Yoga to beat down insomnia.

Struggling to sleep? Finding yourself up at 3 a.m. almost every morning? Thoughts trailing on for hours? I might have the perfect cure so that you can finally have the good night’s sleep you’ve been dreaming about. (See what I did there?)

Let me first explain to you what insomnia is.

Insomnia is merely (short to say to the average Joe) a lack of sleep caused by various factors.

This condition can be caused by psychiatric/medical conditions, unhealthy sleep habits, substance abuse, and/or biological factors. In the past few years, researchers have begun to think about insomnia as brain problem being that it is unable to stop being awake (your brain has a sleep cycle and a wake cycle—when one is turned on the other is turned off—insomnia can be a problem with either part of this cycle: too much wake drive or too little sleep drive). Before we get into how Yoga can fix this problem, lets first figure out why you may have insomnia.

Food:

Not only do we LOVE food, but little do we know this can have an effect on your sleeping patterns and ability to fall asleep.

  • So if you’re a drinker, this could be the reason why you can’t sleep. Reason being that alcohol is a sedative (so you’d think that this would help you sleep?), this can’t make you tired, but will disrupt your sleep later on in the night. This may not be the case as some people tend to sleep like a rock after an odd knock. But if you’re a trained drinker (on the daily) this might be something to look into.
  • Caffeine should 100%, definitely be a no before bed.  Caffeine is a stimulant (in other words gives you energy to stay awake. If you drink A LOT of coffee a day (like more than 4 cups), here’s your problem.
  • Nicotine is also a stimulant and can cause insomnia. Smoking close to bedtime can cause insomnia, or contribute to an interrupted sleep.
  • Heavy meals close to bedtime can and will disrupt your sleep. Rule of thumb is that you should eat lighter meals at night and no carbs after 4 in the evening. When you eat too much in the evening makes it hard for your body to settle. Spicy foods can also cause heartburn and interfere with your sleep.

Lifestyle:

Insomnia can be triggered by your behaviours and sleep patterns. Unhealthy lifestyles and sleep habits can create insomnia on their own (without any other underlying psychiatric or medical problem), or they can make insomnia caused by another problem worse.

Examples of how specific lifestyles and sleep habits can lead to insomnia are:

  • Working from home at night. When your home should be your relaxing place after a long day at work, you’re creating an environment which is telling your brain to stay active and alert; you’ll also go to bed thinking about work, which will cause an interrupted sleep.
  • You sometimes sleep in later to make up for lost sleep. This can confuse your body’s clock and make it difficult to fall asleep again the following night.
  • If you work irregular hours. Non-traditional hours can confuse your mind and body’s clock, especially if you are trying to sleep during the day, or if your schedule changes periodically.
  • Once this happens, worry and thoughts such as, “I’ll never sleep,” become associated with bedtime, and every time the person can’t sleep, it reinforces the pattern.

This is why it’s important to address insomnia instead of letting it become normal part of your life. If your insomnia is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and bad sleeping habits and if you have tried to change your sleep behaviours and it hasn’t worked, it’s important to take this seriously and talk to a doctor.

Depression and anxiety:

Psychological struggles can make it hard to sleep, as insomnia can bring on changes in mood, and shifts in hormones and physiology can lead to both psychiatric issues and insomnia at the same time.

  • Sleep problems may be indicated as a symptom of depression. Studies show that insomnia can also trigger or worsen depression.
  • Most adults have trouble sleeping, due to nervousness, but for some it’s a pattern that interferes with sleep on a regular basis.
  • Anxiety patterns such as: Tension, overthinking, excessive worrying, and feeling overwhelmed, are huge contributors to insomnia.

 

Finally! Let’s talk about my Yoga secret.

Now that you understand what could be causing your insomnia, you may have a slight idea on how to better your sleeps at night, along with my Yoga routine.

Implement these poses into your pre-bedtime routine to beat your sleepless nights, so that you can finally have well-rested, productive days.

  1. Standing forward bend

As explained by the name itself, all this pose entails is for you bend forward from a standing position.

  • You can have your legs together or shoulder width apart, but make sure you bend forward from the hips with a straight back.

This pose stretches out those hammies, which tend to tighten as the day progresses. This pose is also effective when it comes to calming and soothing your mind.

