Category Archives: Yoga Essentials

Trending: Airport Yoga


Waiting for a connecting flight or for you plane to start boarding can be stressful. Wandering around duty-free shops and drinking coffee in overcrowded airport cafes can hardly help you get into your zen state. That is why airports have started offering one more activity for passengers – yoga.


Spending 15 invigorating minutes (or more if the time permits) in a quiet room while doing a short yoga sequence – what a great idea! No wonder airport yoga is catching on. Here are some airports that have already embraced the trend.

Frankfurt airport

About a year ago Frankfurt Airport opened two free yoga rooms for transferring passengers. They are fully equipped with mats and yoga props and are open 24 hours a day.

Santiago International Airport

South America is also keeping up with the trend with first free yoga class organized this summer in Santiago International Airport in Chile. The complementary classes are organized during peak times and you can follow the schedule here.

San Franciso International Airport

In fact, this is the first airport to offer a yoga room to their passengers. They came up with this idea back in 2012. They now offer 2 yoga rooms available for domestic flight passengers free of charge.

Heathrow Airport

In order to practice yoga in Heathrow Airport, you need to have access to SkyTeam Lounge which is available if you are, for example, a SkyTeam Elite Plus member, fly business or first class on particular airlines or pay a fee. When more and more passengers started travelling with their iPads and TV lounge was becoming less popular, people at SkyTeam decided to convert a it into an elegant and relaxing yoga lounge by adding mats and instructional videos.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport

If one day you’ll find yourself in a yoga room in Chicago O’Hare, you’ll be able to quickly recharge your batteries by following exercise techniques on a special monitor and listening to the sounds of nature. The warm colors of the room and the calming atmosphere will make you forget about the hustle and bustle of the airport. You can use the room free of charge.

These are only a few examples of airports providing yoga lounges for their passengers. Feel free to add the ones that you attended!

As you can see most yoga rooms are free, so if you are in for a long layover at the airport, check whether it offers a yoga room. And even if your airport hasn’t yet caught up with the trend, you can always do a few yoga breathing exercises and have a more enjoyable and less stressful flight.

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A Brief History Of Yoga: From Ancient Hindu Scriptures To The Modern, Westernized Practice


history of yoga

Yoga comes in many shapes and sizes; it has thousands of interpretations and pathways that lead to spiritual awareness, expanded consciousness, transcendence, or simply physical fitness. Reuters

Yoga: the trendy practice that your hippie, hipster, or fitness friends rave about. Garbed in yoga pants and carrying colorful mats bought off Amazon, the modern-day “yogi” attends one-hour classes that focus on physical stretching, movement, and detoxing from their busy modern lives. We hear a lot about the benefits of yoga, from its ability to decrease stress, chronic pain, as well as the risk for chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

What we don’t hear about as often, however, is the history of yoga. Most people are aware of its Indian spiritual and religious roots, but those tend to get washed out by the manufactured, commodified versions of yoga we see today. Perhaps that’s because research on yoga’s origins is hard to find, and its history is a complicated, lengthy narrative. In fact, yoga is incredibly complex — even the word “yoga” has taken on hundreds of different meanings and practices throughout the years. What you and I might assume is “yoga” is probably not even closely related to what yoga was thousands of years ago.

“Nearly all of our popular assumptions about yoga theory date from the past 150 years, and very few modern-day practices date from before the 12th century,” David Gordon White, a professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, writes in his paperYoga, Brief History of an Idea. “This is not the first time that people have ‘reinvented’ yoga in their own image.”

We can try to delineate the history of yoga — at least a brief one. But a practice so rich in religious, spiritual, and physical meaning would take years or even a lifetime to fully understand, grasp, and manifest.


3300-1500 BCE. Historians aren’t entirely sure when the notion or practice of yoga first appeared, and it’s often left to debate. The term “yoga,” however, is found in ancient India’s earliest known scripts — the Vedas. They date from the Vedic period, which began in 1500 BCE. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the Vedas are the oldest writings of Hinduism and Sanskrit literature.

White notes in his paper that the term “yoga” in the Vedas actually refers to a yoke, as in the yoke over animals — and at times a chariot in the midst of battle. Interestingly, in some of these very early writings, yoga was used to describe a warrior dying and transcending into heaven, being carried by his chariot to reach the gods and higher powers of being.

During the Vedic period, Vedic priests who were ascetic — severely self-disciplined and avoidant of any forms of indulgence — conducted sacrifices, or yajna, in poses that some researchers believe are precursors to the yoga poses, or asanas, we experience now.

