You are on page 1of 360


Compiled by:
Fitness-Health Team

Yoga Poses for Your
Yoga for Your Health

Curious about yoga? Yoga is a very popular form of workout that more and more
people are starting to get into as they learn about all the different benefits that it can
provide. But, if you're brand new to yoga and haven't done your research, you may
not be making the most of this type of workout program.
There are a number of different variations of yoga that can be performed, so it's
essential that you understand what each is about so that you can pick and choose
the variety that is going to best benefit you with the goal set that you currently have.
Learning some of the top key benefits that you'll get from each yoga class that you
perform will also help you stay motivated and committed to doing your sessions and
making the physical progress you desire.
Yoga is about more than just physical activity however. Those who participate in
yoga for an ongoing period of time are going to notice that they benefit from a
psychological standpoint as well.
While many other variations of exercise as strictly focused on burning fat, improving
your strength, or allowing you to have some fun with your physical fitness program,
yoga is one that really interconnects you mind and body together.
So read through the following series of articles so that you can get all the vital
information that you need to know about yoga.
A Brief History Of Yoga - If you are considering taking up yoga, or you are new to
the practice you might be curious to find out more about yogas fascinating history.
Yoga is sometimes described as the oldest science in life and the story of how yoga
began is shrouded in mystery.
A Guide To the Different Types Of Yoga - There are many different types of yoga
that have been developed by various respected yoga teachers over the years. The
kind of yoga class you choose will depend on your needs, level of experience and
personal tastes and you may have to try a few different styles of yoga before you find
a type that particularly suits you.
The Health Benefits Of Yoga For Women - The health benefits of yoga for women
are so wide ranging its difficult to know where to begin. This amazing practice gives
the body a full workout and in a gentle way.
Yoga and Weight Loss - Many people wrongly assume that practicing yoga will not
help them to lose or maintain their weight. However when you look at the kinds of
people who practice yoga regularly you will generally find that their bodies are slim
with toned muscles so why is that? Well anyone who is into yoga in a big way
probably incorporates a healthy diet into their lifestyle because yoga and eating
healthily go hand in hand.
Yoga And Your Mental Health - For many years, devotees of yoga have been
telling the world that bending our limbs into a variety of contortions is good for the
mind, body and spirit. There is a great deal of information available about the health
benefits of yoga and how it can improve your levels of strength and flexibility.
Yoga and Your Reproductive Health - There are several health benefits for women
who practice yoga. For example, women who regularly take yoga classes are said to
experience less pain during childbirth and menstruation.
Yoga and the Menopause - Every woman experiences the menopause at some
point in her life this is a fact and the menopause is not an illness nor should it be
treated as such. Usually the menopause takes place somewhere between the ages
of 45 to 55 however it can begin earlier, later or as the result of a hysterectomy
Pre Natal and Postnatal Yoga - Pregnancy is a time of great change, anticipation
and excitement for many women but it can also be a time of discomfort and pain too.
Many women have to change their regular fitness routine when they become
pregnant, as some sports are not advisable during pregnancy particularly during the
later stages of the pregnancy.
A Brief History Of Yoga
If you are considering taking up yoga, or you are new to the practice you might be
curious to find out more about yogas fascinating history.
Yoga is sometimes described as the oldest science in life and the story of how yoga
began is shrouded in mystery. The reason for the mystery appears to have started
with the theory that the practice of yoga was revealed only to enlightened sages
during their meditation practice.
It is generally agreed however that yoga has its origins in India and that the practice
of these simple but powerful exercises began many thousands of years ago.
The oldest archaeological evidence of yoga is cited as being carvings of figures in
yoga-like poses found on stone seals excavated from the Indus Valley. These
carvings date as far back as 3000BC showing us that people have benefitted from
this advanced exercise system since antiquity.
The first written evidence of yoga can be found in the vast collection of Sanskrit
scriptures known as the Vedas. Veda means knowledge in Sanskrit and some
sections of these texts date from around 2500BC.
The Vedas are a large collection of spiritual texts, similar to hymns and meditations,
written by sages and prophets. They emphasised self-awareness, wisdom and
intuition all still important parts of todays modern yoga philosophy.
Following on from the Vedas the best known of all yogic scriptures the Bhagavad
Gita or Lords Song was written sometime around the sixth century BC. The Gita is
part of the epic poem the Mahabharata written by Vyasa.
The Gita is devoted solely to yoga and tells the story of how Lord Krishna shows the
warrior prince Arjuna how to follow the yogic path of service, devotion and wisdom to
achieve liberation.
The Yoga Sutras compiled by the sage Patanjali around 800BC are lessons on yoga
that are still referenced by yoga teachers today. Patanjali developed the eight-limbed
path to yoga that is made up of the following:
Yamas or restraints aimed at eliminating negative qualities.
Niyamas or observances aimed at developing positive qualities.
Asanas or postures the yoga exercises themselves.
Pranayama or breath control the breathing exercises.
Pratyahara or withdrawing the senses in preparation for meditating.
Dharana or concentration.
Dhyana or meditation.
Samadhi or super consciousness, ecstasy or self-realisation.
Yoga made its way from East to West towards the end of the 19th Century, studied
at first as part of Eastern Philosophy courses. It was later adopted as a health
movement around the 1930s when the concept of vegetarianism also became
By the 1960s the popularity of yoga continued to soar with many respected yoga
teachers moving to the west to teach, or sending their student teachers to spread the
message of their particular yogic teachings worldwide. The belief being that many
old souls from the East were being reincarnated in the West.
Today yoga is still practiced with the spiritual emphasis but many mainstream gyms
and fitness clubs also run simple exercise-based classes and there are many
different types of yoga to choose from.
Practiced by both the young to the old, yoga continues to be an excellent system for
maintaining health and flexibility whilst achieving peace and calm.
Guide To the Different Types Of Yoga
There are many different types of yoga that have been developed by various
respected yoga teachers over the years.
The kind of yoga class you choose will depend on your needs, level of experience
and personal tastes and you may have to try a few different styles of yoga before
you find a type that particularly suits you.
The following is a list of some of the most common types of yoga and a brief
explanation about how they work.
Ashtanga yoga is a vigorous, fast-paced variety of yoga that is favoured by those
who want a serious work out. Ashtanga yoga was developed by K. Pattabhi Jois and
includes challenging poses that require a good level of strength and endurance and
vinyasas, which are fast flowing sequences of yoga poses. It is sometimes called
Power Yoga.
Bikram yoga was developed by Bikram Choudrey and incorporates 26 asanas
(postures) and two breathing exercises. The whole session takes place in a heated
room. The heat is said to aid flexibility and speed up detoxification of the body.
Bikram Yoga is sometimes referred to as Hot Yoga.
Hatha yoga is perhaps the most popular and well-known type of yoga. Most other
styles of yoga such as Ashtanga and Bikram have their origins in Hatha Yoga. Many
traditional poses are found in this type of yoga and poses are generally held for
longer. This is a good type of yoga for beginners because it teaches you all the basic
and the traditional asanas or postures.
Iyengar yoga was named after its founder B K S Iyengar. It focuses very much on
correct alignment and the avoidance of injury. Props are often used in Iyengar yoga
to help your practice such as straps, blocks, bolsters and more. Poses are also held
longer in this type of yoga.
Kundalini focuses on trying to awaken Kundalini, a powerful energy we all possess,
said to be located at the base of the spine. This type of yoga includes lots of breath
work, seated poses, chanting and meditation.
Sivananda yoga was developed by Swami Sivananda and follows a basic 10 set of
asanas each designed to follow on and compliment the previous posture. Sivananda
yoga also teaches students that the path to liberation comes from service, love,
giving and meditation.
Viniyoga is a gentle form of yoga that aims to leave the practitioner feeling calm and
relaxed. It is the recommended type of yoga for anyone recovering from illness,
surgery or injury.
The Health Benefits Of Yoga For
The health benefits of yoga for women are so wide ranging its difficult to know
where to begin. This amazing practice gives the body a full workout and in a gentle
Yoga stretches your body, tones your muscles and relaxes and calms your mind.
Through yoga you can develop a stronger and more flexible body that also looks
toned and healthy.
When you practice yoga you gain both physical and spiritual well-being and the
multitude of benefits to be gained by incorporating yoga regularly into your daily life
The reduction of stress and tension
Improved energy levels
Increased flexibility
Increased levels of strength and endurance
Weight management
Improved balance
Relief from pain especially back pain
Lowering of high blood pressure
Reduction of anxiety and depression
Relief from insomnia
Improved detoxification
Enhanced concentration levels and mental performance
If we take a closer look at 3 of these areas we can see why yoga is an excellent form
of exercise for women of all ages to engage in.
Reduction of stress
Reducing our stress levels is of vital importance if we want to maintain good health.
Stress can make us ill both physically and mentally so anything that can ease
tension and help us to feel calmer will be good for our general well-being in the long
As well as performing the postures (asanas) yoga places a great emphasis on
breathing and meditation, which are both helpful in calming the mind and helping us
to deal with stress. This can lead to further health benefits such as the lowering of
blood pressure and stress hormones and may also ease the symptoms of mild
Improved fitness
Yoga may not look like an energetic fitness workout but holding the asanas gives
your body a good workout and sequences like the Sun Salutations certainly get your
heart pumping.
Yoga is also a form of weight bearing exercise that helps to build strong bones; this
is very important for women as bones become weaker with age and osteoporosis
(brittle bone disease) can develop. Muscles are also developed as it takes strength
to hold the asanas and flexibility is improved due to the nature of the various poses.
Pain Relief
Yoga can help to relieve the symptoms of various painful conditions although care
needs to be taken if your pain is severe or chronic. Conditions such as back pain,
arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome may all improve when you practice yoga.
Much of the practice of yoga centres on your spine, which is the main support
structure for your entire body. If you perform yoga regularly you will develop a
stronger, healthier and better-aligned spine.
Yoga and Weight Loss
Many people wrongly assume that practicing yoga will not help them to lose or
maintain their weight. However when you look at the kinds of people who practice
yoga regularly you will generally find that their bodies are slim with toned muscles
so why is that?
Well anyone who is into yoga in a big way probably incorporates a healthy diet into
their lifestyle because yoga and eating healthily go hand in hand. Now if you practice
yoga and eat a high fat diet or overeat you probably wont lose weight but yoga can
be a positive part of your weight loss programme when combined with a good diet
and other exercise.
Yoga falls into the category of strength training and muscle building when it comes to
fitness, so although it does not give you a cardiovascular workout as such the
building of muscle can help in the fight to lose or maintain weight.
While practicing yoga may not be the only reason you lose weight, if you incorporate
it into your diet and fitness regime theres a good chance it will aid your weight loss
efforts. That said there are certain types of yoga that are more energetic which you
can engage in if you want to give your body a harder workout.
The different types of yoga vary in their levels of intensity and focus. For example
Kundalini yoga focuses heavily on breathing exercises and meditation so while this
type of yoga is wonderful for anyone who wants to reduce their stress levels and
achieve inner calm it may not be the type of yoga to practice if you want to lose
Likewise Iyengar yoga is a great form of yoga for anyone who wants to develop their
strength, build lean muscles and improve their posture however this type of yoga
may not raise your heart rate enough to allow your body to burn fat.
Some types of yoga, however, do raise the heart rate and provide a much more
energetic workout. These include:
Ashtanga Yoga: This vigorous style of yoga includes dynamic sequences and
strenuous poses. Most people feel they have had a thorough workout after taking an
Ashtanga class. If you are new to yoga and/or working out you may need to take
classes in one of the gentler types of yoga before attempting an Ashtanga class.
Ashtanga yoga may sometimes be referred to as Power Yoga.
Bikram Yoga: Bikram Yoga combines a set of 26 poses that are practiced in a room
that has been heated up. The heat makes your body more flexible, promotes
sweating and aids the elimination of toxins from the body.
Vinyasa Yoga: This is a flowing type of yoga that follows a series of set sequences
performed quickly after each other. Because you do not stop and start in this type of
yoga your heart rate is raised more so than in other styles.
And Your Mental Health
For many years devotees of yoga have been telling the world that bending our limbs
into a variety of contortions is good for the mind, body and spirit.
There is a great deal of information available about the health benefits of yoga and
how it can improve your levels of strength and flexibility. However less is known
about how good yoga can be for the mind and how it may help to improve mild
depression, stress and other anxiety related disorders.
Scientific research is increasingly interested in finding out if there is a link between
yoga practice and improved states of mental well-being. And while yoga is no
replacement for the correct medical care if you are suffering from depression or
chronic anxiety, research is beginning to show that yoga can be helpful in reducing
the symptoms of these common mental disorders.
Yoga and Stress
Stress can have many physiological effects on your body such a high blood
pressure, increased heart rate and shallow breathing these can lead to feelings of
Practicing yoga requires you to take time for yourself to calm your mind and work on
your physical body. A yoga class can be a well-earned time-out from your regular
fraught schedule and gives you the opportunity to take a mental break from lifes
everyday pressures.
Yoga places a lot of emphasis on breath work and meditation and these can both be
helpful things to do if you need to reduce your responses to stress. Shallow
breathing can contribute to your anxiety levels - we have all heard the phrase
breathe deeply used when a stressful situation occurs. It is true that deeper
breathing can help to calm the mind and help us to cope with stress.
Meditation is a wonderful way to relax your mind and many yoga classes include
simple techniques that you can also practice at home. Once you have mastered a
meditation technique you will find that regular practice leaves you feeling calmer,
more focused and generally refreshed, therefore more able to face everyday life.
Yoga and Depression
Regular fans of yoga report that yoga can help you to reconnect with your true self
and your ability to stay calm and manage your emotions more effectively.
Some people experience moderate depression as a state of lethargy combined with
feelings of hopelessness and they may not be able to find motivation to get through
their daily routine. Other people experience acute feelings of anxiety, worry and a
sense of desperation when they become depressed.
Specific yoga asanas that can help with depression include the Sun Salutation
sequences as these get the blood flowing through the body, require concentration
and cause you to breathe more deeply. Backbend asanas such as the bridge, bow
and wheel are also reported to have therapeutic effects for the mind.
Yoga and Your Reproductive Health
There are several health benefits for women who practice yoga. For example,
women who regularly take yoga classes are said to experience less pain during
childbirth and menstruation. It is also thought that yoga could help to improve levels
of fertility and help to balance the female hormone system
Why is yoga beneficial for my reproductive health?
Yoga is said to stimulate and regulate a womans endocrine system, this hormonal
system plays a vital part in female reproductive health. The glands of the endocrine
system secrete certain hormones that can easily become unbalanced by the
stresses of modern day life.
Yoga and Female Puberty
At this time a girls reproductive system begins to function and levels of the hormone
oestrogen increase. Practicing yoga can help a girl to balance her hormonal
secretions and regulate her menstrual cycle. With a regular yoga practice from the
beginnings of puberty a girl can nourish and tone the endocrine system and all her
pelvic organs. Practicing yoga from the early teens can also help a girl to come to
terms with and become confident about her changing body shape.
Yoga and the Menstrual Cycle
Yoga can help to reduce the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and
reduce any pain experienced during menstruation. Pre-menstrual symptoms include
stomach cramps, mood swings, headaches and feelings of anxiety.
Specific yoga poses that can help with PMS include the Cobra Pose which has a
massaging effect on the stomach, The Cat pose which can help with lower backache
and the sitting Easy pose which opens the pelvic area, straightens the spine and
encourages calm breathing and a sense of well-being.
Yoga and Childbirth
Yoga is useful when practiced during pregnancy as it can help to keep the body
flexible. Many poses encourage the opening of the pelvic area thus making your
labour and birth easier. Practicing yoga can also help you to enjoy your pregnancy
more fully as it helps to alleviate some of the general aches and pains experienced
at this time.
Certain yoga poses should be avoided during pregnancy so it is important to take the
advice of a well-qualified yoga teacher.
Yoga and Fertility
Infertility can be a very traumatic experience for many women and while yoga is not
a cure for this condition practicing yoga can increase a womans chances of
conceiving. This is because yoga increases blood flow to and the detoxification of
the reproductive organs and also because it encourages relaxation of the mind.
Yoga asanas that target the ovaries include the Downward Dog pose, the Camel, the
Bridge, the Spinal Twist and the Half Shoulder stand.
Yoga and the Menopause
Every woman experiences the menopause at some point in her life this is a fact and
the menopause is not an illness nor should it be treated as such. Usually the
menopause takes place somewhere between the ages of 45 to 55 however it can
begin earlier, later or as the result of a hysterectomy operation.
Many women experience unpleasant symptoms during the menopause including
mood changes, hot flashes, sleep disturbance, irregular menstruation and lack of
sexual desire.
Yoga and Bone Health
The practice of yoga can help to alleviate any discomfort experienced during this
time in a womans life, and one of the major bonuses about practicing yoga is that it
increases strength and therefore helps to build strong bones. As women age bones
can become more brittle, however as yoga is a weight bearing form of exercise it can
help to keep your skeletal system strong and healthy and may help to prevent
Yoga and the Endocrine System
Another benefit of regular yoga practice during the menopause is that it can balance
the female endocrine system and reduce the effects of the hormonal changes a
woman experiences during the menopause process. This can help to ease any
discomfort experienced at this time and if you have practiced yoga regularly before
the menopause you may experience fewer unpleasant symptoms.
Yoga and Stress
Yogas emphasis on breath work and relaxation will also help a woman to reduce
any symptoms of stress she may be experiencing during this transitional time. Many
woman struggle to come to terms with the loss of their fertility and the fact that the
menopause signals a new phase in life, however practicing yoga can help to restore
a sense of peace and acceptance about the changes you are experiencing.
Yoga and Libido
Finally many women experience a loss of libido during the menopause, this can be
related to the hormonal changes but for some women feelings of anxiety about the
aging process and the loss of their sexual appeal can be the problem. Yoga helps
you to develop a strong, toned and attractive body and can help you to manage your
weight. Looking and feeling good about yourself is important at this time and yoga
can help you to feel proud about your body.
Poses that are thought to be beneficial for women experiencing the menopause
Forward Bends: Both sitting and standing as they help to stretch the spine, trim the
waist and relax the mind.
Triangle: This pose helps to relieve muscle tightness and feelings of anxiety and
depression while also easing digestive problems.
Bow: The bow is beneficial for both the reproductive and digestive systems helping
to increase blood flow to these areas.
Downward Dog. This pose rejuvenates the whole body and can help to alleviate
symptoms related to the female hormone system.
Pre Natal and Postnatal Yoga
Pregnancy is a time of great change, anticipation and excitement for many women
but it can also be a time of discomfort and pain too. Many women have to change
their regular fitness routine when they become pregnant, as some sports are not
advisable during pregnancy particularly during the later stages of the pregnancy.
Pre Natal Yoga
Walking, swimming and yoga are all good forms of exercise that can help you to stay
fit and flexible as your body changes and your baby grows. All forms of exercise help
to improve our mood but yoga is particularly beneficial during the pre natal months
as it helps to reduce stress and promotes relaxation.
The breathing exercises that are performed during yoga classes are also beneficial
as steady controlled breathing can help a woman through the early stages of labour,
if not throughout the whole of labour if she is well practiced.
Practicing yoga throughout your pregnancy will help you to stay fit and flexible and
will help you to avoid putting on too much weight that may be difficult to lose once
your baby is born. Many health clubs, community centres and also some hospitals
run pre natal yoga classes that are specifically designed to incorporate the safest
poses for pregnant women. This can also be a great way to meet other pregnant
women in your area.
Certain poses such as standing twists, inversions, lying flat on your back and back
bends can be dangerous if performed when pregnant so it is best to get expert
advice from a yoga teacher or by using an exercise DVD that has been designed for
use during pregnancy. It is important that you consult your GP or midwife before
undertaking any form of exercise when pregnant.
Post Natal Yoga
It takes 9 months for a baby to develop to full-term and many women struggle to
come to terms with the changes to their body and then there is the labour itself which
can take a huge toll on a womans body.
Yoga is a good way to ease your way back into exercise after you have had a baby.
The exercises can help with common problems that occur after childbirth namely
sagging stomach muscles and a weakened pelvic floor.
Many women are just too tired after caring for their baby round the clock during the
early months to even think about exercise but it is easy to fit in a few gentle yoga
stretches throughout the day.
Importantly yoga can help to increase your energy levels, help you to stay calm and
improve your mood all vital during those stressful and tiring early months raising a
It is important to get the go ahead from your GP or midwife before starting exercise
after childbirth and if you have had a caesarean section you may have to wait longer
before you can start exercising again.
What's the Difference Between Yoga and
By: Jennifer Kries, Yoga and Pilates Expert
I have always thought of the
combination of Pilates and
yoga as the perfect
marriage. Both are
transformational, focused
methods of movement that
facilitate positive change in
the body, mind and spirit. In
my opinion, their
differences complement
one another in the best of
ways. Pilates is known as a
"workout," and yoga as a
"practice"; however, the
irony here is that, in order to improve at anything, we have to practice, and when we
practice well both Pilates and yoga are can be exceptional workouts. And as you will
see, both are worthy of your time and attention for innumerable reasons.

Unless you're very familiar with bothor a trained instructorit may be difficult to tell
how these two programs are different. In truth, there is a lot of overlap and
similarities between yoga and Pilates. And what better way to understand them both
than with a little history lesson on each.

Born near Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1880, Joseph H. Pilates had his challenges as a
child, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. His determination to heal
led to his study of Eastern and Western forms of exercise, including yoga and
ancient Greek and Roman exercise regimens.

By the time he was 14, Pilates had quickly become a veritable renaissance man of
exercise. Accomplished as a wrestler, diver, skier and a gymnast, he was even
asked to pose as a model for anatomical charts. When World War I broke out, he
was interned for a year in England, and while in the camp, he taught his fellow
internees the physical fitness program he had developed, boasting that they would
emerge stronger than they were before imprisonment. Those who followed his
program are said to have resisted the influenza epidemic that killed thousands.

Always curious and compassionate, after encountering soldiers who were disabled
as a result of wartime injuries, he began devising machines using the springs from
old hospital beds to facilitate their rehabilitation. These machines were the very
prototypes of the specialized equipment that is used in Pilates studios today, which
utilize pulleys and springs as resistance to build strength and increase overall
flexibility in the spine and limbs. These Pilates apparatus, which includes the
Reformer, Cadillac (or Trapeze Table), Wunda Chair, and barrels, are still used
today to create a body that is uniformly sculpted, powerful and bio-mechanically

Pilates fittingly called his method "Contrology," (the study of control) and believed
that it would help people to develop the strength and fortitude in body and mind, not
only to accomplish daily mundane tasks with ease, but to live life to the fullest.

"Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Through Contrology
you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through
proper repetition of exercises you progressively acquire that natural rhythm and
coordination associated with all your subconscious activities. It develops the body
uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind,
and elevates the spirit." Joseph Pilates

Often called a "moving meditation," because of the incredible focus of mind on the
body, Pilates is a non-impact exercise system that emphasizes alignment and body
awareness. Done regularly, Pilates exercises can change people's bodies, helping
them sculpt muscles and improving flexibility. It helps practitioners develop
unmatched core strength, and optimal posture. It helps to improve breathing and
increases efficiency of movement.

Pilates exercises focus on the "powerhouse," or the stabilizing muscles of the torso,
which support the spine. True for exercises performed both on the mat and the
apparatus, every movement one does in a Pilates workout emanates from the core,
keeping practitioners "honest," by gently forcing them to use both sides of the body
symmetrically. In order to successfully initiate and achieve a movement, both sides
have to participate equally, giving the dominant, overused muscles a break, and
demanding that the "weaker" underutilized muscles have an opportunity to
participate, hence, literally balancing the body.

Pilates is based on six principles which enable you to learn to move with
maximum efficiency while minimizing stress on the body:
1. Centering: Strengthening the powerhouse and "corset" muscles of the body,
which include the abdominals, pelvis, buttocks and back.
2. Concentration: Bringing one's full attention to the form and execution of each
3. Control: Engaging the mind to unite with the body to economize movement
(i.e. learning to use only the muscles necessary to perform a task, while the
rest of the body relaxes).
4. Precision: Employing the notion that every movement has a purpose,
resulting in a "less is more," and "quality over quantity" philosophy. When a
movement is performed well a few times, there is no need to do more.
5. Breath: Moving in tandem with the breath, resulting in enhanced lung
capacity, overall coordination and facilitating a stronger mind-body
6. Flow: Every movement in a Pilates exercise is performed with the grace and
ease of a dancer.
Because Pilates is gentle and challenging at the same time, it is safe and effective
for nearly everyone, irrespective of age or fitness ability, from expectant mothers to
the super fit. It is also a phenomenal cross-training tool, helping you to maximize the
sports and activities you love the most. Many professional athletes turn to Pilates
when they want to bring their best, and the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil
regularly trains on the Pilates apparatus to perform their awe-inspiring feats.

The medical community also recognizes Pilates as a modality that assists with
physical therapy. Pilates work is often incorporated into conventional therapy to
facilitate healing and protect clients from future injury. It's so beneficial, in fact, that
many people continue with a Pilates regime long after they have healed from their
injuries. Pilates also offers tremendous benefit and relief for people who suffer from
chronic conditions, such as arthritis and asthma. Because every exercise involves
deep, diaphragmatic breathing, Pilates aids specifically in opening the lungs, helping
shallow breathers learn how to breathe properly and build respiratory stamina.
Pilates enhances circulatory function and builds the muscles that surround the joints,
providing a new support, and simultaneously lubricating the joints, helping to reduce
inflammation, which leads to arthritis. Finally, through the development of a stronger
core, and emphasis of neutral spinal alignment, Pilates helps people to correct
postural imbalances, prevent and heal chronic back pain, and improve overall spine

"In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 sessions you will see the difference,
and in 30 you will have a new body." Joseph Pilates

Yoga means "to yoke," or "to conjoin." This holistic practice is deeply rooted in
ancient Indian culture that unites the mind, body and spirit through movement,
breathing techniques and meditation.

Yoga's exact origin and history is uncertain; however, we do know that it is
thousands of years old, the earliest signs of yoga postures having appeared as
drawings on artifacts dating back to 3000 B.C. Yoga was introduced in the West
during the early 19th century where it began as a movement for health and
vegetarianism, and by the 1960s, there was an influx of Indian teachers who
expounded on yoga and are responsible for the myriad styles we have available to
us today. The yogi Swami Sivananda, a doctor in Malaysia, is best known for
codifying the "Five Principles of Yoga" which are now taught in yoga classes all over
the world and facilitate strength, balance, flexibility, anti-aging and the curing of
illness and disease. These five principles include:
1. Asanas (proper exercise)
2. Pranayama (correct breathing)
3. Saucha (proper diet)
4. Dhyana (positive thinking and meditation)
5. Savasana (complete relaxation)

The origin of yoga is a spiritual one. It was originally used as a means to move
energy through the body in such a way that the student is left feeling calm enough to
sit in meditation after the practice. While many schools of yoga still have these
spiritual goals and components, many others focus on the physical aspects alone
using yoga as a form of exercise that builds strength, flexibility and balance.

On the physical level, yoga postures, called asanas, are designed to tone,
strengthen, and align the body, increase flexibility, and promote blood flow to all the
organs, glands, and tissues, keeping all the body's systems healthy and balanced.
Sun salutations, warrior poses, standing balances, seated forward bends, twists,
backbends, inversions and savasana are all standard poses that you will see in just
about any yoga class, regardless of the style. Nearly every class generally follows a
progression from standing to seated poses. While yoga is practiced by many with
goals of spiritual union and improved health, make no mistake: It is quite a workout,
too. Every muscle gets stretched, strengthened and challenged is a yoga class.

The yoga philosophy believes the breath to be the most important facet of health,
because it is the largest source of prana, or life force, we have available to us, and
when we learn to harness it, anything is possible. Hatha yoga, the primary influence
in modern yoga, utilizes pranayama, which literally means "the science or control of
breathing" to help the practitioner quiet the mind, embrace the present moment and
manifest good health.

Achieving proper alignment in each yoga posture, and moving into greater ranges of
motion while staying connected to one's breath, challenges your comfort level and
leads to transformation from the inside out; practitioners of yoga often see
improvements in patience, physical strength, balance, flexibility, stress, energy levels
and more.

"Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness,
science of integrating body, mind and soul." Amit Ray

Pilates vs. Yoga: Similarities & Differences
Many of the exercises you'll see in a Pilates workout are inspired by yoga, and the
postures in yoga are incredibly similar to the shapes and positions used in Pilates
exercises. At the same time, there are exercises that are completely unique to
Pilates as well as those that are specific to yoga class alone. A major difference is
that in yoga, one generally holds each pose for a longer period of time, while in
Pilates, you move at a slightly faster pace. Rather than holding a pose longer the
way you would in a typical yoga class, staying in one position and cajoling the body
into stretching more deeply through the breath, in Pilates, the practitioner
dynamically extends as far as possible within a limited amount of time using
resistance, core awareness and breath.

Here are some additional similarities between yoga and Pilates.
Both are considered mind-body forms of exercise, intended to cultivate
greater awareness and connection between the body and the mind.
Both tend to focus on the "journey" of moving, rather than the end goal, which
can be anything from a stronger, well-toned body to peace of mind.
Both encourage you to focus on the present moment and the movement itself
rather than the outcome.
Both mat-based programs tone and condition the muscles using body weight
as a natural resistance tool. Pilates, however, does have the option to
incorporate machines or "apparatus" to perform exercises.
Both need little more than a sticky mat to be performed. Yoga also
incorporates simple props used to enhance comfort and form (such as blocks,
cushions and straps). Some Pilates mat exercises use props that can either
increase the challenge (by adding resistance) or aid in form, such as the
magic circle (a resistance ring), inflated balls, or resistance bands.
Both improve circulation and highly oxygenate the system.

A Few Key Differences between Yoga & Pilates
Yoga concentrates mostly on increasing strength and flexibility of the spine
and limbs; Pilates focuses on building abdominal strength first, and then
symmetrical musculature as well as overall flexibility.
In Pilates, every movement emanates from the center (core) and extending
through the limbs. In yoga, it is the concentration on the breath, first, then
focusing on deepening a pose.
In yoga, the primary goal (aside from proper alignment in the poses), is to stay
connected to the breath; in Pilates, the first order of business is the precision
of movement, and then, the coordination of that movement with the breath.
The breathing patterns are different in both. In yoga, for the bulk of the asana
practice, the breath is either ujjayi, a smooth, heat-inducing breath that
sounds like the ocean, or kapalabhati, a rapid breath that creates greater
internal heat. In Pilates, the breath for most exercises is a slow, controlled,
diaphragmatic breath, but a few exercises use a rapid, staccato-like breath
(similar to kapalabhati breathing in yoga).
In Pilates, most of the exercises are performed lying down, either prone (on
the stomach), supine (on the back), or side-lying. These movements aim to
defy gravity the entire time, engaging the abdominal center in order to lift up
from the ground to lengthen muscles. In yoga, most of the poses are done
standing, and work with gravity by rooting down into the earth in order to
lengthen the body away from the floor (with the exception of arm balances
and inversions where one tries to defy gravity). Note that in yoga, there are a
number of poses done on the floor as well, such as seated forward bends,
twists, bow pose, and plow, and in Pilates, there is also standing series, such
as the sculpting series or exercises that integrate the magic circle prop.
My love of Pilates and yoga began long before their popularity rose and has served
as pillars of strength for me in all aspects of my professional, athletic and artistic
lifeconditioning my body, enlivening my spirit, reinforcing my self-esteem and
overall sense of well-being. I continue to be amazed and delighted every time I
teach a class (or I take one!) at just how simple, yet powerfully transformational
Pilates and yoga are and the positive impact they have on body, mind and spirit.
They center and balance me, making me more aware of myself and my
surroundings, so that I have greater reserves to share good feelings with others,
reminding me of what is truly important in life. All differences aside, both practices
make us into healthier, kinder, more generous, more connected, conscious people,
which, in turn, makes the world a better place.
Yoga vs. Pilates

By Naomi Barr

Yoga and Pilates enthusiasts tout their workouts with a religious zeal, boasting about
the life-changing physical and mental benefits they confer. In the past several years,
scientists have been studying what these activities really canand can'tdo for the

Heart Health
Yoga: Hatha yoga provides little cardio benefit; power yoga does a bit better,
giving the heart the same aerobic workout as a brisk stroll.
Pilates: You may feel the burn with moves like the hundred, but your heart
won't. A beginner routine offers only a mild aerobic challenge, at the level of a
slow walk. An advanced class is better, kicking the heart rate up to that of
speed walking.
Weight Loss
Yoga: A 50-minute hatha class will burn about 145 calories; a power yoga
class, about 250. If your goal is dropping pounds, experts recommend you do
a high-intensity activity, like jogging, as well (a 50-minute jog burns about 550
calories). One study found, however, that people who practiced yoga regularly
gained less weight during their midlife years than their nonpracticing peers.
Pilates: Expect a 50-minute beginner workout to burn about 175 calories; an
advanced, between 255 and 375 calories. You would probably need to do a
45- to 60-minute advanced routine at least four days a week to maintain or
lose weight.
Body Strength and Flexibility
Yoga: In a recent study, after eight weeks of doing yoga three times a week,
participants boosted their total body flexibility by an average of 24 percent. In
a test of strength, they managed an average of six more push-ups and 14
more curl-ups.
Pilates: Bye-bye, crunchesPilates tends to be better at strengthening the
abdominal muscles, and up to 310 percent more effective at tightening the
hard-to-target obliques. Overall flexibility should also improve, particularly in
the back, hip, and hamstrings.
Bonus Benefits
Yoga: You can achieve inner peace. Yoga has been shown to lower levels of
the stress hormone cortisol even after one session. It can also reduce the
intensity and frequency of hot flashes by 30 percent, relieves back pain better
than traditional exercises, and ease arthritis.
Pilates: It will not lengthen your muscles, as some proponents claim. Muscles
can't grow longer, but the back and abdominal strength you build, along with
increased flexibility, can help improve your posture, giving the appearance of
a taller, leaner body.

