh. The sole of the foot should be turned upwards and the heel close to the abdomen.

3 If you are able, repeat on the left side.

4 With legs crossed, bring thumbs and index fingers together.

5 Close the eyes and breathe mindfully, remaining here for a few minutes.

5 Simha Garjana (roaring lion pose)

1 Kneel in a seated position with legs under the body.

2 The spine should be straight and the knees slightly apart.

3 Place palms on knees, keeping arms relaxed.

4 Open the mouth and relax the jaw, allowing the tongue to hang loosely.

5 Breathe through the nose and mouth.

6 Engaging the core and contracting the abdominal muscles, retain the breath for a few seconds.

7 Exhale and relax.

8 Repeat for two minutes.

6 Sarpasana (snake pose)

1 Lie on your stomach with legs straight and feet together.

2 Interlace the fingers behind the back and place chin on the ground.

3 Inhale and raise the chest, keeping the gaze straight ahead.

4 Imagine the hands are being pulled from behind.

5 Stay here and breathe. Hold this for as long as you are comfortable, even if just a few seconds.

6 Come down, take a few breaths and come up again.

7 Shavasana (corpse pose)

1 This is a lazy person’s favourite asana. Lie flat on your back with arms relaxed on either side of the body, palms facing up.

2 The legs should be sprawled outward with the feet apart; the head and neck should be aligned.

3 Inhale and exhale, and relax the entire body.

4 To deepen the relaxation further, contract and relax different parts of the body: feet, calves and thighs, pelvic muscles, buttocks. Clench the fists, contract the arms and relax. Contract the back, the neck, the shoulders, and relax. Lift the head off the ground and relax. Contract the entire body. Contract, contract, contract, and relax. Recite this mentally.

5 Inhale and exhale deeply, counting backwards from 10 gradually down to one.

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What are the benefits of yoga?


Lacey Rae Trebaol, Student and Teacher (Vinyasa Flow)
Originally Answered: What are the benefits of yoga?

I’ve seen, experienced, and read about benefits ranging from, “I can do the splits and put my legs behind my head!” to “it helped me cope with a death/divorce/trauma”.  Below you’ll find a short list focused on the physical benefits you can expect to see*:

1. Healthy Joints. Yoga helps circulate the synovial fluid in your joints – this fluid lies in a capsule that surrounds synovial joints.  This system (capsule and fluid components) helps to cushion the ends of the bones, allowing them to glide over each other, lessening the friction.

2. Decrease in blood pressure. The movements decrease blood pressure through better circulation and oxygenation.

3. Increased flexibility

4. Increased strength and endurance (muscular and cardiovascular).  Yoga uses the weight of your own body to build overall strength.  Core strength is especially important for good posture and balance.  Having a strong core and knowing how to use it will help prevent other injuries both on and off your yoga mat.

5. Body Awareness. Practicing yoga sharpens your awareness of your physical body.  In practice students begin to consciously make subtle adjustments in order to achieve proper alignment in a pose.

6. Mind-Body Connection. Regular practice reinforces the mind body connection.  Many yoga practitioners are so in tune with their body that they are aware at first sign if something isn’t functioning properly. This allows for quicker response to head off disease and other ailments.

For more information on the benefits (especially the emotional or psychological benefits) I suggest checking out Yoga Journal’s website.  They have some great articles on this topic.

*Note: These benefits assume a regular practice.  Depending on the consistency, level, and style of your practice, as well as your current health, your experience may differ. Namaste 🙂

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Which Type of Meditation is best for you?

Discover which meditation style is the best fit for you.

When you hear the word “meditation,” what feelings come up? Dread? Confusion? Stress? Maybe you want to try meditation, but feel too busy to even begin. Maybe you’re a beginner, and aren’t sure how to start? Or maybe the thought of sitting cross-legged in a room with just your thoughts is a little intimidating. Free from the distractions of cell phones or conversation, our minds can flood with the subconscious worries, longings, and concerns of day-to-day life. But it’s by sitting with those thoughts and watching them come—and eventually go—that we can calm our bodies and minds, finding peace. And the truth is, there is no one-size-fits all meditation; meditation comes in just about as many variations as you can imagine.