3rd century, BCE. In the 3rd century BCE, references to the term “yoga” became more common in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist writings. In Mahāyāna Buddhism, the notion of yoga as a spiritual or meditative practice as we know now was referred to as Yogachara (Yogācāra). Yogachara involved eight steps of meditation that was known as “calmness” or “insight.”

5th century, AD. For a while, yoga was a loose notion, its meaning difficult to pin down. It was more of a notion of meditation and a religious practice than it was exercise as we know today. But around the 5th century, it became more of an established core idea among Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. First and foremost, these ancient versions of yoga were mostly spiritual practices, revolving around several core values.

The first value involved analyzing one’s own perception and cognitive state, understanding the root of suffering and using meditation to solve it. The mind was to “transcend” bodily pain or suffering in order to reach a higher level of being. The second aimed to uplift or broaden consciousness, and the third involved using yoga as a path to transcendence. The fourth was using yoga to enter other bodies and act supernaturally — perhaps the strangest and most mystical one.

This is also where the difference between “yogi practice” and “yoga practice” is differentiated. Yoga practice, as described by White, “essentially denotes a program of mind-training and meditation issuing in the realization of enlightenment, liberation, or isolation from the world of suffering existence,” at least in ancient terms. Yogi practice, meanwhile, lies more in the supernatural — i.e., when yogis are able to enter other bodies to expand their consciousness.

yogiA yogi seated in a garden, North Indian or Deccani miniature painting, c.1620-40 Wikimedia


500-1500 AD. During the medieval era, different schools of yoga emerged. Bhakti yoga is a spiritual pathway within Hinduism that appeared during this time, a type of yoga that focused on living through love and devotion toward God.

Tantra was also a genre that arrived around the 5th century, exhibited in medieval Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu traditions. White notes that the Tantras, the medieval scriptures that discussed a new yoga ideology, outlined new goals for those practicing yoga: “No longer is the practitioner’s ultimate goal liberation from suffering existence, but rather self-deification: one becomes the deity that has ben one’s object of meditation.”

Interestingly, Westerners today have often associated “tantra” with a sexual form of yoga, but it turns out they weren’t too far off. Some Tantric beliefs involved yogis having sexual relations with low-caste women whom they believed were yoginis, or women who embodied Tantric goddesses. Having sex with them could lead these yogis to a transcendent level of consciousness. Today, gurus who go about doing such things in their yoga or bikram classes aren’t exactly known for their moral or spiritual prowess.

Hatha yoga appeared in Buddhist texts around the 8th century, and it emerged from tantra. It’s known as the common “psychophysical yoga,” a combination of bodily postures, breathing, and meditation — possibly the closest to what we today associate with yoga. The postures in hatha yoga are called asanas. We know some of them now in their English terms — such as cat pose, camel pose, child’s pose, and warrior I pose.

Shiva BangaloreStatue of Shiva in Bangalore, Karnataka, India, performing yogic meditation in the Padmasana posture, or the lotus position. CC BY-SA 2.0


1890s. So when did yoga became the regiment of health freaks? For thousands of years, the term “yoga” encompassed many things, most of them religious and/or spiritual. But in the mid-19th century, yoga came to the attention of Westerners, who at the time seemed intrigued by Indian culture. We can perhaps attribute yoga’s popularity in the West to Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu monk who toured Europe and the U.S. in the 1890s to spread knowledge about Hinduism among intellectuals.

Vivekananda was responsible for bringing the Yoga Sutras more into the light, as well. These were writings of Patanjali, comprised sometime around 400 AD to describe what he believed were the main yoga traditions of his time. The Yoga Sutras focused mainly on removing all excess thought from the mind and focusing on a singular thing; but they were later incorporated more heavily than any other ancient yoga writings in modern, “corporate” yoga.

Patanjali StatuePatanjali: At times referred to as the “father of yoga,” Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras. CC BY-SA 3.0

20th century. Hatha yoga as a practice (what we’re most familiar with now) didn’t become a commonplace exercise in the U.S. until the 1930s and 40s, and finally reached a peak in the 60s, when Hindu spirituality became far more popular among young Americans. Numerous Indian teachers of yoga taught classes in the U.S., and in the 1980s it became even more popular due to the first health benefits being reported. This was the first time that yoga was seen as a practice with purely physical benefits, something that can improve your heart health and fitness, rather than bring you to a place of transcendence.

21st century. The popularity of yoga in the U.S. has increased throughout the decades, rising from 4 million in 2001 to 20 million in 2011. Since then, plenty of scientific studies have found that yoga comes with a flurry of health benefits: It reduces high blood pressure, depression, chronic pain, and anxiety. It also improves cardiac function, muscle strength, and circulation.