Essential Beginners Guide to Yoga Practice
by Anmol Mehta
Summary: A beginner guide for those who are new to the world of yoga. This guide
details the 3 most essential guidelines for doing yoga exercises, as well as lists the
other important requirements you should know before starting your practice.
Three Essential Guidelines of How to Practice Yoga:
Yoga is not just a series of exercises, poses or movements. Yoga is a type of body
meditation. It is meditation in motion. For you to extract maximum benefit from your
yoga practice, these three key elements must never be forgotten.
1. Do Yoga Exercises With Full Awareness:
Try to be as aware as possible of every posture and movement you are making
during your practice. Check throughout your yoga session, as to where your mind is,
and if it has wandered away, gently bring it back and focus again on the poses and
the breathing. This is the number one requirement of doing yoga, regardless of
whether you are just a beginner yogi or a yoga master.
In addition, if certain feelings or energies awaken within you, bring your attention to
them and observe them taking their course as you move through your practice.
2. Never Over Strain When Practicing Yoga:
As the requirement above, this guideline also applies to both beginner yoga
practitioners as well as advanced yogis. When doing my yoga teachers training
course, what surprised me quite a bit, was how often these seasoned yogis were
getting injured. Yoga is a journey, it is be enjoyed and the sights and sounds taken
in, it is not a competition.
If you are just beginning your practice, you need to give yourself time to gauge your
capacity and limits. So start off erring in the side of caution, rather than being
overzealous. Learn to listen to your body. As you start to better understand your
body and energy, you can start to explore your limits further and increase the
challenge you place before yourself. That being said, even as your yoga expertise
develops, never forget this important rule and overdo it.
3. Yoga & Breathing Go Hand In Hand:
Dont forget to breathe! There are 2 aspects of breathing which every beginner yogi
should be cognizant of.
First, yoga poses and exercises, generally have some breathing pattern associated
with them. This breath component of the yoga posture should not be ignored. The
breathing plays a very important role in yoga and in order to get the most out of your
yoga practice, employ the correct breathing along with the movement.
Second, pranayama, or the science of expanding and controlling prana (chi/life-
force) is a key aspect of yoga and should be an integral part of your yoga practice.
So, in addition to developing your physical yoga practice, be sure to also develop
your expertise in pranayama. As a beginner, make sure you start off gently, as
pranayama is a very powerful science and make steady progress over time.
One final word about yoga breathing. Your breath can be a good anchor to help you
retain your awareness when your mind is wondering. So it can go a long way in
helping you with meeting the requirement of mindfulness, explained in guideline #1
Other General Guidelines for Beginner Yoga Practitioners:
A bullet list below of some other general guidelines for the beginner yoga enthusiast
to reference:
Dont eat a big meal at least 2-3 hours before your yoga practice.
Wear comfortable exercise or other loose clothing so your movements are not
Try to do your yoga practice early in the morning if possible.
Make sure your yoga space is well ventilated.
If you have medical conditions, select your yoga exercises accordingly.
Drink plenty of water after practice to wash out toxins released by the yoga
It is fine to use yoga props to help you, such as blocks, blankets, cushions

Yoga For Women: A Healthy Choice
By practicing yoga for women, most of the common issues affecting women can be
resolved. Women always have to endure more in life than men due to the additional
responsibilities entrusted to women like raising and bringing up a child or as a
homemaker. Most of the women may be emotionally stronger than men to handle
challenges of everyday life.
Depression is the most common enemy of a woman whether working or a house
wife. You may think house wives are having a nice time, but they may be
experiencing more problems staying at home. At times, women may feel frustrated,
hopeless and trapped in the monotonous daily routine. However, most of the
depressions and stresses of life can be avoided with more awareness. Here are
some of the common bug bears for girls/ ladies.
Many women may feel stressed due to nature of their role in society.
Handling of added responsibilities of home and office for working women. You
may feel you are being treated like a service provider at home.
Failure to get the required love and affection from your life partner.
Depression due to various nutritional deficiencies.
Some Common Challenges Faced By Women
Some of the common diseases affecting women are a source of perpetual troubles
for most of them. Yoga for women can consist of simple hath yoga poses and yoga
breathing. Diseases which can be cured or brought under control with yoga are listed
Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is most common cancer affecting women between the ages of
30 and 55 years.
Most of the girls and women are under stress to look good. Some women who
are otherwise fit also aspire to have a ultra trim body.
Many women face the problem of getting pregnant. Yoga can be a valuable
exercise to help women to become pregnant.
Pre Menstrual Tension
Emotional outbursts, food cravings, mood swings and host of other problems
affect most of menstruating women.
Thyroid Diseases
Only those women who face thyroid related disease knows the suffering it
brings. I have myself suffered from overactive parathyroid gland due to
parathyroid tumour. As many as 10-20% of women exhibits symptoms of
thyroid disease. The most common type of thyroid dysfunction is
hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (over active thyroid).
Most of the women over the age of 40 experience some degree of
osteoporosis carrying the risk of joint pains and even fractures.
Women are more susceptible to bladder infections/ urinary track infections.
Menopause brings about lot of physical and emotional changes in women.
These changes can be endured better by adopting a healthy life style or a
new mission in life.
Postpartum Depression
After enduring pregnancy and child birth, a mother has to take care of new
baby and in some cases elder siblings too. Becoming a mother first time can
bring additional unforeseen responsibilities.
Health Recovery After Child Birth
Postpartum yoga can provide wonderful recovery after pregnancy.
How Yoga For Women Can Help?
Yoga for women works on both the mind and body. It makes you strong both
physically and emotionally to handle the challenges of life. Yoga practice provides
natural relaxation which is not available with any other exercise. Yoga exercises
stimulates all the body organs and endocrine glands. Specific yoga exercises can
help you with pregnancy and subsequent recovery postpartum. Yoga also boosts
your immune system to ward off autoimmune diseases like arthritis and fibromyalgia
for which there is no permanent cure available in allopathy.
You must remember that yoga for women is not a substitute for clinical analysis.
Consult your doctor for correct diagnosis and medication before trying yoga to cure
Best Option is to start yoga when you are young and healthy, it has potential to
prevent most of the health conditions described above. In case, you are suffering
from one of them yoga exercises for women helps you to handle it better and make
your life easier.
Secret Benefits of Yoga

A mat session does more than improve your body. Behold the bonus benefits of
practicing yoga
A hotter sex life! For a study in the Journal of Sexual
Medicine, women's sexual function was measured
after participation in a 12-week yoga program. The
aspect that improved most for women under 45 was
the quality of their orgasms.

Glowing skin! Stress can make many skin problems
worse, from acne to warts. And a Cornell University
study showed that when a person is under stress, her
skin takes longer than usual to repair itself. As a
proven stress reliever, yoga can help skin heal faster
and stay clear.

Better sleep! After patients with sleep problems did yoga and meditation during the
day, the quality of their sleep improved that night, according to a study reported in
Medical Science Monitor.

Smarter food choices! Who wouldn't want to crank up the volume of internal voices
that tend to opt for fruit over french fries? Spending time on a yoga mat is associated
with weight control, according to a study published in The Journal of the American
Dietetic Assocciation. Researchers attribute the connection to mindful eating.

More feel-good moods! By measuring a chemical in the brain associated with well-
being, scientists at Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital were
able to see that people who did yoga for 30 minutes had 27 percent more of that
chemical (GABA) in their brains than those in the study who read a book for half an
Amazing Benefits Of Yoga A Complete Guide

For breath is life, and if you breathe well, you will live long on earth- Sanskrit
Benefits of yoga are yet to be measured completely but it is a proven technique that
gives you strength, mental health, agility, flexibility, overall wellbeing etc. Feel
depressed? Stressed? Tired? Emotional drained? Well, your answer is Turn to
Yoga aims to connect body, mind and soul and maintain perfect balance with each
other. Yoga urges the body to relax, breathe and let go of all the heaviness. It
increases flexibility and enduring capacity of the body. With substantial research,
even scientists agree today that Yoga is beneficial for promoting overall health and
Yoga as an institution has three main techniques Yoga exercises (Asanas),
Breathing techniques (Pranayama) and Meditation. Inhaling and exhaling raises
circulation of blood and reduces oxygen consumption. Healthy posture boosts
energy, overall flexibility, and maintains equilibrium. Meditation quiets your head
thereby resulting in mental relaxation. This will decrease blood pressure, persistent
soreness, stress, and cholesterol level. It will eventually raise coordination, improve
posture, raise focus and cure insomnia in addition to ensuring proper digestion.
Combined with regular remedies, yoga exercise is frequently practiced by people
suffering from osteo-arthritis, asthma, cancers, back discomfort, depressive
disorders, diabetes, coronary disease, migraines, constipation and bowel disorders.
Yoga Benefits
1. Fitness:
Overall fitness of body is achieved through its various techniques of
Asanas/Postures, Breathing/Pranayama and Meditation.
2. Weight Management:
Exercises like Suryanamaskara (Sun Salutation) and Kapal Bhati help in overall
weight management. It helps in reducing fat and cholesterol level and increases
good cholesterol (HDL) in the body.
3. Energy Efficient:
Yoga keeps you refresh when you are multitasking. A few minutes of Yoga everyday
or 10 minutes of meditation before you start your day, will rejuvenate you and keeps
you recharged for rest of the day.
4. Flexibility and Good Posture:
Regular yoga practice makes the body strong and tones the body muscles and
hence relieve from any pain that arises from incorrect postures.
5. Stress Relief:
Yoga helps in detoxifying the body and helps in releasing stress and tensions from
the body.
6. Improved Immunity:
Yoga helps in improving immunity and also helps in blood circulation.
7. Peace and Intuition:
Yoga helps in calming mind and leads to a more serene state. It heightens the
intuition level and thus helps in decision-making capacity.
8. Greater Awareness:
With Yoga, you will be elevated to a heightened sense level, where the mind is
harnessed to stay calm and focus on present, instead of past or future. Many people
claim that this is the only source of peace and joy.
Based on professional medical scientists, yoga and fitness therapies work as a result
of balance designed inside the nervous and also endocrine techniques, which
directly influences the rest of the human body. Yoga exercises operate as not only
being preventive but also precautionary therapies. Yoga is based on reaching mind
serenity, increased awareness power, a relaxed state and also tranquillity.
Scientists and medical practitioners have found that Yoga can relieve symptoms of
the several common and potentially life threatening diseases also.
9. Respiration problems and Asthma:
People practicing Yoga have a better chance to control their breathing abilities.
Studies conducted at various ashrams across the country revealed that patients
performing Yoga succumb to fewer amounts of Asthma attacks. Moreover, the
dependency on such drugs has reduced drastically.
10. High Blood Pressure:
With the breathing techniques and different postures, studies have revealed that it
lowers the blood pressure. With Savasana, 26-point drop was noticed in systolic
blood pressure and 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure.
11. Alzheimer:
A fresh study signifies that yoga exercises can help raise brain gamma-aminobutyric
(GABA) degrees. Minimal GABA degrees are generally connected with Alzheimers.
Yoga exercises in addition have proven to help sluggish tendencies which are a
further advancement connected with Alzheimers.
12. Type II diabetes:
In addition to the glucose reducing capabilities of yoga, it encourages Insulin
production by the pancreas.
13. Multiple Sclerosis:
Yoga is now very well accepted for managing multiple sclerosis.
14. Cancer:
Cancer patients who practice yoga have more strength, higher level of RBC and
experience less nausea through chemotherapy.
15. Pain Management:
Pain like back pain, arthritis can be cured with Yoga using different asanas. It not
only makes the muscle strong and flexible but also releases the tension and stress.
Yoga helps in rejuvenating the cartilage between two bones. This is another great
benefit of yoga that makes it so popular among people of all age groups.
16. Migraine:
Migraine can also be combated through Yoga.
17. Bones:
Yoga increases bone density in the body. By keeping the stress hormone cortisol
low, it helps in retaining the calcium in the bone. This is one of the major benefits of
yoga for children as these are the most crucial years of the bone formation.
18. Blood Circulation and Heart Attack:
Yoga aids in blood circulation and oxygenated blood flow in the body. Keeping an
aerobic body mechanism helps in maintaining the body pH. Yoga increases the
amount of hemoglobin and RBC in the blood. And it also thins the blood simply by
making platelets less sticky and also by reducing the amount of clot-promoting amino
acids inside blood. And hence it reduces the chance of Cardio-vascular attacks
(Heart attacks).
19. Lymphatic vessels:
Yoga increases lymphatic circulation and thus helps in building immunity, destroying
cancer cells and disposing of toxic waste product.
20. Cortisol and Serotonin:
Consistent practice of yoga significantly decreases the amount of Cortisol and
increases the Serotonin level. Cortisol is also associated with the binging syndrome.
Experiments done on rats showed that rats tend to eat more when they have high
cortisol level. Hence, it is the kind that drives you to eat when you are stressed,
depressed, angry or just bored.
21. Higher Intelligence:
Studies have shown people who follow Yoga and meditation demonstrate the ability
of higher reasoning. The fact is that yoga focuses on the present and improves ones
reaction time, reflexes, IQ, memory and recall factor.
22. Parasympathetic Nervous System:
Yoga focuses on relaxing and hence attention is shifted from sympathetic nervous
system to parasympathetic nervous system. This lowers breathing and decreases
heart rate and therefore is restorative in nature. This is when all the healing takes
place inside the body.
23. Releasing Tension:
Yoga is all about releasing tension, Find the tension spots in your body, be it on your
face, fingers or hand and then release it. This will save you lots of money and ensure
you good health in future. One of the greatest benefits of yoga asanas to mankind
24. Bowel System:
Irritable bowel, constipation, ulcers can be eased through practicing Yoga. Yogis
believe that some poses may be beneficial in eliminating waste out of the system.
25. Positive Energy:
Yoga channelizes positive energy and helps in making connection with oneself
therefore raising awareness. It gives you a power to change yourself, to cleanse
yourself, to treat your body like a temple and keep it clean and worthy. And we know
that positive energy attracts the best of things from the universe.
26. Karma Yoga and feel good factor:
Yoga is all about serving and helping people. Its about giving back to the society.
Studies have revealed that people who do social work and volunteer live seven
years more than their counterparts.
As you are reading all the ways yoga can improve your health, you must have
noticed that all of these are similar and overlapping with each other. The reason is
because they are conjoined, they are intensely woven together, because one leads
to another. Yoga teaches you that everything is connected and this interconnection
what gives yoga such a profound meaning. The interaction we have with one of the
many yoga asanas and their benefits is somewhere connected to others also but
may be in different spheres but nevertheless the connection is omnipresent.
But there are various things a person should consider before doing Yoga. Call it a
rule or mere important points, but this is what makes the Yoga effective and
Yoga should never be done on the floor. Use a Yoga mat or a rug or just
simply go outside and do it on grass.
Early mornings and evenings generally during twilight is the best time to do
meditation and Yoga.
Take a bath beforehand. This will make you feel better and stimulate the
sensation. But make sure you have a cold-water bath.
While doing Yoga, minimal amount of clothes should be worn. These help in
free movement or wear such clothes, which doesnt restrict your movements.
Do not wear any shoes or socks while performing Yoga asanas.
Keep yourself hydrated.
Yoga must not be done after eating meals or with full stomach. If you do this,
Yoga will be ineffective. Eat after half an hour once you finish the Yoga.
Always start with an easy asana and then gradually move to a tougher one.
Stretching beyond the bodys limit and endurance is a clear no-no. Your
flexibility will increase gradually and eventually.
Listen to your body. Dont ignore any pain or any signs of discomfort.
While doing Yoga, remember to close your mouth and use nose for inhaling
and exhaling.
Each asana should be done for prescribed time.
As per the tradition, the sweat that comes out of yoga should be wiped with
your palms and not to use any kind of clothes for wiping.
The room where you perform asana should be well ventilated and should be
distraction free.
The main key is Concentration. Concentrate on the asanas. A soothing music
will help or chanting the word Om. Do not allow your mind to wander.
Try to limit asanas to less time during summer when there is more of
Take as much as rest you want between two asanas. Shavasana and
Balasana are perfect to relax and unwind.
Difficult poses are not be done by amateurs without any guidance by experts.
Do not combine any form of breathing exercise while doing the asanas.
Never do asanas in a forced, jerky manner. But advance gradually.
Remember one thing, every pose has modification. But do not strain yourself.
Last but not the least, eat healthy and sleep properly.
Remember, Yoga is a continuous process. Its about the journey to your final
destination. Yoga is a celebration that you need to feel and love. Enjoy the moment.
Remove your doubts, all the negative sources. Balance and flexibility will follow with
practices. Its benefits are profound. The deeper you will delve, the more you will find.
You will have more awareness to follow, to ponder and to realize.
With its popularity, yoga and fitness may on occasion seem like just another health
fad that has a little religious flavor sprinkled on top. But from a health perspective,
Yoga offers tremendous benefits. Yoga treatments offer vast healing potential and
also positive transformation, which we cannot overlook in any circumstances.
Yoga For Digestive System Diseases
Digestive system diseases may not be life threatening in most of the cases, but most
of us have experienced the burnt of some of these diseases. An upset stomach or
digestive system can spoil your evening; prevent you from enjoying your favourite
food and a healthy life. Lethargy, loss of vitality and irritability is the natural outcome.
Why Healthy Digestion Is Important?
Yoga philosophy lays lot of stress on good digestive health. Type of food and how
you eat affects your health and digestion. Most of our health problems have their
origins in our digestive system problems. Our digestive system is the engine which
provides energy to our body. How can we consider our body as an engine?
A healthy digestive system improves your capacity to eat well and derive optimum
energy from food you eat. If you take simple nutritious food, less energy is spent by
the body to digest food. The energy we get from food depends on body's
metabolism, quantity and quality of food we eat, rest and relaxation, food timings and
stress levels in our daily life.
Common Digestive System Problems: Can Yoga Help?
If you are suffering from any of the following digestive system diseases, yoga can
provide relief or complete cure:
Constipation is the most common gift of modern lifestyle and is a result
of fast paced life and fast foods. Laxatives can help but their can make
the gut dependent on the medicine. Constipation is best avoided
through regular exercise and a high fibre diet obtained from whole
grains, fruits and vegetables.
Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD
Excess stomach acid is what causes heartburn. Heartburn typically
involves a burning sensation rising up from the center of the abdomen
area and into the chest area. Frequent heartburn is a symptom of acid
reflux or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and needs an
urgent visit to your doctor. Anxiety and stress are nervous disorders
that affect the digestive tract, increase stomach acid and can aggravate
acid reflux symptoms.
Indigestion/ Dyspepsia
Indigestion is a condition of the stomach in which digestive juices are
incorrectly secreted, resulting in discomfort, upper abdominal pain,
nausea, vomiting and abdominal distension. Indigestion is generally
caused by overeating.
Flatulence, Gas and Wind Formation
Flatulence refers to presence of an excessive amount of gas in the
stomach and intestines. Flatulence is the production of a mixture of
gases produced in the digestive tract as a by-product of digestion.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS
IBS is one of the common digestive system diseases and disorders.
IBS can entail bouts of urgent diarrhoea followed by chronic
constipation. It involves malfunction in how the intestinal system works.
Colitis is an inflammation of the colon or large intestine. The common
symptoms are abdominal cramps, bloody mucus in the stools resulting
in anaemia, weight loss, or other symptoms. Ulcerative colitis causes
ulcers in the colon and rectum area.
Gall Stones
Gall stones may not give you any real problem/ symptoms till a
gallstone get lodged in a duct, which can produce unbearable pain,
nausea, vomiting. Obesity is a risk factor for gallstones. Women are
more prone to get gallstones compared to men.
Abdominal Obesity
In addition to normal health effects of obesity, abdominal fat especially
which is located around the internal organs can damage your health.
Yoga Cure For Digestive System Diseases
Advantage with yoga is that it exercises various abdominal organs and stimulate
proper working of endocrine system. This way abdominal health improves long with
the body's immunity to fight diseases.
In yoga, your awareness about your body increases and you can assess root cause
of your digestive system diseases problems and try to remove them. As these
stomach problems are a by-product of modern life, you need to bring in suitable life
style changes also. For chronic digestive problems, follow advice of your doctor to
get immediate relief. Meanwhile, also get help from a yoga expert regarding type of
yoga suitable for you. A healthy digestive system can be your motivation to do more
Medicines do not provide a long term solution to various digestive problems. You
have to explore the best possible method of treatment. Also, you must be aware of
your body and follow the basic don'ts related to a particular disease. Although yoga
practice will remove toxins from your body, you can consider taking actions to
detoxify your body.
Yoga Gets Hearts Healthy
Yoga and Meditation 3 Times a Week Improves Heart Disease Risk
Stretching may do more than make you limber, according to new research from Yale
University School of Medicine. Findings show that people who practice yoga and
meditation at least three times a week may reduce their blood pressure, pulse and --
most importantly -- their risk of heart disease.
Moreover, yoga improves heart health in both healthy individuals and those with
diagnosed heart disease, says Satish Sivasankaran, MD, who conducted the study
while training at Yale. He says that volunteers taking a six-week yoga-meditation
program improved blood vessel function by 17%. Blood vessel function, also called
endothelial function, is the way vessels contract and expand to aid blood flow and is
a measure of healthy vessel function. However, study participants who had heart
disease had close to a 70% improvement in endothelial function.
Endothelial function is an important indicator of atherosclerosis because as the
disease and plaque build-up progresses, the blood vessels become less supple and
less able to constrict and expand.
"Stress is known to increase the risk of coronary events. Both anxiety and type A
behavior have been associated with coronary diseases," Sivasankaran, who is now a
cardiology fellow at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass., tells WebMD. Yoga and
meditation, on the other hand, are often recommended as a way to relieve stress.
The study, which was presented during the opening day of the American Heart
Association's 2004 Scientific Sessions here, is the first to look at the way blood
vessels respond to stress.
"The endothelial function improved in the total cohort of patients and was most
dramatic in patients already diagnosed with heart disease," he explains.
And, it doesn't take years of lotus positions and meditation to see improvement -- the
study volunteers had measurable improvement in just six weeks, he says. The yoga
and meditation program included 40 minutes of postural yoga, 20 minutes of deep
relaxation, 15 minutes of yoga breathing, and 15 minutes of meditation.
The study enrolled 33 patients, 30% of whom had heart disease. The study required
them to practice yoga and meditation for an hour and a half at least three times a
week. More than 60% of the volunteers were men and the average age of the study
participants was 55.
The researchers monitored blood pressure, pulse, body mass index (BMI, an indirect
measure of body fat used to measure weight), and cholesterol levels at the
beginning of the study and again after six weeks.
The researchers used an ultrasound to measure the blood flow in an artery of the
arm, he explains.

Yoga Improves Blood Pressure
At the beginning of the study the average blood pressure was 130/79 mmHg. The
American Heart Association says that a normal blood pressure reading is 120/80
mmHg. After six weeks the average blood pressure reading was 125/74 mmHg,
which was a significant decrease with yoga and meditation classes. The volunteers
also had a modest reduction in BMI -- from 29 to 28, and they "had an average
reduction in pulse rate of nine beats per minute," he says.
While people with heart disease had the biggest improvement in blood vessel
function, that improvement "was independent of any improvements in blood
pressure," he says. And after six weeks it was the healthy patients who posted the
biggest improvements in blood pressure, pulse rate, and BMI.
"Even with a small number of patients for a short period of time there was a benefit
of yoga and meditation seen in people with heart disease," he says. He says,
however, that the researchers don't know the mechanism involved in that benefit,
which means that more study is needed.
Gerald F. Fletcher, MD, a cardiovascular disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic
Florida in Jacksonville, tells WebMD that "it is probably exercise. There are several
studies that suggest that exercise -- any kind of exercise -- improves oxygen
consumption, which improves endothelial function." Fletcher, who was not involved
in the study, is a spokesman for the AHA.
"I'm not sure that meditation has a specific benefit, but if combining meditation with
exercise will get people to exercise, then I'm all for it. But the most important
message is that exercise works," Fletcher says.

8 Yoga Benefits for Men
How to get the men in your life to hit the yoga studio.
By Lara Ceroni
Paul McQuillan, a yoga instructor at Toronto's Bikram Yoga Centre, has been
practising yoga -- specifically, Bikram or hot yoga, a style of yoga that takes place in
rooms heated to about 40 C -- for three years. Yoga has improved both his physical
and mental strength, he says, while revitalizing his energy levels. Here, he explains
the advantages of yoga and how men can benefit from it.
1. Yoga works the entire body
In sports such as hockey, tennis or football, you tend to utilize only 10 to 15 per cent
of the body, whereas yoga provides a workout that covers every muscle, joint and
organ. The practice oxygenates the blood, creating more energy when you finish the
exercise as opposed to depleting the body of it. You work every system:
cardiovascular, skeletal, muscular and endocrine.
2. Yoga has benefits in the bedroom
Guarasana, or Eagle Pose, is a posture that sends fresh blood and oxygen to the
sexual organs, so this is a particularly beneficial exercise for men in revitalizing their
bedroom prowess! Trikonasana, or Triangle Pose, is a marriage of the heart and
the lungs, two organs that don't usually interact. Not only does this posture increase
cardiovascular endurance, but it is also the only known yoga posture that utilizes
every organ, muscle and joint in the body.
3. Yoga works for every size
It does not matter how you look when you practise yoga. Whether you're a 250-
pound linebacker or a 150-pound triathlete, yoga will push your personal boundaries
by increasing your own flexibility, endurance and muscle strength.
4. Yoga decreases muscle soreness
Yoga is hugely beneficial in working out stiffness from other sports. When muscles
are fatigued, they build with lactic acid, and yoga, which stretches and releases
tension, helps flush that away. Runners in particular find yoga the best activity after
a long endurance jog.
5. Yoga restores energy levels
Yoga practice doesn't deplete your body of all of your energy after a class -- like,
say, a gym workout, where your body is entirely fatigued after your session. Instead,
it actually increases your vigour, making you feel more aware and revitalized.
6. Yoga trains your focus
Athletes like Wayne Gretzky, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and John McEnroe have
heightened their performance levels through practising Bikram yoga. By combining
mental, physical and emotional strength, they became better athletes at their chosen
sport. Men can't seem to let their egos go, and in yoga, you have to train your mind
to shut down -- to stop thinking about work, what you're going to have for dinner or
whether the Raptors are going to win the game. Traditionally, men have a more
difficult time doing that than women, although, once they do let go, their focus on the
positions -- and the difficulty in holding them -- improves vastly.
7. Yoga flushes your system
The practice of yoga is often referred to as "intense," especially in Bikram. When you
are working in a room heated higher than your body temperature, you sweat a
considerable amount. The pounds dramatically shed off your body and, more
importantly, you rid yourself of all the pent-up toxins. Due to the heat in Bikram, it
has been noted that you are essentially creating an artificial "fever" in the body,
therefore enhancing the immune system.
8. Yoga balances the mind
Yoga has such a great sense of community to it and it really allows for mental clarity
and focus. After you practise, you feel more grounded, less self-absorbed and
calmer. This type of mental clarity really helps in other sports or activities you may be
involved in.
9 Reasons Why You Should Practice Yoga
Heres how routine stretching and breathing can enhance your life, from better
sex to injury prevention.

Joshua Berman

Yes, the obvious is true: most yoga classes are attended by a majority of fit, flexible
females in tight clothes. But, contrary to what you might think, its not just a sport for
sexy ladies. And we have tons of reasons why you should be doing itother than
picking up women.
With yoga, youll hone your mental focus, rid your system of toxins, and maybe even
boost your performance in the bedroom. Youll even be able to touch your toes
improved flexibility is a bonus for just about every sport.
Yes, the real results of regular yoga practice are quite practical, and you dont need
any special equipmentjust a few square feet of space and a mat. Heres how that
extra bit of stretching will not only enhance your other workouts, but also your life.

1. Relieve stress.
We all find ways to deal with stress. But Terrence Monte, a managing teacher at
Pure Yoga, says, Going to amped up gyms or punching a punching bag can make
you more aggressive or more tired. Yoga, on the other hand, employs a number of
relaxation techniques, which, with regular practice, can make you calmer overall.
Sadie Nardini, host of Rock Your Yoga, adds, Along with training your body, yoga
trains your mind to see the bigger picture and act from integrity instead of freaking
out. If you want to be more James Bond than Charlie Sheen, get yourself on the
mat. Being forced to unplug from text, calls, and email for 60 to 90 minutes doesn't
hurt either.
2. Get flexible.
Most series of yoga asanas (physical postures) include one or more spinal twists to
loosen the many joints that make up your spine. This can improve your tennis game
and golf swing, as well as promote detoxification and good digestion. Yogi Cameron
Alborizan, Ayurvedic healer, yoga guru, and author of The One Plan, says, Think of
the body as a sponge filled with dirty sink water. Gentle twists help to wring the
sponge out and purge toxins.
3. Sculpt muscles.
Yoga uses the weight of your own body to build mass and strength. Dont believe it?
Think about how many clunky free-weights it takes to bench press your bodyweight
(150200 lbs.)yoga allows you to get the same muscle-building benefits by
performing long, extended push-ups, squats, and leg lifts. The results are well-
worked muscle groups, which get stronger with each class.
4. Prevent workout injuries.
Most yoga classes begin with a reminder to honour your bodys particular needs and
limits on that particular day. This basic ability to scan and assess yourself as you
practice will help reduce the incidence of injury when running or playing other sports.
Plus, flexible, well-stretched yoga muscles will heal and recover more quickly after
working out or getting strained.
5. Have better sex.
One way to improve your performance in the bedroom is to translate all those
relaxation and breathing techniques from yoga class into better, longer sex. Yogi
Cameron says these strengthened concentration skills will help you focus your mind
and better channel your sexual energy, helping to prevent premature ejaculation.
This can lead to increased sexual endurance, he says, and will make you far more
sensitive and responsive to your partner. Trust us, shell thank you for it.
6. Push your limits.
There are many types of yoga classes, some gentler than others. But when you find
the class that matches your abilitiesand pushes them? Watch out! says Nardini.
With long holds and often continual movements, youll amp up cardio at the same
time youre building whole-body lean muscle mass. Find a class with Power,
Vinyasa, or Flow in the title, and you can skip the gym that day.
7. Calm your mind.
In the midst of a jam-packed schedule, committing to the relaxed space of a yoga
class might be the only way for some guys to slow down and breathe right. Scott
Rodwin, founder of Radiance Yoga, explains that breathing exercises, called
pranayama, have been developed over thousands of years to calm and tame that
endless stream of thoughts. This, he says, leads to greater concentration as you
work your way through each poseand, in most cases, a calmness that lasts the
rest of the day.
8. Smell better.
Seriously. Michael Hewitt, founder of Sarva Yoga Academy says yoga is very much
about waste removal. Pheremonally, regular practice is more effective than
cologne, he says. Exhaling and sweating help get rid of toxins during class, so that
afterward, your sweat really will smell sweeter. After a class, says Hewett, [your
body is] cleaner, more confident and focused than when you walked in.
9. Set goals.
Most yoga teachers ask you to set an intention for that particular session or in some
other part of your life. This simple act saying something in your head like, Ill be
easier on myself for one hour, can have far-reaching effects. We all know how to
get what we want, says Monte, but many of us struggle with knowing what we
want. Yoga can help that question become more real, tangible, and accessible in
everyday life.
Yoga Therapy for Male Sexual Problems
Yoga therapy for male sexual problems can effectively be treated through Yoga
therapy, particularly with the help of Yoga poses and breathing exercises Yoga has
proven itself highly very effective in the treatment of a number of incurable and
sometimes terminable diseases. Then again, Yoga's therapeutic effects are just a
spin-off and supplementary. So why not with problems related to sex. They too can
very easily and effectively are handled with Yoga therapy.
This is because most of the time these problems are more mental than physical.
They are either the result of by lack of confidence, stress, tension or paranoia and
seldom is there a physical cause. Below are Yoga therapies for certain problems
such as premature ejaculation, gamophobia, so on and so forth.
Yoga Therapy for Pre-mature Ejaculation
For the treatment of mature ejaculation Yoga therapy prescribes certain breathing
exercises, accompanied by meditation and naturopathy. The Pranayamas (Breathing
exercises) recommended are:
Three step breathing (Dirga Pranayama)- 5 mins
Alternate nostril breathing (Anuloma-Viloma)- 10 mins
Concentrate on your breath; be aware of its tempo and temperature. All the time,
keep your breathing absolutely equalized (i.e. inhale for 5 sec and exhale for 5 secs).
Some Yoga poses Useful for Erectile Dysfunction are:
Anal Lifts - 4 - 5 times.
Abdominal Lifts - 4 - 5 times.
Pawanmuktasana - Wind Relieving Pose.
Bhujangasana - Cobra Pose
Yoga Therapy for Impotence:
Yoga poses (Asanas) - Sun Salutation, Pawanmuktasana- Wind Relieving
Pose, Abdominal lifts, Anal lifts, Bhujangasana - Cobra Pose, Sarvangasana-
Shoulder stand, Halasana- Plough pose.
Breathing exercises (Pranayama) - Alternate nostril breathing (Anuloma-
Viloma) followed by Bellow breathing (Bhastrika).
For best benefits these Yoga practices ought to be done twice daily. The person
should also make it a point to have 8-10 glasses of water daily. At least twice day, for
around 20 mins place a towel soaked in cold water (temp. approx.15-25 degree
Celsius) and folded under the spine. As far as diet goes, cut down on spices, and
excess consumption of food non-veg fare.

Alternative to Viagra
Yoga can enhance men's sex lives by improving cardiovascular health and
reducing anxiety.
By Michael Castleman
Since the introduction of Viagra, erectile dysfunction (ED) has emerged from behind
the bedroom door. Thanks to Bob Dole and ambitious advertising, it has become a
common term, yet it's still a condition disregarded by most meneven though
approximately 30 percent of the male population has suffered from ED at one time
and the risk increases dramatically as men age.
But Viagrathe most popular form of treatment despite the risk of common side
effects such as flushing, headaches, and stomach discomfortsis not the only
option. Other approaches have also been shown to be effective, including exercise,
stress management, sex therapy, and even yoga. Considerable research suggests
that the physical and emotional benefits of certain poses might help in the prevention
and treatment of ED.
Erection involves both the nervous and cardiovascular systems. It begins with
relaxation, according to Louanne Weston, Ph.D., a sex therapist in Fair Oaks,
California. Relaxation allows blood to remain in the central body and available to the
penis, instead of being directed to the arms and legs, which happens when men are
stressed (the fight-or-flight reflex). As relaxation becomes sexual arousal, nerve
impulses relax the smooth muscle tissue surrounding the arteries that carry blood
into the penis. These arteries open and extra blood flows into the organ, causing
erection. (Viagra works by spurring dilation of the penile arteries.)
Increased anxiety or stress may contribute to ED by interfering with the relaxation
fundamental to erection, and practicing yoga can be a deeply relaxing experience. A
study in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (vol. 43, 1999),
assessed anxiety levels in 50 medical students who subsequently began to practice
yoga and found that their anxiety levels decreased significantly. "Stress contributes
to many erection problems," says Palo Alto, California sex therapist and publisher of
the monthly electronic newsletter Sexual Intelligence Marty Klein, Ph.D., who
recommends yoga to his clients. "Yoga reduces stress, so it can help prevent and
treat ED."
Anything that damages the arteries or interferes with penile blood flow such as
smoking, alcohol, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and
diabetesmay also contribute to ED. And research has shown that the physical
benefits of yoga are particularly helpful in reducing some ED risk factors. In a study
published in the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India (vol. 48, 2000),
researchers had 42 men with angina (heart disease that causes chest pain on
exertion) eat a heart-healthy diet, participate in moderate aerobic exercise, and take
up yoga. A year later, the yoga group had significantly fewer angina attacks, lower
cholesterol, and had lost more weight compared with the control group. And studies
in the Lancet and Diabetes Research in Clinical Practice have indicated that yoga
can help treat high blood pressure and diabetes.
"I know of no studies showing that yoga directly helps prevent and treat ED," says
Hank Wuh, M.D., author of Sexual Fitness (Putnam, 2001), who also practices
Ashtanga Yoga. "But it's certainly conceivable. Yoga is deeply relaxing and it
improves cardiovascular fitness, both of which clearly improve sexual health."
What poses are best for ED? San Francisco yoga teacher Jason Crandell suggests
asanas that enhance focus and energy and are believed to increase blood flow into
the pelvic area, among them Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Baddha
Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), and Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose). Also,
Wuh suggests couples yoga. "In addition to being relaxing and improving sexual
fitness, yoga strengthens a couple's connection," he says. "That contributes to
intimacy and sexual enjoyment."

10 Ways Yoga Boosts Your Endurance Training
It starts with an in-breath and ends with a longer stride. Here are some simple
ways the right stretching will get you across the finish line.

Joshua Berman

Marathoners, ultra-race trainers, and yoga instructors agree to a T regular
practice of Hatha yoga breathing exercises and asanas, or poses, should be an
integral part of any endurance race training regimen. Why? Well, the benefits are
mental, physical, emotionaland undeniable to those who have tried it. So whether
youre training for the Leadville 100 or the Marathon des Sables in North Africa (a
six-day, 156-mile ultra-marathon, equivalent to six regular marathons!), the message
is clear: start stretching now. Here are 10 reasons why.
1. Breath
Breathing practice is essential to Hatha yoga, some would say even defined by it.
Practitioners use a back-of-throat nose breathing called ujayi pranayam, or breath of
the victorious warrior, which lengthens inhalations and increases lung capacity.
This, in turn, delivers more oxygen to the body and helps with overall performance
and efficiency. (See numbers 4, 5, and 6 for other benefits.)
2. Stride
To cover more ground with fewer steps, you need loose hip flexors, lubricated joints,
greater hip flexion, and properly stretched hamstrings all of which are common
results from regular Hatha yoga practice. Many asanas cover these areas, which
help develop a longer natural stride and smoother, steadier pace.
3. Endurance
At the end of a marathon, the body is totally spent and depleted of fuel," says Jai
Sugrim, Certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher and host of Yoga Sutra Now. "It is the mind
that brings you home to the finish line, Endurance requires equal parts physical and
mental strength, and yoga (in addition to fitness) helps with concentration. During
the final stretch of a race, you can use meditative techniques to push negative
thoughts aside and focus on getting your butt across the finish line.
4. Core
Abdominal strengthening, says Boston-based yoga teacher, Karen Fabian, founder
of Bare Bones Yoga, is one of the most important things to keeping a body strong,
centered, and powerful. Most Hatha yoga series include such core strengthening
poses, which do more than just hone your six-pack. A strong core supports the body
from the inside out, improving running posture and protecting your back and hips.
5. Mental toughness
Holding a yoga pose for a long time especially a core-trembling, quad-shaking
position like warrior or chair pose not only strengthens muscles, but it also
builds confidence, quiets the mind, and translates directly to race day, says Scott
Rodwin, founder of Radiance Yoga in Boulder, Colorado. "Over time, he says, the
practice of simply holding the pose teaches you that you are stronger than you think.
The asana asks you to overcome self-limiting thoughts and the fear of pain. It
requires discipline and commitment."
6. Focus
Athletes who are out there on long, solo training runs already know about developing
an inward, mindful state of being, a.k.a. the zone. Staying mindful of your breath
helps achieve this, says personal trainer Carrie Jesse, allowing athletes to stay in the
moment and even match the rhythmic breathing to their footfalls.
7. Flexibility
Tight hamstrings, calves, glutes, and lower back muscles are all common side
effects of many endurance race regimens. Hatha Yoga helps immensely in
releasing tight muscles and restoring full mobility to the bodys joints, says
Alexander Cortes, a strength and conditioning coach at a UFC gym in California.
Often times endurance racers will unknowingly develop bad movement patterns due
to tight muscles. Mobilizing and realigning the body [with yoga practice] can restore
proper patterns and prevent avoidable injuries.
8. Recovery
The restorative power of yoga counters the constant pounding on your legs and
spine, while also helping develop and maintain a sense of space in the hips and
lower back. In addition, the increased oxygen coursing through a yoga-enhanced
athletes body means less soreness and quicker tissue repair after you push it.
9. Injury prevention
Yoga promotes a constant awareness of what is going on in your body and mind.
Many classes begin with a reminder to honor your bodys particular needs and limits
on that particular day. Yoga helps with your ability to discern between discomfort
and pain, says Sage Rountree, author of The Runner's Guide to Yoga. This is an
important distinction as the hours and miles wear on your body.
10. Strength
Yoga uses your own bodyweight as resistance to build strength. People don't realize
yoga is work, its a physical practice, says Taj Harris, endurance runner, yoga
teacher, and Crunch Group Fitness Coordinator. Poses require strength as well as
balance, she says. Honestly I'm rarely on the weight floor in the gym. I use yoga to
Yoga for Male Libido Enhancement and Sexual
Hey Guys! Yoga is not just for girls; Yoga is great for men, in fact, practicing Yoga
is excellent for enhancing virility, and sexual energy!
Its been said that the ancient holy men and yogis of India were sexually active
throughout their livesand they lived a long time. Yoga played a big part in keeping
them fit.
This article will present some very potent Yoga poses for men , designed to
tone those all-important organs and to boost your libido.
If youre concerned about sexual dysfunction or you just want to keep your
equipment primed for action, you may want to incorporate these yoga poses and
movements (called Asanas ) into your regular exercise program.
Yoga is traditionally practiced for maintaining body strength, flexibility and balance so
dont be surprised if in addition to finding yourself romantically primed, you find
yourself feeling totally rejuvenated; even spiritually transformed.
Ive studied Yoga for over a decade and I am very familiar with all Asanas described
here. Instructions and descriptions of each Asana come from certified Yoga
instructors including my own.
Please note, the exercises described here are for information purposes only and are
not meant to replace professional medical treatment. Before beginning any exercise
program, always consult your health care professional.
Why Is Yoga So Powerful in Boosting the Male Libido?
Sexual energy manifests in nature as a vibration.
These vibrations, according to Kundalini Yoga
originate at the base of your spine. Kundalini means
coiled up energy. The Kundalini Yoga exercises
demonstrated here, help to raise the level of this
vibration within your body so the coil unfurls and
rises up through your body. But Kundalini Yoga
poses do even more. If there is a blockage along
the sexual energy channels of your body, these
poses will help to unblock the channel letting your
energy flow naturally.