  1. Head to knee forward bend
  • Start by sitting upright with your legs straight out in front of you.
  • Bend your right leg in so that your right foot touches the inside of your left leg.
  • Bend forward from your hips as far as you can go, grabbing around your left foot if possible.
  • Drop your head to touch your knee if you’re flexible enough, otherwise just go down as far as possible.
  • If you can’t reach your toes, place your hands on the floor on either side of your left leg.
  • Hold for a few second and then switch legs.

This will release tension and stretch out each of your legs, ultimately allowing you to relax.

  1. Downward facing dog

One of the most practiced poses; downward dog is not only calming, but its rejuvenating as well.

  • Start on your hands and knees, with your toes curled under.
  • Straighten your arms whilst relaxing your back, and lift your knees off the floor.
  • Your legs can be straight or have a bend slightly, sinking your heels towards the floor.
  • Press into the ground with your fingers spread, and lift your pelvis, bringing your shoulder blades into your upper back.
  • Draw your chest towards your thighs, lift your sit bone high, and relax your head without letting it go loose.
  1. Bridge pose
  • For bridge pose, begin lying on your back with your knees bent hip-width apart, and arms out beside your body.
  • Raise your hips and pelvis whilst engaging your legs, and roll your spine off the floor.
  • Lift up your chest by pushing your arms and shoulders into the floor.
  • Bring your hands together and clasp them underneath your body.

This restorative pose will help you relax while strengthening your legs and core at the same time.

  1. Cat pose

The Cat pose is so simple, yet provides such great, soothing results.

  • Begin on your hands and knees. You can curl your toes or keep the tops of your feet flat on the ground.
  • Round your spine and engage your abs, pulling your belly button in towards your spine.
  • Press down into the floor with your hands and relax your head.

This pose feels so good and aims to alleviate stress and anxiety. It also massages the spine and belly organs.

 

I hope this is enough to get your eyes shut and your energy levels up the next day!

Yours Truly

C.

 

Self Love on Valentines Day!

Let’s practice self-love this valentine’s day!

Like every Valentine’s Day, we hope to be praised and adored, be showered with gifts and food, but are you ready to love yourself this Valentine’s Day?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing to be loved by friends, family, a significant other, but let’s get real with all of that love flowing in, why do we still feel oddly unsatisfied? Answer is: You need to love yourself first!

The feeling of something missing springs from the fact that if you don’t give yourself love and compassion, don’t you think it’s hard to believe that it can be deservingly received from someone else?

It’s not often done on purpose, actually it’s usually unnoticed, most of the time people forget to practice self-love because they are too busy loving others.

It’s not vain it’s beautiful.

So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and the 4 letter word, we’ve come up with 4 ways to love yourself more!

1.Wake up the right way.

Set your alarm (with a peaceful tone: wind chimes for example)  10 minutes earlier than usual and start your day off with a 5 minute lie in bed (not 5 minutes of extra sleep)  followed by 5 minutes of stretching.

2.Morning Meditation

Just taking five minutes in morning is enough for the whole day, yes it is beneficial. Meditation brings you to a place of love, strength and power.

Obviously it’s a very good trait to have and being honest with people around you is a must! But being honest with yourself should be vital in your day to day. Accept responsibility for your own decisions. Being honest with yourself will also improve your relationships with those around you

3. Eat mood boosting foods!

Diets rich with Omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon, flaxseeds, and hemp) reduce inflammation in our brain and help improve our moods. “Similarly, spinach, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are bursting with folate, a nutrient linked to lower depression rates.”

Of course, the wrong foods can wreak havoc on our self-image. Processed, packaged foods crammed with sugars and trans fats increase inflammation in our brain, our mood and stress levels take a hit.

4. As cliché as it sounds. Tell yourself you are an amazing human being every single day.

The more you say it, the more you’ll start to believe it. Practice kindness as being kind to others will also make you feel good about yourself, it’s an amazing self-esteem booster!

Yoga Poses for Teens

From stress, to emotional and physical downfalls, and not knowing how to deal with them. Teenage years are commonly experienced and recognized as the most challenging period in one’s life.

Yoga, however has proven to restore peace, reduce impulsivity, increase patience, promote self-discipline, reduce stress and help build up one’s confidence physically as well as emotionally, thus proving to be very beneficial to teens and young adults during their “hormonal” years.

From doing as little as 15 minutes to as much as an hour of Yoga a day, can help teenagers improve their overall well-being.

These following yogasansas will help teens to unify the mind, body and soul.