There are meditation practices based on mindfulness, ones where you repeat mantras, and others that are focused on sending kindness out into the world. But despite their differences, all meditation practices have a common goal: to clear your mind as a method of relaxation. The purpose of any meditation is not to get rid of thoughts—not possible!—but to observe those thoughts without getting attached to them. While meditation itself is not religious, Buddhist philosophy has used it for thousands of years as a core belief of Buddhism is that attachment is a cause of suffering.

When you say to yourself “I had a bad day, I’m no good at anything,” it is not necessarily the thought that causes you suffering, but your belief in that thought and your attachment to it. We all have these types of negative thoughts and feelings from time to time, and being human, we will never eliminate them. But mediation can help us observe thoughts and feelings without being attached to them, and by doing so we can sink into a more relaxed state of being.

The Many Benefits of Meditation

There are so many benefits of meditation, from improved mood to a boosted immune system!

In addition to promoting a general sense of calm, meditation offers some amazing health benefits that have been studied and documented throughout the years. WebMD lists several science-backed health benefits of meditation, including the fact that meditation can:

  • lower blood pressure
  • boost your immune system
  • improve concentration
  • improve your physical and emotional response to stress
  • decrease inflammation and pain
  • decrease anxiety and depression
  • improve memory

So, now you’re definitely ready to try meditating, right? Let’s explore how to find the best type of meditation for you.

Related: The Beginner’s Guide to Meditation

Different Types of Meditation

The best meditation practice—just like the best exercise routine—is the one that you enjoy doing. There is no one-size-fits-all practice. There are multiple meditation styles and formats you can follow, from centuries-old practices to newer styles trail-blazed by modern thought leaders. Some involve mantras, some can be done while taking a stroll in the park, and some require nothing but a deep awareness of each breath you take. So what meditation style will suit you best? Let’s find out.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

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When you’re walking, just walk. When you’re eating, just eat.

What it is: Made popular by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979, MBSR or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is about breath awareness and a “body scan.” Breath awareness is simply the act of calmly noticing each inhale and exhale, so your breath is the main focus. A body scan is a technique used to focus on physical sensations in the body. Starting at your toes and working your way up, you focus on specific parts of your body at a time; this heightened awareness has the potential to release and relax tension in different areas.

MBSR has gained increasing popularity over the past few decades and is now offered in over 200 hospitals and medical centers around the world. Kabat-Zinn even leads workshops where his students practice walking meditations, noticing each step mindfully and harkening back to the ancient expression: “when you’re walking, just walk. When you’re eating, just eat.” Kabat-Zinn believes each activity can be done mindfully, and in doing so, you can adopt a more meditative state in your day to day life.

Pose:  Seated, laying down, or walking

Try if: You want to live more mindfully during each moment of your life, whether when enjoying your meals or walking through the park.

Resources:

Transcendental Meditation

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What it is: You may have heard of Transcendental Meditation or TM because it was made popular by some famous followers (the Beatles, for example) but it’s a thousands-of-years-old tradition originally brought to America by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s. Transcendental meditation asks that you sit still for twenty minutes, twice a day, and utilize a mantra to find focus during meditation.

Twenty minutes may sound like a lot at first, but the length of time is designed to help you access a deeper level of calm that exists beyond your everyday emotions and the stress of life. If you choose to enroll in a TM class, your instructor or teacher can give you a mantra and it’s yours to repeat throughout your meditation.

Pose: Seated

Try if: You feel restless, overly stressed, or mentally fatigued and want to experience a deeper sense of inner calm.

Resources:

Loving Kindness Meditation

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May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

What it is: The cultivation of compassion for others is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism, although loving kindness meditation itself is not tied to any one religion or philosophy. It’s also sometimes referred to as Metta Meditation. You begin by taking two or three deep breaths with slow, long exhalations, feeling the breath moving through the center of your chest—your heart chakra. You then repeat the following or similar phrase directed at yourself:

May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.