Today, at least in the Western world, yoga is seen as another exercise class to take at the gym, something that will make your muscles sore for days afterward or at least de-stress you. But perhaps knowing at least a little bit about yoga’s ancient spiritual origins — something that has outlasted thousands of years — will help you glean something even more from it.

YogaYoga is now an international trend, seen as both a ways to reach spiritual enlightenment and a form of exercise. Reuters

December 2014. The United Nations General Assembly marked June 21 International Yoga Day, an annual celebration to incorporate yoga and meditation more into humanity all over the world. As the Dalai Lama notes: “If every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”

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That’s Why Yoga Is Changing Your Eating Habits …

Some people hardly change their diet once they start practicing yoga, others suddenly find themselves craving healthy vegetable-based foods. There is no denying that eating habits reflect your way of life. So just the way yoga affects your lifestyle, it may change your eating habits. Here are the 3 ways in which yoga can affect how and what you eat.

Yoga makes you more mindful about your body

As you try to get the poses right and your breath right, you exercise not just your body, but also your mind and attention. This way you become more aware of what is good for you and what’s not, what foods make you feel light and energetic, and what products make you feel crummy.

When you read an article that says eating processed is not good, it’s not convincing enough for you. But when you fully realize how awful you feel after eating a bag of chips, it inspires you to make healthier choices.  No one knows better than you what diet is best for you. And yoga helps you to hear that voice.

Yoga promotes healthy habits

As you get into yoga, you start communicating with a lot of new people: you hear other students and your yoga instructor discussing their diet, you start reading about yoga and Ayurveda, about how you should favor particular foods depending on your dosha type and what spices can make you feel better and stay healthier. All this new knowledge is slowly but surely changes your eating habits for the better.

Yoga helps to fight addictions and bad habits

Addictions are not just about alcohol and cigarettes. People can be addicted to drinking soda, for example, or to indulging themselves in eating lots of chocolate whenever they feel stressed.

Each time you perform a certain action, new connections are shaped in your brain making you more likely to repeat that action in the future. And that’s how habits appear.

As you start doing yoga more regularly, a whole new pattern in your brain is shaped. Ultimately it becomes stronger than patterns responsible for your bad habits and that’s how you get over them.

Doing yoga regularly is a habit that doesn’t come alone. It brings along a range of other healthy habits that make your life so much better.

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Sally Kempton explains that in yoga, our consciousness can free itself from concepts, beliefs and limiting ideas. How do we do this? By learning how to let ourselves be, with conscious awareness of our own inner Awareness.

This week’s featured classes will help deepen our practice through the cultivation of strong awareness of the body in all of the asanas, and strong focus on the breath.

  • Cultivate Deep Awareness to be Present with Kathryn Budig: Use your asana to cultivate deep awareness of the present. Long, thoughtful holds in Sun Salutation B induce focus and the realization that it’s all good! Solid flow with focus on pranayama.
  • Access Your Inner Awareness with Sally Kempton: In deep meditation, our consciousness can free itself from concepts, beliefs and limiting ideas. How do we do this? By learning how to let ourselves be, with conscious awareness of our own inner Awareness. This powerful meditation accesses the natural state.
  • Conscious Awareness with Steven Espinosa: This energetic class begins with a steady opening warm up leading into a vigorous Standing Pose series focusing on moving with conscious awareness. Followed by Arm/Hand Balances, Hip/Thigh Openers, Back Bends and Spinal Twists. Also includes a brief tutorial for the wrists in Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Facing Bow).
  • Enhance Awareness of Your Heart with Elena Brower: A really nourishing Hatha sequence with a few meditative movements to enhance awareness of how your heart is reflected in your hands, your thoughts and your expression. Hold spacious attention in your hands, heart and mind through a some hip opening, standing poses, forearm stand, backbends and meditation.
  • Deepen Your Practice Through Awareness with Jodi Blumstein: This class moves through most of the primary series, skipping select postures. The emphasis here is on deepening your practice through the cultivation of strong awareness of the body in all of the asanas, and strong focus on the breath and bandhas. Advancing your Ashtanga Yoga practice is not a function of doing more advanced asanas. Here we explore how to deepen our practice through greater awareness.
  • Yoga for Core Strength and Awareness with Tara Judelle: Strong class to activate the core as the centralizing magnet of movement. Strong focus on the bandhas, using standing poses, working into arm balances, eka pada koundinyasana II (extended leg arm balance dedicated to sage koundinya, parsva bakasana (side crane) eka pada koundiyasana I. Class focus is on utilizing the core as the center of digesting awareness in order to cultivate center in challenging experiences.
  • Calm Your Overactive Mind, Develop Deep Awareness with Jo Tastula: Tune out from the overactive mind and simply be in deep awareness of the movement of breath and energy as it needs to happen today. Honoring any tension and tightness we start slowly with seated forward bends and supported backbends. Then embrace core work to build the heat to fuel this transformative practice! Lots of hamstring and quad stretches and of course… my beloved side plank (vasistasana). Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose (utthita hasta padangusthasana) warrior 3 (virabhadrasana) and side crow (parsva bakasana) provide some balance challenge. Freeform backbends (self sequencing is wonderful to strengthen anyones home practice) and pigeon for desert.
  • Infinite Awareness with Noah Maze: Shoulder stretches and upper back openers will prepare you for a progression of forearm balance (pincha mayurasana–peacock feather) stages. Expand your infinite awareness, as the eyes of the peacock feathers.
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What are the best yoga poses to do if I could only do 3 poses every morning?