Kundalini flow

Heres what can be expected from practicing these exercises:
Youll experience increased energy
Youll have improved flexibility for more mobile, less painful sexual activity
The movements strengthen and develop buttocks and legs for improved
sexual activity
Erectile dysfunction is improved
Prepare For Your Yoga Practice

Yoga is great for male libido
-Wear something comfortable thats not too tight around your waist or crotch area.
-Dont wear a loose shirt that will get in your face when you bend over.
-Dont wear socks, as you may slip when holding the positions.
-Dont eat a lot for at least two hours before Yoga. Try to avoid eating meat, fats, and
spicy foods for 10 hours before Yoga.
-If you dont have a Yoga mat, you can do the exercises on a floor or carpet or
outside on any comfortable terrain. Allow sufficient space to complete the exercises.
If you can lie on your back and make a snow angel youve got enough space.
-If you like, turn on some non-intrusive, relaxing music.
Sit cross-legged or in a half-lotus position. Dont worry if
your knees are nowhere near the floor. You can sit on a
towel or a block to ease any strain on your knees.

Half-Lotus Position
Proper Breathing Techniques
In Yoga, proper breathing is just as important as each Asana. Some of the Asanas
require that you take a deep but comfortable breath inhaling and exhaling through
your nose. Some positions specify relaxed breathing and some call for Breath of Fire
Its OK to Modify Any Position to Fit Your Level of Fitness
Each Yoga Asana demonstrates the recommended number of repetitions, but it
doesnt mean you have to begin by doing all of them. Work your way up to the
suggested number, or if thats not possible, just go to where your body feels
comfortable. If any exercise is too strenuous, stop. You can always pick it up when
youre ready. You should feel like you are stretching and strengthening your
muscles. Never go to pain! Remember, this is your Yoga practice. It is not a
Take breaks between the exercises for at least 30 seconds . Stay calm, focused
and relaxed during breaks.
If you prefer, practice only a few of the active poses in a single exercise session
and practice the others at another time. Work your way up to longer sessions that
include all of the Asanas listed here.
Begin With a Warm Up
There are many Yoga warm up exercises, but really, any gentle warm up that
stretches your legs, arms, waist and back is appropriate for this practice. Begin by
taking a few slow deep breaths and focus on the present, then proceed with some
gentle twists and stretches. Do this for 3-5 minutes.

Butterfly Pose
Here Are The Yoga Positions!
Sit on the mat with your back straight.
Bend both the knees, bringing the soles of the feet together and place them as close
to the crotch area as possible. Dont worry if your knees do not touch the floor.
Hold the pose focusing on your inner thighs. Try to bring your knees closer to the
floor to the point where you feel a gentle stretch. Breathe into the stretch. Relax. Its
advantageous to close your eyes. Sit in this position for at least 3 minutes and
continue breathing.
This position tones the male sexual energy channels and organs.
Seated Forward Bend
Seated Forward Bend
Sit on the mat with your back straight, legs outstretched together in front of you.
Lean forward and reach your arms toward your toes. Dont lock your knees. Let your
upper body relax and feel the stretch in the back of your legs and in your back. Do
not overstretch. Take several long, deep breaths. If you are limber, you can grab
your shins, ankles or toes. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute and return to an upright
position. Repeat the move 3 times.
This exercise is excellent for increasing mobility and stimulating sexual energy.
Chair Pose
Basically, chair pose mimics the position of
being seated in a chair, without the chair. You
engage your thigh muscles and lift your arms
straight up near your ears. It helps to keep
your legs squeezed tightly together.
Hold the pose for 15 seconds while doing the
Breath of Fire . Modify this pose for your own
level of strength and endurance. Repeat 3
times and work up to 10 times.
This position also strengthens the leg muscles
and moves the sexual energy up through your
energy centers.

Runners Stretch or Lunge
From a standing position, step
your right leg forward a few feet,
and bend your right knee
keeping your left leg straight.
Your knee should be at a right
angle to the floor. Never allow
your knee to extend past your
ankle. Your arms can rest on
your hips or if you need support,
place them on either side of your
right foot. Feel the stretch in your
inner left leg and the
strengthening in your right leg.
Take 10 slow deep breaths as you hold the position.
Return to the standing position, and do the same on the other side, bringing your left
foot forward into the lunge.
This position strengthens your pelvic floor and helps you maintain stamina and

Cobra Pose
Start on all fours with your arms about
shoulder width, knees almost together. Lower
your body but keep your front torso elevated.
Your arms should be straight, elbows pointed
toward your body. If you do not have neck
problems, you can look up. If you feel any
discomfort or pain in your lower back or
abdominal muscles, modify this position by
resting on your forearms for a more gentle lift.
Hold the cobra pose for 30 seconds or for as long as 3 minutes. Take long deep
The Cobra stimulates the male sexual energy centers for improved performance and
Yoga Child Pose
Relax your back, by resting for a minute or
two in the Extended Child Pose as shown in
the photo to the right.

Yoga Sat Kriya Pose
Sit back on your heels or feet, knees bent. If
thats too difficult, just remain on your knees.
You may wish to pad your knees with a towel.
Stretch your arms over your head. Ideally,
your elbows should hug the side of your head,
but if thats not comfortable, just raise your
arms as high as they will go. Interlace all your
fingers except the index fingers which are
pointed straight up. Cross one thumb over the
Close your eyes and begin the following
series of contractions . If you wish, you can
say Sat on the intake, and Kriya on the
The abdominal contraction begins with the focus on your navel. Inhale through your
nose and quickly contract the stomach muscles around your navel along with the
muscles of the rectum and the sex organ areas. This is called root lock.
Hold the breath for about a second, visualizing the movement of energy up from
the buttocks, along the spine and out the top of your head . Exhale, release the
lock and repeat two more times. Rest for a few seconds, and repeat. The exercise
should be done for at least three minutes, working up to ten minutes. If your arms
and legs get tired, take a short break, but do try to complete the 3 minutes of Sat
This a very powerful pose for toning the male sexual organs and for dealing with
sexual dysfunctions.
Frog Pose
This exercise is good for sexual health but its also good for
toning and strengthening your leg muscles and getting your
heart rate up.
If you have knee issues, skip this exercise. If you dont have
issues, but you feel your knees are beginning to ache, stop.
I also dont recommend doing too many reps if you suffer
from hemorrhoids! Remember to always stop and rest if you
get light headed or dizzy.
Begin in a squat position, on your toes, with your feet apart
and your heels together. Your arms and fingertips will help
you to stay balanced.
Take a breath in through your nose and stand up as you lower your head towards
your knees. You can lower your heels as you stand. Make sure your fingers remain
touching the floor. Its ok if you cant straighten your legs completely. Now exhale.
Frog Pose, Position B
Youve just completed 1 repetition. Inhale as you being your
next rep returning to the squat position. Work your way up to
at least 10 reps. Of course, you can do more if you feel you
need a more challenging workout. Remember to breathe!

Plough Pose
The plough is a very powerful position,
excellent for improving your entire sexual
system but I recommend you do this pose
slowly, making sure you do not strain your
back, neck or hamstrings.
Begin on your back by drawing your knees to
your chest. Roll backwards and allow your
legs to extend past your head. Support your back with your hands. Ideally your toes
should touch the ground above your head, but only go to where you feel the stretch.
Do not go to pain. Take long, deep breaths and hold the position from 1 to 3 minutes.
If you get lightheaded, stop.
Rocking Pose
This pose is actually very relaxing. Sit on the
front edge of your mat and tuck into a ball
position with your knees bent and your arms
wrapped around your shins. As you breathe
normally, rock onto your back and roll back
again to the seated position. Never roll onto
your neck as this can cause injury. Continue
rolling for 30 seconds working your way up to
1 minute.
This pose stimulates all your energy centers and tones your core muscles.
Bridge Pose
Lie on your back and bring your feet as close to
your buttocks as possible, knees bent. Lift your
torso and press down on your feet. Tighten your
thighs and buttocks. Try to lift your navel as high
as possible. Hold the position for at least 30
seconds and work your way up to 3 minutes
while doing the Breath of Fire. This is an intense
position. When you have completed the set,
slowly lower your back to the mat one vertebrae
at a time until you are flat on your back with
knees still bent. Repeat the exercise 3 times.
This pose energizes your pelvic muscles and strengthens your legs and core,
moving the sexual energy from the base of your spine, through the top of your head.
Corpse Pose
Now its time to really relax. As the Asana suggests, you simply lay on your back like
a dead man, eyes closed with your hands at your sides or on your chest. Breathe
normally (unlike a corpse), and let your worries dissipate as you exhale. If you have
been playing relaxing music, listen and let go. This rest position can last from 3 to 11
End Your Yoga for Men Practice With a
Cleansing Breath
Return to your cross-legged or half-lotus
position, eyes closed. Center yourself for a
few seconds, then take a cleansing breath as
you stretch your arms overhead. Place your
palms together and bring them to your heart.
Repeat this move then thank yourself for a
fine Yoga practice.
If you take a class in Hatha Yoga or Kundalini
Yoga, you will find that they include many of
the Asanas described here. This is simply a
compilation of those specific Asanas that are
excellent for improving the male libido and
sexual health.
Enrich your love life with Yoga Asanas

Is there even a link between improving sexual fitness and an exercise like Yoga?
Down the centuries, yoga practices have always laid tremendous emphasis on a
healthy sexual life.

The spiritual and sexual connection between yoga and intimacy has been debated
by Ellen Barrett in her book, Sexy Yoga. "Yoga means union in Sanskrit, and it
focuses on bringing one's body into harmony with the mind and spirit. The
awareness of sexuality through yoga is deeper and more intimate. These are
exercises, which are beneficial for you and your partner, which blend meditation,
breath control and asanas. Yoga is about discovering the joys of elegant sexuality,"
says Barrett.
The healing power of Yoga is so strong that people who are physiologically weak
and to some extent or even fully impotent may regain their potency as their physical
health is revived through Yoga. Many folks admit that their marital relationship is
improving after taking up yoga.

1) Lotus Posture (Padmasana):

Padmasana is an excellent posture
for all meditative practice and is
consider as one of the best posture
for concentration. It stimulates the
pelvis, spine, abdomen, and bladder
and stretches the ankles and knees
and also strengthens the semen and
spermatozoa. In women it corrects
menstrual disorder and improves
chances of conception.

Technique: Spread a blanket or carpet on the floor and sit down with both your legs
spread straight in front of your body while keeping your spine erect. Slowly and
carefully, take hold of your right foot and place it on top of your opposite thigh, sole
facing upwards and your heel close to your abdomen. When this feels comfortable,
bend the other leg and place your foot on top of your opposite thigh. Ideally, both
knees should touch the ground in the final position. Your head and spine should be
held erect and the shoulders and arms should be relaxed.

Also make sure both your thighs and knees are pressed against the floor. Finally,
keep your elbows slightly bent and place the wrists of both hands on the respective
knees, palms facing upwards. Now close your eyes, relax your entire body and
breathe deeply through your nose. Within 10 to 12 days` practice, one can maintain
this asana for 10 minutes.

2) Shoulder Stand Posture (Sarvangasana)

Sarvangasana is known as the queen
of asanas which works out to be one
of the best posture to energise all the
sex glands and thereby improves
sexual activity in both males and

By doing this asana correctly, you can
be cured of premature ejaculation. It
also helps in maintaining erection of
penis in males during coitus for a
considerable length of time.
Sarvangasana posesses medicinal value for curing impotence, frigidity, lack of
sexual power and various other defects of sexual organs.

Technique: Lie down flat on the floor, on your back, palms by your side, facing down
and then slowly lift your legs off the ground, then your thighs and lastly, your hips.
Support the whole body- back, hips, thighs and legs - on your elbows, hands
pressing against the sides of the back for support. Try to keep it as vertical as

Sarvangasana is a shoulder stand, so your body should be resting on your shoulders
and not on your back. Hold this position for as long as possible, while keeping your
body steady without shaking or jerking the legs. Remember to exhale while lifting
your body up, but once your body is up, you can breathe normally.

There is no need to hold your breath. Gradually bring down your whole body and
return to the original supine position. This posture must be repeated for at least 3
minutes and after some days increase the time to 5 to 6 minutes.

3) Plough Posture ( Halsana)

Halsana is one of the best asanas to
sublimate sexual energies as its daily
practice makes men and women's
genetic parts stronger and active.
Female problems during menstruation
and menopause and some sexual
disorders can be remedied by

It also invigorates and nourishes all
the sexual glands and thereby
improves an individual's sexual potential to a considerable extent. It also corrects
impotence, frigidity and nightfall.

Technique: Lie flat on the carpet with your hands straight by the side of your thighs,
palm resting on the ground. Slowly raise your legs together without bending at knees
by pressing your hand. Without bending at the knees, raise your hips higher and
bring your legs over your head and backwards till your toes touch the ground.
Keep your knees straight and legs together in a straight line. You need to remain in
this pose for a few seconds, and return to your original position. Aged persons and
those suffering from back pain and high blood pressure should not do this asana.

4) Bow Posture ( Dhanurasana)

Dhanurasana is a very effective back
strengthening exercise and also
brings a general improvement in all
sexual aspects. It makes the semen
thick, gives strength to the penis and
vagina and tones the vas-deference

Dhanurasana keeps sexual organs in
a good condition and its regular
practice improves chances of
conception. Dhanurasana is helpful in
increasing the time of astringency (time of sex, when you are finally ready for
intercourse after foreplay).

Technique: Lie down your abdomen with your forehead touching the ground. With
an exhalation, bend your knees and lift your chest using your arms. Reach back with
your arms one at a time and grab the outside of your ankles so that your palms are
facing inward towards each other.

You need to remain in this position for ten seconds or a maximum of one minute. It is
necessary that you exhale completely while you lie flat on the ground. Then inhale
slowly and catch hold of your legs and raise yourself to form the bow, hold your
breath while you are in this pose. Exhale slowly as you return to the flat-on-the-
stomach pose.

5) Back Stretching Posture (

Paschimottanasana is very useful for
removing all sexual defects, such as
nightfall, premature ejaculation,
impotence, semen-atrophy,
menstruation, congestion of vagina
and sexual weakness.

Regular practice of
Paschimottanasana tones up the sex centers in the spine and pelvic organs as well
as stimulating the sensory nerves which greatly improves sexual performance of
both men and women.

Technique: Lie flat on your back on the carpet with hands remaining alongside your
body and make sure that your knees are also flat and pressed to the ground. Now,
slowly lift yourself to a sitting position and bend forward and clasp the big toe of each
foot with your index and middle finger.

Thereafter, bring down your head so that it touches the knees keeping in mind that
you do not raise your knees to the ground. Remain in this pose for about 5 seconds
and then gradually release your grip on your toes and return to the original position.
This needs to be repeated 5 to 6 times a day for a satisfactory result.
Health Benefits of Yoga for Women Over 40
Did you know that the health benefits of yoga include everything from stress relief to
improving chronic health conditions such as depression and even cancer? For some
reason it seems like when a woman hits forty everything in her life begins to change.
The kids are grown and begin to leave home, long term marriages seem to either
dissolve or need to be redefined, physical changes due to
menopause and the process of aging can seem to leave
you feeling a bit more fatigued and less enthusiastic about
Middle age should be a great time in a woman's life, but
for many women it can be a time of feeling abandoned,
angry and out of step with the world and your own minds
and bodies. This often results in health problems caused
by stress and the natural aging process.
It doesnt have to be that way.
Just because you are over 40 doesn't mean your life is over. In fact it is the start of
an entire new chapter, and yoga can help you to get your mind and body into shape
to face the next 40 years with enthusiasm and good health. Yoga for relaxation can
be the catalyst for learning how to be happy at any age.

Here are 10 Key Health Benefits of Yoga for Relaxation:
1. Sense of self. Yoga can help you get back in touch with who you are. The
techniques you learn during yoga and the need to concentrate on every part
of your being from your breathing to your mental and emotional center helps
you to reconnect to who you are giving you a sense of yourself as a person
that you may have missing for quite a long time.
2. Increased energy. Although yoga is a form of exercise, its unique techniques
help to replenish your energy reserves. Women who consistently practice
yoga claim that they feel less tired and have more energy than they did in their
20s or even 30s.
3. Feelings of well being. Another health benefit of yoga is that it provides you
with a sense of physical and emotional well being. Yoga can not only make
you feel better about yourself, but about the world around you and life in
general. You'll find yourself looking forward with enthusiasm to each new day.
4. Stress reduction. Yoga teaches you to control your breathing which helps
you control your body and quiet your mind. Focusing on your breathing
instead of the overwhelming chaos of your daily life fosters balance, peace,
and calm.
5. Improved minor health issues. Probably one of the most important health
benefits of yoga is that it helps to strengthen your immune system. Stress and
the physical aches and pains that we feel as we get older can have a negative
effect on our immune system making us more susceptible to colds and other
more serious illnesses. Yoga helps to relieve stress and those aches and
pains that are part of the aging process which in turn strengthens your
immune system and results in improved health.
6. Improves chronic and serious health issues. Yoga also helps with more
serious and chronic health issues such as cancer, depression, chronic pain,
anxiety, high blood pressure, and debilitating insomnia.
7. Promotes weight loss. As an added bonus for us women, yoga can be a
catalyst to help us lose weight.
8. Improved memory. Consistent yoga practice has been proven to improve
memory, concentration, focus, and enhance mental clarity. This is especially
valuable for menopausal or pre-menopausal women.
9. Increase in confidence Yoga helps us integrate our bodies and mind which
makes us aware of our gifts and potential. The self awareness you find from
regular yoga practice will naturally increase confidence and self esteem.
10. Develop intuition. Yoga can help us develop our intuition which unfortunately
many of us learn to ignore as we get older. We let the voices of our friends,
family, and society overrule our inherent wisdom and intuition. Consistent
yoga practice helps us focus on our inner guidance.
Any woman over 40 can gain these and many other health benefits from yoga
practice and will find that they not only have reconnected with themselves but with
the world around them.

Health Benefits Of Yoga For Seniors
Yoga may seem like a young womans activity,
but seniors actually have a lot to gain from the
practice. Many of the physical improvements
that result from yoga directly address the health
concerns of older individuals. Getting involved in
the exercise may lead to a number of important
Most experts agree that maintaining flexibility is
an important part of growing older. Few things
hamper a persons mobility and ability to live
independently than muscle and joint stiffness.
This can make a person feel much older than
they actually are.
Few practices improve a persons flexibility quite like yoga. The exercise regimen
basically amounts to specialized stretches targeted to certain areas of the body. By
practicing yoga on a regular basis, older individuals can ensure that they maintain
their flexibility and avoid many of the health problems that come from
musculoskeletal stiffness.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common age-related health problems. Millions of
U.S. adults suffer from the painful joint condition. It is caused by the cartilage of the
joints wearing down over time. Once the cartilage is completely broken down, there
is no cure for the pain short of joint replacement surgery.
The Arthritis Foundation states
that exercise is one of the best
ways to prevent the joint damage
that characterizes osteoarthritis.
However, the irony is that
because the condition causes
pain, few people stay as active as
they should. Studies have shown
that very few people with
osteoarthritis get any kind of
physical activity in their everyday
Yoga may offer these individuals
a solution to the problem. Because the practices is low-impact, it may not bother the
joints of a person with osteoarthritis the way more traditional exercises like running
or riding a bike can.
A large percentage of seniors also suffer from cardiovascular problems. High
cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and poor blood flow are very common
problems. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
However, yoga may be able to counter
many of these problems. The exercise
routine has been shown to lower the
heart rate and improve circulation. This
may benefit individuals who have multiple
cardiovascular risk factors.
Furthermore, yoga can get the heart
pumping more than a person would think,
which may provide the cardiovascular
workout seniors need to maintain the
condition of their heart and reduce their
chances of complications.
For some reason, practicing yoga has become
very popular among young females, with very
few men and older individuals trying out the
practice. This is a shame because just about
everyone has something to gain from yoga.
This is particularly true for seniors, who may be
among the least likely to sign up for a class.
However, this perception should not stop older
people from trying it out. There are many
classes that are specifically geared to the ability and needs of seniors. Getting
involved in one of these classes may be among the best things aging individuals can
do for their health.

Pranayama - Breathing Techniques for

Yoga Breathing or Pranayama revitalizes the body, steadies the emotions and
creates great clarity of mind. Before practicing the exercises, you should be sure that
you understand how to breathe correctly and how to make full use of the diaphragm.
In order to facilitate the flow of Prana and ensure that there is space for expanding
the lungs, Yoga Breathing exercises are performed sitting down with the spine, neck
and head in a straight line - either in the Easy Pose, the Lotus Pose or if neither is
comfortable, sitting on a chair.
Beginner Yoga Breathing Techniques
Kapalabhati and Anuloma Viloma are of equal importance in the Basic Session of
Asanas and should form the backbone of your Pranayama. Practice them exclusively
to begin with, before your daily set of Asanas.

Kapalabhati is a Breathing Technique used specifically for cleansing. If you
have a lot of mucus in the air passages or feel tension and blockages in the
chest it is often helpful to breathe quickly. This article will introduce you to
this breathing techniques and show you its its benefits.

Anuloma Viloma
Anuloma Viloma is also called the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. In
this Breathing Technique, you inhale through one nostril, retain the breath,
and exhale through the other nostril. Learn how to do this technique for
beginners by following the steps found in this article.

Other Yoga Breathing Exercises

Bhramari or Nasal Snoring is more difficult than the usual mouth snoring.
But with with enough practice and patience, you will eventually be able to
perform this technique. If you are unsure where and how to start with
Bhramari, then let this article help you.

Sitkari pertains to the sound made by drawing air in through the front teeth-
either tightly closed or slightly opened-with the tongue tip regulating the air
pressure and sound. Learn more about this technique in this article.

The breathing technique Sitali or tongue hissing refers to the sound caused
when air is drawn in through the protruding tongue folded into a tube. This
basic breathing technique can be performed by following the steps found in
this article.

As already mentioned above, Pranayama revitalizes one's body along with other
benefits that a person gets by practicing it. We hope that the different breathing
techniques featured above will help you kick start your practice of Pranayama. But
more than just encouraging you to practice Pranayama more, we also hope that with
its help, you will be able to achieve the goals of performing it - to achieve balance in
your life.
Breathing Exercise (Pranayama) - Kapalabhati (Cleaning Breath)
Kapalabhati is a Breathing Technique used specifically for cleansing. If we have
a lot of mucus in the air passages or feel tension and blockages in the chest it is
often helpful to breathe quickly. In this practice, we deliberately breathe faster and at
the same time use only Abdominal Breathing, that is, diaphragmatic, not Chest
Breathing. In Kapalabhati, the Breath is short, rapid, and strong. We use the lungs as
a pump, creating so much pressure as they expel the air that all the waste is
removed from the air passages, from the lungs up through the nostrils. Kapala
means "skull," and bhati means "that which brings lightness." Kapalabhati is a good
thing to do when we feel heavy or foggy in the head. If we have problems with the
sinuses or feel numb around the eyes, Kapalabhati can help to clear this area as

The Kapalabhati and Bhastrika Breathing Techniques share the same general
principle, namely that we clear the nasal passages with the force of the breath. As
mentioned under Bhastrika, we must be very careful with these techniques because
there is a danger of creating tension in the breath. We may also become dizzy when
we breathe rapidly; for this reason we always conclude the practice of Kapalabhati
with some slow breaths. It is important not to breathe rapidly too many times, but
after a few rapid breaths take several slow ones in which we emphasize the long
One Round of Kapalabhati (Cleaning Breath)
Take two normal breaths. Inhale. Now exhale, pulling in your abdomen. Repeat
twenty times, keeping a steady rhythm and emphasizing the exhalation each time.
Then inhale, exhale completely, inhale fully and hold your breath for as long as you
comfortably can. Slowly exhale.
Breathing Exercise (Pranayama) - Alternate Nostril (Anuloma Viloma)
Anuloma Viloma is also called the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. In this
Breathing Technique, you inhale through one nostril, retain the breath, and exhale
through the other nostril in a ratio of 2:8:4. The left nostril is the path of the Nadi
called Ida and the right nostril is the path of the Nadi called Pingala. If you are really
healthy, you will breathe predominantly through the Ida nostril about one hour and
fifty minutes, then through the Pingala nostril. But in many people, this natural
rhythm is disturbed. Anuloma Viloma restores, equalizes and balances the flow of
Prana in the body.

One round of Anuloma Viloma is made up of six steps, as shown below. Start by
practicing three rounds and build up slowly to twenty rounds, extending the count
within the given ratio.
The Vishnu Mudra
In Anuloma Viloma, you adopt the Vishnu Mudra with your right hand to close your
nostrils. Tuck your index and middle finger into your nose. Place the thumb by your
right nostril and your ring and little fingers by your left.
One Round of Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

Inhale through the left nostril, closing the right with the thumb, to the
count of four.

Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of sixteen.

Exhale through the right nostril, closing the left with the ring and little
fingers, to the count of eight.

Inhale through the right nostril, keeping the left nostril closed with the
ring and little fingers, to the count of four.

Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of sixteen.

Exhale through the left nostril, keeping the right closed with the thumb,
to the count of eight.
Benefits of Anuloma Viloma
The exercise of the Anuloma Viloma produces optimum function to both sides of the
brain: that is optimum creativity and optimum logical verbal activity. This will make
both sides of the brain, the left side which is responsible for logical thinking and the
right side which is responsible for creative thinking to function properly. This will lead
to a balance between a person's creative and logical thinking. The Yogis consider
this to be the best technique to calm the mind and the Nervous System.
Anuloma Viloma: The Scientific Confirmation
Medical science has recently discovered the nasal cycle, something that was already
discovered by the Yogis thousands of years ago. Modern scientists found out that we
do not breathe equally on both nostrils, that is one nostril is much easier to breathe
through than the other at any particular time. Each nostril alternates about every
three hours. The Yogis claim that the natural period is every two hours, but we must
remember these studies were done on people who do not have an optimum Health

Scientists also discovered that the nasal cycle corresponds with brain function. The
electrical activity of the brain was found to be greater on the side opposite the less
congested nostril. The right side of the brain controls creative activity, while the left
side controls logical verbal activity. The research showed that when the left nostril
was less obstructed, the right side of the brain was predominant. Test subjects were
indeed found to do better on creative tests. Similarly when the right nostril was less
obstructed the left side of the brain was predominant. Test subjects did better on
verbal skills.

Medical science has not quite caught up with the ancient Yogis yet. The Ancient
Yogis even went one step further. They observed that a lot of diseases were due to
disturbances of the nasal cycle or if a person breathe for too long through one nostril.
To prevent and correct this condition, they developed the Alternate Nostril Breathing
Technique. This clears any blockage the airflow in the nostrils and reestablishes the
natural nasal cycle. For example, the Yogis have known for a long time that
prolonged breathing through the left nostril only (over a period of years) will cause
Asthma. They also know that this so-called incurable disease can be easily treated
by teaching the patient to breathe through the right nostril until the Asthma is cured
and prevent it from recurring by doing the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. The
Yogis also believe that Diabetes is caused, to a large extent, by breathing mainly
through the right nostril.
Breathing Exercise (Pranayama) - Bhramari (Nasal
Bhramari or Nasal Snoring is more difficult than the usual
mouth snoring. In Bhramari, the lips are closed and
vibrations of the soft palate are cause entirely by nasal
airflow unlike the usual mouth snoring. In order to be able
to practice Bhramari, you may start by practicing mouth
snoring in order to develop some voluntary control over the
palate vibration process. Approach control develops
gradually. Bharamri is beneficial to Pregnant Women as
preparation for labor.

Bhramari (Nasal Snoring)

The soft palate must be lifted toward the top of the pharynx
sufficiently to produce flutter which may be very hard to control. The sound produced
is commonly described as similar to the buzzing of a bee. Although, in Bhramari, one
breathes both in and out through both nostrils, producing a snoring, buzzing or
humming sound in both directions. The sound your produce may somewhat be
different, inhaling produces a sound with a higher pitch than exhaling which has a
lower pitch. Bhramari is customarily described to involve rapid inhalation that
produces a high humming sound like that of a male bee and slow exhalation that
produces a low humming sound like that of a female bee.
Breathing Exercise (Pranayama) - Sitkari (Teeth Hissing)
Sitkari pertains to the sound made by drawing air in through the front teeth-either
tightly closed or slightly opened-with the tongue tip regulating the air pressure and
sound. This technique pertains only to inhaling, except that exhaling normally takes
place through both nostrils, after a usual full pause.

Sitkari (Teeth Hissing)

The sides of the tongue is pressed against the teeth, lining the sides of the mouth, if
they are closed tightly, or expanding between the upper and lower; sets, if the jaw is
opened slightly. The sound, a kind of reversed hissing, like that made when one
suddenly touches ice or a hot object or feels a draft of hot or frigid air, should be
regulated so as to be smooth and to sound pleasant. The experience has been
described as "sipping air." This technique usually cools the mouth and may have
both a cooling and a relaxing effect upon the whole body. Lips should close at the
end of inhalation, preparatory to holding the full pause with chin lock. Closure of the
lips ends the hissing sound, si, with a "sip."
Breathing Exercise (Pranayama) - Sithali (Tongue Hissing)
This exercise is also one of the basic breathing exercises. The breathing technique
Sitali refers to the sound caused when air is drawn in through the protruding tongue
folded into a tube.
Sitali (Tongue hissing)
During inhalation, curl up both edges of the tongue so that it forms a kind of tube.
Breathe in through this tube. During inhalation the air passes over the moist tongue,
cooling down and refreshing the throat. In order to be sure that the tongue remains
moist, roll it back as far as possible against the palate. Do this during the entire
exhalation so that the next breath is just as refreshing as the first. The resulting
tongue position may appear more like the lower portion of a bird's beak than a tube,
but variable opening or closing of the tube-like passage in the folded tongue, in
cooperation with faster or slower inhalation, makes possible variations in loudness
and softness and smoothness of the reversed hissing sound. Again, a cooling effect
may be noted and, indeed, sought through this and the foregoing technique
whenever needed. The tongue is drawn back into the mouth and the lips are closed
at the end of inhalation. We can breathe out either through the throat or alternately
through the nostrils.
Breathing in Yoga for Relaxation
How simple breath work can lead you to a deep state of relaxation.
By Claudia Cummins
Beginning students often ask for instructions on
the "right" way to breathe. Alas, there's no
single answer to that question, since the optimal
breathing pattern at any given moment depends
on the type of practice. Restorative yoga
focuses solely on relaxation, though, and
emphasizes breathing that creates calm and
serene states of being. When you settle into
restorative poses, try the following techniques
for cultivating breathing patterns that are
hallmarks of relaxation and well-being.
Move the Belly With the Breath: When we are
at ease, the diaphragm is the primary engine of
the breath. As we inhale, this domelike muscle descends toward the abdomen,
displacing the abdominal muscles and gently swelling the belly. As we exhale, the
diaphragm releases back toward the heart, enabling the belly to release toward the
Keep the Upper Body Quiet: During high-stress times, it's common to heave the
upper chest and grip the muscles in the shoulders and throat. When we're at rest,
the muscles of the upper chest remain soft and relaxed as we breathe, and the real
work occurs in the lower rib cage. To promote this type of breathing pattern,
consciously relax the jaw, throat, neck, and shoulders, and envision the breath
sweeping into the deepest parts of the lungs as you breathe in and out.
Breathe Easy: Although some breaths may be deeper or faster than others, when
we're relaxed, the alternating rhythm of the inhalations and exhalations feels like a
lullabysmooth, soft, and uninterrupted by jerks and jags. Consciously relaxing into
this wavelike, oceanic quality of the breath deepens our sense of peace and ease.
Lengthen the Exhalation: When we feel stressed, our exhalations tend to grow
short and choppy. When we're relaxed, though, the exhalations extend so completely
that they are often longer than the inhalations. Some teachers even instruct that if
we're deeply relaxed, each exhalation will be twice as long as the inhalation. To
facilitate this, try gently extending each exhalation by one or two seconds.
Pause After Each Exhalation: In our most relaxed state, the end of each exhalation
is punctuated by a short pause. Lingering in this sweet spot can be deeply satisfying
and can evoke feelings of profound quiet and stillness.
Let the Whole Body Breathe: When we are at ease, the whole body participates in
the breathing process. Imagine a sleeping baby: When he breathes in and out, the
belly swells and releases, the hips rock to and fro, the shoulders bob, and the spine
gently undulates. This offers a mini-massage for the muscles and organs of the
whole body, and turns each breath into a soothing melody that further calms and
quiets every cell within.

5 Poses For Yoga Newbies
The first moves you should master

By Lisa Elaine Held from Well+GoodNYC

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This is the bread and butter of yoga asanas [poses]," Carter says. Your hands
should be shoulder-width apart, with fingers spread comfortably and the whole palm
of your hand on the ground. Feet are hip-width apart, heels reaching towards the
"For a beginner, it's really hard because most people are really tight in their
hamstrings, which pushes all of the weight into the arms," she explains. "Keep your
knees bent to take the hamstrings out of the equation, and focus on getting the
length in the spine, feeling the body weight shift from the hands to the feet. Then,
work towards straightening the legs while keeping the hips high and length in the

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

"The great thing about this pose is that it's an accessible standing pose that
strengthens the legs and builds confidence," Carter says. Start with your feet wide
apart, so that your feet are underneath your hands when you stretch your arms out.
Turn one leg out 90 degrees and turn your back toes in just a little. Exhale to bend
your front knee as much as you can, but not past your ankle, so the knee is directly
above the ankle, tracking with the toes. "Imagine you have a flashlight on your knee;
I want you to shine the light over your toes," Carter explains. Arms are actively
reaching away, with your gaze looking out over your front hand.
3. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

Stand with your feet together and shift your weight into one foot. Slowly lift the other
foot up the other leg, turning the hip out to the side and placing the foot on the inner
thigh (or shin or ankle, just not on the knee). Actively press your foot into the thigh,
and the thigh back into the foot. Focus on a point straight in front of you that's not
moving. "Arms can be out to the side in the beginning for more balance, then bring
them in to prayer, and then up above our head," Carter explains. "Beginners can
also do it against the wall if they're afraid of falling, leaning back against the wall or
standing to the side and placing one hand on the wall."