After a period of directing loving-kindness to yourself, bring to mind a friend or someone in your life who has cared for you. Then slowly repeat the phrases toward them.

May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

Then direct your attention to the universe—ask that all its beings are happy, well, safe, peaceful and at ease. Connect with any feelings of warmth and unity you experience.

Pose: Seated

Try if: You want to cultivate greater compassion for yourself and others.

Resources and apps:

Zazen

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What it is: Zazen meditation is the practice at the heart of Zen Buddhism, and its main focus is on the relationship between the breath and the mind. Practioners are encouraged to turn their attention to each inhalation and exhalation, counting their breaths at times to achieve greater mental focus. As you inhale, count to one; the exhale is two. Your next inhale is three; the following exhale is four, and so on. Try to just focus on counting each breath, and let that be your mind’s solitary task. Zen meditation can be practiced in groups and sometimes chanting is involved.

Pose: There are several variations of Zazen meditation poses:

  • Both legs crossed so each leg rests on the opposite thigh (full lotus)
  • One leg resting over the opposite calf (half lotus)
  • On your knees with legs folded under you
  • Sit in a straight-back chair

Try if: You want to experience deep relaxation through your breath.

Resources:

Vipassana

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Vipassana meditation is not just seeing the things inside; it is also seeing the seer.

What it is: This Sanskrit word means “to see things as they really are” and is also referred to as “insight meditation.” It is part of a 2,5000-year-old Buddhist tradition designed to help you tap into a deeper level of consciousness. In Vipassana you are instructed to label thoughts and experiences as they arise, noting objects that grab your attention. Each time you identify a label in your mind, you are then encouraged to bring your awareness back to your primary object: your breath. Focus on your breath from moment to moment. Any time a thought, feeling, or sensation, comes into your mind, note it as “dog barking” or “knee pain” or “thinking” and then return your focus to your breath. This allows you to become the observer of your thoughts, helping you see them more objectively.

Pose: Cross-legged on cushion on floor.

Try if: You want to release harmful thoughts and expand your consciousness.

Read more at https://gethealthyu.com/different-types-of-meditation/

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5 Cooling Yoga Poses to help you beat the Heat


The heat of summer can often accelerate our mind and heat our bodies. It’s important to pay attention to these sensations and incorporate a slower, more focused practice into our daily yoga routine. When your blood and your mind are already boiling from the quickening pace of summer activities, try to avoid the following poses as they tend to increase your body’s internal heat and may leave you a hot mess!

  • Inversions
  • Sun Salutations (One or two won’t hurt, but be aware that these are very heating.)
  • Warrior Poses
  • Binds

Instead, practice these five cooling yoga poses. Try not to engage the muscles you don’t need and work to consciously relax your face. Keep a consistent breath and turn your focus inward.

Standing Heart-Opening Pose (Anahatasana)

In this shortened variation on Moon Salutations (Chandra Namaskar), the intention is to move slowly and with purpose and enjoyment.

Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and inhale the arms overhead. Exhale to bring your hands to your sacrum. Lift through your heart as you begin to open the throat and tilt the head back. Breathe deeply for 3-5 breaths.

Standing Lunar Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

On an exhale, release your palms face up as you bow forward to the earth. Be sure the back of your neck is relaxed and your feet are rooted beneath you. Hang here for 5 deep breaths.

Flowing Half Squat (Sahaja Ardha Malasana)

Inhale to bend deeply through your right knee, releasing your right forearm to the mat as you extend your left leg long behind you. By now you’re turned parallel on your mat. Keep your spine long and on an exhale, bend through the right knee to straighten through your left leg, releasing your left forearm to the floor.

Move side-to-side with fluidity, connecting each movement to your breath.

Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Straighten both legs and keep your feet parallel and wide on your mat. Inhale and take a half lift, with your torso long and fingertips to the floor. Exhale to yogi toe-lock your big toes with your two peace fingers, and you hinge at the waist to fold forward. The crown of your head may come all the way to the floor.

Full of surrender, wide-legged forward bends allow the back, neck and shoulders to completely release.

Puppy Pose (Anahatasana)

Lower to your knees and come to a tabletop position. Keeping your lower belly engaged, walk your hands long in front of you and release your heart toward the earth. Rest for 5 deep breaths.

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Come to stand on your knees, keeping them about hips-width distance apart. Tuck your toes under to help you feel more stable. Bring your palms to your sacrum on an inhale, exhaling to press the palms into the glutes to push your hips forward and lift through your heart.

As you begin to bend back, lengthen through the throat. If this feels good, you can reach for the tops of the feet with the hands and energetically squeeze the shoulder blades together.

Hold for 3-5 deep breaths, and return your palms to your sacrum to help press you back up. Send your knees wide and sit back on your heels, taking a few moments of rest.

Camel pose is great for alleviating fatigue or relaxing mild anxiety. It’s a juicy heart opener, and a deep stretch for the front of the body and even the hip flexors (psoas).

Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

Swing your feet out long in front of you and draw your forearms behind you, placing your palms just underneath of your glutes (face down).

Point through your toes and lift from the heart as you begin to open the throat to gently release the head back. Again, the crown of your head may come all the way down to the floor.

Ground your legs and hands into the mat while feeling the full inflation of the chest on each inhale.

Fish pose helps to reestablish your focus after all the hard work of your practice.

Read more at https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20430/5-cooling-yoga-poses-to-help-you-beat-the-heat.html

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10 Yoga Poses to Stay Calm during the Holidays


10 Yoga Poses for Instant Calm During the Holidays

 

YOU MIGHT LIKE THIS TOO4 Powerful Mantras to Stay Happy and Balanced During the Holidays

Christmas means most of us will be busy organizing travel plans, going gift shopping, attending lunches and dinners, and preparing for, celebrating, and recovering from holiday parties! ‘Tis the season to be merry, after all!

Busy, Busy, Busy

For those of you in relationships or marriages, you may be busy working out how to fit in seeing both sides of your family, your in-laws, and your close friends. If there are children involved, this takes it to a whole new level of excitement and potential anxiety!

While Christmas is a time for joy, it can also be incredibly challenging. For those of you who have moved out of the family home, returning to the scene of your childhood may feel like we are reverting to our younger (read moodier) years!

There are school friends to catch up with, presents to wrap, and work piling up that absolutely has to be done before year-end. Money seems to simply flow out of the door as the number of presents under the Christmas tree increase.

Moments of Reflection

Christmas also signals the end of another year, making it a time of reflection as a New Year approaches. We start thinking about where we are in life, running through our 2015 New Year resolutions, and realize which ones are still outstanding.

For the single yogis amongst us, having to endure your Grand Dad, Auntie, or Cousin asking if you have met someone yet can be amusing at the very least.

During these times, you can find yourself torn in a zillion different directions, trying to keep many different people happy. Unless you are taking good care of yourself and sending yourself heaps of love and compassion, how are you supposed to be able to pass on goodwill to those around you?

Blissfully Calming Yoga Poses to Kick Holiday Stress to the Curb

Here are 10 yoga poses for instant calm during the holidays that you can do anywhere, anytime. They can be done as a short sequence or selected one by one, holding for anywhere between 10 breaths and several minutes.

These poses offer much needed moments to breathe and just be, so you can come back to your friends and family with a genuine smile firmly in place.

1. Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Coming to a comfortable seated position, rest left hand on lap. Begin by covering left nostril with middle finger of right hand. Take a slow, deep inhale, then release finger and cover right nostril with right thumb as you exhale through the left. Continue for three to five minutes.


2. Mountain Pose

mountain-pose

Ground down through the four corners of your feet. Grow taller with your breath, as you feel the chest rising and falling with the breath. Keep the palms facing forward to open yourself up to receiving positive energy and calmness.