When you don’t have all the time in the world but still want to include a bit of beneficiaal yoga into your day, here’s the answer to this question:

Practising Yoga in the morning is amazing! There are countless asanas and amazing yoga poses that all have awesome benefits. You can try these :

1. Surya Namaskar.

2. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

3. Natarajasana (Dancer Pose)

Have A Great Day..!!

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Instructing from the Ground Up

In describing the qualities of asana with the adjectives “sthira” and “sukha,” Patanjali uses language very skillfully. Sthira means steady and alert–to embody sthira, the pose must be strong and active. Sukha means comfortable and light–to express sukha, the pose must be joyful and soft. These complimentary poles–or Yin and Yang co-essentials–teach us the wisdom of balance. By finding balance, we find inner harmony, both in our practice and in our lives.

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As teachers, we need to help our students find that balance in their practice. Our instruction should assist them in an exploration of both sthira and sukha. In practical terms, we should begin by teaching sthira as a form of connection to the ground, and then move to sukha as a form of lighthearted exploration and expansion. In this way, we can teach from the ground up.

Manifesting steadiness (sthira) requires connecting to the ground beneath us, which is our earth, our support. Whether our base is comprised of ten toes, one foot, or one or both hands, we must cultivate energy through that base. Staying attentive to our roots requires a special form of alertness. Our instruction should begin there by helping students cultivate this alertness at the base of a pose. I will demonstrate this form of instruction for Tadasana, the blue print for all the other standing poses. The principles of Tadasana can be easily adapted to any standing pose you wish to teach.

In all the standing poses, steadiness comes from rooting all sides of the feet like the stakes of a tent. We need to teach students with high arches to pay particular attention to grounding their inner feet, and show students with fallen arches to move their ankles away from each other.

After rooting the feet, we move up, reminding students to draw the kneecaps up, the upper inner thighs in and back, and the outer sides of the knees back. This allows students to notice whether their weight feels evenly distributed between the right and left leg, the front and back of the foot, and the inner and outer thighs.

Next we should remind our students to adjust the pelvis, allowing the weight of the hips to be above the knees and ankles. This often requires them to draw their weight slightly back in order to allow the point of the coccyx to face down. In this alignment, the tailbone is not tucked nor lifted, but merely directed down between the fronts of the heels. Those with flat lumbar spines will need to allow the tailbone to move slightly back, moving away from tucking, while those with over-arched backs will need to encourage the tailbone to draw slightly in.

We should then instruct our students to lengthen the side waist, lift the top of the sternum and relax the shoulders down the back, aligning them over the hips and ankles. They should bring their heads above their shoulders, aligning the chin in the same plane as the forehead. Finally, they should relax the jaw, allowing the tongue to float freely in the mouth and the eyes to soften.

Once our students have attended to steadiness, the other qualities of alertness and comfort become accessible. They are now ready to bring their hands into Namaste position and reflect on their motivation before beginning their practice.

Encourage your students to view this grounded base as their home base, the foundation from which they can create, explore, and at times expand. From there, they can navigate to a place of ease or sukha. Just as steadiness requires and develops alertness, comfort entails remaining light, unburdened, and interested in discovery. By teaching this quality, we encourage a balanced equilibrium rather than impose rigid rules for alignment. This helps students develop a natural respect toward their bodies and themselves, while encouraging them to fully inhabit their bodies. They can then learn to move away from commanding their bodies to perform poses, and instead breathe life into them from the inside.

With sthira and sukha as the points on our compass, we can organize our teaching and help our students enjoy exploring their places of limitation and liberation in every pose. As a result, regardless of your students’ individual abilities, their practice can focus on celebration and refreshment.

At a deeper level, the way we practice and teach yoga poses mirrors the way we live the rest of our lives. As we reflect on our practice and our teaching, we can use yoga as a tool for developing greater insight into ourselves and the world around us. Sthira and sukha can then become not only tools for teaching or understanding yoga, but also principals that help guide the way we live.