The Warrior Pose

Also known as Virabhadrasana, increases flexibility in the hips, this pose also strengthens and tones the legs, ankles and feet. Working on the Warrior will help you kill all standing poses as well as hip openers. In this pose we get a twist for the spine, while the opening up the shoulders and the side body prepares us for back bends.

The Warrior Pose symbolizes our inner ability to overcome ego and ignorance. The warriors bring us strength, focus, confidence and courage.

Stand with both feet together then take your right foot one step back, in 90 degree angle, slowly stretch your hands up over your head and deepen the stretch slightly with each exhalation.

Remember to keep the length in the lower back. Many have the tendency for the pelvis to tilt forward in this pose making a stronger arch, or crunch, in the lower back. Please avoid this, rather than tucking the tailbone under, look to keep length in the lower back by ‘lifting the pit of the abdomen’ instead.

The Triangle Pose

Trikonasana. To make this pose easier to practice, one should use a block or chair. Practising this pose, helps shape a teens body as well as provide improvement on posture (well needed in today’s day and age.)

The triangle pose helps in stretching your thigh muscles, hipsas well as groin. Along with relieving stress, the Trikonasana provides relief from back pain and constipation while strengthening the back, hips, and thighs.

To do this pose, stand straight on your right leg and bend at the hip in such a way that your right hand reaches your shin or the floor. Rotate your shoulders slowly and repeat the process again on the other side. This posture will make you stronger and train you to do more difficult asanas.

 

Standing Forward Fold

Uttanasana. This pose places your head near your heart, which stimulates the body. It also relieves insomnia and headaches, not only that, but also improves your digestion and gets those kidneys activated!

This pose is fantastic with stretching the hammies and calves as well as increasing strength in your knees and thighs, it stretches your spine and helps develop those beautiful abs that we’re all wanting. This pose is also a pre-exam stress and anxiety reliever.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart then hinge forward from the hips and bend down slowly. When you pull your head down and push the hips up, you should feel your spine and hammies stretch. Bend your knees enough to allow your palms to touch the floor. Stay in this position for three to four breaths. Remember to use your belly to inhale and exhale. Release the position slowly – keeping the back straight, bend your knees slightly, and slowly pull pack into a standing position as you exhale.

When practising this pose, deter from locking your knees or rolling your shoulders and back when getting into formation.

 

The Downward Dog.

Energize that body!

As simple as the explanation comes.

This pose works the best when you’re all bright and breezy before breakfast time. If you have mild depression, this pose is for you! And if you experience fatigue, this pose is for you too!

To execute this pose, place your hands under your shoulders and knees hip-width apart on the floor (like a dog), spread those palms and slowly move your hands forward while pressing your fingers onto the mat to increase your grip. Curl your toes under and slowly push your hips upwards, to make an inverted V with your body. Your knees should not be touching the ground now, keep those knees slightly bent.

Stay in the position for three breaths, then release back into your original position.

 

Tree Pose

This pose proves to be excellent in releasing frustration and in building your mental power.

Place your feet together and make sure that you keep them fixed to the surface of the floor. Then slowly move your one leg in upward direction and hands in prayer position, above your shoulders. AND repeat with the other leg.

 

 

 

 

As you’ve probably realized from reading this post, Yoga provides many benefits for a growing teen, not just for the improvement of the body, but for the improvement of many other aspects that are crucial in their lives today.

So get cracking!

Thats all from me.

C

Yoga and Discipline


Whether you can’t get round to going to your first yoga class or struggling to figure out how to practice yoga daily, the psychological technique called “implementation intention” will help you get closer to your goals.

We all know people who seem disciplined by nature. They achieve whatever goals they set for themselves, they seem to complete every item on their to-do list, and they are hardly ever late.  For others, procrastination seems to be second nature. Even important goals like going to a doctor can be put off again and again. If this is your case, you can do with some useful psychological techniques. One of them is called implementation intention.

So what exactly is implementation intention?

The implementation intention is a method that helps you achieve your goals more successfully by rephrasing your goals as if-then statements or by specifying when, where, and how you are going to do the desired activity or take the steps leading to your goal.

When we are forming if-then statements, “if” is followed by the situation, and “then” is followed by the desired behavior.
For example, let’s say you want to start going to bed earlier, you can form a statement like. “If it’s 10 p.m. I’ll close my laptop, put away my phone, dim the lights in the room and get myself ready for going to bed”.