3. Standing Forward Fold

standing-forward-fold

This is an instantly calming pose known to relieve stress and fatigue while energizing the body as the blood flows to the head. Hold this pose with a gentle bend in the knees and shoulders free of tension.


4. Seated Forward Fold

Seated Forward Bend Yoga Pose

Use cushions to allow you to remain comfortable for several minutes. Relax your muscles, release any stress, resting your head onto the cushions and simply coming to your breath.


5. Warrior II

Warrior I Yoga Pose

Possibly the most empowering, “Be true to yourself” yoga poses ever! Stand tall, stand strong, and settle into your pose. Try closing your eyes. Feel the muscles in the body working to hold you steady as you connect to the absolute power that resides within.


6. Eagle Pose

Eagle Yoga Pose

This is an empowering and energizing pose that works the whole body, sending blood flowing throughout the body, which is great for increasing your libido for sexy times with your partner at the end of a stressful day!


7. Child’s Pose

child-pose

An amazing pose that you can come to at anytime for instant calm! Feel your troubles melt away as you rest your forehead on the mat, cushion, or block and just breathe.


8. Reclined Hero

Reclined-Hero-Pose-Virasana-(Supta Virasana)

A pose to release any stored tension in the hips. Make the pose more restorative and heart-opening by bringing a bolster between your shoulder blades, increasing flexibility in the spine and reducing fatigue and stress—absolute bliss!

Modification: If there is pain in the knees, keep one leg straight and change halfway.


9. Legs-Up-the-Wall

legs up the wall

An all time favorite! You can’t fail but feel lighter after holding this pose for several minutes.


10. Savasana

Savasana

Savasana is THE relaxation pose. It truly encourages the body to come to a still position and just breathe, bringing us naturally to a more peaceful state.


Meditation

Introduce meditation into each of the poses above as you begin to slow down the breath and come to a comfortable position. Visualize drawing a square—connecting each line of the square to an inhale or exhale, gradually increasing the size of square as slow the breath down even more.

Read more at https://www.doyouyoga.com/10-yoga-poses-for-instant-calm-during-the-holidays/

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16 Yoga Poses For a Happy Holiday Season


 Whether you’re a yoga teacher looking to bring a bit of Christmas sparkle to your classes, a parent who wants a fun way to keep the kids active over the holiday season, a yogi who wants to inject a bit of festive spirit into your practice, or anyone just interested in seeing what kind of Christmas-y shapes they can pull with their body, then these poses are a great place to start.

Whether it’s flexibility, core strength, or balance, each pose provides a different challenge, so approach them all with a playful attitude and use your imagination to see if you can create any other festive poses.

Put on some Christmas music, don your homemade Christmas Yoga Top and have fun!

Christmas Tree

Begin standing with your feet together and come up onto your toes. Slowly lower yourself down into a squat, squeezing your buttocks to open your hips as wide as you can. Lift your arms above your head and join your palms. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
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Dancer

Bend your right leg behind you and take hold of the outside edge of your right foot of ankle with your right hand. Gradually press your foot into your hand, extending your spine and reaching your left hand to the sky. Hold for 5-10 breaths, release your leg and repeat on the other side.

Prancer

Begin on all fours, bring your forearms to the floor and straighten your legs. Raise one leg at a time so that you’re balancing on your forearms, and then bend one leg forward and one back so they look like reindeer horns. Hold for 5-10 breaths, release slowly and repeat with your legs the other way around.

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Star

Begin in a high plank position and lift your right arm and right leg. Keep your hips lifted and buttocks squeezed. Hold for 5-10 breaths, release back to plank and repeat on the other side.

Partridge In A Pear Tree

Bring your right foot up to rest on your inner left thigh. Bring your right arms across your chest to left side, interlock your thumbs, and spread your fingertips to make a bird shape. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
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Roast Turkey

Start in a crouched position with your forearms on the ground in front of you. Snuggle your knees into your armpits, engage your core, and lift your toes off the floor. Balance here for 5-10 breaths and lower yourself back down to the ground.