Sarah Powers blends the insights of yoga and Buddhism in her practice and teaching. She lives in Marin, California where she home schools her daughter and teaches classes. For more information go to

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6 great exercises to build core strength

It took me years of practicing yoga to realise just how important core strength is in maintaining a healthy, injury free practice.

In fact, core strength is important for maintaining a healthy, injury-free life. However, building true core strength in the transverse abdominis (the deep core muscles) can be tricky, and a lot of modern core work focuses on the superficial abs, the rectus abdominis, which look pretty but are too superficial to, say, be much help in preventing you from putting out your back.

Thankfully, it gets easier thanks to a simple anatomical reality: that when you breathe in your belly, the movement of your breath also moves the deep core muscles. So, you can use the simple act of breathing to help you begin to engage and strengthen these critical core muscles.

With this in mind, try the first exercise below. Lie on your back on the floor, with your legs bent. As you breathe in, notice how your lower back lifts gently off the floor. As you breathe out, gently flatten your lower back against the floor. As you do this, try to pull your belly button down towards your body, and at the same time engage your pelvic floor by trying to draw the skin above your pubic bone upwards (there’s lots written about pelvic floor, so if you’re not sure, go on and google it and then come back here!!). This is basically mulha bandha, the “root lock” your yoga teacher may have told you about.

It’s a subtle feeling, so it might take you a few times to get the hang of it. Try it about 10 times, slowly. The more you practice, the more strongly you will be able to press your lower back into the floor.

Once you’ve got that, try the rest of the exercises below. If you are just getting started, it’s really important to get the breathing right, so that you can take advantage of the natural way the breath and the deep abdominal muscles work together.

NB: All of these exercises are safe to do postpartum (after 8 weeks or with doctor’s permission). If you are trying to build your core strength back after having a baby, I would recommend doing the exercises below as a 10-week programme, doing the exercises every day or every other day and adding one new exercise per week. If you had a c-section or experienced abdominal splitting, consult your doctor and/or physiotherapist before beginning any core work.

If you are recovering from a lower back injury, some of these exercises may not be appropriate for you. Please consult your doctor first!


When you are done, don’t forget to counter pose! Try a gentle bridge pose or sphinx pose to stretch out the abs, and then hug your knees to your chest to stretch out the lower back.

Once you’re feeling comfortable with the exercises above, you can start to challenge yourself a bit more! Here are 3 more exercises that will add a nice core focus to any yoga practice or workout.

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Yoga Nidra: The Conscious Dynamic Sleep for Deep Meditation

Article by: Satyaprem Saraswati , mon diciembre 19, 2016


ere is a lot of talk about meditation, the different techniques and its benefits all over the wellness and spiritual media. However, we should be aware that simply doing a meditation exercise and actually being in a state of meditation are two different things.

Anyone who has ever tried meditation, guided or solitary, will agree that it is easy to say, but difficult to do. The reason is simple: our stressful everyday life has our body and mind on continuous alert, to the point that the word relaxation has become a lost dream for most people. The good news is that there is an ancient technique called Yoga Nidra that could very well be the solution.

Even during sleep, the mind is so tense that it will not leave the body to rest. Most people get out of bed tired, after 7 or 8 hours of disturbed sleep. Then, drained of vital energy, they try to cope with their daily responsibilities, make the right decisions, and have normal reactions. How do we expect our society to progress when its members are under continuous mental, emotional and physical strain?

Try a simple experiment to understand this better: sit in any comfortable position and try to be absolutely motionless for just one minute. You’ll realize that most people find it impossible to be totally still, even for 60 seconds. As determined as one can be, eventually the muscles will make some move, only to prove how little control we have over our mind and body.


The Principles of Yoga Nidra


swami satyananda quote


There is an answer to all this in the name of Yoga Nidra. It originates in the tantras and has been introduced by the Indian yoga guru Swami Satyananda Saraswati. It is a guided exercise that drives you to consciously relax for a period of 15 to 30 minutes. This short but very deep relaxation is physical, mental and emotional. During Yoga Nidra, one may appear to be asleep but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness. Actually, in the threshold between asleep and awake, a spontaneous connection with the subconscious and the unconscious dimension occurs naturally. The consciousness in this state becomes very powerful and can be used to attain deeper knowledge, creativity and even transform the nature of one’s personality.

This yogic sleep is not a state of total unconsciousness, but a state of potentiality, where a part of our awareness is fully alert. Experiments have shown that during the state of what we call sleep, we are actually more aware and have more potential, because our consciousness is disconnected from the senses, leaving space for the quality reception. It can be compared to a computer: when many programs (senses) are running at the same time, the memory overloads or has limited capacity. All the same with the brain, the mind, and the sensorial perception.