4. Cobra (Bhujangasana)

"This simple back bend is one of the best poses out there to strengthen the muscles
of the upper back and open up the chest," Carter says. Lay down on your stomach
and place your hands right next to the low ribs, elbows bent up towards the ceiling,
the crown of the head reaching towards the front of the room. Your shoulders should
be lifting up away from the floor. Your legs are hip-width apart, really actively
reaching back behind you, and you should be pushing all of your toenails down into
the floor.

5. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Lay on your back with your legs splayed out, feet falling towards the floor. Rest your
arms out to the side, away from your shoulder blades, palms turned up to the ceiling.
Focus on relaxing all tension and letting the floor support your body weight, and try
to stay as still as possible. "For a lot of students, Savasana is a challenge, because
we dont practice doing nothing in life, we practice doing everything," Carter says.

5 Yoga Poses For Energy
Maximize your energy with these moves

By Nicole Kwan

Tired? Yoga can help.
Practice these five yoga
poses to give yourself a nice
energy boost.
STYLE: Kundalini, or the
science of breath and angles,
teaches practitioners to avoid
traditional static posing.
Kundalini awakens cosmic
energy believed to be
dormant in all of us.

Hold each pose for up to 20 minutes. The extended length and movement in each
pose will build and sustain energetic highs. Keep eyes closed when you practice
these poses. Get psyched up for a practice by chanting "Ong Namo Guru Dev
Namo" (ong nah mo goo roo dayv nah mo)I bow to the creative wisdom in
myself"three times.
Spinal Flex/Camel Ride
Sit with legs crossed, holding onto calves or shins. Inhale and lift chest forward and
up. Inhale and exhale as you round spine, chin to chest. Start slowly and increase
pace steadily. Continue for three minutes. This movement releases blocked energy
in the spine.

Sit with legs crossed. Place fingers (minus thumbs) on palms of opposite hands so
fingertips are right below finger crease, on the mounds of hands. Leave thumbs open
like you're hitchhiking. Bring hands overhead to a 60 degree angle. Breathe rapidly
through nose, emphasizing exhale like a panting dog (this is Breath of Fire.) Hold for
1-3 minutes. To end, bring thumbs together overhead, open the remaining fingers,
and release hands down.

Arm Pumps
Interlace fingers in front of you. Clasp hands so knuckles face out, palms in. Inhale,
bring arms up and overhead. Exhale, lower hands down to knees. Continue this
motion with a strong breath, inhaling arms up, exhaling arms down. Start with 3
minutes and build up to 7 minutes. To finish, inhale with arms up. Hold the breath for
15 seconds. Exhale and release hands down. The pumping motion stimulates
energy flow from the spinal column to other parts of the body.

Stretch Pose
Sit on floor with legs outstretched. With each hand, grab onto corresponding big toe.
(Or grab ankles or shins.) Inhale and arch back straight and up. Exhale, bend down
at waist, and lower head to knees. Inhale, arch back up and straight, exhale, fold
down at waist. Continue this motion at a steadily increased pace for 1 to 3 minutes.
Briskly folding forward and backward encourages energy to distribute itself
throughout the body. You might even feel a little dizzy.

Back Platform Pose
Sit on floor with legs in front of you. Place hands 6-12 inches behind butt, fingertips
facing feet. Lift butt off floor. Squeezing butt, thighs, and calves, engage abs. Drop
head back so you are in a straight line from top of head to tips of toes. Hold position
and begin a rapid Breath of Fire. Continue for 1 minute. To finish, hold breath and
posture for 15 seconds. Gently lower body to floor and relax in Corpse pose.

8 Anti-Aging Yoga Poses
The best moves to help you look and feel younger

Marianne McGinnis

Turn back the clock with yoga

Many women try yoga for stress reduction, but they stick with it because it makes
them feeland lookyounger, says Larry Payne, PhD, a yoga director at Loyola
Marymount University and coauthor of Yoga Rx. Unlike traditional exercise, yoga
blends moves that improve circulation, balance, flexibility, and strength with
meditative techniques such as deep breathing. "My students call yoga a natural face-
lift," he says. "It cleanses, relaxes, and restores."
Perform these age-erasing yoga poses in the order listed, 3 times a week for
maximum benefits.
Props: You'll need several pillows, a wall, and a nonslip surface.
Breathing: Use your breath to lead you into and out of each yoga pose, moving at a
relaxed pace. Breathe deeply through your nose, imagining you have a wide elastic
band around your waist. When you inhale, expand the band in all directionsfront,
sides, and back. As you exhale, pull the band back in.
Moving Meditation

What it does: Warms up your joints and muscles
A. Stand with your feet together, toes forward, and knees slightly bent. Relax your
arms at your sides, palms in. Lift your chest and roll your shoulders back and down.
Look straight ahead and breathe deeply for 1 minute.
B. Inhale and raise your arms out to the side (palms up) until overhead. Exhale and
bend forward from the hips, keeping your arms extended in front of you as your
hands reach down to touch the shins, feet, or floor (as shown). Hold for 15 seconds.
Inhale and rise, bringing your arms overhead; exhale and lower arms to sides.
Repeat B three times.

Warrior II

What it does: Strengthens and stretches legs, glutes, abs, and arms
Stand with your feet apart, right foot pointing to side and left foot turned in slightly.
Keep your torso facing forward. Exhale and bend your right knee. Inhale and raise
your arms out to the side. Turn your head to the right and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
Warrior II and Side Angle

What it does: Strengthens and stretches legs, glutes, abs, and arms
From Warrior II position, exhale and place your right forearm on your right thigh and
raise your left arm overhead. Look toward the sky and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
Inhale and raise back to Warrior II pose. Exhale and straighten your right leg.
Repeat Warrior II and Side Angle on the left side.


What it does: Improves balance; strengthens feet, legs, glutes, and abs
Stand with your feet together, toes forward. Place the sole of your right foot on the
inside of your left thigh, your calf (not on the knee joint) or the inside of your ankle,
with the toes of your right foot lightly touching the floor. Place your hands in prayer
position in front of your chest and look straight ahead. Hold for 15 seconds.
Inhale and extend arms overhead, keeping your hands together (or keep your hands
in front of your chest). Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Exhale and lower your arms and
leg. Repeat, balancing on the right leg.

Sphinx and Child's Pose

What it does: Improves posture; strengthens and stretches back, chest, and arms
A. For Sphinx: Lie face-down on a mat, with your legs together, elbows tucked along
sides and fore-arms and hands pointing forward. Inhale and press your palms and
forearms down as you lift your chest and head, drawing your ears away from your
shoulders, keeping your elbows under your shoulders (as shown). Hold for 15 to 30
seconds. Exhale and relax down to the mat. Repeat.
B. For Child's Pose: Slide your hands beneath shoulders. Push up, bend knees, and
sit back on your heels, lowering your chest to your thighs and your head toward the
floor. Keep your arms stretched out in front (not pictured). Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Seated Twist

What it does: Improves flexibility; releases tension in spine and hips
Sit cross-legged with your arms extended so your fingertips touch the mat on either
side of your hips. Inhale, lengthening your spine and lifting your arms overhead.
Exhale and twist gently to the right, lower your left hand to your outer right thigh and
your right hand behind you. Look over your right shoulder. Hold for 15 to 30
With each inhalation, lengthen the spine; with each exhalation, twist a little farther.
On an exhalation, return to the center, and repeat, twisting to the left.

Inverted L

What it does: Improves circulation; revives tired, cramped feet and legs
Place one or two pillows next to a wall. Carefully position yourself so hips are on the
pillows and your legs are resting against the wall. Your feet should be about 12
inches apart and relaxed. Angle your arms out to the sides, palms up. Your hips
should be slightly higher than your chest (if not, use another pillow). Close your eyes
and breathe deeply for at least 1 minute.
*Skip this pose if you are menstruating or have high blood pressure, glaucoma, or a
neck injury.

Reclining Angle

What it does: Reduces fatigue; relieves menstrual cramps
Sit on a mat with your knees bent, feet flat. Place the short side of one or two pillows
about an inch behind your tailbone, and one pillow on either side of your knees.
Lower your knees so the soles of your feet are together and each knee is on a
Using your hands for support, lie back so your spine and head are on a pillow. Angle
your arms out to the sides, palms up. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for at
least 1 minute.

Ease Depression With Yoga
Feeling down? Cheer up and open your heart with this gentle routine.

Bend the blues
If you thought "heartache" and "heavy-hearted" were just evocative turns of phrase,
think again. In fact, research shows that sudden emotional stress can release
hormones that prevent the heart from pumping normally. Even watching a sad movie
can reduce arterial blood flow. And if emotions affect the body so acutely, then it
seems logical that the body could in turn influence our emotions.
"The heart is a vulnerable space," says Kimberly Wilson, author of Hip, Tranquil
Chick: A Guide to Life On and Off the Yoga Mat. "Backbends help expand the heart
center and help you exude confidence and grace." In other words, backbends ease
breathing, improve posture, and reduce stress by releasing tension held in the
tissues of the whole chest and lung region of the body. So the next time you need to
kick the bad-day blues, try this sequence of heart-opening backbends from Wilson's

Child's Pose

What it does: Relieves stress and fatigue as it stretches the lower back and hips
1. Sit on your heels with your big toes touching and hands resting on your thighs.
2. Lower your belly and chest to rest between your knees, bringing your forehead to
the floor.
3. Relax your arms back beside your shins, palms facing up.
4. Soften your breath by taking 5 to 10 long, deep inhalations and exhalations.

Cobra Pose, modified

What it does: Boosts energy and mood as it strengthens the back of the body
1. Slowly slide forward from Child's Pose to lie face down.
2. Press your toes and forehead gently into the floor. Rest your palms lightly on the
floor on either side of your chest with fingertips pointing forward and elbows bent and
hugging in toward your ribcage.
3. Inhale and lift your chest from the heart, pressing only very lightly into your palms
and mostly using your back strength to hold your shoulders and chest up.
4. Soften your shoulders. Then lift your hands off the floor completely, broadening
across your collarbones and reaching your heart up. Take a couple of deep, slow
breaths here.
5. Then as you exhale, place your palms back down and gently lower your chest to

Downward-Facing Dog Pose

What it does: Reduces fatigue and focuses the mind as it strengthens and stretches
most of the body
1. From Cobra, come onto all fours. Separate your knees to hip-width apart, move
your wrists slightly forward of your shoulders, and curl your toes under.
2. Exhale and spread your fingers wide, press evenly through your palms, and lift
your knees to reach your hips toward the ceiling. Keep your legs slightly bent.
3. Push the tops of your thighs back so your body looks like an inverted V Slowly
start to straighten your legs as much as feels appropriate for you, without locking
your knees.
4. Gently move your chest back toward your thighs until your ears are even with your
upper arms. And keep lifting your hips away from your heels and wrists.
Hint: Your heels don't necessarily ever need to touch the floor in this pose. But if
you're aiming for that, reach your heels away from your head first and then down to
elongate rather than yank your leg muscles.

Warrior I Pose

What it does: Eases stress and anxiety as it strengthens the legs and core
1. From Downward-Facing Dog, pivot your left heel down to the floor so your toes
are pointing out to the left.
2. Step your right foot forward between your hands, lining your front heel up with
your back.
3. Inhale and lift your arms overhead, shoulder-width apart, palms facing each other.
4. Exhale as you bend your front knee to 90 degrees and turn your hips toward your
right leg.
5. Inhale as you reach your arms up higher and maybe back slightly for a gentle
bend in the upper back. Hold for 3 to 10 slow, deep breaths.

Reverse Warrior Pose

What it does: Energizes the body and focuses a scattered mind while stretching and
strengthening the legs and abs
1. From Warrior I, turn your hips to face the side, keeping your right knee bent
2. Lower your left hand to rest gently on your left leg and turn your right palm toward
the ceiling as you reach your right arm up overhead, reaching back behind you
without moving your legs. Let your left hand slide down toward your left ankle.
3. Look up at the ceiling if it doesn't bother your neck. Stay here for 3 to 5 deep


From Reverse Warrior, return to Downward-Facing Dog Pose and transition to the
other side
1. Repeat steps 4 and 5 of the Warrior 1 pose with your left leg forward this time.

Child's Pose

Take a break! You've earned it.
1. From Downward-Facing Dog, drop your knees to the floor and rest your hips on
your heels.
2. Let your arms relax, palms facing up, next to your legs.
3. Take 10 deep breaths, feeling each inhalation fill the back of your body with

Bridge Pose

What it does: Boosts mood and mitigates anxiety while increasing the flexibility of
the spine
1. From Child's Pose, roll up to a seated position and drop your hips over to the left
to sit on the floor.
2. Extend your legs straight out in front of you and slowly roll down onto your back.
3. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor close to your butt, palms
facing down.
4. Inhale as you lift your hips. Interlace your hands beneath you and press your
shoulders and upper arms into the floor.
5. Lift your hips higher and point your tailbone toward your knees, pressing firmly into
your feet. Squeeze your thighs toward each other. Hold for 5 to 7 breaths before
slowly lowering back to the floor.

Supported Corpse Pose

What it does: Relaxes tension and rejuvenates both the body and mind
1. Place a folded blanket, bolster, or firm pillow either lengthwise behind you or
across your mat so that when you lie back it hits you under the tip of your shoulder
blades, your mid-back.
2. Then lie back, letting your body sink into and open around the support. End in a
supported pose on your back with a folded blanket under the length of the spine to
help arch the upper and middle back, and lengthen the lower back.
3. Move your arms a comfortable distance away from your body and anything else
around you. Turn your palms to face up.
4. Separate your legs a natural distance apart. Relax your feet and let them roll
5. Finally, do a mental scan from head to toe: Where are you holding tension?
Release it from every part of your bodyincluding your heart and head.
3 Yoga Poses To Help You Sleep
The best moves to prepare you for some serious slumber

By Jenna Bergen

1. Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (pictured above)
Sit on floor with one side of body grazing wall. Swing legs up against wall and slowly
lower back and head to floor, keeping legs straight. Allow hands to fall out to sides,
palms facing up. Breathe deeply, relaxing into pose. Hold for 1 to 5 minutes.
2. Child's Pose

Kneel on mat with big toes touching and knees spread mat-width apart (A). Lower
torso between knees, bringing forehead to rest on mat and extending arms (B).
Breathe deeply, holding for up to 1 minute or even longer.
3. Happy Baby Pose

Lie on mat and pull knees to chest (A). Place hands on outsides of feet, opening
knees wider than torso. Press feet into hands while pulling down on feet, creating
resistance (B). Breathe deeply, holding for up to 1 minute.
Your sweat Rx for restful nights
To reap the better-sleep benefits of exercise, aim to do 30 minutes of moderate to
vigorous cardio at least five days a week. "You need to work out hard enough that
you get your heart pumping and break a sweat," says Prevention's fitness expert and
personal trainer Chris Freytag. "While brisk walks are simple and effective, find an
activity you enjoy, whether that's taking a group cardio class at your local gym or a
spin around the neighborhood on your bike."
And don't sweat it if the only time you have to sneak in a workout is a few hours
before bedtime. "The belief that evening exercise will keep you awake at night isn't
true for the majority of people," says Shawn Youngstedt, PhD, an associate
professor in the department of exercise science at Arnold School of Public Health.
However, if presleep exercise does keep you awake, aim to fit it in at least four hours
before bedtime.
Does 30 minutes sound daunting? Break it up into three 10-minute sessions
throughout the day.

Yoga For Better Sex!
9 yoga moves to put your mind and body in the mood

Heat Up Your Sex Life
Great sex is one of the ultimate mind-body experiences. So is great yoga. Not only
is yoga an amazing stress reliever, but certain postures improve flexibility, increase
blood flow, and open your heartall of which are necessary for a hot sex life, says
Ellen Barrett, author of the book Sexy Yoga. Perhaps most importantly, she says,
yoga teaches true mindfulnessliving only in the present moment. In a recent
Journal of Sexual Medicine study, researchers say that most women feel they have a
problem remaining focused, one reason why sex may be boring or unemotional for
them. The mindfulness you learn during yoga can translate to other parts of your
life, so you can enjoy lovemaking entirely for what it is, and not think or worry about
anything else, says Barrett. Sounds good to us! We asked Barrett to share her top
yoga moves for a closer sexual connection. Do them solo or, even better, with your
partner (sweating, breathing, and moving together is fantastic foreplay). You can do
these as a workout routine, or just try your favorites whenever you want to get in the

Yoga Pose: Cat/Cow Stretch
1. Begin on hands and knees, with shoulders directly over wrists and hips directly
over knees.
2. Inhale, and slowly arch back (cow), lifting chest up and away from belly and
extending tailbone toward ceiling.
3. Release feet so tops are resting on floor. Exhale and round lower back up (cat),
gently contracting belly. Repeat six times and increase range of motion with each
Why it works: You strengthen your Kegel musclesthe same ones that contract
during orgasmto control your tailbone as you curl from cat to cow, says Barrett.

Yoga Pose: Cobra
1. Lie on belly with forehead touching floor. Place palms face-down by middle ribs.
2. Draw legs together and stretch them out, pressing tops of feet into floor.
3. Press hands down evenly as you draw elbows close to sides of body.
4. Using the strength of your back (not the force of your hands), slowly lift chest off
floor, rolling shoulders down back. Use arms for support, while muscles of back and
legs are responsible for backbend. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, breathing evenly, and
then gently release to floor.
Why it works: "This is a heart opener pose," says Barrett. "Love, energy, and breath
come from your heart chakra, and this pose indirectly connects to sexual intimacy."
It's also very energizing; ideal for couples who sometimes feel too wiped out to be

Yoga Pose: Downward-Facing Dog
1. Start on all fours with wrists 6 to 12 inches in front of shoulders. Separate knees
hip-width apart and curl toes under.
2. Pushing evenly into palms, lift knees off floor. Lift your tailbone toward ceiling and
push top of thighs back so body looks like an inverted V.
3. At first, keep knees bent and heels lifted off floor. Slowly start to straighten knees,
but don't lock them.
4. Gently move chest back toward thighs until ears are even with upper arms; don't
let head dangle. Keep hips lifting and push strongly into hands.
Why it works: "In this posture, your gaze goes nowhere; you should be looking
inward, as though you're closing your eyes, but not," says Barrett. Downward dog is
a restful pose; doing it well is all about finding peace so it doesnt feel like hard work.
"This is a great presex pose," Barrett says. "It slowly warms up your body and helps
you tune into the moment."

Yoga Pose: Tree
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms at sides. Shift weight onto left foot.
2. Bend right knee and use right hand to place right foot on inside of left thigh, just
above knee. (If you can't keep your balance this way, place foot just below the knee
or on your ankle.) The right knee opens out to side. Make sure pelvis faces forward.
3. Bring hands together in front of chest in prayer position. Fix gaze on a nearby
object for balance. Stay here for a full minute, or as long as you can. Slowly lower
arms, come back to standing. Repeat on other side.
4. Do tree on first side again. This time, bring arms overhead with hands separated
shoulder-width apart and palms facing. Visualize arms as a trees branches, strong
and steady. Repeat pose (with arms overhead) on other side.
Why it works: "Any balancing pose keeps you focused on one thing at a time," says
Barrett. "It helps slow life down a little." Tree is particularly good at teaching

Yoga Pose: Bound Angle
1. In seated position, bring soles of feet together and put hands on ankles.
2. Allow knees to relax toward floor, and hinge forward at hips as far as you can.
Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.
Why it works: This really heats the groin area and opens the hips for a wider range
of motion.

Yoga Pose: Plank
1. Like the top of a push-up, start on all fours, aligning wrists with shoulders. Spread
fingers wide and press entire palm into floor. Avoid collapsing in chest by lifting
under armpits.
2. Hollow out belly and step feet way back, curling toes under so that thighs lift as
you straighten legs.
3. Heels, ankles, butt, spine, shoulders, neck, and head should all be in one long
line. Check in a mirror if you can.
4. Hold for 30 seconds and then rest. Repeat 3 times and build up to 5; try to hold
plank for up to a minute as you practice.
Why it works: This confidence-boosting strength pose is the ultimate ab tonerit
requires many different core muscles to keep your body in proper form. Not only will
you in better shape for a sizzling sex session, you'll also look and feel better about

Yoga Pose: Bridge
Bridge 1. Lie on back with knees bent and hip-width apart. Keep feet about 6 inches
in front of butt.
2. Push hips up toward ceiling.
3. Your hands can be flat by sides, or for a deeper stretch, squeeze shoulder blades
together and interlace hands, keeping them on mat directly under back.
4. Hold for 60 seconds, breathing into the posture.
Why it works: This simple lift really stretches your hip flexors and eases tension.

Yoga Pose: Shoulder Stand
1. Lie on back with feet flat on floor about hip-width apart, arms along sides of body,
palms up.
2. Bend knees in toward chest, and roll hips up and over until legs straighten and
toes come to floor behind head. Place hands on low back for support, with fingertips
facing up.
3. Lift right leg toward ceiling, then lift left leg toward ceiling and press (straight) legs
into each other. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
4. Lower hands to floor, palms up. Roll back to floor one vertebra at a time until hips
reach floor. Bend knees, place feet on floor.
Why it works:This increases blood flow to your hips and brainan instant energy
boost. "You're also physically looking at your hips," says Barrett, a reminder of your
body's many physical and sexual capabilities.

Yoga Pose: Savasana
1. Lie comfortably on back. Separate arms from body to a 45-degree angle. Palms
face up.
2. Rest legs apart as wide as feels comfortable, usually 2 to 3 feet apart.
3. Allow feet to relax and roll open. Do a mental body scan from top to bottomare
you relaxed? Release all tension from every part of body.
4. Lie here for up to 5 minutes, letting entire body calm down.
Why it works: Some people say that savasana, which requires no physical exertion,
is actually the hardest yoga pose to master. That's because you have to completely
focus on the presentno errant thoughts allowed.

Heal a Headache with Yoga
Relax your body and release tension with these two poses
Certain headachestypically the ones involving shooting pains in the neck, scalp,
temples, and sides of your headdon't respond that well to medication. "That kind of
headache is almost always caused by tension in the upper back and shoulders,"
says Jyotsna Sahni, MD, a staff doctor at the Canyon Ranch Resort and Spa in
Tucson, AZ.
The good news is that yoga takes tension head-on. So when you feel those first
stabs, start by unclenching your jawanother major tension spot-by lightly touching
the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth. Then
practice these poses to stretch the shoulders and back.
Puppy Pose

1. Come onto all fours with your back flat.
2. Slide your hands forward and lower your
forehead to the floor, keeping your hips
elevated. Hold for 5 to 10 long, deep breaths,
allowing tension to release from your shoulders
and upper back. Repeat three times, twice a
day if possible.

Reclining Bound Angle Pose
1. Lie on your back with your arms by your
side, palms facing up. Bend your knees and
place the soles of your feet together, allowing
your knees to fall toward the floor. Inhale as
you extend your arms out to the sides and
then overhead. Hold for 5 to 10 long, deep
breaths, relaxing your whole body into the
floor with each exhale. Practice this pose once
a day.

5 Pain-Relieving Yoga Poses
Ease your aches with these five easy-to-master moves

By Melissa Katz

Yoga poses for joint and muscle aches
If you're looking for an alternative to pills to treat joint pain and other common (and
uncomfortable) aches, relief may be a yoga class away. A review of 20 years worth
of studies conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that
yoga is effective in the treatment of chronic pain, including osteoarthritis, carpal
tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
In the studies reviewed, patients saw significant reductions in joint pain, muscle
stiffness, and overall physical discomfort while greatly improving their flexibility,
range of motion, and muscle strength.
Performed correctly, yoga's fluid movements allow swollen or otherwise painful joints
to glide smoothly over one another, increasing mobility and strength without excess
wear and tear, says Cynthia Maltenfort, a yoga instructor at Sun and Moon Studios
in Virginia. "Yoga is a safe alternative to weight-bearing exercises that could worsen
weak joints because it strengthens the muscles around them, which reduces tension
and increases mobility," she explains.
We asked yoga instructors for their five favorite poses for relieving knee pain, back
pain, and more (talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program and use
props such as blocks for support as needed).

Yoga Pose: Cobra
Try it for: Back pain
Lie face-down, forehead resting on floor. Place
hands on either side, at middle of ribcage. Draw
legs together, pressing tops of feet into floor.
Reach back through toes, lengthening legs, and
press evenly through hands as you draw elbows
close to ribcage. Using strength of back (not
arms), lift head and chest, sliding shoulder
blades down back. Take 5 to 10 deep breaths
before gently releasing to floor, turning head to
one side. Lynn Burgess, director of Yoga from
the Heart in Sarasota, FL

Yoga Pose: Supported Warrior
Try it for: Knee pain
Stand tall and place
hands against a wall at
shoulder height. Step
right foot forward so toes
touch the wall and bend
elbows as though you're
trying to push the wall
away. Step left foot about
1 to 3 feet behind you,
slightly bending left knee
toward floor. Hold for 10
to 15 breaths. Slowly
straighten left leg while
bending right knee,
ensuring knee does not
extend past ankle. Hold
for 10 to 15 breaths
before stepping left foot
forward to meet right and
switching leg positions.
Rachel Schaeffer, yoga instructor and author of Yoga for Your Spiritual Muscles

Yoga Pose: Butterfly
Try it for: Hip pain
Sitting on blanket on floor, bring
soles of feet together, knees wide
so legs form a diamond. Keep
entire back straight and
shoulders relaxed as you breathe
and gently drop weight of legs,
slowly allowing knees to lower
toward floor. For gentler relief,
place blocks or pillows beneath
outer knees for support. Annie
Moyer, yoga instructor at Sun
and Moon Studios in Virginia

Yoga Pose: Rear Arm Lift with Strap
Try it for: Shoulder pain
This stretch is also known as "Standing
Yoga Mudra" pose. Stand tall, feet hip-
width apart, holding strap in one hand.
Sweep both arms behind back and pull
shoulders in to grasp strap with both
hands in a comfortable position. Walk
hands toward each other, creating an
opening in chest as shoulder blades
move toward one another. Breathe as
you adjust shoulders, easing or
increasing tension. Vandita Kate
Marchesiello, director for the Kripalu
Yoga Teachers Association (KYTA)

Yoga Pose: Wall Plank
Try it for: Elbow and shoulder pain
Stand facing wall with feet hip-
width apart. Place palms
against wall, arms extended,
and slowly lean forward, letting
body rest on hands. Keep arms
in and body in a straight line as
you slowly bend elbows,
inching closer. When nose
touches wall (or you feel
discomfort), slowly push back to
standing. Cynthia Maltenfort,
yoga instructor at Sun and
Moon Studios in Virginia

Stress-Busting Yoga
Save your sanity with this calming routine

Find instant relaxation
Erase a day of chaos with nine simple moves
When stress creeps into your relationship with your body, bank account, boss,
beloved, or otherwise supposed sources of strength, give this soothing workout a try,
from Yoga to the Rescue by Amy Luwis, CEO/Creator of RescueGirl. Surrender to
some yoga and serenity is yoursand you can take that straight to the bank.
Your yoga practice will equip you with all the key elements to help you relax and
quiet your frantic mind. Use this sequence to calm your nerves after a stressful day.

Mountain pose
This pose helps keep you in focus and places awareness on your feet being connected to the
floor, which is very grounding.
1. Stand straight with your feet together.
2. Spread your toes out like a fan.
3. Distribute your weight evenly across both feet.
4. Lift the kneecaps by tightening the thighs.
5. Move your thighs back and tailbone in.
6. Straighten the arms, palms facing in.
7. Pull your shoulder blades back and lift the chest.
8. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.
9. Look straight ahead.
Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
Focus points: Don't just stand passively! Activate every part of your body, from your
heels to your head.
Other benefits: Strengthens and tones the whole body. Improves alignment.
Creates balance.

Upward hand pose
Not only is this standing pose good for relieving tension in the back, but it will give you a
sense of lightness in life.
1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
2. Lift the kneecaps by tightening the thighs.
3. Roll your shoulders back.
4. Extend the arms forward and lift up.
5. Straighten elbows, wrists and fingers.
6. Relax neck and shoulders.
7. Keep your head straight and look forward.
Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
Focus points: Activate elbows on fingers and really open the chest.
Other benefits: Alleviates stiff shoulders and arms. Releases tension in the upper

Foot & big toe pose
This basic pose benefits the whole body and will teach you to be calm and patient.
1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
2. Lift the kneecaps by tightening the thighs.
3. Roll the shoulders back and lift the chest.
4. Bend forward starting at the hips.
5. Grab your big toes with thumb and first two fingers.
6. Look forward.
Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
Focus points: Keep legs strong and chest lifted.
Other benefits: Strengthen lower back and hamstrings. Tones belly. Improves

Downward facing dog
This pose calms the brain and will help relieve everyday stress.
1. Place palms on floor in front of you.
2. Step legs back one at a time.
3. Feet should be in line with hands.
4. Spread fingers and press palms down.
5. Stretch arms forward, keep elbows straight.
6. Raise your butt up to sky and move thighs up and back.
7. Lower heels to the floor, feet point straight.
8. Relax your head and back of the neck.
Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Focus points: Keep legs firm and elbows straight as you lift your derriere to the sky!
Other benefits: Relieves depression. Increases flexibility of hips, knees, and ankles.
Calms the mind.

Child's pose
Another brain-calming pose which we all need to keep our sanity intact!
1. Get on hands and knees.
2. Knees hip distance apart. Feet together.
3. Lean back and sit on your heels.
4. Extend arms and torso forward.
5. Rest your forehead on the floor.
6. Stretch arms out in front of you.
7. Press palms into floor and butt into heels.
Hold for 1 to 5 minutes.
Focus points: Stretch out your back. Relax your neck.
Other benefits: Calms nerves. Lowers blood pressure. Releases tension in neck,
back, shoulders.

Upward facing dog
Chest-opening poses like this lift your spirits and help calm jittery nerves and agitation.
1. Lie on your stomach.
2. Bend elbows and place palms by your side (just below the breast).
3. Leading with chest and crown of the head lift upper body off the floor.
4. Press hands down firmly. Lift chest to ceiling, bring hips forward.
5. Lift hips off floor. Keep thighs strong.
6. Bring shoulder blades into back and open the chest.
7. Release your head back and look up.
Hold for 5 to 15 seconds.
Focus points: Keep thighs strong and knees lifted off floor. Bring shoulder blades in
and open the chest.
Other benefits: Great for sciatic pain. Builds stamina. Strengthens arms and chest.
Loosens stiff shoulders.

Not only is this pose a great tummy and arm toner, but it invigorates the mind.
1. Lie on your stomach. Forehead on floor.
2. Bend elbows and place palms by your side.
3. Firmly press palms and feet into floor.
4. Lift legs, hips, chest and head off the floor.
5. Keep elbows close to ribs.
6. Keep butt in line with shoulders and heels.
7. Look forward.
Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
Focus points: Maintain strong arms and legs to support torso. Keep ankles and feet
Other benefits: Strengthens upper body, arms and wrists. Increases stamina.
Invigorates the mind and body.

Child's pose repeat
Repeat this calming stretch
1. Get on hands and knees.
2. Knees hip distance apart. Feet together.
3. Lean back and sit on your heels.
4. Extend arms and torso forward.
5. Rest your forehead on the floor.
6. Stretch arms out in front of you.
7. Press palms into floor and butt into heels.
Hold for 1 to 5 minutes.
Focus points: Stretch out your back. Relax your neck.

Corpse pose
Deeply relaxes the entire body and soothes your sympathetic nervous system.
1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Lean back on yoru
2. Slowly extend the right leg, then the left, pushing through the heels.
3. Release both legs, let feet drop to the side.
4. Lie back with your head resting on the back center of the skull.
5. Release the arms to the sides.
6. Turn the arms outward. Rest the backs of the hands on the floor.
7. Let the eyes sink to the back of the head.
Hold for 5 to 10 minutes.
Focus points: Breathe slowly and deeply, let a sense of calm relaxation envelope
your whole body. Concentrate on loosening tensions.
Other benefits: Brings deep relaxation and serenity. Helps lower blood pressure.
Reduces headache and fatigue.

Get Happier With Yoga
These 10 moves work wonders on your body and mind

By Katherine Budig

Beat the blues on the mat
If only life could be all rainbows and unicornswe'd chase the shadows and demons
away with pixie dust and optimism! But, of course, life isn't always so bright and
cheerful. It gets complicated, confusing, and at times even overwhelming. Basically,
there's a strong chance that you'll struggle with some kind of depression or
emotional issue at some point in your life.
A 2010 BioPsychoSocial Medicine article revealed that long-term yoga practice can
significantly reduce fear, anger and fatigue. Researchers administered the Profile of
Mood States (POMS) questionnaire to two groups of healthy womenone group of
women who had more than two years of yoga experience and one group of women
who had never practiced yoga. The long-term yoga practitioners had, on average,
lower mental disturbance, tension-anxiety, anger-hostility, and fatigue scores than
the control group.
Whether you're down in the dumps after being dumped, need motivation to get out of
bed and get through the day, or just feel out of sorts emotionally, yoga can help you
get back on your feet.

1. Camel Pose
Do it for: Anxiety
Anxiety is like the bully or mean girl you dreaded in middle school. Even if you start
your day full of optimism, she lurked in the shadows, waiting to pounce when you
least expected her. Anxiety works in much the same wayyour fears and worries
hover around you all the time, preventing you from feeling confident and happy.
In camel pose, the backbend creates a sense of fearlessness. It exposes your heart
and soft underbelly, but in a safe and supported way.
Begin by kneeling with your knees and feet hip-width apart and the tops of
your feet flat on the floor.
Keep your pelvis on your knees, your tailbone down, and your lower belly
Bring your hands to your heart in prayer position, roll your shoulders back,
and hug your elbows in.
Curl your chest open by leaning back, but keep your hips over your knees.
When you can't curl your chest back any farther, release your arms and grab
your heels.
Relax your head and open your throat.

2. Crescent Pose
Do it for: Mild depression
When you're not feeling particularly happy, try to make your yoga practice about joy,
and invite it back into your life, pose by pose, breath by breath. Mild depression can
be eased with rejuvenating, playful yoga postures. Backbends, like the slight one in
crescent, are proven to release endorphins.
Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Step back about one leg length
with your left foot as you bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle.
Keep both feet hip-width apart, with your weight resting on the heel of your
front foot and on the ball of your back foot.
Engage your lower belly to extend your lower back and raise your arms
straight up over your head, keeping them shoulder-width apart.
Rotate your upper arms inward to broaden your upper back, and lift your gaze
If you can keep your shoulders from flaring outward and your arms straight,
bring your palms together.
Repeat on the opposite side.

3. Cat and Cow Poses
Do it for: Insomnia
Insomniathat evil, sleep-stealing monster that lurks under the bed! It feeds off
stress, anxiety, and what we in yoga call "the constant fluctuations of the mind," or
racing thoughts. Use these poses to calm your mind and relax your nervous system.
Start on all fours with your hips stacked over your knees and your shoulders
stacked over your wrists.
Keep your arms straight as you inhale, drop your belly, and roll your shoulders
back (Cow).
Exhale, press into your palms, round your back, and drop your tailbone down
Repeat this several times, performing Cow on the inhale and Cat on the

4. Warrior II Pose
Do it for: Vertigo
Vertigo can be triggered by many thingsan inner ear infection, spinal dysfunction,
or even stress and anxiety. Use this pose to release stress and tension, and remind
yourself that you can stand strong.
Start with your feet parallel and one leg-length apart.
Rotate your left foot out 90 degrees and your right foot in slightly, so your left
heel is lined up with your right foot's arch.
Bend your front (left) knee, bringing your thigh to the floor with your knee over
your heel.
Keep your torso directly over your neutral pelvis.
Relax your lower back and keep your front ribs in.
Keeping your inner elbows straight, reach actively with your arms to raise
them parallel to the floor.
Gaze over your front fingertips.
Repeat on the opposite side.

5. Reclined Bound Angle Pose
Do it for: Relaxation

We all know how hard it is to relax in a world of perpetual motionour days are
packed with meetings and phone calls and social events, not to mention the constant
checking of emails, text messages, and social media sites. But we also know how
critical it is to be able to tune out all this noise and clear our heads.
Begin on your back, with your knees bent wide and the soles of your feet
Bring your heels as close to your pelvis as you comfortably can.
Lift your chest and draw your shoulder blades down your back to lengthen
your neck.
Take your arms wide, with your palms facing up.

6. Goddess Pose
Do it for: A broken heart
You're in love, blissfully happy, and singing from the rooftopsthen suddenly, you
find yourself curled up in a ball with a tearstained face and a feeling of despair. A
broken heart very well may be the most painful injury everwith few proven ways of
rehab. There's plenty of advice out there: "Time heals all wounds" and "There are
plenty of fish in the sea," but often those words just aren't enough. Let this pose
remind you that you're completely in charge of your own happiness.
Stand with your feet one leg's distance apart and your feet parallel.
Rotate your heels in and toes out until your knees point in the same direction
as your toes.
Bend your knees, and drop your pelvis into a neutral position.
Keep your arms lifted, elbows slightly bent, and palms up.