Specifying when, where, and how you are going to achieve your goals turns vague goals into specific ones.

Example: “I want to do yoga every day” is a vague goal. “I will do 6 rounds of Sun Salutations right after waking up starting tomorrow” is a specific goal.

Numerous experiments proved that “implementation intention” really works. For example, two groups of women wanted to perform breast self-examination by the end of the month. All women in the group who were also asked to decide exactly when and where they will perform the self-examination actually did it against 53% in the group who were not induced to make the implementation intention.

The effectiveness of the implementation intention has been proved in many experiments that among others included people wanting to lose weight or students who needed to write an essay. Normally, people who are asked to formulate an implementation intention are 2 or even 3 times more successful in acting on their goals than those who don’t.

See, maybe not so many of New Year’s resolutions would fail, if we specified when (at least in which month) and how we will be acting on them!

Bonus technique for self-discipline

If you are looking for more psychological techniques to improve your self-discipline, here is a good one. It’s called “commitment device”. It’s a method of getting yourself into a situation where you are forced to perform activities that you otherwise wouldn’t feel like doing but that will bring the desired result in the long term.

You are very likely to have used this technique. For example, deleting games from your smartphone may help you spend less time playing games. Or not buying chocolates and cookies and not keeping them at home helps cut down on sugar.

Buying a monthly membership to a yoga studio can be a good commitment device technique if you want to do yoga more regularly.

Now whenever a really great idea comes to your mind, instead of dreaming about it, schedule implementing it and create an atmosphere where giving up is not an option. Use this to become disciplined in yoga and in other spheres of your life!

Read more at https://yoga.com/article/yoga-and-self-discipline

Common Yoga Terms Explained


You see these words when reading articles and books about yoga. You hear these words when talking to your yogi friends. If you are not sure what some of them mean, here is a chance to quickly get acquainted with some common yoga terms and concepts from the Yoga language!

8 limbs of yoga: 8 aspects of yoga, 8 principles on how to live in harmony with the world and with yourself described in Yoga Sutras by Patanjali (more on that under Yoga Sutras definition). The eight limbs are Yama (attitude to the world), Niyama (attitude to yourself, self-discipline), Asana (physical pose), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), Samadhi (enlightenment).

200 RYT / 500 RYT: these terms have nothing to do with yoga philosophy, but it might be you’ve seen these abbreviations in yoga instructor portfolios and wondered what they stand for. So, there is an organization Yoga Alliance that has worked out standards and curriculum requirements for yoga teacher training. A yoga teacher who meets the requirements of Yoga Alliance can use the credential RYT (registered yoga teacher). 200 RYT means that a teacher has completed a 200-hour course registered with Yoga Alliance. (Yoga schools around the world can apply to be able to provide this training). 500 RYT means that a teacher has completed a 500-hour course (or a 200-hour course and then a 300-hour course) and has taught yoga for at least 100 hours since completing the course. There are also E-RYT (experienced yoga teacher) credentials for teachers with more teaching experience.

This is an internationally recognized credential. But it doesn’t mean that every experienced yoga teacher must have this credential. However, now when you see 500 RYT you’ll have an idea of what kind of training the teacher has completed. Some yoga practitioners who don’t plan to become yoga teachers still complete yoga teacher training in order to deepen their practice.

Asana translates as “seat”. Initially, it was used to define a comfortable pose for meditation. Later the word asana started to refer to a yoga pose or yoga posture. That is why yoga poses have -asana in their Sanskrit names (for example, Padmasana, Balasana, Tadasana). As you already know, asana is only one of the many aspects of yoga. Asanas help strengthen the body and better prepare it for meditation. It’s often this physical aspect of yoga that motivates people to start practicing. But very often they continue to explore breathing exercises, meditation, yoga philosophy and other aspects of yoga. Several classic texts on yoga including Hatha Yoga Pradipika mention 84 classic asanas. One asana can have many variations.

Ashtanga yoga: the word “ashtanga” translates as “having 8 components”. “Ashta” in Sanskrit means eight. Nowadays, this yoga term is frequently used to refer to Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga style. During Ashtanga yoga practice, you do a sequence of asanas connected with vinyasas and synchronized with the breath. This is a fast-paced and dynamic style that requires strength and may be challenging for beginners.

Chakras: these are energy centers in our body. There are 7 chakras that are located along the spine, from its base to the top of the head. Some symptoms like particular negative emotions may reveal which of your chakras are blocked. You can use particular yoga poses and lifestyle changes to unblock them. Read more here.