Yoga Nidra is practiced in laying position (Savasana) and is not a concentration technique. You just have to follow the instructions that you listen to and let go. You just surrender your body to the floor. During the practice, systematic rotation of consciousness in the parts of the body is a basic part of Nidra Yoga. This helps to maintain awareness while going deeper in the level of relaxation.


Sankalpa: The Intention of Your Practice


seed yoga


Another important part is the ‘Sankalpa’. It is a resolution seed that you sow deep inside; a message to the universal self you are connected to during the practice. The Sankalpa is silently expressed at the beginning of your Yoga Nidra experience and with full heart and sentiment. You should imagine what it would be like if it were already true. Once again, you are guided to repeat your Sankalpa three times near the end of the practice, when you are totally at ease and in the fertile delta brain-wave state, before going back to the external. This is when your brain is most receptive. At a practical level, assuming you have some unwanted habits you wish to disconnect from, you can sow your Sankalpa on them. Believe it or not, it has results. “Anything in life can fail you, but not the Sankalpa made during the practice of Yoga Nidra” –Swami Satyananda.

Many people, exhausted as they are, tend to fall asleep during the practice. This is not bad, nor it deprives the benefits of Yoga Nidra. The consciousness is present, even when asleep, and everyone amazingly wakes up as soon as the instructor tells the phrase “the practice of Yoga Nidra has now complete.”

Considering the modern lifestyle of non-stop stress in the intellectual, emotional and physical level, Yoga Nidra is really the only technique that requires minimum effort and leads to deep relaxation states. It is a guided meditation journey, that can be achieved by no other method in such a short period of time.


Yoga Nidra Instructors


yoga nidra instructor


Yoga instructors receive special training in order to be able to guide a Yoga Nidra session. The tone and the color of voice are special, as well as the selected words that are used. A yoga and/or meditation retreat is the best place to start practicing Yoga Nidra on a daily basis. By the end of the retreat, you will already feel the difference. The results are really impressive.

Yoga Nidra can greatly improve the learning capacity of adults and especially children. Children are very spontaneous and, as a result, they can attune themselves to the practice more easily, gaining supreme benefits. Most of all, they maintain the ability to connect with their deeper self and keep contact with the internal center of mental balance. This is a freedom that adults have long lost


Is Yoga Nidra a Form of Hypnosis?


yoga nidra session


The practice of Yoga Nidra creates a state of withdrawal of the senses. For this reason, some think that it is a form of hypnosis. However, these are two different sciences and actually, Yoga Nidra goes far beyond hypnosis. The reason is that while hypnosis is a deep sleep state, during Yoga Nidra we maintain awareness and we are instructed not to sleep. When we are able to maintain awareness while the senses are in complete withdrawal, we transcend the personal barriers and can go to any depth or height. Moreover, maintaining awareness means that the mind is not dominated by the instructor as it happens during a hypnosis session.

With the systematic practice of Yoga Nidra, your true nature and integrity manifest, enabling you to live in peace. You can restructure and reform your whole personality from within. Release of tension, relaxation, and peace of mind are the secret of transformation and freedom.

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10 Mantras to set a Powerful Intention for your Yoga Practice


The Zen Buddhist approach to living a peaceful lifestyle is to set daily intentions every morning and evening. Intentions are powerful statements (that can be mantras or a sentence that resonates with you) used to amplify your manifestation power, mental clarity and focus, as well as your overall mind state and perspective.

Many yoga teachers will begin their class by asking students to set an intention for their individual practice. An intention also acts as a reminder throughout your yoga practice when your mind wanders or becomes distracted.

Mantras are commonly used by yogis as intentions for their yoga practice.

Setting an intention means choosing something that you want to amplify or cultivate (either on the mat or in your life). Intentions can be anything from staying focused on the breath, reflecting on what you have to be grateful for, repeating a specific mantra, or even just a simple word like “compassion,” “peace,” or “acceptance.”

If you want to learn more about what intentions are and how to set them, read Why We Set Intentions at the Beginning of Our Yoga Practice.

What are Mantras and How Can We Use Them in Our Yoga Practice?

Mantras are short statements that carry important meaning. Think of mantras as powerful affirmations that help invoke a positive shift in mind state. Mantras are commonly used by yogis as intentions for their yoga practice.

The benefit of using mantras as your intention for your time on the mat? They can truly make magic happen as you focus the energy of your mind on a particular goal (for example, staying focused on your breath during your yoga practice) or state of being (like gratitude, positivity, personal acceptance, etc).