7. Simple Spinal Twist Pose
Do it for: Bloating
Even saying the word "bloat" is enough to make you uncomfortable. Twists like this
one help speed up digestion.
Lie on your back and hug both of your knees to your chest.
Open your arms wide and, keeping your knees bent and together, drop them
over to your right side.
Push your left shoulder down as you elongate your lower back and turn your
head slightly to the left.
Repeat on the opposite side.

8. Head to Knee Pose
Do it for: Headache
Even incredibly sweet people go postal when a migraine hits them. Its hard to
maintain any sense of well-being when your entire head is throbbing and it hurts to
blink. Unfortunately, the best remedy for a migraine is a dark room, a cold compress,
and sleep. But yoga can also do wonders to thwart an oncoming migraine, and
without a doubt it can help prevent future attacks.
Begin seated, with your left leg straight and your right knee bent.
Bring the sole of your right foot to rest against your inner upper thigh. Inhale
and extend your spine.
Exhale, spin your chest over your left knee, and grab the outer edge of your
left foot, or clasp your right wrist with your left hand.
Inhale and extend your spine again.
Exhale and fold your torso over your straight leg, bending your elbows wide
and relaxing the base of your neck.
Repeat on the opposite side.

9. Puppy Dog Stretch
Do it for: Bedroom confidence
Nothing's sexier than a confident partner. You can do squats till you can bounce a
quarter off your butt, but if you don't believe you're sexy, it won't translate to
someone else. Practicing yoga blends the physical bonus of gaining strength and an
attractive figure with the confidence that your body type is perfect and made just for
Start on all fours with your knees hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-
width apart.
Stack your hips above your knees and walk your arms out in front of you,
keeping your arms straight.
Melt your belly, chest, and throat towards the ground.
Hug the upper outer arms in and press into your palms.
Gaze forward.

10. Seated Inner-Thigh Twist
Do it for: Intimacy and sensuality
Maybe you brought sexy back, but you still can't quite get on the same track as your
partner. When words fail you, unroll your yoga mats and practice moving and
breathing together. Your heart rates will rise for long enough for you to sweat out
stress and then lower again to calm your hearts (just in time to send those pulses
racing again!).
Sit tall with your back pressed against your partner's and reach your right arm
towards their left thigh and your left arm onto your right thigh.
Gently press down on the thigh or slide your hand to their inner thigh.
Push your legs down with your hands as you sit tall and revolve your chest to
the right.
Repeat on the other side.

10 Yoga Poses To Relieve Menopause
Fight over-40 weight gain, mood swings, and sleep struggles with this
slimming yoga routine

Jessica Cassity

Look and feel younger with yoga
Menopause brings with it fluctuating hormones that mess with your sleep, pack on
pounds of belly fat, and make you irritable and less interested in sex. But yoga can
help. Yoga practice cut hot flashes by 31% in one study, and other research has
found that regularly doing yoga improved libido, mood, and craving control.
We asked Kimberly Fowler (pictured here), owner of YAS Fitness Centers, to create
this 20-minute yoga-with-weights routine. It delivers all the benefits of yoga while
also increasing muscle tone, which gradually decreases after age 30.
To do this workout, youll need a yoga mat and, when youre comfortable with the
sequence, 2-pound dumbbells. Schedule yoga-with-weights routines on alternate
daysyour muscles need time to rest and recover. Move from one pose to the next
without stopping, adding the muscle moves when appropriate.
Beginning Pose (shown above): Find Your Focus
1. Sit cross-legged on mat.
2. With eyes closed, take 3 deep breathsin through your nose and out through
your mouth.

Standing Forward Bend
1. Stand at front of mat, feet hip-width apart.
2. Reach right arm up, stretching right side, for 1 breath. Lower, then repeat on left
3. Hinge forward from hips, bringing chest toward knees.
4. Bend knees slightly. Hold elbows with opposite hands. Gently shake head. Stay
bent forward for 45 seconds.
5. Slowly roll up to standing. If you're using weights, pick them up as you stand.

Chair Pose with Shoulder Press

1. Step feet together and
reach arms above head,
palms facing in. Sink
hips back, as though
about to sit in a chair.
2. Slowly bend elbows at
right angles, lowering
upper arms to shoulder
height and turning palms
forward. Straighten arms
3. Raise and lower arms
5 times. Then bring
hands to shoulders and
return to standing.

Warrior 2 with Mini-Lift

1. From standing
position, step left leg
back 3 to 4 feet and
bend right knee.
2. Extend arms to
shoulder height, palms
3. Lift hands 4 to 5
inches. Hold for 10
seconds, then lower. Do
5 times.
Muscle Move: Add 5
slow biceps curls,
bending elbows and bringing hands toward shoulders.
Side-Angle Pose with Lateral Row

1. From Warrior 2 (see
previous pose), bring
right elbow to right knee.
Reach left hand inside
right shin, chest facing
2. Slowly bend left elbow
up toward chest, turning
torso to side. Hold for 10
seconds. Lower to start
position. Do 5 times.
3. Then bring hands to
shoulders and step
forward with left leg to
meet right.
4. Repeat Warrior 2 and Side-Angle Pose on opposite side.
Muscle Move: At top of row, straighten arm, extending hand toward ceiling.
Hero Pose with Arm Raise

1. Kneel with butt resting
on heels, hands on top
of thighs, palms down.
2. Slowly lift hips so body
is in straight line from
knees to head. At the
same time, raise hands
toward ceiling with
straight arms.
3. Slowly lower to start
position. Do 5 times.

Seated Wide-Angle Pose

1. Sitting on mat, extend
legs wide, left hand
behind left hip.
2. Reach right arm
overhead and to the left.
3. Return to upright,
bending right elbow to
shoulder height. Do 5
times. Repeat on
opposite side.
Muscle Move: Hold both
weights in one hand.

Cobbler Pose with Chest Fly
1. Sitting on mat, bring
soles of feet together,
knees wide.
2. Raise arms and bend
elbows at right angles in
front of chest, forearms
3. Keeping bend in
elbows, open arms to
sides. Hold for 10
seconds, then return to
start position. Do 5
Muscle Move: After each rep, lift hands 2 to 3 inches. Hold for 10 seconds.

Bridge with Lift
1. Lie on back with
knees bent and feet on
mat, hip-width apart.
Extend arms along hips,
palms down. Raise hips
off floor.
2. Next, raise arms up,
then overhead.
3. Lower hips and arms
to start position. Do 3
Muscle Move: Lift arms
and hips at the same
Spine Twist

1. Lying on back, bend
right knee toward chest,
holding shin with left
hand; left leg extended
on mat.
2. Keeping right shoulder
down, twist hips to left
and bring right knee
toward floor.
3. Extend right arm and
turn head to look over
right shoulder. Hold for
45 seconds.
4. Return to center. Repeat on opposite side.

Corpse Pose
1. Lie with legs extended
and arms by sides,
palms up.
2. Take a few deep
breaths, then relax in this
position for 2 minutes,
breathing naturally.
3. Roll onto side and
push up to a seated
The Best Yoga Poses For Liver Health
by Judy Bruen

The liver is the largest organ in the body and serves
as a storage site for minerals, nutrients and vitamins.
Toxic chemicals, such as alcohol, are broken down
by the liver and then flushed out of the body. The
vital organ produces chemicals that aid the body and
promote good health. Practice different yoga poses
to improve and maintain proper functioning and well-
being of the liver. Use yoga to massage and vitalize
this internal organ. Breathe throughout the exercises
and drink water to flush toxins out after the poses.

Spinal Twist
This pose helps revitalize the liver by fighting abdominal bloating and fatigue. Sit on
a mat with legs extended out in front of you. Tighten your core and sit up straight.
Bend your left knee and place your left foot outside of your right knee. Place your
right hand on the ground next to the right side of your butt, fingers facing away from
your body. Place your left arm on the inside of your left knee. Gently rotate your
torso to the right. To deepen the twist, walk your right fingers out behind your body.
Stop when you can't twist any further and hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

Cat Pose
The liver is located in the abdomen; the cat stretch massages the stomach and the
spine, both areas that protect the liver. Kneel on all fours. Place your hands directly
under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Relax your neck and
head to the ground. Start with a straight back. Slowly round your back and curve it
towards the ceiling. Lower to the start position and repeat the pose 10 times.

Cow Pose
A relaxed and loose back will enable proper functioning and detoxification of the
liver. Cow pose stretches and heats up the spine. It also allows the stomach muscles
around the kidneys to relax during the pose. Stay on your hands and knees and start
with a straight back. Relax your head and look at the ground. Lift your hips, tailbone
and chest towards the ceiling, while letting your stomach relax towards the ground.
While you lift your body, lift your head and look straight ahead of you. Return to the
start position and repeat 10 times.

Bridge Pose
Bridge pose strengthens the core muscles that protect the liver. Lie on your back
with your legs bent and your feet close to your bottom. Rest your arms next to your
legs, palms on the mat. Clench your glutes, push up through your heels and lift your
hips and lower back. Stop when you form a straight line from your knees to your
shoulders. Maintain a straight back throughout the lift. Lift your arms overhead and
hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute.

Cobra Pose
The liver is at the top of the abdomen, directly under the chest region. This stretch
opens up the chest and stretches the abdominal muscles that lie over the kidneys.
Lie face down on a mat. Move your legs together and keep them this way throughout
the pose. Place your right palm next to your right shoulder and your left palm next to
your left shoulder. Keep your weight on your upper body throughout the pose; do not
shift weight to your hands. Slowly lift your chest towards the ceiling. Use your lower
back to lift your body. Relax your head and neck back as you move into the stretch.

Yoga Postures for Kidney & Liver Health

by Tayla Holman,

Yoga has many benefits, not just externally, but internally as well. Certain poses,
such as backbends and twists, can help maintain or improve liver and kidney health
by massaging or stimulating the organs during the postures.
Full Boat Pose
Full Boat pose stimulates the kidneys and intestines, and improves digestion. Sit on
your yoga mat and pull in your legs as you exhale, grabbing your upper legs from
just below the knees. Tilt your upper body backward and pull your legs out slightly.
Extend your arms forward, parallel to the floor, and stretch your feet and legs
together so that your legs are between your arms, straightening them if possible.
Continue to breathe easily, making sure your inhalations and exhalations are equal
and that your stomach is firm but not hard. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, then release
your legs on an exhalation. Inhale and sit up straight to come out of the pose.

Cat/Cow Pose
Cat/Cow massages the spine and belly organs. Begin on your hands and knees in a
table-top position. Keep your knees directly below your hips, and keep your
shoulders and elbows perpendicular to the floor. Gazing at the floor, exhale and
round your spine toward the ceiling, keeping your shoulders and knees in place to
perform Cat pose. Flatten your back, then lift your chest and sitting bones toward the
ceiling, letting your belly sink toward the floor. Lift your head and look straight
forward to perform Cow pose. Exhale and come back to the table-top position.
Repeat 10 to 20 times.

Sphinx Pose
Sphinx pose is a "baby backbend" that helps stimulate the abdominal organs. Lie
face down and prop yourself up on your forearms, keeping them parallel to each
other. Press your forearms and palms down, lifting the chest. Pull the elbows back
on the floor, and lift the sternum up and forward. Hold for at least five breaths.

Bridge Pose
Bridge pose stimulates the abdominal organs and improves digestion. Lie on your
back with your arms to your sides, palms facing down, and bend your knees. Press
your feet and arms into the floor, pushing your hips up and keeping your thighs and
feet parallel. Clasp your hands together behind your back and straighten your arms
onto the floor, then roll your shoulders under one at a time. Lift your hips higher and
draw your chest toward your chin. Hold for at least 30 seconds.

Ease Diabetes Symptoms With Yoga
Beat weight gain, water retention and increase circulation with these
simple poses

By Rachel G. Horn

In your efforts to deal with the symptoms and side effects of diabetes, don't overlook
the power of yoga. Many people with diabetes have found relief by incorporating
yoga into their routine, and it can help at any stage, says Jasmine Lieb, a therapeutic
yoga instructor at YogaWorks in Los Angeles who has worked with many diabetics.
"I once worked with a man who had gone blind and lost feeling in his hands and feet
from type 2 diabetes," she says. "We modified the poses until he was able to do
them independently. And he felt more confident and comfortable by the end." Not
only did some feeling come back in his hands and feet, but he also was able to walk
farther and longer. "Through yoga, that feeling of powerlessness is gone," Lieb says.
Yoga's focus on the breath and movement can boost circulation, especially to the
extremities. It's one of few exercises that set the entire body in motion with the
breath, circulating the blood through parts of the body that might otherwise go
unused in our day-to-day lives. While daily practice is ideal, Lieb says you shouldn't
stress yourself out or feel pressured by a set schedule. Instead, slip these two poses
into your day at a time that is convenient for you. (Please note that these poses
should be learned first under the supervision of an instructor.)
Shoulder Stand, modified
"Through inversions like shoulder stand, we can focus
on stimulating the thyroid, which is often linked to the
weight gain and water retention suffered by many
people with diabetes," says Lieb. Diabetics also have a
higher incidence of thyroid disorders than the rest of
the population. When the legs are raised above the
heart in shoulder stand, blood is drawn to the crook of
the neck, where the thyroid gland is located. For many
diabetics, increasing circulation in the thyroid can help
bring relief.

1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent to 90 degrees and the soles of your feet flat
against a wall.
2. If your lower back feels comfortable there, begin straightening your legs and lifting
your pelvis. Place your hands on your lower back for support with your fingers
pointing toward your feet.
3. Lift your shoulder blades up your back away from your ears as you straighten your
legs and push your feet into the wall. You can hold the posture here for as long as
you're comfortable.
4. Or flow slowly, raising your pelvis up and holding for a couple of breaths before
lowering it back down to the floor and then raising it again, continuously for 2 to 5
5. If you are not able to breath easily in this pose, gently lower your hips to the floor.
Reclining Twist with Ocean Breath
The breath is a key part in every yoga pose. The
breathing exercise you're about to learn can be used in
any pose you try. "By directing the air this [particular]
way, the diaphragm muscle brings more oxygen and
nutrients into the blood than normal breathing," Lieb
says. Combine that superfortified blood with a pose
that gets it pumping where you need it, and you're
hitting diabetes with a one-two punch. Twists increase
circulation to the pancreas, which helps the body
digest sugars.
1. Close your lips softly and take a deep breath of air in through your nose. Slowly
channel the breath through your throat, making an ocean sound as you exhale
through your nose.
2. Once you have the breathing down, lie on your back, extending your arms straight
out to the sides. Inhale here.
3. Then exhale slowly as you cross your right thigh over your left thigh and let your
knees roll to your right. Lieb recommends staying here and continuing this deep
breathing for 5 to 10 rounds, depending on your comfort level, before you switch
sides and repeat.
12 Yoga Poses For A Flatter Belly
Get the abs of your dreams with this revolutionary hybrid yoga workout

Your 4-day jump start
In addition to following a diet rich in healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds and
olive oil, weve now added a yoga component to the program with Flat Belly Yoga! by
Kimberly Fowler and the editors of Prevention.
The plan takes the "work" out of working out and offers a hybrid yoga approach that
incorporates hand weights and a cardio walking schedule to burn belly fat. The bulk
of the plan is a 28-day workout, but first, Kimberly has designed a 4-day jump start to
prep you for the next 28 days. We're sharing that jump start with you right here!
The jump start combines low-intensity yoga with walking cardio sessions to get you
off the couch and moving around. The yoga portion of the jump start, also known as
Yoga for Your Core, starts with just a few simple, straightforward moves that happen
to be some of Kimberlys favorite easy stretches.
Let's get started!
Heart Walks
There are two types of walking
workouts featured in the Flat
Belly Yoga! workout. If you want
to lose belly fat, your walks
need to be real workouts, which
means we need to get your
heart rate up.
Your aerobic program will
include both steady pace and
interval walks. The first type of
walking is called Fat Blast.
That's a fast-paced walk,
meaning it's not leisurely. You
will increase the distance you walk every week.
The second type of walk is called Calorie Torch. This is an interval walk, meaning it
shifts back and forth between a fast-paced walk and a series of high-intensity
"bursts" in which you will be walking at a brisk pace. You'll start with a steady, fast-
paced walk, and then you'll shift gears by moving into what I call a pick-me-up pace,
which is your high-intensity pace.
The Calorie Torch incorporates intervals because it's unhealthy to maintain an
extremely high level of intensity for the entire workout, unless you're a professional
Each day's yoga routine is the same, but the walks vary in time and intensity.

Day 1
Fat Blast Walk, 20 minutes
3-minute warm-up
15-minute fast pace
2-minute cool-down
Yoga for Your Core, 15 minutes

Day 2
Calorie Torch Walk, 15 minutes
3-minute warm-up
10-minute fast pace with three 1-minute pick-me-ups
2-minute cool-down
Yoga for Your Core, 15 minutes

Day 3
Fat Blast Walk, 20 minutes
3-minute warm-up
15-minute fast pace
2-minute cool-down
Yoga for Your Core, 15 minutes

Day 4
Calorie Torch Walk, 15 minutes
3-minute warm-up
10-minute fast pace with three 1-minute pick-me-ups
2-minute cool-down

Warm-Up/Breath Work
For the daily yoga part of this workout routine, we start with this pose.
Sit in a cross-legged position, using your core to keep your back straight. Close your
eyes and take a deep breath. Breathe in through your nose and out through your
mouth. Let's do this 3 times. Take a deep breath in and see if you can hold it for a
few seconds. Then let it go. Repeat this one more time

Easy Spinal Twist
A: Bring your knees together and roll down onto your back. Hug your knees into
your chest and gently rock side to side, massaging your lower back.
B: Keep your right knee into your chest and move your left leg straight out on the
C: Take a deep breath in. On your exhale, bring your right knee across your body
toward the left side of the room while keeping your shoulder blades on the floor.
Then bring your right arm straight out from your shoulder and look to the right.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then switch sides. To do this, both knees should
come back into your chest. This time your left knee stays in and your right leg goes
straight onto the floor. Bring your left knee toward the right side of the room with your
left arm straight out from your shoulder. Look out over your left shoulder. Take a
second to notice if there was a difference between one side and the other. Hold for
30 seconds, then bring both knees to your chest.
Tip: Don't try to force your knee down with your hand. This will lift your shoulder
blade off the floor.

Rock Up To Standing
A: Lying on your back with both knees at your chest, rock back and forth from your
shoulders to your hips.
B: Once you get up the momentum, rock up onto your feet and stand up. This takes
a lot of core strength, so you can make it easier by using your hands to push yourself

Chair Pose
From a standing position, bring your legs together with your feet touching. Sink your
hips back like you are about to sit on a chair and bring your arms above you, holding
them straight up next to your ears. Hold for 45 seconds to 1 minute. If you want to
challenge yourself more, try to shift a little more weight onto your heels. This
engages your core muscles and works on your balance.
Tip: This pose requires a lot of core strength, so if you're having difficulty, you can
make it easier by not sinking your hips as far down. To do this, pretend like you are
trying to sit on a bar stool instead of a chair.

Warrior 1
Starting from the previous Chair Pose, come back up to a standing position. You can
shake out your legs if you feel the need.

A: Step your left leg back about 3 feet and bend your right knee to a 90-degree
angle. Try to point your back toes slightly forward while keeping your heel pressed
B: Then bring your arms up toward the ceiling. The goal in this pose is to have your
thigh parallel to the floor. You want to feel as if you are trying to reach the ceiling with
your fingertips as you sink down with your lower body. Keep your upper body straight
and hold for 1 minute. Come back up to a standing position. Now step your right leg
back 3 feet and bend your left leg to a 90-degree angle. Bring your arms straight up
toward the ceiling. Hold for 1 minute. Take a second and try to notice if there was a
difference between one side and the other. One of your goals, besides gaining a flat
belly, is to balance out your body to prevent injury and create symmetry.

Hero Pose With A Lift
A: Come down to the floor with your knees together and sit on your feet. Rest your
hands on top of your thighs. Take a deep breath in.
B: On your exhale, begin to lift your arms as you raise yourself up onto your knees.
C: Once you are on your knees and your hands are pointed up toward the ceiling,
slowly lower yourself back down to your starting position. Do this 5 times.

Seated TreeUp And Over
Swing your legs out in front of you and shake them out.
A: Bring your right foot to the inside of your left leg. Place your right hand on the mat
or floor beside your right hip for support.
B: With your left arm, reach up and over your head toward the right side of your
body and then back down to shoulder height. Make sure you're sitting up straight.
Repeat this 5 times, inhaling as you reach up and exhaling as you bring your arm
back down. We will be doing this pose with weights during the 4-Week Workout, so I
want to make sure you get your form down now. After you have done this 5 times,
switch sides. Your left foot should come to the inside of your right leg. Bring your left
hand beside your left hip for support, while your right hand comes up and over
toward your left, and then back down to shoulder height. Do this 5 times slowly.
Sitting up straight will help you focus on your core. If you can't sit up straight, you can
modify the pose by not reaching up and over so far. Or you can sit up on a folded
blanket, which helps to keep you from slouching.
Tip: Try to get your foot to the inside of your thigh. If you have trouble, just bring your
foot to your knee (or to your calf) to modify the pose.

Windshield Wiper
A: Next, bring your knees together and roll down onto your back. Bring your arms
straight out so that they are parallel to your shoulders. While keeping your head and
neck straight, look up at the ceiling.
B: Take a deep breath in and on your exhale, lower your legs while pointing them
toward the right side of the room. Hover your legs about 2 or 3 inches from the floor.
C: Take a deep breath in and on your exhale, switch so that your legs are pointed
toward the left side of the room. Do this 5 times on each side. Be sure to keep your
upper back pressed to the floor. This pose works your obliques--the sides of your
body. Once you've completed this pose, hug your knees into your chest and rock
side to side.

Bridge With A Lift
A: While lying on your back, place your feet on the floor with your knees bent, and
bring your feet hip-distance apart. Take a deep breath in.
B: On your exhale, push into your feet to lift your hips toward the ceiling. Once your
hips are up, bring your arms underneath your body and clasp your hands together.
Try to roll your shoulder blades together and raise your chest toward your chin while
keeping your hips raised toward the ceiling. Release your arms and slowly lower
your hips down to the floor.
C: Repeat, but this time bring your arms over your head. Once the back of your
hands touch the floor behind your head, bring them back down to where they started.
Really focus on your core/abs when you are doing this pose. Do this one more time.
Once you're finished, hug your knees into your chest and rock side to side.

Easy Spinal Twist
This time, you're going to hold the pose for 45 seconds.
A: Bring your knees together and roll down onto your back. Hug your knees into
your chest and gently rock side to side, massaging your lower back.
B: Keep your right knee into your chest and move your left leg straight out on the
C: Take a deep breath in. On your exhale, bring your right knee across your body
toward the left side of the room while keeping your shoulder blades on the floor.
Then bring your right arm straight out from your shoulder and look to the right.
Hold the stretch for 45 seconds, then switch sides. To do this, both knees should
come back into your chest. This time your left knee stays in and your right leg goes
straight onto the floor. Bring your left knee toward the right side of the room with your
left arm straight out from your shoulder. Look out over your left shoulder. Take a
second to notice if there was a difference between one side and the other. Hold
for 45 seconds, then bring both knees to your chest.
Remember: Don't try to force your knee down with your hand. This will lift your
shoulder blade off the floor.

Take a deep breath in. On your exhale, lie on the floor with your palms facing up and
your eyes closed. Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale from your
mouth. Take two more deep breaths and just let your whole body relax onto the floor.
Hold this pose for 2 minutes. Then roll onto your right side and push yourself up to a
seated position. Take a second to evaluate how you feel. This concludes your series
of daily yoga poses for your Flat Belly Yoga 4-Day Jump Start!
Good Sleep With Yoga
This gentle bedtime sequence will help you relax and fall asleep more easily

By Tara Stiles

Poses To Cure Insomnia
Whether you're a night owl with early bird aspirations, a troubled sleeper, or just in
need of a little help relaxing before bedtime, some gentle yoga before you tuck in
can help. This in-bed routine will put your body and mind to rest, helping you sleep
soundly through the night to wake up rested and refreshed in the morning. No pills

1. Short Meditation
First things first: Get ready for
bed. Put your pajamas on. Turn
off the lightsand the TV and
computer. Put down your book
and get comfortable. Sit in cross-
legged seated position in bed.
Then lean back slightly onto your
pillows or headboard. Close your
eyes and rest your hands on
your thighs. Stay here and just
breathe for a few minutes. This
doesnt have to be a heavy and
intense meditation but just a
short break, allowing yourself to
do nothing but breathe.

2. Seated Twist
Still in your cross-legged seated
position, inhale and sit up tall.
Then exhale as you twist your
torso to the right. If you have a
headboard, you can grab onto
that for some gentle leverage in
your twist. Stay in the twist for a
few deep breaths. Exhale as
you return face forward. Inhale
there. Then exhale as you twist
to the left.

3. Cross-Legged Bend
Still in your cross-legged seated
position, gently bend forward
from your hips and reach your
hands straight out in front of you
on the bed. Stay here for a few
deep breaths, feeling the stretch
in your hips and back.

4. Seated Forward Bend, Pt 1
Slowly extend your legs out in
front of you, keeping your
knees slightly bent. Inhale and
sit up tall. Then exhale and
reach for your feet. Bend your
knees as much as necessary
to keep your back flat. This
pose is a great hamstring
stretch, but dont make it deep
and intense now, when your
ultimate goal is gentle
relaxation and sleep.

5. Seated Forward Bend, Pt 2
Stay in the same seated
position with your legs
extended in front of you. This
time round your back gently
over your legs. Stay folded
forward for a few deep
breaths, feeling the stretch
along your spine.

6. Knees-to-Chest Pose, Pt 1
Slowly roll down to lie on your
back and rest your head on
your pillow. Hug one knee into
your chest, grabbing your shin
to pull it closer to you. Stay
here for a few deep breaths.
This lengthens your extended
leg and loosens up your hip.
Switch legs and repeat.

7. Knees-to-Chest Pose, Pt 2
Hug both knees into your
chest this time and rock slowly
side to side on your back,
moving with your breath. Let
your whole back release and
relax into the bed.

8. Reclining Big-Toe Hold
Inhale and extend right leg
straight up to the ceiling,
grabbing hold wherever you
can comfortably reach (behind
your knee, closer to your
ankle, or your big toe if youre
very flexible). Exhale and keep
your leg straight as you slowly
bring it toward your head.
Move it slightly closer with
each exhale, working the
stretch very gently for a few
slow, deep breaths. Switch
sides. Keep these stretches
very gentle for nowalmost
as if you are doing them
9. Half Happy Baby
Hug your left knee into your
chest again. Flex your left foot
so the sole faces the ceiling.
Grab hold of the outside edge
of your foot with your left hand
and bring your knee toward
your armpit. Stay here for a
few slow, deep breaths.
Switch sides and repeat.

10. Reclining Twist, Pt 1
Inhale and hug your right
knee back into your chest.
Exhale and twist your leg
across your body to the left.
Turn your head to the right
and extend your arms
straight out to the sides. You
can rest your left hand on
your right knee. Stay here for
a few slow, deep breaths.
Before switching sides, move
on to the next pose.

11. Reclining Twist, Part 2
Still in your twist, extend your
right leg straight and reach
through your foot diagonally to
the left. At the same time
reach with your right arm,
diagonally to the right. Look
toward your hand as you take
a few deep breaths here.
Switch sides and repeat both
steps 9 and 10 on your left.

12. Corpse Pose
Lie down flat on your back.
Extend both legs and both
arms out straight. Let your
ankles roll open to the sides
and your palms face up. Rest
here for a little while. Feel
free to drift off if you sleep on
your back.

13. Sleep
Roll over onto your side and
enjoy a good night's rest.

Best Yoga Poses for Your Trouble Spots
Yoga moves that help you tone and slim your belly, butt, legs, and hips.
By Amy O'Connor
High Lunge
Anecdotal evidence and research
suggest this ancient fitness practice
has endless health benefits, from
boosting heart health to alleviating
anxiety. And yes, getting bendy can
make you slimmer and more beautiful
too. Yoga burns calories, battles
cellulite, and may make you look and
feel younger.

Upper Arms
Dolphin Pose

How to do it: Chant "bye-bye
batwings"! Begin on your hands and
knees, then lower your elbows to the
floor, shoulder-distance apart.
Interlace fingers, tuck your toes, and
press hips up to create a long line
between elbows and sitting bones
(aka your butt). Slowly squeeze your
upper arms inward to work biceps,
triceps, and shoulders. Breathe and

Abs and Lower Belly
Boat Pose

How to do it: Celeb yogini loves this
move! Sit up high and straight, hands
beneath your knees. Slowly tighten
your abs and lift your feet off the floor,
knees bent, with your legs at a 45-
degree angle. If this feels easy,
straighten your legs and arms.
Breathe and slowly lower.

Downward Dog Split Pose

How to do it: Begin on hands and
knees. Take a big breath out and
push into Downward Dog by
straightening legs and lifting your hips
and butt in the air. Relax head
between straightened arms. Exhale
and lift one leg as high as you can
into the air, flexing foot. Repeat on
other side.

Cow Pose

How to do it: This move looks relaxing
but is one of the toughest hip
strengtheners and openers. Start on
your hands and knees, and slide your
right leg back to cross over your left
leg. Gradually sit back between your
heels, using a rolled up towel or block if
you cant sit on the ground. Hold as
long as you feel comfortable, then
switch legs and repeat.

Your Chest
Plank Pose

How to do it: Thin of this move as the
top half of a push-up: Start with your
hands and knees on a mat, hands
directly under shoulders and knees
right below hips (if this is hard on your
wrists lower your arms and rest on
elbows). Lift up and straighten legs.
Tighten your abs and keep your eyes
on one spot in front of you.

Love Handles
Side Plank Pose

How to do it: From plank position,
press your right hand into a mat and
turn your body so your weight is on
the outer edge of your right foot.
Brace your core and keep your arms
elevated over your head. Option to
bend your leg and place it behind you
for support, or, if youre super fit, to
rock a few mid-air crunches like our
model Jillian Michaels!

A Strong Back
Locust Pose

How to do it: You already know how
bad sitting all day at a computer or in
your car if for your back. This pose
strengthens and stretches the
muscles in your lower back and along
the spine. Lie face-down, press your
legs together, and lift legs off the
floor. Then lift your arms straight back
behind you and lift your chest, coming
into a mini-Cobra in the front.

Fight Cellulite Fast With Yoga
By Amanda MacMillan
Skin smoothing yoga moves
One day you looked in the mirror and
there it wascellulite, creeping up on
your legs and butt just in time for
swimsuit season. Happily, theres a
speedy way to smooth those bumps
and lumps: Yoga.

We asked yoga guru Kristin McGee,
star of fitness DVDs MTV Power Yoga
and the new Weight Loss Pilates, to
create a cellulite-busting routine that
targets the butt and thighs, the areas
most prone to dimpling.

Understanding cellulite
Thanks to all those days spent
sitting, fat pushes through weakened
spots in the connective tissue
beneath skin. But rebuilding muscle
tone in those trouble spots and
burning excess fat can help smooth
out cellulite and prevent future
dimpling, McGee says.

Do this 20-minute sequence three
days a weekplus 30 minutes of
vigorous cardio, four times a week
and youll see smoother skin in just
six weeks.

Standing forward bend
Stand with feet hip-distance apart.
Hinge forward at the hips, keeping a
slight bend in your knees. Lay your
chest on your upper thighs as you let
your head fall toward the ground.
Engage quadriceps muscles and slowly
straighten legs, making sure your
knees dont lock and your hips stay
over the center of your feet. Hold for 5
8 slow, deep breaths.

Chair pose
Stand with feet together, big toes
touching, and ankles slightly apart.
Bend at the knees, sitting hips back (as
if into a chair) and lifting your chest up
to the sky. At the same time, reach your
arms up by your ears and lengthen
through the fingertips, keeping
shoulders relaxed and ab muscles held

Sit back as far as you can; aim to make
up to a 90-degree angle with your legs
(a shallower angle is finego as far as
is comfortable) while keeping your back
from rounding and knees from going
past your toes. Hold for 58 breaths
before standing up; repeat 3 more

Eagle pose
Bend your knees slightly and cross
your right leg over your left leg high at
the thigh, then try to double cross it
behind the left calf or ankle. Wrap your
right arm under your left and back over
top; press your palms together.

Squeeze thighs tight and pull your belly
to your spine while you sink lower,
bending slightly at the knee and a bit
forward at the waist. Hold for 5 breaths,
then repeat with arms and legs

Make it easier: If double-crossing your
legs is too challenging, cross just once
at the thigh and rest your top foots toes
on the ground for balance. If your shoulders are too tight to double-cross your arms,
wrap under only and press the backs of your hands together.

Warrior III
Standing with your feet together, point
left toe behind you, tipping weight
forward onto right leg. Continue to lift
your left leg and drop head and torso
until you are in a straight horizontal line
from head to toe; keep hands at sides.
Make sure your left thigh, hip, and toes
(pointed or flexed) stay facing
downward; imagine balancing a tea cup
on your lower back. Keep right kneecap
lifted (not locked) and balance centered
midfoot. Hold for 5 breaths, slowly
return to standing, then switch legs and

Make it easier: If balancing on one leg
is a challenge, reach your arms out to
the side like airplane wings to help you keep your balance. Or, hang on to the back
of a chair or reach out and touch a wall. The important thing is to keep your back flat
and your body in a straight line.
High lunge with a twist
Standing with feet together, press
hands into prayer position at center of
chest. Tighten abs and lunge left foot
back so right knee is directly above
right ankle. Hinge chest forward as you
twist, from the waist, to the right.

Rest left elbow just outside right knee,
keeping hips level and facing forward.
Look up past right elbow; hold for 58
breaths. Bring torso back to center, lift
chest, and return to standing; repeat
with legs reversed.

Make it easier: Keep your back knee on
the floor if youre wobbling around too
much during the twist.

Cow face pose
Start on your hands and knees, and
slide your right leg back to cross over
your left leg, squeezing high at the
inner thighs. Open your feet out to the
sides of your hips, and sit back
between your heels. You will feel a
great release in your hips and butt and
a gentle stretching of the thighs. Hold
this posture for as long as you like, at
least 810 breaths, then switch legs
and repeat.

Make it easier: Place some padding or
a yoga block under your butt if youre
very tight in the hips or have knee
problems. You can also come into this
pose from a seated position with legs
out in front; just be sure to cross your legs high enough at the upper thighs.

Bridge pose
Lie on your back with knees bent and
feet flat on a mat, hip-distance apart.
Press down into your feet, and lift your
hips and butt off the ground. Push your
shoulders down away from your ears
and interlace hands under your hips,
pressing fists into mat. Tighten
hamstring, butt, and core muscles, and
hold for 58 breaths. Lower slowly to
the ground, then repeat 2 more times.

Supported shoulder stand
Lie on a mat with a folded blanket
under shoulders so neck and head are
12 inches lower than shoulders.
Pushing palms against mat, bend
knees. Lift feet, butt, and lower back off
mat and reach legs overhead, aiming
toes toward the ground behind you.

Bend elbows and place palms against
lower back for support as you lift legs
and reach feet toward ceiling. Hold for
30 seconds, working up to 5 minutes.

Make it easier: Snuggle your back and
butt up to a wall, then twist around so
legs are straight up the wall while you
lie back on the ground. (Your butt
should still be tight up against where the wall meets the ground.) Press your thighs
into the wall as you keep your feet parallel and slightly flexed; hold for 5 minutes.

Kristin McGee's
Magic Yoga Moves

How to Banish Back Fat with Yoga
Tone up in no time with this back-beautifying series of poses.

I've always had a thing for backless dressesand I'm planning to rock one for a big
wedding I'm attending in a month. To get ready, I am doing Locust variations to
Bow. Not only does this series help fight that dreaded bra bulge, but it strengthens
and tones your whole back, plus the shoulders and backs of your arms. Go through
the cycle five to eight times, keeping abs tight to support your lower back.

Do it three to five times a week and you'll notice a real difference in three to four
weeksjust in time to feel super confident in skimpier summer styles.

How to do it:

1. Lie on your belly, arms out to sides at shoulder
height, elbows at 90 degrees (like a cactus), legs
straight and open hip-width, head facing down.
Inhale, lifting upper body and legs.

2. Exhale, drawing elbows in to the sides and
squeezing inner thighs together.

3. Inhale, clasping hands at small of back; lift hands,
raising torso and legs a bit higher.

4. Exhale, lowering body slightly; bend knees and grab

5. Inhale, lifting heels away from butt and pressing
shoulder blades back so thighs and upper body rise off
floor. Exhale, returning to starting position.

Magic Yoga Move: Slim, Strong Arms
Sculpt those biceps and triceps in just minutes with this bat wingblasting
series from our resident yoga guru, Kristin McGee.