Hatha yoga is a system of breathing techniques and postures. Hatha yoga is, in fact, a category that includes most yoga styles. For example, Iyengar yoga and Ashtanga vinyasa yoga are forms of Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga classes may vary between different yoga studios and different teachers. But usually, these are slow-paced classes suitable for beginners.

 

Kundalini defines the coil of energy located at the base of the spine. Kundalini yoga style also known as Laya Yoga is focused on awakening this energy. It is also called “yoga of awareness”. In addition to doing asanas and pranayamas, Kundalini yoga practitioners sing mantras during the practice. It is recommended to wear white clothes to Kundalini yoga classes.

Lotus pose or Padmasana is a yoga pose considered to be the best pose for meditation. This is an advanced pose. To get into Lotus pose sit on the mat with your legs crossed. Put the right foot on the left thigh. The outer part of the right foot should face the left thigh. Put the left foot on the right thigh. Place your relaxed hands on your thighs or push the palms against the floor.

Namaste: this is a word that translates as ‘the light within me bows to the light within you’ or ‘I bow to the divine in you’. It is normally said at the end of the practice.This is also a common greeting in countries like Nepal and India. You say it with your hands pressed together, fingers pointing upwards, and thumbs pointing towards the chest.
Pranayama: the art of breath regulation, breath control. You’ll practice different kinds of breathing techniques throughout your yoga practice. Pranayama exercises are normally done in a comfortable sitting pose or even sitting on a chair. It’s essential that you feel comfortable and your back is straight.
Savasana (Corpse Pose): one of those yoga poses that even people who haven’t been to a single yoga class have heard of (along with Lotus pose and Tree pose, probably) This pose normally ends the practice. You need to lie on your back with your arms and legs straightened, the feet pointing outwards, the palms up, eyes closed. Savasana helps to relax the mind and the body and lets the effects of a yoga practice sink in.
Sun Salutations: Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar is a dynamic asana sequence. Normally performed in the morning or at the beginning of a yoga practice as a warm-up, Sun Salutation includes 12 poses with the four first poses and four last poses being the same but done in reverse order: Mountain Pose, Upward Salute, Standing Forward fold, Low Lunge, Plank Pose, Four-Limbed Stuff Pose, Upward-facing Dog, Downward-facing Dog, then again Low Lunge, Standing Forward fold, Upward Salute, Tadasana. This would be a half-round of Sun Salutation, you then need to complete another half on the other side. Doing 6—12 rounds of Sun Salutations in the morning may be a good and simple way to form an everyday yoga habit.
Vinyasa: a flow of poses. For example, San Salutation or Cat-Cow are examples of Vinyasa. Different yoga styles focused on flowing sequences of poses such as Ashtanga yoga fall under the category of Vinyasa yoga.
Yoga is literally translated as union, it’s a spiritual and ascetic discipline that includes many aspects. Some of them are Hatha yoga (yoga of proper breath and poses), jnana yoga (the yoga of wisdom and knowledge), and raja yoga (yoga of mind and emotions).
Yoga Nidra: yogic sleep. During Yoga Nidra, you achieve the state of “sleep with awareness” lying in Savasana pose with your eyes closed listening to verbal instructions of your teacher. Yoga Nidra has many benefits including the lowered anxiety and better sleep. Yoga Nidra normally lasts 45—60 minutes.  Some yogis say an hour of Yoga Nidra feels like 4 hours of regular sleep.
Yoga props: blocks, bolsters, folded blankets, straps used to deepen the poses or to perform easier variations of poses. Don’t be afraid to use yoga props. They are great companions in your yoga journey. You’ll use props a lot during Iyengar yoga classes.
Yoga Sutras:  a set of aphorisms written by Patanjali which is considered to be the foundation of Yoga philosophy. This ancient document didn’t contain the poses. It is not known exactly when the document was created. But it’s definitely more than 1700 years old.

If you’ve got some insights about the yoga terms here or would like to provide more information on any of them feel free to add a comment!

Read more at https://yoga.com/article/common-yoga-terms-explained

Yoga Poses to help you recharge while hiking


Who doesn’t love hiking? Exploring new places, soaking up the fresh air and beautiful scenery, experiencing the life at its fullest. As you walk for miles and miles you may start feeling a little tired. This exhaustion is pleasant in a way yet you feel like you could do with some exercise.