Mantras are powerful affirmations that help invoke a shift in mind state.

When you apply this type of intention in your yoga practice, it creates a powerful focus and heightens your ability to manifest whatever it is you’re focusing on.

Here are 10 mantras you can use to set a powerful intention for your yoga practice:


1. I am that I am

“I am that I am,” or So Hum in Sanskrit, is an extremely powerful mantra because it connects you to the collective whole. You can recite “I am that I am” or practice this simple exercise: Sitting in Easy Pose (or Sukhasana) inhale seven breaths and chant “I am” and exhale seven times reciting “that I am.” This mantra makes us feel safe, supported, and in the flow with the entire universe.

2. I am grateful

Express gratitude for everything that you have in your life. Gratitude not only uplifts your heart but also nourishes your soul. By extending gratitude to yourself and all around you (health, wealth, career, relationships etc), you can help raise the vibration of the collective consciousness as well. Be grateful for all lessons, experiences, and situations – they have all aided in developing your character.

3. I am at peace

Reflecting on this mantra throughout your yoga practice, or in life in general (especially during emotionally charged situations), will always bring your awareness back to the present moment and remind you that nothing can disturb your deep well of inner peace. You alone are responsible for how you feel and react to circumstances. This will help you let go of the past and the uncertainty of the future by staying grounded in the stillness of the present.

4. I am a magnet for miracles

YOU ARE A MIRACLE! This powerful mantra evokes magic in your life. By setting this as an intention before you begin your yoga practice, you will find that you can become more aware of the everyday miracles that happen around you. From a bird singing at just the right time, to a spotting a rainbow on the horizon, small miracles happen all around us every day. Cultivating more awareness of these miracles is the easiest way to attract more into your life!

5. I am aware

This mantra really helps you connect your body with your mind. It allows you to align with your emotions and listen to your intuition as well as your physical body (which is key to a safe and strong yoga practice). Simply stand in Mountain Pose (or Tadasana) and recite “I am Aware.” Feel the strength coursing through you from Mother Earth – from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head. Standing in your awareness (literally) is the gateway to higher states of consciousness.

6. I am awake

To be fully present means to be awake. What does being awake mean? It means that you are living with purpose and following your truth. By repeating “I am awake,” you open the door to living in the present and evolving into the person you are meant to be. Being fully present is such a powerful way to truly experience every aspect of the moment. When you’re fully present on the mat, you fully experience each breath, each movement and each moment.

7. I am perfect

Has anyone ever told you that you are perfect? Do you ever say this to yourself? You were born perfect and this statement is reminding you to not only accept yourself as you are, but to also believe in yourself. Being perfect does not mean to be without flaws, but rather to accept them and view yourself as perfectly imperfect, and complete just as you are. No judgments – only compassion, acceptance, and love.

8. I am one with humanity

When you recite this mantra, you come to realize that every single human being is connected. Humanity is not separate. During a yoga class, the energy in the room is interconnected – everyone is equal and there for the same purpose. This beautiful mantra reminds us that everyone has a gift within them to share, and needs to be honored and celebrated as such.

9. I am the light and the light is in me

In the yoga community, you may hear many refer to “the light.” What is this light? Light is the universal energy force you carry within, and also represents our basic essence that we are all born with. “Namaste” means “the light in me honors the light in you.” When you enter your yoga class, keep this in mind and view everyone there through this lens. Just like mantra #8, this helps us more relate and connect with others.

10. I am love

Love is the strongest force in the universe. This last mantra is here to remind you of your uniqueness and that you are made up of light and love! Always remember you contain an infinite supply of love within you. Close your eyes, place your hands over your heart and feel the floodgates of love pouring from you and into you. Love is who you are and why you exist!

You Are the Master of Your Universe

By putting the power of the mind to work in harmony with the power of words and the magic that is abundant in the universe, you can literally create your own reality. Raising your vibration has a domino effect on the rest of the world, and universal energy is amplified to help everyone live in their full power.

To end with a quote from Gary Zukav, “The more aware of your intentions and your experiences you become, the more you will be able to connect the two, and the more you will be able to create the experiences of your life consciously. This is the development of mastery. It is the creation of authentic power.”

Nicky Sehra

A graduate of History & Corporate Communications and Public Relations in Ontario, Nicky is a wanderlust and modern day spiritual woman who enjoys the simple pleasures of life. Nicky loves to teach yoga, travel, and inspire humanity through her writings. Her aim is to leave everyone she meets with a sparkle of kindness, peace and love.