Candy Cane

Stand with your feet together, hands raised about your head in prayer position and fold to the right. Aim to keep your elbows glued to your ears and shoulders relaxed. Hold for 5-10 breaths, come back to center on an inhale and repeat on the left.

Snow Plow

Begin lying on your back and bring your toes up and over your head and your hands to your lower back. See if you can touch your toes on the floor, or if not, just keep your legs parallel to the ground. Try releasing your arms to the mat, keeping most of the weight in your shoulders. Hold for up to 3 minutes, return your hands to your back and slowly lower yourself to the ground.

Snowball

Begin in Snow Plow pose and bend your knees to rest on your forehead with your toes pointed to the sky. Slowly wrap your arms around your legs, keeping your weight in your shoulders. Hold for up to 3 minutes, bring your hands to your lower back and roll back down to the ground.

Running Reindeer

Come onto all fours, aligning your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Lift your left foot to the sky so your thigh is parallel to the ground, and raise your right arm straight out in front of you. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Rock The Baby

Begin seated cross legged and lift your right leg, hooking your right arms underneath your chin and taking hold of the foot with your left hand. Gently rock your shin from side to side 5-10 times, release your leg and repeat on the other side.

Camel

Begin kneeling with your knees about hip distance apart and bring your hands to your lower back, fingertips pointing downward. Keeping your hips over your knees, lean back and reach for your heels. Allow you head to hang back and hold for 5-10 breaths. Return your hands to your lower back and come back to kneeling on an inhalation.

Sugar Cane

Starting standing, lift your left leg out behind you and lean forward, bringing your right hand to the floor. Bend the left leg, reach back with your left hand to take hold of the foot, and press your left foot into your hand. Hold for 5-10 breaths, release, and repeat on the other side.

Penguin

Stand with your feet together and come up onto the tips of your toes. Bend your elbows and snuggle the backs of your hands under your armpits. Hold for 10 breaths and release.

Prayer

Join your palms behind your back, letting your shoulders roll forward if need be. If you can’t quite reach, bring the backs of your hands together or take hold of your wrists, drawing your shoulder blades toward the midline. Hold for 10 breaths.

Stocking

Begin on your belly, either with your hands underneath you or in line with your chest. Take a couple of deep inhalations, and on the third inhalation lift your legs into the air as high as you can, using the strength of your buttocks and core. Hold for 5-10 breath and lower down slowly.

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How to Slow Down Aging with Yoga


Yoga is not a miracle. It can’t stop you from getting older. But feeling more flexible, looking fresher, and adding more years to your life — that you can definitely achieve with regular yoga practice!

When you check the biographies of famous yoga teachers of the past, you can see most of them had lived very long lives! Let’s see how exactly yoga makes you feel and look younger.

Yoga strengthens spine

You are as young as your spine is flexible. Yoga has long been known as a great way to fix one’s posture. Poor posture doesn’t only cause back problems, it also makes you look older. Practicing yoga asanas also strengthens back muscles and releases tension in the shoulders. And since yoga increases body awareness, you get less likely to make movements that may harm your back.

Yoga and meditation improve memory

The recent research carried out by the University of California proved that yoga and meditation are more effective for fighting the early signs of Alzheimer’s than memory enhancement exercises. The experiment lasted 12 weeks and 25 people over 55 years old participated. In addition to Kundalini Yoga practice, participants also meditated.

Yoga relieves stress

As you are aging, there are even more things to worry about: you start regretting things you haven’t done, you can’t make peace with the way your appearence changes, you have more problems with health. And regular yoga practice is just what you need to fight stress as it normalizes your breath and teaches you to live in the moment and enjoy your life at any age.

Inversions massage internal organs

Inverted poses massage our internal organs, and detoxify them. As we age, our internal organs get droopy and inverted poses slow down this process.