And here is when yoga comes to the rescue. Forward folds and stretches that require just a few minutes and no mat to practice will make you feel like a whole new person!

Intense side stretch pose (Parsvottanasana)

Stand up, step your left foot back. Stretch your arms and put them together above your head: your fingers clasped and your index fingers pointing up. Move your chin to your chest and start folding to your right leg, your back round. Try to reach the floor (or rather the earth) with your hands and to touch your leg with your forehead. This pose perfectly stretches thighs and back and calms down your mind.

 

Extended side angle pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

 

Put your feet a leg’s length apart, your right foot turned 90 degrees to the right, and your left foot just slightly turned to the left. Bend your right leg until it forms a 90-degree angle. Start bending your torso to the right and put your right hand on the floor. Stretch your left arm up until it forms one line with your left leg. This pose doesn’t only stretch your body but also improves your stamina when performed regularly.

Revolved side angle pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana)

Feet a leg’s length apart, right foot turned 90 degrees to the right. Rotate your torso and pelvis to the right, bend your right knee until the thigh is parallel to the floor. Start bending your torso forward rotating it more to the right until you can put your left shoulder in front of your right knee. You can either put your left hand on the floor and your right hand up or join your hands in Namaste.Make sure to repeat the above poses on both sides

Wide-legged forward bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

 

Put your legs a leg’s length apart, place your hands on your lower back and start bending forward. Put the palms on your feet and move your head to the floor. Keep your thighs engaged and your pelvis stretching up. Beginners may practice the pose variation with their hands on hips.

You may use Tadasana or Utthita Hasta Padasana poses as a transition between poses.

These poses will relieve the back pain, stretch the muscles and improve blood circulation. You are ready to hike on!

Read more at https://yoga.com/article/yoga-poses-for-hiking

How to change your daily routine and become a morning person


What can be more natural than waking up with the sun and going to bed when the whole nature is falling asleep? Nothing, really. And yet, at some point with all the nightlife activities, hard-to-put-aside gadgets, flexible working hours and jam-packed schedules, it all got out of control.

These tips from Yoga and Ayurveda will persuade you to switch to a new morning routine and make the shift easier.

 

Watch the sunrise. Every day

Ayurveda and Yoga Theory have an explanation for why it makes sense to wake up before sunrise. Apparently, about an hour and a half period before the sunrise called Brahma Muhurta is the time when nature is in its stillest phase. And so is your mind. It is the most appropriate time for yoga, meditation and welcoming a new day in a calm and harmonious way. Wake up during this quiet and secluded time before the sun is up, and you’ll feel balanced and happy for the rest of the day.

Go to bed at reasonable hours

And by reasonable Ayurveda means between 10 and 11 p.m. Why is that? The thing is everything around us is influenced by doshas: Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. These doshas are combinations of energies and each dosha has particular qualities. The day is divided into 6 four-hour intervals during which a particular dosha dominates influencing our mood and energy levels.  At 10 p.m. the sluggish Kapha is changed by fiery and intense Pitta which will be dominant until 2 a.m. Pitta will make you feel more energetic but at the same time, it will make it hard for you to fall asleep and to have a quality rest. You can read more on how doshas influence our energy during the day in one of our previous articles. Going to bed before midnight means you’ll get a more restorative sleep and feel refreshed even if you wake up very early the next morning.

Wake up on the proper side of the bed

Of all the recommendations this is the easiest one to adopt!

In some languages, the expression “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” literally translates as “getting up on the wrong foot”. According to Ayurveda, this totally makes sense. So, we all have a dominant nostril. As a rule, this may change during the day. And when you wake up you need to check which nostril is breathing better and get out of bed by first putting the corresponding leg on the floor. This way you’ll feel less sluggish during your morning and the whole day.

Create a morning ritual

It’s important to think of a morning ritual that will allow you to wake up gently and motivate you to get out of bed. You may come up with your own morning routine or borrow some ideas from Dinacharya — a daily routine suggested by Ayurveda and followed by Indian yogis for hundreds of years.

This daily routine sure requires a lot of discipline to adopt. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t manage to go to bed before midnight tonight or don’t see every sunrise during the week. Believe in yourself and try again and again!

Yes, you may have been a night owl most of your life. But have you ever given a waking up before sunrise routine a really good chance? Who knows, maybe it will become your second nature.

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/

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.

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 🙂