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The 10 Best Yoga Poses to Do After Work

Nothing can make your neck sore, your back ache, your hips stiff, and your brain fried quite like a long day at the office. Luckily for us all, there are yoga poses that can target and relieve these tense areas. And practicing yoga won’t only address the kinks in your body; it has the added benefit of relieving all that mental stress that builds up throughout the day. Here are the 10 best poses to do after work.


1. Neck Stretches

Staring at a computer or phone all day can leave your neck feeling tight and tense. Target this sensitive area directly with some therapeutic neck stretches.

Sitting comfortably, tilt your head to the right and left, holding for one deep breath on each side until you feel the tension and soreness dissipate. Then repeat by tilting your head forward and backward. For a deeper stretch, you can use your opposite hand to apply gentle pressure to the top of your head, as shown in the picture.

2. Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)





itting all day is one of the worst things you can do for your back. Gently undo the damage with some slow cat/cows.

Place your hands under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. As you inhale, arch your spine, drop your belly and look up. As you exhale, round your spine, taking your gaze toward your navel. Repeat for 10 deep breaths.

3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

We talk about downward facing dog a lot here at, but that’s because it’s just so beneficial! This posture will lengthen your spine, stretch your legs and hips, open your shoulders and chest, and improve your circulation all at the same time. If you can only do one pose after work, make it this one!

Starting on your hands and knees, tuck your toes, straighten your legs and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Step your feet backward a bit if necessary and spread your fingers wide. The most important thing in this pose is to keep your spine long, so if you feel your back rounding, try bending your knees a tad. Hold for 10 deep breaths.

4. Wide Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

fter work we tend to have a lot of stress and other emotions to release. Forward bends are perfect for these moments, as they encourage us to let go of anxiety, worries, and other negative feelings.  Prasarita padottanasana will also release a tight lower back, provide a deep stretch to stiff legs, and open up the chest and shoulders—all very necessary after a long day siting!

Stand with your feet about three feet apart. Turn your toes toward each other very slightly and interlace the fingers behind your back. Inhale, lift your chest and engage your core, and lift your hands behind your back. As you exhale, fold from your hips and bring your head towards the floor, keeping your legs and spine straight. Hold for 10 deep breaths.

5. Seated Side Stretch (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)

Give the sides of your torso and your lower back some love with this deeply relaxing seated stretch.

Bend your left leg and bring your left foot to the inside of your right thigh. Keeping your torso rotated to the left and your chest open, bend toward your right leg. If you can, take hold of your right toes with your right hand and stretch your left arm over your head to meet the right. Hold for 10 deep breaths. Don’t forget to repeat on the other side!

6. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

This pose provides a deep stretch to the hips, inner thighs, and (if you’re flexible enough to fold forward) lower back. It’s also great for sciatic discomfort, which is often exacerbated by sitting.

Sit up straight, bring the soles of your feet together in front of you and clasp your hands around them. You can stay here, or you can deepen the stretch by folding forward, making sure to keep your spine long. 10 deep breaths!

7. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

Pigeon might be the BEST stretch to relieve sore, tight hips and improve range of motion at the hip joint. It is also extremely relaxing, provides deep psychological benefits, and like baddha konasana, can benefit those with sciatic pain.

From your hands and knees, bring your right knee behind your right wrist, and your right foot behind your left wrist. For yogis with more mobile hips, the right thigh and calf will make almost a 90 degree angle, while others will still feel a deep stretch at a 30-45 degree angle. Stretch your left leg straight out behind you on the mat. If you want to go deeper, inhale and open you chest, and exhale and to reach your arms out in front of you, slowly lowering your torso towards the floor. Hold for at least 10 deep breaths, and then repeat on the other side.

8. Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)

After being hunched over a desk all day, it’s important to softly stretch our spine in the opposite direction with baby backbends like sphinx pose, sometimes called ‘half cobra.’

To enter the pose, lie on your stomach and engage your back muscles to lift your head and upper torso from the mat. Align your elbows underneath your shoulders for support. Keep your chest wide and open and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Look straight ahead and hold for 10 deep breaths.

9. Child’s Pose (Balasana)


This pose is a beautiful and beneficial pose to include in your practice, as it will gently ease open any areas where you’re still holding tension, as well as realign your spine and relax your mind.

From all fours, bring your feet together behind you. Bring your hips back so they are resting on your feet or heading in that direction. Stretch your arms out in front of you or place them along side you, and rest your forehead on the floor. Breathe deeply as your shoulders, chest, lower back, and hips relax and open up. Rest in this posture for 10 breaths, or as long as you need.

10. Savasana

Working all day doesn’t only make our bodies stiff and sore—it can also make our minds feel stressed and agitated. Finish your after-work practice with a long meditation in Savasana, and re-enter the world feeling relaxed and renewed.

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