Yoga improves overall health

It has been scientifically proven that regular exercise increases the level of somatotropin (growth hormone responsible for the growth of tissues such as skin and muscles) and androgen (hormone among everything responsible for heart health and the immune system). The study held in 2014 showed that yoga practice has a similar effect. 45 people were doing yoga and meditation for 12 weeks and demonstrated the increased levels of these hormones, so important for healthy aging. The participants also considerably lowered their body mass index.
So how to slow down aging with yoga? Just keep practicing, make meditation an integral part of your daily routine and you’ll live a longer and healthier life.


Article from: https://yoga.com/article/how-to-slow-down-aging-with-yoga 

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Yoga and Meditation with Kids


Within the realm of yoga, there is something for everyone.  A yoga session can consist merely of deep breathing, or it can incorporate simple or complicated poses depending on what the person is looking to get out of the practice.  Yoga is non-competitive and incorporates meditation, which adds to its power to relieve stress.  For children and adults alike, yoga is a wonderful exercise that feels less like exercise and more like loving and respecting one’s body.  Yoga is a fantastic choice of exercise for kids of all ages because it has so many benefits and can be done almost anywhere.  Through yoga, kids can learn to live in the moment and focus on what they are doing at that moment.

Yoga and Meditation with Kids


Benefits of Yoga for Kids:

  • Stress reduction through breathing.

When practicing yoga, you aim to focus on and control your breath, which helps you to be present in your yoga practice while also focusing on the present moment rather than all of the thoughts that can flood your mind.  Cosmic Kids Yoga has a post titled Five Fun Breathing Exercises for Kids with ways to teach kids how to breathe deeply and focus on the breath.  The hot air balloon technique is a wonderful way to incorporate a child’s imagination into the practice.  Another visual is to imagine the flow of the breath that is entering your body.  Picture wonderful, clean, life giving air entering through your nose.  Next, picture it going down your windpipe. Then it slowing fills your lungs with air to send to the rest of your body.  Envision the reverse for the exhale.

  • Exposure to mindfulness/meditation.

Mindfulness is achieved by focusing awareness on the present moment while acknowledging other feelings and releasing them.  When children are focusing on their breaths and poses, they are able to release other thoughts and simply focus on the present. Mindful breathing is a form of meditation, which is a wonderful relaxation method.

  • Promotes a healthy body.

Practicing yoga helps to stretch and strengthen the body as well as improve balance and coordination.

  • Provides confidence building.

As a child practices yoga and sees and feels changes, such as mastering a new pose or being able to hold one’s balance longer, confidence is fostered and a sense of achievement is felt.

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Yoga typically consists of breathing, meditation, and poses, and it can be practiced at any time of the day.  You and your child can wake up and practice yoga in bed to start the day.  Your family can do a night time routine before bed to calm the mind.  And you and your child can practice anytime in between in short bouts or in longer sessions.  Yoga is just as beneficial for adults, so making it a family event allows for exercise and time spent together.

The following graphic is a guide through a yoga sequence that uses garden imagery to make the flow even more child friendly.  If you follow the link, you can get a printable PDF of the graphic.

Yoga and Meditation with Kids

Other wonderful resources are available for leading children in a yoga practice, such as

  • Cosmic Kids Yoga. Kids enjoy a story and scenery while breathing and practicing yoga poses.
  • YouTube Yoga Roundup. So Much Yoga has a roundup of what they determined to be the 7 best yoga videos for kids on YouTube.
  • 5 tips for doing yoga with kids. These tips are a great reminder to keep the yoga age appropriate as well as fun, consider the time of day that you choose for practice, and incorporate relaxation and meditation.
  • Books, studios, videos and more. Super Healthy Kids lists where you can find yoga for kids, including specific books to check out.