Before I started practicing yoga, I was super-self-conscious about my armsthey
were flabby and untoned. But theyre now a favorite asset, thanks to this amazing
yoga sequenceSphinx to Forearm Plank to Downward Dog to Upward Dog. It
utilizes every part of the arm while also working the chest and back muscles, so you
get all-around toning (including the bra-bulge region). Repeat the sequence up to
eight times, holding each pose for a full breath (or more), and do it at least three to
four times a week for the fastest results.

How to do it:

Jason Todd
1. Lie on your belly with forehead and forearms on the
floor. Inhale as you engage your abs and raise your
chest until elbows are at 90 degrees. Imagine your
hands are glued to the mat, pulling the floor toward

2. Keeping forearms down, exhale as you tuck your
toes and lift your body so its in a straight line from
heels to shoulders. Contract your abs, hug your
shoulder blades together, and press firmly into your
arms and back through your heels.

3. Inhale, lifting hips toward the ceiling. Move your
shoulders away from your ears and think about
drawing your front ribs toward each other.

4. Exhale as you straighten both arms. (If this is too
challenging at first, straighten one arm at a time.)

5. Inhale, untucking your toes and lowering your hips
toward the floor (dont let them touch) as you lift your
chest. Exhale as you lower down, rolling your torso
until your forehead touches the floor.

Magic Yoga Move: Say Good-Bye to Love Handles
Challenge all the layers of your ab muscles with just one pose.

To get rid of love handles, Gate Posture is the go-to move
because it challenges all layers of the ab muscles. Practice
this pose at your own pace and dont bend lower than is
comfortable. For best results, do every other day.

How to do it: Begin standing on your knees with your belly
pulled up and in, tailbone dropping down, and hands on hips.
Extend your left leg to the left with knee facing up, toes
pointed down, and heel on the floor.

Slide your left hand as far as you can down your leg, keeping
your right hip over your right knee. Reach your right arm up and overhead to the left,
rotating your chest up toward the ceiling. Pull your abs in to keep pressure off your
lower back.

Hold for 515 breaths, then return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
Do full cycle 35 times.
Magic Yoga Move: Incredible Butt Blaster
Look beautiful from behind with this bum-sculpting series from our resident
yoga guru, Kristin McGee.

Julia Roberts was once asked why she did yoga, and she replied, "my butt." I wasnt
surprised: The right poses can do wonders for your backside.

Heres my favourite booty-firming routine: High Knee to Warrior 3 to Standing
Split. During this sequence, the glute muscle on the side of your standing leg has to
work super hard to stabilize and balance your body; meanwhile, the butt muscle on
the lifted-leg side is engaged and flexing. I finish the series with a forward bend to
stretch out the hips and thighs.

Go through the full sequence (on both sides) three to five times, making sure you
really engage those glute muscles; the last time through, hold each pose for five
breaths. Do that three to four times per week, and youll soon be sporting a firmer,
sexier butt!

How to do it:

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Inhale as you bend your
right knee and raise it so your right thigh is parallel to the
floor. At the same time, raise your arms up alongside your
ears, fingers pointing toward the ceiling.

2. Exhale as you kick your right leg straight back and
hinge forward at the waist so your body forms a
straight line from right heel to head. Arms can both be
back alongside your body, or you may use one hand to
lightly hold onto a chair to help with balance.

2. Inhale as you drop your hands to the floor on either side of
your left foot (bend your knee a bit if you have to), lifting
your straight right leg as high as you can.

4. Exhale as you lower your right foot to the floor (remain in
forward-fold position).

5. Inhale as you slowly round back up to standing, then raise
your left knee and arms to begin the sequence on the other

Magic Yoga Move: 5 Minutes to Better Sex
Want to have way more fun in bed? Try this libido-boosting yoga routine.

Heres my favorite way to get back in touch with my body: Wide Leg Squat to Lizard
Lunge to Frog Pose.:

This sexy series encourages blood flow below the belt, and opens up the hips,
thighs, and pelvis. It also strengthens pelvic-floor muscles (for deeper and better
orgasms) and inner thighs and hips, making it easier to test out new positions. Plus,
it boosts your libido. Go through the series once, lingering in the final positionclose
your eyes and feel your most sensuous.

How to do it:

1. Stand with feet wide apart and turned out 45
degrees. Squat, pushing hips back and letting knees
come directly over toes. Bring hands to prayer position
and take 5 long, deep breaths.

2. Rise up, then turn feet to the right and lower into a
lunge with right knee forward (keep knee behind toes).
Drop left knee to the floor, bringing left hand out to
side. Turn right foot out 45 degrees; press right hand
gently against inner right knee. Put weight on left hand
and gently arch back; take 5 deep breaths.

3. Straighten torso, lift left knee and rise up as you turn
your feet back out, and lower back into squat with
hands in prayer position. Take 5 deep breaths.

4. Rise up, turn feet to the left, and lower into a lunge
with left knee forward (keep knee behind toes). Drop
right knee to floor, bringing right hand out to side. Turn
left foot out 45 degrees, and press left hand gently
against inner left knee. Put weight on right hand and
gently arch back; take 5 deep breaths.

5. Return to squat, then come to all fours on forearms
with knees out to sides and bent to 90 degrees, insides
of lower legs on floor, and feet flexed with heels
directly behind knees. Take 5 deep breaths, then
carefully lift yourself up and bring knees together under
you to come to kneeling. Close your eyes.

Magic Yoga Move: Bye-Bye, Belly Bloat!
Flatten your tummy and feel better with this simple series.

Spring brings an amazing bounty of fresh fruit and veggiesand, all too often,
tummy bloat.

Heres my favorite way to flatten things up: Knee-to-Chest to Supine Twist.
Hugging each knee helps massage the internal organs responsible for digestion, and
twisting spurs the movement of food through your digestive tract. The result? A
sleeker (and happier!) stomach. Plus, these poses feel great across your chest,
shoulders, and lower back, all of which can tense up when your stomach is giving
you grief. I like to do this sequence first thing in the morning, then at night right
before bed.

Go through the sequence 35 times, making sure to linger in the last twist to each
side for at least 58 breaths. I promise, your belly will thank you.

How to do it:

1. Lie on your back with legs stretched out straight.
Inhale as you bend your right knee and bring it in
toward your chest; hug it tightly with both hands.

2. Exhale as you use your left hand to gently press
your right knee over to the left side, allowing your torso
to twist. Stretch your right arm out to the right at
shoulder height.

3. Inhale as you roll back to center and return to
hugging your right knee. Exhale as you extend your
right leg and return it to the floor.

4. Inhale as you bend your left knee and bring it in
toward your chest, hugging it with both hands.

5. Exhale as you use your right hand to gently press
your left knee over to the right, allowing your torso to
twist. Stretch your left arm out to the left at shoulder
height. Inhale as you roll back to center and return to
hugging your left knee. Exhale as you extend your left
leg and return it to the floor.

Magic Yoga Move: Instant Tension Tamer
Bid holiday frazzle bye-bye with this stress-stopping series of poses.

Even the most dedicated yogini can get lured into the frenetic pace of this
season...and end up completely stressed out.

My antidote is this series of soothing poses: Wide Straddle Side Stretch to Seated
Forward Bend to Star Pose.

Doing it loosens tension in your neck, shoulders, back, hips, and thighs, and allows
you to focus completely on your own soothing breath. Allowing the world to melt
away like that is just about the best present you can give to yourself, so do this
series any time you feel overtaxed or overwhelmed.

How to do it:

1. Sit tall with legs opened wide and toes pointing up.
Inhale and lift arms (keep shoulders down).

3. Exhale and side-bend over left leg. Stay for 1
breath, then lift back up on an inhale, arms raised.

4. Exhale and side-bend over right leg. Stay for 1
breath, then lift back up again on an inhale, arms

5. Exhale and fold forward; hold for 3 breaths. Inhale
as you return to sitting tall with arms raised.

6. Lower arms, bend knees, and bring feet together to
form a diamond. Exhale as you round forward and
down; stay for 810 slow, deep breaths, then inhale
as you slowly round back up.

Magic Yoga Move: The Pose That Fights Colds
Boost your immunity big-time with this stay-healthy series.

When the temperature plummets, I'm tempted to hunch my shoulders, cave in my
chest, and take shallower breaths. But tensing like that stresses out my body. Plus,
when I don't breathe deeply, I can't exhale germs as efficiently.

So I retaliate by doing this series: Mountain to Awkward Chair to Crescent Lunge.
It opens my lungs and chest to get the air flowing and also gets my blood pumping
both of which support my body's natural immune defenses. Go through the sequence
(both sides) 35 times, holding each pose for 1 breath; the last time through, hold for
35 breaths. Try to do it every day!

How to do it:

1. Stand in Mountain with feet together and hands by your

2. Sit your hips back and lower into Awkward Chair as you lift
your hands toward the ceiling.

3. Step your left foot back, and lower into a long lunge (don't
your right knee go past your toes).

4. Carefully drop your left knee to the floor, pressing the top of
your left foot down and keeping your chest up. Gently arch
back into Crescent Lunge.

5. Straighten your chest, tuck your left toes under, and push
back up into Awkward Chair.

6. Rise back up to Mountain, then repeat on the opposite

Yoga Poses that Boost Metabolism
Burn more calories, strengthen your core, and speed up your metabolism with
this slimming series of yoga poses.
By Kate Ashford

Try this 10-minute series from yoga
expert Kristin McGee and you'll help
your metabolism by strengthening
your core.

Flow through it (once on each side)
three to five days a week.

Dog split
Begin on hands and
knees. Exhale; lift knees,
push hips up, straighten
arms and legs.

Inhale; lift right leg as high
as possible.

Knee to nose
Inhale; round back, scoop
in abs, and pull right knee
to nose.

Exhale; kick leg up to Dog

Knee to right shoulder
Inhale; round back and bend right
knee, opening it out to the side. Bring
right knee to right shoulder.

Exhale; kick leg up to Dog Split.

Knee to left shoulder
Inhale; bring right knee in
and across body toward
left shoulder.

Exhale; kick leg to Dog

One-legged plank
Inhale; lower hips, move torso forward
so shoulders are over hands; keep right
leg up; hold.

Exhale and lower leg. Raise hips; return
to start.

Repeat entire series.

3 Easy Yoga Poses for
Practicing Yoga is an excellent alternative for those who want to relax while
improving the overall health of their bodies. In this short article, lets take a look at 3
yoga positions for beginners that may help you get started. Ready?
Easy Yoga Pose 1: Cat Pose
Stand on your hands and
knees as if you were getting
ready to crawl like a baby.
Take a slow deep breath and
arch your back up (moving it
further from the floor, imagine
you are an angry cat).
Tuck your head down into
your chest while performing
this pose and you should feel
a gentle stretch in the middle
section and the sides of your
Very slowly, bring your back
and head to the initial position while being fully aware of each movement.
This is a simple exercise that is often used as an initial sequence to warm up before
a Yoga session.
Easy Yoga Pose 2: Dog Pose
While standing on your hands and
knees in a similar way to the cat pose
mentioned in the previous section, focus
on pushing your tail bone and buttocks
away from the floor while lowering your
stomach, as you stretch your shoulders
and head towards the ceiling.
This position will cause you to arch your
back while stretching several muscles at
the same time (making you look similar
to a dog standing in attention).
Alternating between dog and cat pose is a simple exercise sequence for
beginners that most people can try safely (come on, it is fun!).

Easy Yoga Pose 3: Childs Pose
This is one of the easiest yoga positions for those who are just getting started. Its an
excellent alternative if you want to relax and make a pause between sequences that
are physically challenging.
From the initial hands and knees
position you used for dog pose, just sit
back on your legs as shown in the photo
below these lines.
As you sit back on your legs, drop your
arms and hands next to your feet. Close
your eyes and face down, trying to
touch the floor with your forehead.

Take things slow and make sure to breathe peacefully as you perform these
exercises. As with most endeavours, it is only a matter of being persistent before you
master the technique of each pose.
Practicing yoga is a great low impact alternative to exercise while relaxing and
promoting awareness and balance
Yoga 101: Poses for Beginners
These yoga poses and workouts will realign your mind, your body, and your spirit.
Plus, you'll build strength, increase your flexibility, and lose weight.
Mountain Pose
Stand tall with feet together, shoulders
relaxed, weight evenly distributed
through your soles, arms at sides.
Take a deep breath and raise your
hands overhead, palms facing each
other with arms straight. Reach up
toward the sky with your fingertips.

Downward Dog

Start on all fours with hands directly
under shoulders, knees under hips.
Walk hands a few inches forward and
spread fingers wide, pressing palms into
Curl toes under and slowly press hips
toward ceiling, bringing your body into
an inverted V, pressing shoulders away
from ears. Feet should be hip-width
apart, knees slightly bent.
Hold for 3 full breaths.

Stand with legs 3 to 4 feet apart, turning
right foot out 90 degrees and left foot in
Bring your hands to your hips and relax
your shoulders, then extend arms out to
the sides, palms down.
Bend right knee 90 degrees, keeping
knee over ankle; gaze out over right
hand. Stay for 1 minute.
Switch sides and repeat.

Tree Pose
Stand with arms at sides.
Shift weight onto left leg and place sole
of right foot inside left thigh, keeping
hips facing forward.
Once balanced, bring hands in front of
you in prayer position, palms together.
On an inhalation, extend arms over
shoulders, palms separated and facing
each another. Stay for 30 seconds.
Lower and repeat on opposite side.

Bridge Pose
Stretches chest and thighs; extends
Lie on floor with knees bent and
directly over heels.
Place arms at sides, palms down.
Exhale, then press feet into floor as
you lift hips.
Clasp hands under lower back and
press arms down, lifting hips until
thighs are parallel to floor, bringing
chest toward chin. Hold for 1 minute.
Make it easier: Place a stack of
pillows underneath your tailbone.

Triangle Pose
Extend arms out to sides, then
bend over your right leg.
Stand with feet about 3 feet apart,
toes on your right foot turned out
to 90 degrees, left foot to 45
Allow your right hand to touch the
floor or rest on your right leg
below or above the knee, and
extend the fingertips of your left
hand toward the ceiling.
Turn your gaze toward the ceiling,
and hold for 5 breaths.
Stand and repeat on opposite

Seated Twist
Stretches shoulders, hips, and back;
increases circulation; tones abdomen;
strengthens obliques
Sit on the floor with your legs
Cross right foot over outside of left
thigh; bend left knee. Keep right knee
pointed toward ceiling.
Place left elbow to the outside of
right knee and right hand on the floor
behind you.
Twist right as far as you can, moving
from your abdomen; keep both sides
of your butt on the floor. Stay for 1
Switch sides and repeat.
Make it easier: Keep bottom leg straight and place both hands on raised knee. If
your lower back rounds forward, sit on a folded blanket.
Lie facedown on the floor with thumbs
directly under shoulders, legs extended
with the tops of your feet on the floor.
Tighten your pelvic floor, and tuck
hips downward as you squeeze your
Press shoulders down and away
from ears.
Push through your thumbs and index
fingers as you raise your chest
toward the wall in front of you.
Relax and repeat.

Pigeon Pose
Targets the piriformis (a deep gluteal
Begin in a full push-up position,
palms aligned under shoulders.
Place left knee on the floor near
shoulder with left heel by right hip.
Lower down to forearms and bring
right leg down with the top of the foot
on the floor (not shown).
Keep chest lifted to the wall in front
of you, gazing down.
If you're more flexible, bring chest
down to floor and extend arms in
front of you.
Pull navel in toward spine and tighten your pelvic-floor muscles; contract right
side of glutes.
Curl right toes under while pressing ball of foot into the floor, pushing through
your heel.
Bend knee to floor and release; do 5 reps total, then switch sides and repeat.

Crow Pose
Get into downward dog position
(palms pressed into mat, feet hip-
width apart) and walk feet forward
until knees touch your arms.
Bend your elbows, lift heels off floor,
and rest knees against the outside of
your upper arms. Keep toes on floor,
abs engaged and legs pressed
against arms. Hold for 5 to 10

Child's Pose

Sit up comfortably on your heels.
Roll your torso forward, bringing your
forehead to rest on the bed in front of
Lower your chest as close to your
knees as you comfortably can,
extending your arms in front of you.
Hold the pose and breathe.

Yoga Poses That Improve Your Sex Life
Spend time on the mat in order to prime your mind and body for romance
By Jill Provost
Has your love life gone from sizzle to fizzle? You dont have to memorize the Kama
Sutra to spice things up between the sheets. In fact, its the positions you assume
outside the bedroom that could really heat things up. According to research in The
Journal of Sexual Medicine, sexually dissatisfied women who took up yoga and
practiced mindfulness techniques reported higher levels of arousal and desire, and
better orgasms. To reap similar benefits, perform the 10 poses below at least three
times a week, spending a minute or so in each position.
Wide-Legged Straddle Pose (Upavistha Konasana)
This move is good for low libido, says yoga instructor Kate
Hanley, author of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide. It
improves blood flow to the pelvic area, and where the blood
goes, so do energy and vitality. Research shows that below-
the-belt circulation is directly linked to arousal. The more blood
coursing through your veins, the higher your state of

Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Sagging skin isnt the only effect of the Earths downward pull.
The lower half of your body is more likely to suffer from
sluggish circulation because the blood returning to your heart
faces an uphill climb. Beat gravity at its own game by flipping
upside-down. According to Hanley, this pose works on many
woes that can plague a healthy sex life. It relieves fatigue,
calms the mind, lessens symptoms of depression and anxiety,
and eases digestive problems, she says.

Childs Pose (Balasana)
Many women are so in their head that they cant get into their
body, says Ellen Barrett, yoga instructor and author of Sexy
Yoga. When your mind gets in the way of a good romp in the
hay, try this pose to help you focus and relax. Everything that
helps you to be in the moment is going to help you be more
sensual, she explains. Childs pose is very soothing and can
really tune the mind to the body.

Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)
Lizard is a great way to ease the hips open and calm the
mind, says Tara Stiles, yoga instructor and author of Slim
Calm Sexy Yoga. Take long, deep breaths while resting in this
position. When your attention is focused on your breath
instead of your thoughts, you are brought right into the
moment, which helps for all sort of things, including time in
between the sheets.
Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
According to Hanley, this pose can help alleviate PMS and
menopauseboth of which can make you feel as sexy as a
sack of potatoesand it promotes healthy function of the
reproductive organs. Plus, it teaches you how to get
comfortable with being vulnerable, which true, mind-blowing
intimacy requires, adds Hanley.

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Pigeon is the best way to release deep tension in the hips and
put the mind in total chill mode, says Stiles. Whereas men
tend to store tension in their shoulders, women tend to hold it
in their hips. So this pose can help relieve tightness and
restore flexibility. Relax into the position and hold for 10 long,
deep breaths, advises Stiles.

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward dog calms the mind and invigorates the body, both
important ingredients in good sex, says Hanley. You can
almost feel the tension sliding off your back when you do this
pose. Plus, you've got your butt up in the air, which is about as
come hither as it gets!

Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
This move is so sexy, its even in the Kama Sutra. In this pose,
you wrap one leg around the other like a rope. This, says
Barrett, has a tourniquet effect. When you release, all the
blood rushes through the cervix, which primes the whole area
for some TLC. Dont be intimidated by this move, she says; its
not as challenging as it looks.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, like Kegels,
were invented to help treat urinary incontinence, but it was
discovered that they had other benefits as well. Namely, they
tone the vagina and improve orgasms. According to Barrett,
holding the bridge pose is similar to doing a Kegel, because
you squeeze those same pelvic muscles.

Plow Pose (Halasana)
Even though stress can make sex seem as appealing as a root
canal, it may be just what the doctor ordered; pleasurable
activities like sex alleviate stress by blocking anxiety
responses in the brain. Still, if you cant seem to muster the
energy, plow pose can help you rejuvenate, says Barrett. In
this position, blood flows to the brain to wake you up. Plus,
with your legs draped over your head, youre looking straight at
your hips and connecting to that area visually, which can be a
powerful aphrodisiac, she explains.

Yoga to Help Maintain Flexibility as We Age
By Janet Barnes

As a yogi, I think of flexibility as the ability to put all the joints through their full range
of motion. This means having strong muscles around those joints, but at the same
time those muscles need to stretch to accommodate movement. The problem is,
because of our sedentary lifestyles, our muscles develop cross fibres which cause
the muscles to become less stretchy. Yoga can help by stretching out the muscles,
which increases circulation to the muscles and joints. The postures also put the
joints through a complete range of motion, which helps keep the joints lubricated. In
this way yoga also helps to prevent arthritis. Below are some movements to help you
stretch your muscles and lubricate your joints. You will need a block (or folded
blanket and a thick book) and a belt (or tie).
Start in a cross leg position- you can use a block or folded blanket if your
knees are higher than your hips. Gently close your eyes, and allow yourself a
few quiet moments to become aware of how you are feeling at the start of
your practice. Start to notice the breath, allowing the breath to settle into a
smooth, natural, rhythmical pattern. When you are ready, gently open your

Warm up the shoulders with some Sun Breaths. Take the hands into prayer
position at the heart. Inhale, take the hands up, exhale, take the arms out and
down. Inhale, take the arms out and up, exhale join the palms, and bring the
hands to heart centre. Repeat twice more.

Leg Series, to stretch out the legs. Bend your right knee, and support the leg
by interlacing the fingers behind the thigh. Bend and flex the toes, circle the
ankles both ways, then circle from the knee joint both ways. Then, releasing
the left hand, circle from the hip both ways. Repeat with the left leg then
come into an all fours position.
Cat/Cow (for the spine flexibility). Start with the hands directly under the
shoulders, fingers spread and open, knees directly under hips. Inhale, lift the
head and chest, and lift the tailbone allowing the spine to dip to the floor.
Exhale, press into the hands, tuck the tailbone under and arch the spine as
you breathe out. Continue these movements, working with your breath, then
sit back on your heels or come back to a cross leg position.
Cow Face Arms for shoulder flexibility. Take the belt in the right hand. Inhale,
stretch the right arm up, exhale, take the right hand down the back, palm
facing towards the back. Inhale, stretch the left arm forward then externally
rotate the left arm, bringing the left hand up your back either to grip the right
hand or to hold the belt (see photographs). If you are holding the belt, try to
inch the fingers towards one another. Try not to pull- this will cause the hands
to part further. Hold for 3 breaths then release. Roll the shoulders up by the
ears, then back and down, before repeating on the second side. Then come
back to all fours.
Pigeon Pose, for hip, shoulder and spine flexibility. From an all fours position,
slide the right knee towards the right wrist, then take the right foot as far as is
comfortable to the left. Slide the left leg back. You can make the pose more
comfortable by placing a cushion under the left thigh, and another cushion
under the right hip. Walk the hands back and lift the chest. Hold for a few
breaths then return to an all fours position. Repeat on the second side.
Child Pose for spinal flexibility, a nurturing pose. From all fours, bring your
bottom back to your heels, rest your head on the mat or a cushion or block
and sweep your hands back to hold your heels. Release the shoulders
towards the mat and breathe into the back ribcage.

Downward Facing Dog for full body flexibility. Starting in Child Pose, stretch
the arms forward, spread and open the fingers, and come back to all fours.
Inhale, tuck the toes, exhale, and lift the hips. This will bring you into
Downward Facing Dog (see photograph). Stay here for 5 breaths if you can.
See Standing Forward Bend for how to come safely out of this pose.

Standing Forward Bend for hamstring flexibility. Starting in Downward Facing
Dog, walk the feet towards the hands. When the shoulders come over the
hands, take the feet to the edges of the mat, lining up the outside edges of the
feet with the mat sides. Now, either bring the fingertips to the mat, or use a
block/book (on its side) if you cannot reach down to the floor. Lift the
kneecaps, and let the spine release down towards the floor.

Tadasana. From Standing Forward Bend, exhale, and take the hands to the
hips. Inhale and come up, then step the feet together. To stand in Tadasana
have the big toes touching, outside edges of the feet parallel. Lift the
kneecaps, tuck the tailbone, lengthen the spine, roll the shoulders back and
down. Reach the crown of the head towards the ceiling, as if you were being
pulled up by a string from the crown of the head. Close your eyes and
reconnect with your breath.

Triangle for full body flexibility. From Tadasana, gently open your eyes, take
your hands to your hips, and step your feet a leg length apart. Turn the whole
of the right leg to face the right, and turn the toes of left foot in about 45
degrees. Line up the heel of the front foot with the instep of the back foot.
Take your hands into prayer position at your heart. Inhale and stretch the
arms out to shoulder height. Exhale, and extend your upper body over the
right leg, bringing the right hand down onto the right leg. Position your hand
above or below the knee depending on your flexibility, and stretch your left
arm up towards the ceiling. Tuck the right hip under, and take the left hip and
shoulder back. If you have no issues with your neck, look up at the left
thumb. If that is not comfortable for you, look straight ahead. To come out of
the pose, inhale, bring the arms back up to shoulder height, your upper body
back to centre. Exhale, turn the feet to face forward, and bring the hands
back to prayer position. Repeat on the other side, then return to Tadasana.

Eagle, for upper back, shoulder, arm, hip, ankle and knee flexibility. From
Tadasana, take the right elbow under the left then, bending both elbows.
Then, depending on your flexibility, you can either bring the backs of the
hands together, or bring the left hand round to join the palms together. Lift the
elbows level with the shoulders. Bend both knees. Now, depending on your
own levels of flexibility and balance, there are three options. First- the easiest
level- you can take the right foot to the outside of the left. Or, if you are fairly
flexible, try taking the right foot to the outside of the left calf. If you feel very
confident, you can wrap the right foot around the left calf. Find a drishti- this
is a gaze point to help you stay steady. Any fixed object in your sight line will
do- focus your eyes on this. To release, fly like an eagle, by taking the arms
wide and extending the right leg out to the side.

Reclined Twist, for shoulder, spine, lower back and neck flexibility. Lie back
on the mat, and bending the knees, bring the heels in close to the buttocks.
Have the arms a little way from the body, palms facing up. Take a breath in,
and as you breathe out, let the knees fall to the right. If you have no problems
with your neck, turn to face away from the knees. Inhale, come back to
centre, and repeat to the other side. Continue in this way then hold for 5
breaths on each side.

Shoulder Bridge, for neck and spine flexibility. Start with the knees bent, heels
close into the buttocks. The arms are by your sides, palms facing down.
Inhale, lift the hips. Take the arms overhead, whilst pressing the knees
forward. Exhale, and slowly dot or roll the spine back down on the mat.

Once your spine is back on the mat, bring the arms back over and continue
working with your breath.

Legs up the Wall. This pose is said to cure all that ails you. Start with the
right hip close to the wall and the knees bent. Swing round, so that your legs
are resting on the wall, and shuffle the buttocks as close into the wall as you
can. Rest the arms at a comfortable distance away from the body and close
your eyes. Stay here for 10 minutes, receiving the benefits of your practice.
To come out, bend your knees, and roll onto your right side with the knees
drawn towards the chest before coming up. This pose is generally safe for all,
but bear in mind it is still an inversion- so caution should be exercised where
there are problems such a high blood pressure, glaucoma or heart problems.
An alternative would be to lie back on the mat, feet at hip distance, little toe
side of the foot releasing towards the mat. Have the arms a little way from the
body, palms up, fingers gently curled then close the eyes.

Yoga For Menopause: 7 Poses To Relieve
Menopausal Discomfort
Aging gracefully isn't always easy, especially when the uncomfortable symptoms of
menopause set in. Between nightly hot flashes, heightened anxiety and moodiness,
and painful menstruation and intercourse, menopause can be a nearly universal
source of stress for post-50 women.
If you're looking for natural ways to treat menopause symptoms, consider starting a
yoga practice. You don't even have to go to classes to experience the benefits of
yoga: In addition to relieving stress, practicing targeted postures in your home can
help relieve many symptoms of menopause, including anxiety, irritability, insomnia,
hot flashes.
These are the seven yoga poses to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

An excellent spine-elongating pose
that's more gentle than the full wheel
pose, the bridge is an excellent way to
relieve stress and target many
symptoms of menopause in one pose.
Practicing the bridge pose can also
stretch the back, reduce fatigue and
insomnia, and ease anxiety and

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
The standing forward bend is
commonly used to treat the symptoms
of menopause and osteoporosis. It can
help to reduce stress and calm a busy
mind, in addition to gently stretching the
hips and hamstrings.

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

One of the most fundamental yoga
positions, downward-facing dog helps
to induce calm and relaxation while also
stretching the upper back and legs. It's
also known to relieve symptoms of
menopause, reduce menstrual pain and
help prevent osteoporosis.

Plow Pose (Halasana)
Practice the plow pose, an inverted
position in which the legs are behind
the head, to relieve fatigue and
insomnia, and soothe backaches. The
pose can help to combat anxiety and
irritability by calming the mind.

Seated Forward Bend

Helpful for alleviating stress and mild
depression, the basic seated forward
bend pose can also relieve menstrual
pain and combat fatigue and insomnia.

Child's Pose (Balasana)

This simple resting pose can be
practiced either with the arms by the
sides or stretched out in front of the
head. The child's pose is practiced to
promote feelings of calm and a focus
on the breath, thereby helping to
alleviate stress, anxiety and fatigue
while gently stretching the legs and

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

This arching posture is helpful for
relieving backaches that may be
caused by menopause. The camel
pose stretch can also ward off
menstrual pain, anxiety and fatigue.

Stretching Exercises: 6 Yoga Moves That'll
Make You Look Younger
Ward off lines and wrinkles by adding one or all six of these anti-aging, super-
stretching yoga poses to your workout

Kimberly Fowler, founder of YAS fitness
centers and author of "The No Om
Zone" is saying, is that there are "anti-
aging yoga poses" you can easily
incorporate into your current workout or
add to your daily routine in order to help
fight the unflattering signs of aging.

What sets these "anti-aging yoga poses"
apart from the other hundred or so
moves is that they all create an action
where your "head goes below your waist," says Fowler. This action causes "blood to
rush toward your head," which improves circulation -- especially in your face and
head. With improved circulation comes "greater delivery of oxygen and nutrients to
the skin," says dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf, M.D. Healthy skin cells will help
boost collagen production, which will in turn keep your face looking plumper and less

Not to mention that this and other workouts for women also "stimulate lymphatic
drainage, which rids the body of waste products," says Graf. Getting rid of waste
keeps skin clear and glowing. You also breathe more when doing moves like this (or
should be -- please don't hold your breath while holding these poses), which also
helps blood flow more rapidly all over your body. This action alone will help your skin
produce more collagen.


Lie on the floor with
your legs straight up
toward the ceiling at a
90 degree angle.

Place your arms
alongside your body
with palms down.

Press into your hands
and engage your abs to
lift your legs up and
over your head.

If your legs don't
touch the floor behind
you, place your hands on your back to support your weight.

If your toes do hit the floor, clasp your hands together and try to roll your shoulder
blades together under your body.

Hold for 45 seconds and gently roll through your spine to release the pose.

Shoulder stand

Lie on the floor on
your back with arms at
your sides, palms

Press your hands into
the floor as you lift your
legs up into the air
toward the ceiling and
then over your head
into the plow pose you
just read about.

Place your hands on
your lower back,
spreading your fingers

Slowly lift your legs straight up toward the ceiling one leg at a time.

Try to make your body as straight as possible by walking your hands down your
back closer to your shoulder blades.

Hold for one to three minutes. Gently release and roll through your spine to return
to the mat.

Downward facing dog

Start on your hands
and knees. Hands
should be shoulder-
distance apart with
palms flat on the floor.

Bend your knees,
engage your abs, and
pull yourself back into
what looks like an
inverted V. Feet should
be shoulder-distance

Try to reach your
heels to the floor and your butt up toward the ceiling.

Relax your neck.

Forward bend

Stand with your feet
hip-distance apart.

Hinge forward from
your hips to bend down
toward your toes.

Relax your neck and
cross your arms.

Hold for 45 seconds
to a minute.


Kneel on the floor and
rest your forearms on
the ground (at
shoulder-width) with
fingers interlaced.

Press your forearms
into the floor and
straighten your legs
into a downward dog-
like shape.

Look up a bit and
move your chest
forward until your head
is hovering right over
your hands.

Hold for a few seconds and then press back to where you started.

Don't let your shoulders shrug up toward your ears and keep your abs tight.

Repeat the small movement (forward and back) five to 10 times. If the movement is
too tricky for you to do, simply hold the pose without moving for about 45 seconds.


Lay on the floor on
your back.

Place your hands,
palms down, under
your bottom.

Press your elbows
into the floor to help lift
your chest up toward
the ceiling so your back
is arched.

Walk your elbows in
toward each other a bit
to enable you to lift
your chest even further.

Drop your head back and rest it gently on the floor.

Top 10 Yoga Poses for Men
Mastering these basic yoga poses will help you strengthen and stretch your
muscles, improve your posture, and prevent workout injuries.
Shawn Radcliffe

When youve never tried yoga, it can be intimidating, especially if youve been
scoping the jaw-dropping, super bendy, pretzel-like poses your girlfriend practices
each morning. But relax: Its actually the most basic posturesnot the fancy
positionsthat provide you with the foundation of flexibility and strength that every
man needs. Thats why weve put together this collection of poses, which youll
return to again and again. Work on them first at homeholding each pose for 30
seconds to 1 minute while keeping your breathing smooth throughout.

1. Mountain (Tadasana)
What it does: Simple but effective, mountain
pose builds a solid foundation for all other
standing poses. It strengthens and returns
flexibility to your feet, improves your posture,
and works your thighs and core.
How to do it: Stand with your big toes
touching and heels slightly apart. Balance the
weight evenly on your feet and lift up the
arches. Engage the thigh muscles slightly to
lift up the kneecaps, but avoid locking your
How to get better: With every inhale, imagine
lengthening your spine by stretching your
head toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulders
relaxed and your shoulder blades drawing
down your back.

2. Tree (Vrksasana)
What it does: Like other standing balance
poses, tree pose will improve your focus while
strengthening the muscles in your ankles,
calves and thighs. It also stretches the inner
thigh and groin muscles on the bent leg.
How to do it: Shift your weight onto your right
foot, pressing it firmly onto the floor. Bend the
leftt leg at the knee and place the sole of the
left foot on your inner right thigh. Point the
toes toward the floor. If this is difficult, you can
also place the sole of the foot on the inner calf
or ankle (but avoid the knee). Bring your
palms together in front of your chest and keep
your weight centered over the left foot. Press
the right knee back to open the groin while
keeping your hips parallel to the front of the
room. Release the foot and repeat on the
other side.
How to get better: To improve your balance, keep your attention on the floor a few
feet in front of you.
3. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
What it does: Standing forward bend can
calm your mind, while also stretching the
hamstrings and muscles of the spine.
How to do it: Start in mountain pose with
your hands on your hips, then exhale, tucking
your chin slightly toward your chest and
bending forward at the hips. (As you fold
forward, lengthen the front of your torso to
avoid curling the spine.) Relax your head,
neck and shoulders and let your arms hang
loosely. Place your palms or fingertips on the
floor beside or slightly in front of your feet. (If
you cant touch the floor, cross your forearms
and grab your elbows.) To come out of the
pose, bring your hands to your hips and lift up
on an inhale. Keep your chin tucked and
lengthen the front of your torso as you come
back up.
How to get better: If your hamstrings are very tight, bend your knees slightly to let
the spine stretch toward the floor. Avoid pulling yourself down with your handslet
gravity do the work.
4. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
What it does: Warrior I is often encountered
during the Sun Salutation sequence. In addition
to improving your balance, this pose stretches
and strengthens the ankles, calves and thighs. It
also stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and
How to do it: From mountain pose, step your
right foot forward and lift your arms overhead.
Turn your left foot 45 to 60 degrees to the left.
Bend your right knee until it is over the ankle.
Bring the hips parallel to the front of the room.
Arch your upper back slightly, lifting your chest
up toward the ceiling. Press your palms
together, if possible, or keep your hands
shoulder width apart with your palms facing
each other. Look forward or up at your thumbs.
When done, step the right foot back into
mountain pose. Repeat on the other side.
How to get better: The most challenging part of this pose is lining up the front heel
with the arch of the back foot. If you feel unbalanced, widen your stance.