Yoga can fit into any schedule and can be used as a wonderful tool to promote health and relaxation in children and adults alike.  Giving your child tools, such as deep breathing or various poses from yoga, to promote relaxation and reduce stress is an amazing tool to have in your child’s toolbox for life.

written by
Nicole Flanagan
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6 yoga stretches to help you get rid of neck pain


If you have chronic neck pain, try these six yoga stretches for relief

Nowadays, most of our lives revolve around computer screens and smart phones. While modern conveniences do certainly help make life easier in some ways, constantly hunching over a screen and always being connected is doing nothing for our neck health.

Luckily, yoga can be an easily accessible remedy to neck pain.

More: How I learned to manage my chronic back pain with exercise

Yoga also asks that you pay attention to your body. Often, the body pain we feel is not only the result of a technology addiction, but also a manifestation of our emotions. For example, the neck is where we hold our insecurities. When you release the pain, you are often releasing an emotional block. Paying attention to pain in your body can give you an indication of how you’re feeling emotionally.

Here are some fairly simple stretches that can help you disconnect from the screen and reconnect with yourself.

1. Hands behind your head

This stretch will help open your shoulders, which can help alleviate pain in the neck. It is also a heart opening exercise that counteracts the “concave chest” you have from hunching over at a desk.

From sitting or standing, interlace your fingers behind your head. Press your head into your hands. From here, fan your elbows out to the side, and if you can draw them slightly back behind you. Don’t flare out your upper ribs here; rather, engage the abdominals to support you. If you need more of a stretch, start to raise the chest up while keeping your abdominals engaged.

2. Chin to chest

Your neck connects your body to your mind which makes it vulnerable to stress. This exercise is a targeted yet gentle stretch for the neck.

Sit up nice and tall, reaching up through the crown of your head. Lower your chin onto your chest, and allow the weight of your head to stretch out the back of your neck. If this isn’t enough of a stretch for you, place your fingers on the back of your head, without pulling down on the head. Breathe deeply, and with each exhale let go a little more. Take five deep breaths.

More: 7 Things yoga taught me about hiking

3. Look behind you

Sit in a chair for this one if you’re able to, and try to sit up nice and tall, reaching up through the crown of your head. Inhale deeply, and on your exhale, look over your right shoulder. Keep your torso centered and look as far behind you as you can — even with your eyes. Inhale back to center, exhale look over your left shoulder. Breathe deeply and complete four more on each side. For a more advanced stretch like this, try Heart like a Wheel.

4. Shoulder rolls and drops

Shoulder stress affects your neck because the muscles rely on each other. If your shoulders are tense, your neck may be in a state of stress as it overcompensates. This movement helps in relieving built up tension in the upper back and shoulders.

Sit or stand up tall. On your inhale, gently bring the shoulders up towards the ears, on your exhale pull the shoulders behind you and back to the starting position. Do four more shoulder rolls. Inhale the shoulders directly up to the ears, then exhale through the mouth with a quick sigh while you allow the shoulders to drop. Do three more.

5. Major shoulder stretch

Another fantastic shoulder stretch to relieve the shoulders, lower back and neck from strain. A heart opening pose that will leave you feeling relaxed and centered.

Roll your shoulders back and down, then interlace your fingers behind your lower back. On your inhale, try to straighten out your arms, then reach them away from the back and raise them up behind you. On your exhale, fold the elbows to the sides and keeping the fingers interlaced, bring the backs of the hands to the lower back.

6. Ear to shoulder

The ear to shoulder stretch assists in stretching muscles that are involved in the rotation and tilting of your head. These muscles can become tight and sore when you sit at a desk for long periods of time.

Inhale deeply, and on your exhale, lower your right ear to your right shoulder. Inhale back to center, then exhale the left ear to the left shoulder. Do each side three more times. If you find you need more of a stretch, bring your fingertips to the side of your head, adding a little weight to increase the stretch.

More: 10 Things you can do to achieve wellness this year

Image: Karen Cox/SheKnows

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.


Read more: http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/1112807/yoga-stretches-for-neck-pain?adbpl=PIN&adbpr=sheknows.com&adbpi=1112807&utm_content=buffer90737&utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_campaign=buffer 

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