5. Downward-Facing Dog
(Adho Mukha Svanasana)
What it does: Downward-
facing dog, another pose found
in the Sun Salutation sequence,
strengthens the legs and arms,
while stretching the calves,
hamstrings, shoulders, hands
and wrists.
How to do it: Start on your
hands and knees, with your
hands just in front of your
shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Press your hands firmly onto the
floor, with index fingers pointing forward. As you exhale, lift your knees off the floor,
keeping the knees slightly bent. Stretch your tailbone toward the ceiling to lengthen
your spine. Press your heels down toward the floor and your thighs back to
straighten your legs. Keep pressing the base of your index fingers into the floor and
lift along your arms from your hands to your shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades
against your back and down toward your tailbone. When done, drop your knees to
the floor.
How to get better: Its okay to keep the knees slightly bent in this posefocus more
on lengthening your spine. Use your triceps to straighten your arms, but keep the
shoulders from moving toward your ears.
6. High Lunge (Crescent
What it does: Also known as
crescent lunge, this is similar to
Warrior I, except with the back
heel lifted and the feet about hip
width apart. In this position, you
may find it easier to keep your
hips parallel to the front of the
room, but your leg muscles will
work harder to maintain your
balance. High lunge will also
strengthen the arms and stretch
the muscles of the groin.
How to do it: Start in downward-facing dog. As you exhale, step your left foot
forward between your hands, keeping your left knee over the ankle and your feet hip-
width apart. As you inhale, lift your torso upright and bring your arms out to the side
and overhead. If possible, bring your palms togetheror keep the hands shoulder
width apart with the palms facing each other. Press back through your right heel and
lift up through the torso. To come out of the pose, bring your hands to the floor as
you exhale and step back to downward-facing dog. Repeat on the other side.
How to get better: Dont lean forwardkeep the torso directly over the hips, and
think about sinking your hips straight downward while engaging the back thigh to
keep the back leg straight. Dont let the front knee move ahead of the ankle. To give
your legs a rest, drop the back knee onto a mat or folded blanket, and focus on the
stretch in your groin.
7. Boat (Navasana)
What it does: While often
known for its ab-busting
potential, boat pose also
works the deep hip flexors,
as well as the spine. When
you add in the arms, even
your shoulders will get
How to do it: Start seated
with your legs extended in
front of you. Press your
hands into the floor just behind the hips, pointing your fingers forward. Lean back
slightly and lift up through your chest, to keep your back from rounding. As you
exhale, bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor until your thighs are at a 45-
degree angle from the floor. Straighten your legs slowly. When you feel stable, lift
your arms off the floor and bring them out in front of you, parallel to the floor with the
palms facing each other. To come out of the pose, lower your legs and arms as you
How to get better: If your hamstrings are tight, keep the knees bent so you can
maintain the neutral shape of the spinesimilar to as if you were sitting in a chair.
For a more intense workout, lift
your arms overhead.
8. Locust (Salabhasana)
What it does: Locust pose is a
great way to slowly strengthen
your back and prepare you for
more challenging backbends. In
addition to working the muscles
of the spine, locust strengthens
the buttocks and the muscles
on the back side of the arms
and legs. It will also stretch the
chest, shoulders and thighs.
How to do it: Lie on your belly with your forehead on the floor and your hands by
your hips, palms facing up. Point your big toes toward each other slightly to roll your
thighs inward. As you exhale, lift your head, chest, arms and legs off the floor. Rest
your weight on your belly, lower ribs and pelvis. As you inhale, lengthen your spine
by stretching your head forward and your legs backward. Stretch back through your
fingertips while keeping your arms parallel to the floor. Look down or slightly forward
to avoid crunching your neck backward. Lower down on an exhale.
How to get better: As you hold the pose, think about lengthening your spine on
every inhale and lifting the chest and legs slightly higher on each exhale. If you feel
pinching in the back, lower the chest and legs slightly.
9. Bridge (Setu Bandha
What it does: A deeper
backbend than locust, bridge
pose stretches the front side of
the body, as well as the spine
and the rib cage.
How to do it: Lie on your back
with your arms by your side.
Bend your knees and bring your
heels close to your buttocks,
with the feet about hip width
apart. As you exhale, push your feet and arms into the floor and lift your hips toward
the ceiling. Keep your thighs parallel as your lift. Interlace your fingers beneath your
pelvis and stretch your arms toward your feet. To come out of the pose, release the
hands and lower your hips slowly to the floor on an exhale.
How to get better: In the beginning, you may not be able to lift your hips very high.
Instead of forcing it, focus on keeping the thighs parallel and stretching your tailbone
toward your knees to lengthen the spine. With each inhale, lift a little higher. To keep
the knees from spreading outward, hold a yoga block between your thighs while in
the pose.
10. Reclining Big Toe Pose
(Supta Padangusthasana)
What it does: One of the best
yoga poses for stretching the
hamstrings, it also stretches
the hips, groin, and calves.
Done properly, it will even
strengthen the knees.
How to do it: Lie on your back.
As you exhale, bend the left
knee and pull it toward your
chest. Keep the other leg
pressed firmly onto the floor while pushing the right heel away from you. Hold a strap
in both hands and loop it around the middle of your left foot. As you inhale, straighten
your left leg slowly toward the ceiling. Move your hands up the strap until your arms
are straight, while pressing your shoulders into the floor. Once your left leg is
straight, engage the left thigh slightly and pull the foot toward your head to increase
the stretch. Stay here for 1 to 3 minutes. Then lower the left leg slowly toward the
ground, keeping the right thigh pressed into the floor. Continue until the left leg is a
few inches off the floor. Work the foot forward until it is in line with your shoulders.
Inhale your leg back to vertical. Lower the leg and repeat on the other side.
How to get better: When you extend the leg upwards, press the heel toward the
ceiling. Once the leg is straight, engage the thigh slightly and lift up through the ball
of the foot.
Couples Yoga
Complete these yoga exercises with your partner and your relationship will
heat up beyond the mat

Do try this at home. Partner poses are not only fun but also a great way to connect
with your guy. You'll be forced to communicate effectively (to let each other know
how the adjustments feel) and to act with sensitivity (to ensure that the amount of
force you're using is appropriate). Aren't those skills every couple could stand to

Down dog/backbend

First, one of you get into downward-facing dog pose (adho mukha svanasana).
Then, other partner, position your feet on either side of your down-dogging partners
hands and use your hands to lower yourself onto your partner's back. Then, partner
on top, stretch your arms overhead, letting your weight fall back onto your partner.
This should feel great for both of you. Stay for several breaths, then trade places.
Wheel pose (dhanurasana), adjustment

If you don't know wheel pose, skip ahead to the next posture or go ahead and adjust
your partner in this pose if they do know it. Good karma, right?

If you know the pose, come into it as you normally would. You can start with a bridge
pose to warm up your spine before placing your hands next to your ears and
extending into full wheel.

Standing partner, take a towel and wrap it around your partners lower back. Keep
your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent for stability. Then pull the
towel straight back toward you. This adjustment takes a lot of pressure off their lower
back and gives a sense of almost floating in the pose.
Forward bend/backbend

One partner take a seated forward bend either bound angle pose (baddha
konasana) or for greater intensity seated forward bend (paschimottanasana). Other
partner, sit on your seated partner's lower back and recline into a backbend. Then
take your arms up and out into cactus position. Your seated partner can gently reach
up and pull your wrists forward to add a shoulder opener. Stay here for about 10
breaths, then trade places.
Hand-holding seated twist

Both of you sit in a comfortable cross-legged seated position (sukhasana) facing
each other. Inhale and lengthen your spine up and away from your tailbone. Then
exhale and each of you twist toward your right, reaching your right arm behind your
back to take hold of your partner's left hand and your left arm out to take your
partner's right hand. Help each other deepen the twist by gently pulling on your
Corpse pose (savasana), lower back adjustment

One person start by lying in savasana (shown here). Other partner, kneel between
their legs in a stable position. While your partner begins to bring awareness to their
breath noticing whether its short or long, deep or shallow today, press straight down
on one of their upper thighs while reaching under their other hip to pull up on their
lower back. After a few breaths, switch sides. When you finish the adjustments and
your partner feels sufficiently centered, be sure to trade places!
Sun Salutations (surya namaskara)

Do 5 to 10 rounds of sun salutations solo but side by side at your own pace. Notice
whether your breath and movements are in or out of sync.

Reclining Bound Angle Pose (supta baddha konasana), shoulder adjustment

Place a rolled up blanket lengthwise on your mat. One partner lie back, centering the
blanket under your spine and coming into reclining bound angle (as shown here).
Bring the soles of your feet together, open your knees to the sides, and reach your
arms out in cactus position. Other partner, gently press straight down on your
reclining partners shoulders. This pose feels grounded and relaxed, which allows for
effective opening in the chest and hips. Each of you should get a turn to stay in this
pose for several minutes, breathing deeply.
How to Increase Flexibility with Yoga
Be more flexible: Use these yoga exercises to stretch out your flexibility
By Tara Stiles

Can you run a marathon but not touch your toes? You're not the only. Many athletes
push their muscles to the limit without balancing the strength with stretch. And there
are no shortcuts when it comes to lengthening balled-up muscles. It just takes
regular practice and patience. So, let's get started. It's time to start a conversation
with those hibernating hamstrings. Repeat these hamstring-opening poses daily and
you will see improvement.

Tara's tip: When working on your flexibility make sure to breathe deep long breaths.
Hang in there! Remember, a part of yoga is reigning in your thoughts when they
stray away from the task at hand. Use your brain to your benefit by concentrating on
the muscles as they let go.
Low lunge (anjaneyasana) (A)

Make your way in to a low lunge.
Low lunge (anjaneyasana) (B)

Drop your back knee to the floor and bring your hands up on your front knee for a
good passive stretch in the front of your hip. Place your hands on the floor and
straighten your back leg, lifting the knee, for a more active stretch. Hold for at least
three deep breaths. Repeat on the other side. For a flexibility bonus, try bringing your
forearms to the floor.
Single-leg forward bend (parsvottanasana)

From a low lunge, bring your back foot in about a foot and turn your heel down to the
floor. Square your hips to your front leg, and relax your torso over it. Breathe into
your hamstring for at least three deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Standing forward bend (uttanasana), modified

Bring your feet together. Bend your knees slightly and fold over your legs. Grab your
calves to gently pull your torso closer to your legs with each exhale. Align your hips
directly over your ankles. If you feel like you're tipping forward, that's probably about
right. Hold for at least three deep breaths.
Downward-facing dog pose (adho mukha svanasana), variation

Start in down dog. Then lift one leg up, keeping the foot pointed down and hips
square to the floor. Lift from the back of your leg, straight up through your heel as
high as you can with good form. Hold for at least three deep breaths. Repeat on the
other side.
Monkey pose (hanumanasana) (aka the splits)

Start in a low lunge. Flex your front foot and slide it out in front of you, going for the
split. If you need more support, place your hands on blocks alongside your hips. Use
the blocks as stabilizers to help keep your hips square to your front leg. Hold for at
least three deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Wide-legged forward bend (upavistha konasana), modification

Lie down in legs-up-the-wall pose (viparita karani). Slowly open your legs to the
sides. Breathe here for several minutes. Gravity will do the job lowering your legs
closer to the floor for you. Your job is to breathe and allow it to happen!
Yoga for Pain Relief
Relieve all your aches and pains with these soothing yoga poses

Most people start hitting the mat because they want the famous yoga body: toned
arms, tight abs, gravity-defying glutes. And it doesn't take long to discover how great
yoga can make you feel on the insideenergetic, happy, and whole. But there's
more: Specific poses can help relieve digestive issues, help prevent head pounders,
and even help you walk comfortably in heels. Try these poses to relieve aches and
restore balance from head to toe.

1 Hangovers
We've all been there: A last-minute decision to go out and grab "a drink or two" with
friends translates into several bottles of wine. Or a bad blind date looks a little more
interesting from the bottom of a martini glass--or three. Get ready to detox! Lunge
Twist can help you beat the hangover blues.

Lunge Twist:
Begin in Downward-Facing Dog pose.
Step your right leg forward so that the
right knee is centered over the right
ankle and the back leg is firm. Bring your
hands into Prayer pose in front of your
chest. Keeping your core tight and feet
planted, rotate your torso to the right,
raising your right elbow toward the
ceiling and bringing your left elbow to
the outside of your right knee. Hold for
five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the
other side.
2 High-Heel Pain
Heels are my forever obsession
because I was not graced with long legs
or height. Ever since stepping foot into
my first pair of platforms, my legs look
great, but my feet sometimes feel sore.
Use Standing Forward Fold with
Crossed Legs to relieve those hard-
working muscles.

Standing Forward Fold with Crossed
Legs: Begin in Standing Forward Fold
with your fingertips touching the floor.
Cross your right ankle over your left so
that your baby toes touch and both feet
are flat on the ground. Your right knee
will remain bent while the left leg is
straight. Stay here with the hips stacking
over your heels or begin to fold your
torso forward over your legs, relaxing
your neck and gazing toward the
ground. Hold for five to 10 breaths.

3 Headaches
It's hard to maintain any sense of well-
being when your entire head is throbbing
and it hurts to blink. But yoga can do
wonders to thwart an oncoming
migraine, and research shows it can
even help prevent future attacks.
Practice Seated Forward Fold to soothe
your head and help you see straight

Seated Forward Fold: Begin in a
seated position with your legs together
and extended straight out in front of you.
Root your hips into the floor and lift your
chest. Keep your spine long, and lean
forward to grab the outer edges of your
feet. Inhale and extend your chest.
Exhale, and without rounding your back, lengthen your torso over your legs. Relax
your neck and shoulders. Press your thighs down and keep your feet flexed. Hold for
five to 10 breaths. Rest your head on a yoga block for extra support.
4 Back Pain
This is the most common complaint I
hear from students. A 2009 study found
that adults with moderate to severe
lower-back pain reported a drop in pain
scores from an average of 6.7 to 4.4
(where 10 was the worst) after practicing
yoga for 12 weeks, while those who
didn't do yoga only dropped from 7.5 to
7.1. Reclined Big-Toe Pose could help
build strength and flexibility, and lessen
back pain.

Reclined Big-Toe Pose: Begin by lying
on your back. Keep your left leg on the
floor and bend your right knee, hooking
your big toe with your index and middle
fingers. Straighten your right leg up
toward the ceiling, keeping the foot over the hip. Relax your right shoulder to the
floor and lengthen your right sit bone forward. Press the left thigh down. Rotate your
right toes outward to open your right hip to the side. Place your left hand on your left
hip to help root it. Keep externally revolving the right hip in the socket and take your
gaze over your left shoulder or keep it neutral. Draw your right leg back to center.
Grab the outer edge of your right foot with your left hand and lower your right arm flat
on the floor in line with your shoulder. Drop your right leg over to the left, letting the
leg hover above the floor into your twist. Keep the opposite shoulder rooted toward
or on the floor. Lift your right leg back to center and grab hold of your calf or foot with
both hands. Keep both shoulders relaxed as you gently bring the leg toward you.
Keep your head on the floor and your right leg as straight as possible. Hold for five to
10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

5 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This condition causes tingling, numbness, and
pain in the hands and wrists. It's often the result
of spending too much time on a computer
keyboard (hello, Facebook obsession!).
Because so many of us use computers now, in
addition to using our hands for everything else,
it's an injury that's difficult to avoid. Poses like
Cow Face can help you get back on track.

Cow Face: Begin in a seated position with both
knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Drag
your right foot under your left knee and next to
your left hip. Lay your left leg on top of your
right leg and put the left foot by your right hip so
your legs mirror each other. Try to get your
knees to stack. Reach your left arm straight up
and drop your right arm down. Bend both
elbows, swinging the right hand up the spine
until you can clasp your hands behind your back. Use a strap if you can't reach your
other hand. Hold for five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

6 Tummy Trouble
An upset stomach can be the
unfortunate aftermath of a decadent,
spicy, or exotic meal. Help calm your
system with twists, which can stimulate
digestion. Reclined Twist gently
massages your internal organs and
wrings them out like sponges.

Reclined Twist: Lie on your back.
Extend your arms straight out to the
side. Shift your hips to the right slightly.
Bend your right knee into your chest and
let it drop over to the left. Hold for five to
10 breaths. With each inhale lengthen
your spine from the crown of your head
to your tailbone, and with each exhale
deepen your twist. Switch sides.

Lose Weight: Fat Burning Yoga Workout
Lose belly fat with these fat burning yoga exercises

You contort into all kinds of wacky positions wriggling
into those skinny jeans. Bend and twist on a regular
basis and that might not be necessary. An active
sequence of yoga flows a form called vinyasaburns
more than 450 calories an hour, according to Sara
Ivanhoe, host of 20 Minute Yoga Makeover: Weight
Loss. With these yoga postures, weight loss is easier
than ever.
These two flows provide a total-body workout. Repeat
each one 5 to 10 times.
MOVE 1 - Backbend

Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Lace your fingers behind you (palms
facing up). Inhaling, bend from your
upper back, lift your chest, and press
your shoulders down.

MOVE 2 - Forward Bend

Soften your knees and bend forward as
you exhale, letting your torso hang in
front of your thighs. Keeping your arms
straight and fingers locked together, lift
them up and over your head (ultimately
reaching toward the floor in front of your

MOVE 3 - Chair

Inhale and bend your knees into a squat.
Unlock and straighten your fingers, then
separate your arms. When your thighs
are nearly parallel to the floor, move
your arms toward your ears. Keep your
weight on your heels. Inhale, stand up,
and lower your arms to your sides.

MOVE 4 - Downward-Facing Dog

Get on all fours, lift your hips, and
straighten your arms and legs.

MOVE 5 - Plank

Inhale as you shift forward into the top of
a pushup position with your arms
straight. Exhale, bend your elbows (keep
them pointing back and hugging your
body), and lower your body until your
chest is on the ground.

MOVE 6 - Cobra

Uncurl your toes so the tops of your feet
are touching the ground and press your
tailbone down. Hug your elbows in as you
inhale, straighten your arms (keep a slight
bend), and lift your chest off the ground.
Exhale as you gently release your body
back to the ground. Inhale, curl your toes
under, and press your hips up and back
into downward-facing dog. Exhale.

Office Exercise: Yoga at Your Desk
Stressed and sedentary? Even if you're chained to your desk, you can still fit
in some yoga using these eight poses Fila yoga ambassador Kristin McGee
has modified for the desk-bound worker bee. Moving throughout the day is an
important part of beating stress, and stretching always makes my mind more
alert. Try these poses on for size and feel the tension melt away.

Mountain Pose

Sit erect, clasp your hands, and extend your arms forward. Turn the palms away
from you and raise your arms until the palms face the ceiling. Stretch and feel
yourself growing taller as you reduce the stress in your head, neck, and shoulders.
This posture lengthens your sides. If you want, add to this posture by bending your
arms to each side.
Eagle Arms and Legs

Sit erect and place your arms in front of you at a 90 degree angle. Cross your arms
so that the right arm is above the left. Interlock your arms and press your palms
together with the tips of your fingers pointed upward. Feel yourself contracting. This
pose strengthens triceps, shoulders, and back muscles. Its a good preventative
measure against carpal tunnel syndrome. For your legs, simply cross your legs and
interlock them with one foot behind the other.

Place your palms on the arm of your chair and turn your chest and abdomen to the
right, moving your left shoulder forward and your right shoulder back. Expand your
chest fully and feel yourself detoxifying. Twists are great for the spine, your
abdominals, and the obliques. Repeat on the other side.
Thread the Needle

Sit in your chair and cross your right leg over your left knee. Flex both feet and lift
them off the floor. "Thread the needle" by clasping your hands around your left leg,
just under your knee. This posture stretches hip rotators, outer thighs, and relieves
tension in the lower back. Be sure to reverse sides.
Lotus Preparation

Lotus is the traditional seat for mediation. You can just sit comfortably in your desk
chair, with your neck and spine straight and erect, to begin to calm your brain. Place
your hands palms up, with the thumbs and first fingers touching. If practical in the
office setting, practice crossing your legs to build up the Lotus position. This will help
free your spine from the stress of sitting at your desk all day. Traditional Sanskrit
texts say that Padmasana, aka Lotus, destroys all disease.
Note: Lotus is a two-sided pose, so be sure to practice both leg crosses.

Put your hands on your chair, take your left foot back, and sink into a low lunge. This
is a great stretch for the hamstrings and it also strengthens the glutes (muscles) and
the hip flexor muscle group. Repeat on the other side.
Scale Pose

Place your palms on the arms of your chair and cross your legs at your ankles.
Exhale, contract your abdominal muscles, and lift your buttocks and legs away from
the floor. Hold yourself suspended for five to eight full breaths. Lower yourself,
change the cross of your legs, and repeat the motion. If you cant lift yourself, start
with your buttocks and add the feet as you build strength. This posture strengthens
your arms and lower abs.
Restorative Pose

Before returning to work, give yourself a few minutes to relax. After all, in yoga, for
every action, there is a reaction. This relaxing pose is so simple but very effective in
reducing stress in your facial muscles and helping to prevent fatigue. Simply cross
your arms and place them on the surface in front of you. Then rest your head on
your crossed arms.

Office Yoga: Sneak These 10 Stretches into
Your Day
by Diann_Daniel
Ever have the feeling that your shoulders have risen all the way up to your ears, and
your back is turning into a knot from sitting all day while you work? Stress relief is
only a step away, from your desk, that is. With these 10 yoga poses and stretches
which you can do at the officealong with a focus on deep breathing, its easy to let
some of your stress fall away.
Loosen up the kinks and knots that form after being glued to your seat hour after
hour, and youll be more refreshed and ready to tackle anythingeven the next
Meeting From Hell. "Our bodies simply weren't meant to sit all day long, says Sandy
Blaine, author of Yoga for Computer Users and longtime resident yoga teacher and
wellness consultant at Pixar Animation Studios.
A growing body of research suggests that prolonged sitting is deadly in a number of
ways. It has been linked to diabetes and heart disease, and a recent study in BMJ
Open found that sitting less may prolong your life. Anything you can do to get up and
get moving a bit can be healthful. That means you should get cardiovascular activity
such as walking into your day. You should also do exercises to strengthen your core,
since sitting for long periods contributes to weak core muscles, says Renee LeBlanc,
yoga teacher and owner of Waltham Power Yoga. But stretching is important too,
particular at work.
For office workers who spend much of their time hunched over a computer, certain
areas are more prone to holding tension and injury, Blaine says. Sitting all day puts
pressure on and compresses the back and neck, and creates tight hamstrings and
hip muscles, which also put pressure on the spine. Wrist pain, says Blaine, often
comes from the combination of tightness of the shoulders and the upper back
muscles along with repetitive movements.
Ideally, you should take your body through its full range of motion daily, says Blaine.
If you dont, muscles and joints lock up and create pain and discomfort. Repetitive
stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain are very difficult to
treat once they set in, she says. That's why it's so important to exercise, take breaks,
and stretch: Prevent problems from occurring in the first place.
With yoga poses and other stretches, and deep breathing, which can help you de-
stress and improve your health, those breaks can feel really good. "Just moving out
of the position you're in all day and taking deeper breaths gets your blood moving,
which gets more oxygen to your brain so your feel more energeticand happier,
says LeBlanc. Stretching is an exploratory mission, she says. Go slowly, and you
can feel kinks and knots forming and loosen them up. Even a little can help you feel
like you're getting a massage from the inside.
So gently roll your shoulders and neck, Do anything that changes that locked sitting
position and that feels good.
But to help you feel even more of that internal massage, here are 10 yoga
poses/stretches to help you feel better throughout your workday.
Modified Downward Facing Dog
Benefits: Stretches back, arms, hips,
1. With your hands placed shoulder
width apart on your desk, begin to
step back away from the desk, letting
your chest drop, until your spine is
fully extended and your feet are
under your hips so that your body
creates a right angle.
2. Firm your belly (to protect your lower
back), relax your shoulders, and
while trying to keep some space
between the shoulder blades,
lengthen back through your hips and
tailbone. Let your head gently rest
between your arms.
3. Allow yourself a gentle stretch in your back, arms, hips, and hamstrings, making
sure that your lower back is not too bowed (the stretch of the lower back should
be about equal to the stretch in upper back). If your back is rounded or the stretch
in the hamstrings feels too intense, bend the knees in as you continue to draw
back through the hips; youre looking for maximum movement at the hip sockets
and lengthening of the spine. The hamstring stretch is secondary, and its
important to protect the back by not stretching the hamstrings farther than theyre
ready (forcing the legs to straighten when the hamstrings are tight can cause
4. Stay here for five rounds of inhalations and exhalations, allowing your body and
face to soften and relax.

Standing Crescent Pose/Side Bend
Benefits: Stretches side body
1. Stand with feet hip-width-distance apart,
keeping equal weight on both feet.
2. Inhale, lift right arm with right bicep turned
toward your face, taking care not to lean
3. Firm your lower abdomen.
4. Exhale, and crawl your left fingers toward
your left knee, stopping when you feel a
gentle stretch. (Continue being mindful that
your weight is evenly distributed; try not to
take the weight out of the right foot.)
5. Hold for a cycle of five complete breaths
(i.e., five rounds of inhalations and
exhalations), making sure to keep the chest
open and the shoulders moving down the
6. Switch, and do the other side.
Runner's Lunge
Benefits: Stretches quadriceps, hip flexors;
strengthens legs
1. Start in a standing position, feet hip-width-
distance apart, feet parallel and facing
2. Shift your weight to your right foot. Step your
left foot back about three feet, resting on the
ball of your back foot, toes pointing forward,
feet parallel.
3. Firm your lower abdomen, and be conscious
that your tailbone points to the floor
(avoiding a "sway back").
4. Rest your hands on your right thigh. Sink
low, until you feel a stretch in the front of
your left thigh and your left quadriceps,
making sure that your right knee is directly
over your right ankle. (Your knee should not go past your ankle.)
5. Hold for five breaths. Come out of the pose, taking care to firm your abdominal
muscles to help you do so.
6. Switch to the other side and repeat.

Standing Thigh Stretch
Benefits: Quadriceps, hip flexors
1. Inhale in a standing position, and fix your
eyes on a stationary point in the near
distance. (You can rest your hand on the
wall, the edge of your desk, or a chair for
easier balance.)
2. Exhale, shifting your weight to your right
3. Inhale, firm your lower abdomen, and
making sure that your tailbone continues
pointing down at the floorslowly bring your
left heel toward your buttocks.
4. Grab your ankle behind you, being sure to
keep your foot flexed. Be careful not to
overstretch or strain your knees. You should
feel a gentle stretch in your left front thigh
and hip. The goal is not to get your feet to touch your buttocks; pay more
attention to bringing the upper thighs in line with each other.
5. Stay here for a few breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Standing Forward Bend Variation
Benefits: Stretches back, neck, hip and
1. Stand next to your chair with your right hip
pointing at the chair seat. (If your chair has
wheels, back it up to a wall or against your
desk so that it's stable.)
2. On an inhale, step your right foot up on the
chair, making sure that your right foot is
parallel to your left foot (i.e. pointing the
same direction). Your right foot should be
ahead of your left, so that the left (standing)
leg is perpendicular to the floor, and the
right knee is directly over the heel, with the
knee bent at a right angle and the right shin
also perpendicular to the floor.
3. Exhale, and bend forward, allowing your
head, neck, and shoulders to drop forward just inside your right knee.
4. Hold the stretch for a round of five inhalations and exhalations, allowing your
neck and shoulders to get long and to soften.
5. To come out, bend the standing knee and roll up, head coming up last.

Figure 8s for Wrists
Benefits: Stretches wrists
1. Breathe in and interlace fingers.
2. As you exhale, begin using your hands to
draw 10 figure 8s in a clockwise motion.
Breathe in and out in flow with your
3. Switch your interlacing (e.g. if right pointing
finger was on top of left, now left pointing
finger should be on top of right), and draw
10 figure 8s in a counter clockwise motion,
continuing to inhale and exhale slowly.

Reverse Namaste Variation
Benefits: Stretches chest and shoulders
1. Breathe in, and take your arms behind your
back, exhaling as you grab opposite elbows,
or as close as feels comfortable.
2. Breathe in, then exhale gently drawing your
elbows downward, letting your chest rise,
and allowing your shoulders falling very
slightly back and down. You should feel
your chest open, which helps create more
space for your lungs and for breathing. That
helps oxygenate your blood and "clear your
3. Stay here for three cycles of breath, then switch your grip (e.g. if your right arm
was under your left, put your left arm under your right).
Seated Forward Fold
Benefits: Stretches neck, back
1. Sit at edge of the chair with your knees
slightly wider than your shoulders and your
heels placed under your knees, so that the
knees are bent at right angles, calves
perpendicular to the floor.
2. Take a few moments to feel your bottom
heavily grounded in your seat (i.e., through
your sit bones in yoga terminology), while
simultaneously trying to allow your spine,
neck, and head to feel light.
3. Breathe in deeply and lift your hands to the
sky, gently rolling your shoulders back and
keeping your neck long. (You can protect the back by placing the forearms on the
legs for support as you bend forward. For people with very sensitive low backs,
the arms can stay on the legs as they round the spine and drop the head, rather
than coming into the full forward bend; others can drop the arms toward the floor
for the fuller stretch.)
4. Begin exhaling slowly as you bend forward, allowing your head and arms to hang
between your legs.
5. Stay in this position for a round of five inhalations and exhalations, allowing your
neck, spine, and arms to feel long and heavy.
6. Keeping the head and neck relaxed, bring the hands back to the thighs so that
the arms can assist you as you gently roll back up. Notice that the length of your
spine feels longer and the lightness of your head on your neck.
Upper Back Stretch
Benefits: Stretches upper shoulder and back
1. Lift your arms in front of you just below
shoulder level and grab opposite elbows
2. Breathe in, and keeping your chest and rib
cage stable, exhale as you slowly move
your arms to one side, then inhale as you
move your arms to the opposite side.
3. Do 10 complete cycles.
4. Switch your grip (i.e. if your right arm came
under your left, have your left arm thread
under your left), and do 10 more cycles. You
should feel the stretch in your upper back,
which can help you avoid tightening and
Seated Twist in the Chair
Benefits: Stretches back
1. Inhale, sit up tall in your chair, and place
your feet and legs hip-width-distance apart,
being sure that your shoulders are over your
2. Exhale, and pull in and pull your lower belly
in towards spine.
3. Inhale, and place your left hand on your
right leg. (For support, you can place your
right arm on the desk, arms rests, or the
back of the chair.)
4. Exhale, and twist gently to your right as far
as you can go without moving your legs and
until you feel a gentle stretch.
5. Hold for five breaths, release, and repeat on
other side.

Closing Breathing
Benefits: Calms and quiets mind, oxygenates
1. Close your eyes, and allow your mind to
become quiet.
2. Allow your body to relax. If possible just
breathe and let go. If your mind feels like it's
racing, you may wish to imagine a place
where you have felt happy and calm.
3. Continue breathing for a few minutes (set a
timer if you'd like), then slowly open your
eyes, trying to bring a sense of calm into the
rest of your day.
4. You can breathe deeply anytime, anywhere,
so turn to your deep, relaxed breathing when you feel yourself getting stressed.
Tips and Cautions
Be sure to check with a doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Never strain; stretching too far is a recipe for injury.
Breath cues are given because breathing is a crucial component of the
relaxation response. If you find the cues confusing, simply inhale and exhale
in a slow measured manner.
To go through all the stretches you may wish to go to a quiet area where you
can close the door, if you do not have an office. Closing your eyes may also
help you create a sense of separation from your workplace.
You may wish to remove your shoes, especially if you have heels on.
Aim for consistency. Doing a little everyday (or even twice a day) is ideal.
Got Office Body? Tara Stiles 3-step yoga cure

The yoga world may be buzzing about injury, but Tara Stiles is focused on how yoga
can cure.

In her new book, Yoga Cures, which hits shelves tomorrow, the celeb yogi explains
how yoga can help ease an alphabet of more than 50 ailments, from anxiety to not
getting enough Zzzs.

The health benefits of yoga are old, but theyre new in the minds of the general
public, says Stiles. You dont have to be a super-advanced practitioner to feel
betteryou can do just a few things that can change your life.

One ailment thats super-relevant to overworked New Yorkers?
Office Bodyan unofficial but pervasive condition that includes cramped wrists,
locked-up hips, and slumped shoulders.

We asked Stiles to help treat what ails usand maybe you? Heres her simple 3-
step prescription, excerpted from Yoga Cures.

Hands and Knees Wrist Release

What it does: Stretches
wrists and fingers cramped
from too much texting and
typing, and boosts circulation
to your digits.

How to do it: Position
yourself on your hands and
knees, with a neutral spine,
wrists under your shoulders,
and knees under your hips.

Turn your right hand as far to
the right as it will go, so the
heel of your hand is facing
forward and your fingers are
facing your body. Roll your
body around slightly, getting
the stretch into different areas
of your wrist, says Stiles.

Stay with this for five, long,
deep breaths and then do the
other side.

Lizard Pose

What it does:
Seriously unlocks
those office-chair
hardened hips.

How to do it: Start in a
low lunge, with your
right leg forward. Then
move your right foot
toward your right hand,
with toes pointing
forward, and lower your
back knee to the

If your hips feel super
tight, stay here and
breathe, says Stiles.
If your body allows
you more room to work
within this pose, gently
lower your forearms to
the ground.

Hold for ten breaths,
then repeat on the
opposite side.

Lizard Twist with Ankle Hold

What it does: Opens up your hunched
shoulders and rounded back, and gives your
spine a nice twist.

How to do it: From your lizard, if there is
room in your body without feeling tense,
bend your back (left) knee, spin your torso
toward your right (in the direction of your
front leg), and grab your left foot with your
right hand, explains Stiles.

Pull your foot towards your hips gently, and
stay for three deep breaths before repeating
on the other side.

6 anti-aging yoga poses to keep you young
Want to stay younger, for longer? Yoga can help get you there starting with
these six anti-aging poses.
By Kat Tancock
Staying young with yoga
Mentally, getting old isn't so bad. Physically, it seems like it's all downhill after 18.
We lose flexibility, balance and strength especially once we hit our 30s and the
aches and pains pop up out of nowhere.
Want an easy way to keep your body in top shape as the decades roll by? Yoga
might be your answer. It's a low-impact way to strengthen and stretch and can be
done anytime and just about anywhere. We asked Toronto yoga teacher Christine
Felstead (our model for these photos) to guide us through some poses that will slow
the aging process.
Ideally, do the whole sequence a few times a week up to daily at whatever time of
day fits your schedule. Start by doing each pose for about five deep breaths and
increase from there when you feel ready. If the whole sequence is too much, work
the poses into your routine wherever they might fit. And if you're feeling stressed
something that's guaranteed to make you get older faster or need a break during
the sequence of poses, try child's pose, pictured at left. Knees can be together or
wider apart, and arms alongside the body as pictured or out in front. Focus on the
breath moving in and out of the body, and let yourself relax.
As always, if you have any concerns about starting a new routine, speak to your
doctor. And a qualified yoga teacher will be able to answer any questions about the
details of the poses. And don't forget to breathe!
1. Equal standing
Felstead says this pose will help you develop
awareness of postural tendencies.
In bare feet, stand on a yoga mat or the floor with
feet parallel and together or hip-width apart, arms
hanging at sides.
Focus on the feet and how your body weight is
distributed. Without lifting the soles of your feet off
the floor, shift forward, backward and side to side to
move your body weight until you bring it to centre.
Moving your attention up the body, feel that your
hips are stacked over ankles and shoulders over
hips. Move the chin back so that the skull is balanced
on the spine. Aim to find an equilibrium that means
you're using as little muscle strength as possible to
Imagine that a string is pulling you up from the crown of your head. Notice if you're
slouching and stand up straighter, without overengaging any muscles such as the
Change it up: Close the eyes and notice how your balance changes. Or try doing the
pose in front of a mirror and compare how you feel with how straight and even you
2. Tree pose
Balance is notoriously more difficult as we age,
says Felstead. Tree pose is a simple balancing
posture that will help you maintain your abilities.
Start in equal standing posture, then shift most
of your body weight into the left foot and leg.
Bring your hands to prayer position in front of
the chest.
Come onto the toes of the right foot and open
the right hip and leg.
If your balance is unsteady, keep your right
toes on the floor, right heel against the inside of
the left calf. If you feel stable here, lift the right
foot off the floor and place against the inside of
the left calf or thigh, being careful not to press
against the knee.
Take a few breaths, then slowly lower and
repeat on the second side.

Change it up: Challenge your balance by reaching the arms above the head or by
looking up toward the ceiling.
3. Squat
Strong thigh muscles will help protect the knees
from pain and injury, says Felstead.
Start in equal standing posture with feet
together and arms at sides.
Keeping the knees and feet together, sit back
as though you were going to sit in a chair. Only
go as far as you are comfortable and balanced,
but do try to challenge your muscles. To protect
the knees, make sure they're behind the toes
and not moving forward.
At the same time, reach the arms straight in
front of you to help with balance.

Change it up: If it's easier to balance, you can do this pose with feet hip width apart
just be sure the knees are pointed in the same direction as the toes and not caving
inward. Play with how deep you can go while maintaining an erect spine and happy
4. Downward dog
A classic and well-known yoga
posture, downward dog improves
upper-body strength, promotes a
healthy spine and stretches the
back body.

Start on hands and knees, with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips.
Fingers should be spread wide and engaged, with middle fingers pointing forward.
Look behind you and check that feet are about hip width apart.
Curl under the toes and reach the tailbone toward the ceiling. At this point, keep the
heels high off the floor and keep a gentle bend in the knees.
Gently straighten the knees and lower the heels toward the floor (it's unlikely that
they'll touch) until you feel a soft stretch in the back of the legs and in the back. If it
feels too strong, bend the knees again until you're more comfortable. The very
unflexible might want to take their feet a bit farther apart.
Rather than dumping all the weight into the shoulders, aim to balance it between
hands and feet. Engage the hands and arms as though you were reaching forward
with your hands. Bring the belly button toward the spine and engage the core rather
than sinking at the ribs.
Change it up: To work flexibility, especially in the morning, pedal your feet so that
you're stretching one leg then the other. If you feel strong enough and your
shoulders are happy, you can gently flow from downward dog straight into plank
5. Plank
This pose works your upper body
and core strength, both of which
can decline as we age.
Start on hands and knees,
making sure that wrists are
directly under shoulders and
hands are engaged.
For level one, walk back on
your knees until there's a fairly
straight line from knees to
shoulders. Bring your belly
button toward the spine and use
your core muscles to keep the
hips from sinking. Make sure the
wrists are still directly under the
For level two, come off your
knees and onto your toes so that
the entire body is in a straight
line from shoulders to heels.

Change it up: If this pose hurts the wrists, come down onto the forearms instead,
with hands clasped and elbows under shoulders. Once level two gets easier,
challenge yourself by lifting alternating feet for a breath or two each.
6. Seated twist
Twists promote a healthy spine
and can relieve back muscles
tight from too much sitting.
Sit in a comfortable cross-
legged position with spine
upright. If you find yourself
uncomfortable or slouching, try
placing a folded blanket, cushion
or yoga block or bolster under
your hips.
Inhale and sit up as straight as
possible. On the exhale, twist
gently to the right, starting the
movement from the base of the
spine and letting it flow upward. As you move, place the left hand on the right knee
and the right hand behind you for balance. Move the head last and only as far as it
can comfortably go without strain.
On each inhale, lengthen the spine you will likely move slightly out of the twist.
On each exhale, gently twist deeper.
Return to centre on an inhale, then repeat on the left, making sure to switch the
crossing of your legs first.
Get the Glow: Five Yoga Poses That Give You
Great Skin
By Vicki Santillano

If theres one thing seasoned yoga
practitioners are known for (other
than the impressive and slightly
alarming ability to bend their bodies
in all manner of directions), its
great skin. Think of instructors
youve encountered or enthusiasts
you know in real lifeits likely they
all have similarly youthful, radiant
skin. Is it the deep, restorative
breaths and meditative state that
keep wrinkles at bay, or is it the
focused flows of movement that
challenge the body and increase
As it turns out, the answer is a little
of both. Practicing yoga does
wonders for the mind and body. As
skin guru Dr. Nicholas Perricone wrote in The Clear Skin Prescription, It is the
perfect exercise for people who lead busy, stress-filled lives who want to look and
feel their best. Yoga in general improves skin health by reducing stress (a common
catalyst to breakouts and fine lines) and removing toxins from the body. In fact, there
are certain asanas (poses) that are especially good at this, and therefore especially
good for the skin. I spoke with two Los Angelesbased yoga instructors, Lisa Paskel
and Mary Fanto, to find out the best ways to get a yogic glow.
The Best Asanas for Your Skin
Before going into skin-advantageous poses, its important to note that these
shouldnt be performed without warming up the body first. I would never tell anyone
whos not warmed up to go into a spinal twist or an inversion, warns Lisa Paskel, co-
founder of Yoga Shelter. That could cause injury, especially for beginners unfamiliar
with the poses in the first place. Even the simpler ones should be done slowly and
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
This easy standing pose allows you to focus on deep, rhythmic breathingan
essential element of healthy skin. Most adult humans barely breathe into their
throats, Paskel explains, [but] getting oxygen in the body is the number one thing.
Yogis and yoginis believe that drawing oxygen into, through, and out of the body
releases harmful toxins and keeps vital systems running optimally.
Step by Step
Stand with the bases of your big toes
touching, heels slightly apart (so that your
second toes are parallel). Lift and spread your
toes and the balls of your feet, then lay them
softly down on the floor. Rock back and forth
and side to side. Gradually reduce this swaying
to a standstill, with your weight balanced evenly
on the feet.
Firm your thigh muscles and lift the knee
caps, without hardening your lower belly. Lift the
inner ankles to strengthen the inner arches, then imagine a line of energy all the way
up along your inner thighs to your groins, and from there through the core of your
torso, neck, and head, and out through the crown of your head. Turn the upper
thighs slightly inward. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor and lift the pubis
toward the navel.
Press your shoulder blades into your back, then widen them across and release
them down your back. Without pushing your lower front ribs forward, lift the top of
your sternum straight toward the ceiling. Widen your collarbones. Hang your arms
beside the torso.
Balance the crown of your head directly over the center of your pelvis, with the
underside of your chin parallel to the floor, throat soft, and the tongue wide and flat
on the floor of your mouth. Soften your eyes.
Tadasana is usually the starting position for all the standing poses. But it's useful
to practice Tadasana as a pose in itself. Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute,
breathing easily.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
This one is difficult if your hamstrings are especially tight (hence the importance of
warming up first), but luckily, you dont have to touch the ground or keep your legs
pin-straight to get the poses skin benefits. Even if you just bend over at the waist,
close your eyes, and let your head hang youre clearing everything out and your
blood is switching directions, says Mary Fanto, an instructor at U Studio Yoga. She
suggests trying that for one minute a day and working up to five.
Because forward-bending poses fight against gravity by turning the head toward the
ground instead of toward the sky, Fanto refers to them as fountains of youth. Blood
flows into the face faster, bringing with it oxygen and other helpful nutrients that fight
free radicals, encourage skin cell renewal, and give the visage a rosy glow.
Uttanasana is the easiest of the forward bends; those who practice yoga regularly
can also try Downward-Facing Dog and the hip-opening Childs Pose.

Step by Step
Stand in Tadasana, hands on hips. Exhale
and bend forward from the hip joints, not from
the waist. As you descend draw the front torso
out of the groins and open the space between
the pubis and top sternum. As in all the forward
bends, the emphasis is on lengthening the front
torso as you move more fully into the position.
If possible, with your knees straight, bring
your palms or finger tips to the floor slightly in
front of or beside your feet, or bring your palms
to the backs of your ankles. If this isn't possible, cross your forearms and hold your
elbows. Press the heels firmly into the floor and lift the sitting bones toward the
ceiling. Turn the top thighs slightly inward.
With each inhalation in the pose, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with
each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. In this way the torso
oscillates almost imperceptibly with the breath. Let your head hang from the root of
the neck, which is deep in the upper back, between the shoulder blades.
Uttanasana can be used as a resting position between the standing poses. Stay
in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. It can also be practiced as a pose in itself.
Don't roll the spine to come up. Instead bring your hands back onto your hips and
reaffirm the length of the front torso. Then press your tailbone down and into the
pelvis and come up on an inhalation with a long front torso.
Bharadvajas Twist (Seated Twist)
Both Fanto and Paskel say that twisting positions are great for digestive health,
which is important for moving toxic properties out of the organs. Anytime youre
clearing your body of waste, its better for your skin, Fanto says. However, simply
twisting isnt enoughdeep, cleansing breaths are a necessary component to the
pose. If you dont follow up with really good breath and water, then the toxins get
released, but then they get trapped, Paskel points out.
Step by Step
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in
front of you. Shift over onto your right buttock,
bend your knees, and swing your legs to the
left. Lay your feet on the floor outside your left
hip, with the left ankle resting in the right arch.
Inhale and lift through the top of the sternum
to lengthen the front torso. Then exhale and
twist your torso to the right, keeping the left
buttock on or very close to the floor. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor to keep
the lower back long. Soften the belly.
Tuck your left hand under your right knee and bring your right hand to the floor
just beside your right buttock. Pull your left shoulder back slightly, pressing your
shoulder blades firmly against your back even as you continue to twist the chest to
the right.
You can turn your head in one of two directions: continue the twist of the torso by
turning it to the right; or counter the twist of the torso by turning it left and looking
over the left shoulder at your feet.
With every inhalation lift a little more through the sternum, using the push of the
fingers on the floor to help; with every exhalation twist a little more. Stay for 30
seconds to 1 minute, then release with an exhalation, return to the starting position,
and repeat to the left for the same length of time.
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Challenging poses like Chair make the heart beat faster, increasing the circulation of
blood flow throughout the body and prompting the skin to sweat out impurities. Chair
pose lengthens and strengthens the thigh muscles. Warrior I and Half Moon Pose
are more advanced poses that also work the legs.
Step by Step
Stand in Tadasana. Inhale and raise your
arms perpendicular to the floor. Either keep the
arms parallel, palms facing inward, or join the
Exhale and bend your knees, trying to take
the thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as
possible. The knees will project out over the
feet, and the torso will lean slightly forward over
the thighs until the front torso forms
approximately a right angle with the tops of the
thighs. Keep the inner thighs parallel to each other and press the heads of the thigh
bones down toward the heels.
Firm your shoulder blades against the back. Take your tailbone down toward the
floor and in toward your pubis to keep the lower back long.
Stay for 30 seconds to a minute. To come out of this pose straighten your knees
with an inhalation, lifting strongly through the arms. Exhale and release your arms to
your sides into Tadasana.

Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose)
Inversion poses include some of the hardest, most advanced postures in yoga and
shouldnt be attempted by anyone who hasnt been practicing for some time (or any
female menstruating, for that matter). Inversions such as Headstand and Shoulder
stand (known as the king and queen of asanas, respectively) increase blood flow to
the face. They also require clear focus, regular breathing, and a great deal of
enduranceall of which help to clean out the body. Viparita Karani is a less
challenging version of Shoulder stand that supposedly aids everything from digestion
to insomnia.
Step by Step
The pose described here is a passive,
supported variation of the Shoulderstand-like
Viparita Karani. For your support you'll need
one or two thickly folded blankets or a firm
round bolster. You'll also need to rest your legs
vertically (or nearly so) on a wall or other upright
Before performing the pose, determine two
things about your support: its height and its
distance from the wall. If you're stiffer, the
support should be lower and placed farther from
the wall; if you're more flexible, use a higher support that is closer to the wall. Your
distance from the wall also depends on your height: if you're shorter move closer to
the wall, if taller move farther from the wall. Experiment with the position of your
support until you find the placement that works for you.
Start with your support about 5 to 6 inches away from the wall. Sit sideways on
right end of the support, with your right side against the wall (left-handers can
substitute "left" for "right" in these instructions). Exhale and, with one smooth
movement, swing your legs up onto the wall and your shoulders and head lightly
down onto the floor. The first few times you do this, you may ignominiously slide off
the support and plop down with your buttocks on the floor. Don't get discouraged. Try
lowering the support and/or moving it slightly further off the wall until you gain some
facility with this movement, then move back closer to the wall.
Your sitting bones don't need to be right against the wall, but they should be
"dripping" down into the space between the support and the wall. Check that the
front of your torso gently arches from the pubis to the top of the shoulders. If the front
of your torso seems flat, then you've probably slipped a bit off the support. Bend your
knees, press your feet into the wall and lift your pelvis off the support a few inches,
tuck the support a little higher up under your pelvis, then lower your pelvis onto the
support again.
Lift and release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften
your throat. Don't push your chin against your sternum; instead let your sternum lift
toward the chin. Take a small roll (made from a towel for example) under your neck if
the cervical spine feels flat. Open your shoulder blades away from the spine and
release your hands and arms out to your sides, palms up.
Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place.
Release the heads of the thigh bones and the weight of your belly deeply into your
torso, toward the back of the pelvis. Soften your eyes and turn them down to look
into your heart.
Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Be sure not to twist off the
support when coming out. Instead, slide off the support onto the floor before turning
to the side. You can also bend your knees and push your feet against the wall to lift
your pelvis off the support. Then slide the support to one side, lower your pelvis to
the floor, and turn to the side. Stay on your side for a few breaths, and come up to
sitting with an exhalation.

8 Yoga Poses For Glowing Skin

Moisturizers, night creams, face packs, peel off masks, toners, massage creams,
scrubbers and gels; everything is stacked up on your dressing table. Have I left out
something ladies? These are all, right? We use these beauty products to get that
wonderful glow. But needless to say, nothing has worked out yet. We keep
wondering how on earth these Celebrities manage to keep the glow of their skin on
for years. Magic or expensive cosmetics? No, the name of the magic is yoga. Yoga
is the answer to all physical, mental and spiritual development.
Dull and loathsome skin besides being the result of external sources like unhealthy
lifestyle also happens due to mental conditions like stress and unhappiness. It is
easy for people when they say to throw away all stress but we alone know how
difficult that is. Yoga helps out effectively when it comes to reducing stress and
First well give you some yoga exercise that will help you to calm your mind drop
down all stress.
Yoga For Glowing Skin
1. Breathing exercise:
Control your breathing through
counts that will rejuvenate your
mind and that is what makes this
pose of yoga for beautiful skin so
Sit on the floor with legs
Close your eyes, relax
and breathe normally.
Now breathe in deeply
through both nostrils with
the count of 10.
Hold your breath, again by
counting 10.
Count another 10 to
release the breath.
Practice this breathing
technique for 5-10
This breathing exercise will help you control your mind and you wont get stressed
out easily.
2. Shirshasana (Headstand):
Shirshasana is a bit difficult pose but is
great if you want to maintain a long-lasting
glow and healthy look in your face. Since
you are standing on your head, blood
starts flowing downwards, thereby
improving blood circulation in your face.
By reversing the flow of gravity, a
headstand simulates a face lift by letting
your skin hang in the opposite direction,
which means getting rid of wrinkles. The
inverted position of a headstand also
flushes fresh nutrients and oxygen to the
face, creating a glowing effect on the skin.
Place a yoga mat on the floor.
Beginners may use a few stacks of
blanket or anything that is a bit soft
and will give proper support to your
Sit on the floor in kneel-down
position. Remember your teachers
punishing you asking you to kneel down. Keep your spine straight and keep
your hands on your knees. Take a few normal breaths and relax.

Next bring your hands in front of you on the mat or blankets (whichever you
may be using), elbows on the floor and interlock your palms. See above

Next position your head in between your interlocked palms. Refer to the
above picture. Be careful not to hurt yourself. Take a few relaxing breaths
before we move on to the next step.

Next try lifting up your body in a mountain position. Start with your knees, lift
your hips and now you are supporting this position with your forearms, head
and your toes. This is like a downward dog pose. See picture above.
Balancing up till this position does take a lot of stamina, but with practice you
will be able to do this. Balance yourself till this step and proceed again when
you are totally comfortable with this pose.
This step requires a bit more test of your balance. Now that you have partially
balanced on your head, lifted up your hips and standing on your toes, try
lifting up one leg off the floor slowly and steadily. To make it easier, walk your
feet towards your head, unless you feet would naturally want to lift off.

Now that you have lifted one leg, try lifting the other leg too. This will require a
lot of strength on your arms and hand. But with practice, youll be able to
master it. Beginners can ask friends to help them in balancing or you may
also take support of the wall.
To come down, bend your knees and curl down or bring down one leg and
then the other as you had gone up.
Relax in a kneel-down posture with some deep relaxing breaths.
3. Halasana (Plough pose):

Lie down on your yoga mat straight and relaxed. Put your arms by your side
with palms facing the floor.
Now slowly lift up your legs from the floor such that a right angle is formed
between your upper and lower torso. Push floor with your hands so that it gets
easy for you to lift your legs. Breathe and relax.
Next bring your legs more towards your upper torso and slowly lift your hips
off the floor supporting and balancing yourself with your hands.
Continue lifting your legs and bring it beyond your head as much as possible
so as to touch the floor beyond your head with your toes.
At this point, lift your back further so that now only your shoulder and your
head is resting on the floor.
Now your back has formed an arch. Straighten your spine and support the two
sides of your waist with your hands, elbows on the ground. Breathe normally.
Hold posture for 15-30 seconds before returning back to normal position.
Refer to the below picture for a clear step by step understanding.

This is a wonderful pose of yoga for skin glow!
4. Dhanurasana (Bow pose):
In this asana, your body should pose like a bow.

Lie down on your belly with hands by your side with palms facing upwards.
Bend your knees to bring the heels near your buttocks.
Now take your hands back and grasp your ankles. Rest your body weight on
your abdomen.
Now pull your ankles more with your hands. As your pull your ankles more,
your upper torso automatically rises. And now your body looks like a bow.
Keep your breathing normal.
5. Bharadvajasana (Twisted seated pose):

Sit on the mat cross-legged with both hands extended on the mat on both
your sides.
Inhale deeply and strengthen your spine.
Shifting your left hand from the mat place it on your right thigh and twist your
torso to the right. Exhale when you twist your body.
Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Now turn your torso to your left while placing your right hand over your left
thigh. Stay for another 30 seconds.
This asana is great for anti-aging.
6. Sharvangasana (Shoulder stand):

This asana invoves the whole body, hence the name Sharvanga.
7. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation):

The mother of all yoga asanas. Surya Namaskar involves 12 postures.
This yoga poses de-stresses, removes toxins and is a great relaxation exercise. So
you can obviously expect your skin to glow if you practice this regularly.
8. Shavasana (Corpse pose):
Lie down straight on the floor with your eyes closed.
Relax thoroughly and throw out all negative thoughts and tension, be it your
office pressure or any disturbance in your family. Think good and positive.
Now, stand up straight and firm with your legs apart. Cover your face with
your hands and take 10 quick breaths.
Rub the skin on your eyes, forehead and face. Again take 10 quick breaths.
Then rub entire face with your fingers. Breathe properly at the count of 10.
Youll feel all your stress and tensions have disappeared. Technically Shavasana
should be practiced after having done all yoga asanas. It is like a concluding asana
for your yoga session.
8 Yoga Exercises For Stretching Your Body
Yoga is all about stretching your body in
different forms and meditation. When
you see a book on yoga, all the pictures
given are of yoga gurus stretching their
hands, legs, backs, upside down
pictures and what not. Dont they look
out of reach? But you know what guys;
its not as tough as it looks. With regular
and committed practice, who knows you
may even start yoga sessions at your
home. So dont worry, we are going to
teach you some yoga exercises for you
to begin with.
So if you have made up your mind to
begin practicing yoga for a good health,
whats better than start some good
stretching exercises? If you choose
stretching exercises as you basic yoga
routine in the beginning, it helps to
increase your flexibility, tones your
muscles and also prepare your body for
more strenuous and advanced yoga
Some stretching exercises for beginners:
1. Tadasana (Mountain pose):
This asana is easy to do and very beneficial. It increases body suppleness,
strengthens your spine, legs and arms. This asana is also believed to help in height
gain. If practiced right form childhood, it is extremely beneficial.
Stand straight with your
feet together and spine
straight with hands by your
side palms facing the
Now clasp both your palms
with your fingers and as
you inhale deeply,
lengthen your spine while
taking your hands and
stretching them above your
head. Your palms should
be facing the ceiling.
Lift up your heels and now balance yourself by standing on your toes.
Standing on your toes, stretch your entire body as much as possible.
After you have stretched yourself, return back to stand on your feet bringing
your hands down. Exhale.
2. Tree pose:
A beginner pose, this yoga posture is helpful in strengthening your calf muscles and
your entire legs. It also improves your balance.

Stand with your spine straight holding your hands together in a Namaste
stretched over your head.
Your feet should be kept together.
Once you have positioned yourself, now lift your right leg bent at the knees
and place the sole of your right feet on the inner thigh of your left leg. The
knees of your right leg should be outwards.
Close your eyes and stay in this posture for 30 seconds.
Breathe normally.
Repeat with your left leg also.
3. Janu Shirsasana:
A seated yoga posture, it strengthens your overall body by stretching the shoulders,
arms, legs and hamstrings. It also stimulates the kidneys and liver and also improves
your digestive system. This head to knee stretch also is beneficial if you have high
blood pressure.

Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
Now fold your left leg at the knee and bring the left foot closer to the
innermost part of your right thigh.
With the right hand extended forward, hold your right foot.
Inhale deeply and extend your spine.
Exhale and bend forward to touch your forehead to the knee.
Stay for 15 seconds.
Repeat with the other leg too.
In this asana with each inhale, you extend your spine and with exhalation, you bend
further forward. However if you are facing difficulty in stretching with legs straight,
you may even bend your knees slightly to get into posture.
4. Cow and cat pose:

This two poses are done together in continuity.
Sit on the floor with your knees.
Bring both your hands in front of you supporting yourself on your palms facing
the ground.
Keep your back flat like a table top.
Look towards the floor such that your neck is aligned to your spine.
With a deep inhalation, lift your buttocks towards the ceiling and look up. Let
your belly drop.
Now again exhale and return back to the table top position.
From here directly you can plunge into the cat pose.
For this, lift your back towards the back towards the ceiling and pull your
abdomen in.
Tuck your head between your arms.
Both these poses are beneficial for your spine and can also cure back and neck
5. Trikonasana (Triangle pose):

Stand with your legs about 3 feet apart.
Now raise both your hands keeping it at a straight line with your shoulders.
Bending towards the right side, touch the toes of your right leg with the fingers
of your right hand. Alternatively some yoga schools may also teach you to
touch the toes of your right leg with your left hand fingers.
Raise the left hand towards the ceiling and look up towards your left hand.
Hold position for a minute.
Repeat the same with the left side too.
6. Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved triangle pose):
This inverted triangle or revolved triangle pose strengthens your back and improves
body balance.

Stand with both legs stretched out on both sides.
Now lift up both your hands keeping them linear with your shoulders.
Turn your torso towards the right and touch the right foot with your left hand.
The right hand should be upwards and the fingers pointing outwards. Look
towards the fingertips.
Stay for 30 seconds.
Release and put your arms in a straight line with your shoulders.
Now repeat with the other side too.
7. Adhomukha savasana:
Also known as the downward facing dog pose in English, Adhomukha savasana is a
good asana for beginners. Easier to perform, this asana increases blood flow to your
face and neck that gives your skin a lovely glowing look. As this is an inverted asana
done against gravity, it boosts your mental confidence and reduces stress and

Stand on the floor with all four limbs and knees. Your legs should be
positioned directly underneath your hips and your arms underneath your
Your palms should be facing the ground and get a proper grip by spreading
out your fingers well.
With a deep inhalation, sink your stomach in.
Supporting yourself with both palms and toes, lift your knees off the floor.
As your knees come off the floor, automatically your tailbone starts rising up
to the ceiling.
Stretch your spine and legs as much as possible such that your tailbone is
pointing upwards and your body now assumes the shape of an inverted V.
Hold this pose for 5 breaths.
8. Side stretch:
Very simple to do and one of the basics of yoga routine, this exercise is believed to
increase height and also help you get rid of love handles.

Stand straight keeping your feet grounded at a 2 feet distance from one
Keep your spine aligned with your neck.
Place both hands on your waist with the four fingers facing forward and the
thumb backwards.
After you are in position, now start bending to the right side as much as you
can. Hold for 5 seconds and then bend to the left side again.
Repeat 15 times.
These above basic stretching exercises are great for your overall physical
development. These exercises stretch and strengthen your muscles, gives you
power of enduring and give your body a lot of might. The best part of these exercises
is that even your kids can practice these. Kick start your day with these simple
exercises and within a few days your body will be ready to adapt to advanced forms
of workouts.
Look Younger With YOGA- 3 Anti Aging Poses
Anyone Can Perfect
by Clare in Exercise
Always be camera ready with glowing skin. But before you strike a pose, strike a
yoga pose, or two, or three. Not necessarily right before, of course. Bring out
naturally radiant skin while hiding your real age through Yoga. Yes, you can look
years younger with just a few simple poses. You dont have to be a stretching expert
to reap the benefits that yoga has to offer. So here are 3 simple anti aging poses
that even beginners can perfect.
1. Start by kneeling.
2. Keep your knees as wide apart as
about your hips.
3. Rest your behind on your heels and
let the rest of your body follow.
4. Ribs should be resting on your
5. Forehead should be on the mat.
6. Arms should be stretched out on the
Hold for 10 deep breaths.
Childs Pose actually helps keep away and even reduce wrinkles! How? If you
notice, with this pose, your head is lower than your heart. This means that there will
be more circulation in the face area.
Did you know that being in the Childs Pose for only 15 minutes is equivalent
to getting one whole hour of sleep? That means that it is good for your skin,
boosts your immunity, and totally helps get rid of stress.
Other Health Benefits of Childs Pose:
Relieves tension in back, shoulders, and chest.
Relieves lower back pain.
Relieves neck pain.
Flexes abdominal organs.
Stretches the spine.
Stretches hips and thighs.
Stretches muscles and ligaments in knees.
1. Start by lying down on your stomach.
2. Next, you want to bend your knees and use your
arms and grab your ankles.
3. Balancing on your stomach, flex your feet.
4. Naturally, your torso will follow. Keep your head up
and look straight. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
5. Release and go back to first position
6. Rest your head by looking to the side.
Strike a pose, strike a YOGA pose
So, just how is the Floor Bow Pose supposed to help you combat age? Well, your
body gets older as the years pile on. Your chest may begin to cave in and your
upper back may start to round or hunch. This pose actually slows the whole
process. Doing it religiously will give you a nice strong body with perfect upright
posture at any age.
Other Health Benefits of Floor Bow Pose:
Strengthens back muscles.
Improves posture.
Stretches hips, thighs, and ankles.
Stretches abdomen and chest.
Stretches throat.
Flexes abdominal organs.

1. Start by lying down with your back
flat and arms resting on the side.
2. You want to arch your back, while
keeping your bum on the floor using
your hands and forearms as support.
3. Naturally, your shoulders will be lifted
and you want the crown of your skull
to touch the mat.*

*There should be very little weight on your head. Use hands and forearms for
Hold for 5 deep breaths.
Doing the Fish Pose is like natural botox. It firms the skin from your face to your
neck by toning the muscles in those areas.
The Fish Pose is especially great for people with asthma. It generates more
oxygen to your lungs.
Other Health Benefits of Fish Pose:
Strengthens back muscles.
Improves posture.
Tones the kidneys, intestines, and stomach.
Tones the nervous system.
Opens up the lungs and heart.
Yoga for a Beautiful Body
A leaner you in no time
If you long for an even
more gorgeous and
graceful body, "theres no
better way to get it than
through a yoga routine,"
says certified yoga
instructor and personal
trainer Kristin McGee.
"This series not only
works your entire body,
front and back, from toes
to fingertips, but it includes
strengthening, twisting,
and balancing. Youll
sculpt, get grounded, and
build confidence."

Repeat the routine (on
both sides) 3 to 5 times
itll take about 20 to 30
minutes totalat least 3 to
4 times a week. As you
master the poses, youll begin to notice amazing changes both inside and out.
Awkward Chair
Stand with feet together
and abs contracted.
Exhale as you push your
hips back to squat down
as if sitting in a chair; at
the same time, lift your
arms by your ears. Arms
should be shoulder-width
with palms facing and
fingers pointing toward the
ceiling. Hold for 5 to 8

High Lunge
Keeping arms raised and
abs tight, step your left
foot back and lower into
lunge position so front
knee is bent at 90 degrees
and directly over your
ankle. Hold for 5 breaths.

Downward Dog
Lower your hands to the
mat on either side of your
front foot and step your
right foot back so its even
with your left. Straighten
your legs and push into
your hands and feet as
you lift your hips toward
the ceiling. Move your
shoulders away from your
ears and draw your front
ribs in toward each other.
Hold for 5 breaths.

Lower your hips, coming
onto your toes and moving
your torso forward until
your shoulders are directly
over your hands. Your abs
should be tight, with your
body in a straight line from
head to heels. Hold for 5

Low Plank
Keeping your body in line,
inhale and bend your
elbows to 90 degrees to
lower yourself toward the
floor. Hold for 1 breath.

Upward Dog
With hands still in place,
inhale and slowly lower
hips toward floor (try not to
touch). Untuck toes and
push gently into hands,
straightening your arms
and lifting your chest. Hold
for 1 breath.

High Lunge Twist
Tuck your toes and push
into your hands, lifting
your hips toward the
ceiling to return to
Downward Dog.

Step your right foot
forward between your
hands into lunge position,
then lift your chest and
bring your hands to prayer
position; twist your torso to
the right, bringing your left
elbow to the outside of
your right knee; look to the
right and up. Hold for 5 to
8 breaths.

Half Moon
Return to center and drop
your right hand to the floor
about 10 inches diagonally
in front and outside of your
right foot. Raise your left
arm, pointing fingers
toward the ceiling as you
straighten your right leg
and lift your straight left
leg into the air, foot flexed
and pointing to the side;
look up at your left hand.
Hold for 5 breaths.

Revolved Half Moon
Turn your left toes toward
the floor so hips are even;
drop your left hand to the
floor and twist your torso
to the right, lifting your
right hand to the ceiling.
Look up at your hand (or
as far to the right as is
comfortable). Hold for 5

Standing Split
Return to center, dropping
your right hand to the floor
so its even with your left
hand. Lift your straight left
leg as high as is
comfortable; hold for 5
breaths. Return your left
foot to the floor next to
your right, then slowly
round up to standing.
Push hips back to lower
into Awkward Chair and
repeat whole sequence on
the opposite side.

A 5-Minute Yoga Routine for Strong, Slim Arms
Want toned shoulders, biceps and triceps? Flow through this 5-minute routine.

Strength through yoga
By Kristin McGee
My new clients are often
skeptical when I tell them
yoga is one of the best
ways to build upper-body
strength. They think they
have to spend hours in the
gym pumping iron to get
sculpted arms. Not so!
The truth is, yoga in
general and this sequence
in particular can do the
job. The moves engage
every part of the arm.
Plus, supporting your own
body weight is great
strength training.

Hold each pose for 5
breaths, and complete the
entire series 5 to 8 times.
Do 3 to 5 of these
workouts a week to tone
up and gain muscle in just 14 days. You might never lift another free weight.
Downward Dog
Kneel on all fours with
hands directly under
shoulders. Tuck toes
under and exhale, lifting
hips toward ceiling. Move
shoulders away from ears,
drawing front ribs in; push
into hands and feet.

Inhale, lowering hips,
coming onto toes and
moving torso forward, with
shoulders directly over
wrists. Contract abs and
straighten arms; keep
body in line from head to

Side Plank
Exhale, rotating torso and
stacking right foot on top
of left. Press torso up
(body in straight line) with
abs tight. Raise right hand
up, fingers toward ceiling;
gaze up or forward.
Inhale; return to plank.
Repeat on other side.

Exhale, keeping body in a
straight line and bending
elbows to 90 degrees
while lowering toward
floor. Contract abs; be
careful not to round
shoulders forward.

Upward Dog
Inhale, lowering hips
toward floor. Untuck toes;
push into hands,
straightening arms, lifting
chest and engaging abs.
Hug shoulder blades
together and down away
from ears. Exhale, lifting
hips to return to
Downward Dog.
Best Yoga Poses for Your Trouble Spots
Yoga moves that help you tone and slim your belly, butt, legs, and hips.
By Amy O'Connor
Say ommmm if you love
yoga! Anecdotal evidence
and research suggest this
ancient fitness practice
has endless health
benefits, from boosting
heart health to alleviating
anxiety. And yes, getting
bendy can make you
slimmer and more
beautiful too. Yoga burns
calories, battles cellulite,
and may make you look
and feel younger. No time
to get to class? No
problem! Click through for
some of the best moves
for every body part now.

Upper Arms
Dolphin Pose

How to do it: Chant "bye-
bye batwings"! Begin on
your hands and knees,
then lower your elbows to
the floor, shoulder-
distance apart. Interlace
fingers, tuck your toes,
and press hips up to
create a long line between
elbows and sitting bones
(aka your butt). Slowly
squeeze your upper arms
inward to work biceps,
triceps, and shoulders.
Breathe and repeat.

Abs and Lower Belly
Boat Pose

How to do it: Celeb yogini
loves this move! Sit up
high and straight, hands
beneath your knees.
Slowly tighten your abs
and lift your feet off the
floor, knees bent, with
your legs at a 45-degree
angle. If this feels easy,
straighten your legs and
arms. Breathe and slowly

Downward Dog Split

How to do it: Begin on
hands and knees. Take a
big breath out and push
into Downward Dog by
straightening legs and
lifting your hips and butt in
the air. Relax head
between straightened
arms. Exhale and lift one
leg as high as you can into
the air, flexing foot.
Repeat on other side.

Cow Pose

How to do it: This move
looks relaxing but is one of
the toughest hip
strengtheners and
openers. Start on your
hands and knees, and
slide your right leg back to
cross over your left leg.
Gradually sit back
between your heels, using
a rolled up towel or block if
you cant sit on the
ground. Hold as long as
you feel comfortable, then
switch legs and repeat.

Your Chest
Plank Pose

How to do it: Thin of this
move as the top half of a
push-up: Start with your
hands and knees on a
mat, hands directly under
shoulders and knees right
below hips (if this is hard
on your wrists lower your
arms and rest on elbows).
Lift up and straighten legs.
Tighten your abs and keep
your eyes on one spot in
front of you.

Love Handles
Side Plank Pose

How to do it: From plank
position, press your right
hand into a mat and turn
your body so your weight
is on the outer edge of
your right foot. Brace your
core and keep your arms
elevated over your head.
Option to bend your leg
and place it behind you for
support, or, if youre super
fit, to rock a few mid-air
crunches like our model
Jillian Michaels!

A Strong Back
Locust Pose

How to do it: You already
know how bad sitting all
day at a computer or in
your car if for your back.
This pose strengthens and
stretches the muscles in
your lower back and along
the spine. Lie facedown,
press your legs together,
and lift legs off the floor.
Then lift your arms straight
back behind you and lift
your chest, coming into a
mini-Cobra in the front.

Yoga for Your Jiggly Bits
Muffin top? Bat wings? Bra bulge? Banish all your problem parts with this
superfirming routine.
Firm up
By Su Reid-St. John
We all have one or two
problem areas that are
hard to firm uphello,
chicken armsbut that we
long to get rid of for good.
Solution: this fun, flowing
yoga routine designed to
tone your toughest bulges
while giving you loads of
energy. (Just want to
focus on a single trouble
spot? Look for the move
or moves for that area,
and hold the pose for as
long as you can.)

This Vinyasa-style routine
was created by Mark
Blanchard, the Los
Angelesbased yogi
behind the popular True
Power Yoga DVDs whos
helped shape the bodies of Jennifer Lopez, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu. Follow
his 25-minute sequence 4 times per week, and in 3 weeks youll be much firmer all
over. Now thats worth unrolling a mat for!
Mountain Pose

Stand tall with feet
together, equal weight on
both your feet, arms by
sides. Inhale and exhale
through your nose 5 times.

Standing Forward Bend
Stretches back and legs

Inhale as you reach your
hands up toward the sky,
then exhale and bend at
the waist to fold over your
legs, reaching toward the
ground (hold your calves,
if it feels comfortable;
shown). Hold for 5
breaths, concentrating on
lifting your quadriceps
(dont lock your knees)
and letting your upper
body hang.

For muffin top and bat
wingsExhale as you put
hands on the ground
(bend your knees, if you
need to), and walk your
feet back to Plank position
(shown here). Your feet
should be hip-width apart,
with your hands directly
under your shoulders.
Keep your belly firm and
hips lifted as you press
through your heels. Hold
for 5 breaths.

Low Plank
For bat wings and flabby

Inhale as you bend your
arms to lower to Low
Plank position. Hold for 1

Upward-Facing Dog
For bra bulge and back fat

Exhale as you lower your
body to the mat, with
hands still under your
shoulders and the tops of
your feet on the mat.
Inhale as you press up
through your hands to
Upward-Facing Dog, lifting
your knees if youre able
(shown at left). Keep your
shoulders down and away
from your ears, chest
open, and fingers spread.
Hold for 3 breaths.

Downward-Facing Dog
Stretches back and legs

Inhale as you tuck your
toes and push back up
into Low Plank, then
exhale as you lift your hips
and thighs and straighten
your arms (dont lock your
elbows), moving into
Downward-Facing Dog
position (shown). Keep
your hips lifted high as you
press your heels down.
Hold for 5 breaths.

Warrior 1
For pudgy hips

Keeping your hips square,
inhale as you lift your right
leg back, then bend your
knee and step your right
foot forward. Come to
standing with your left foot
turned out 45 degrees and
left heel centered behind
your right foot. Face your
hips forward and stretch
down over your right leg,
arms reaching down on
either side of the leg.
Bend your right knee to 90
degrees, and lift your arms
up overhead (hips still
facing forward) into
Warrior 1 position. Hold
for 1 breath.

Warrior 2
For low-belly pooch

Inhale as you straighten
your right knee, then
exhale as you bend it
again, twisting your torso
toward the left and
lowering your arms so that
the right arm is straight out
in front of you and your left
arm is straight out behind
you (shown above). Hold
for 1 breath.

Extended Triangle
For flabby thighs

Inhale as you straighten
your right leg and hinge
forward at the hip to come
into Extended Triangle
pose, bringing your right
hand to your shin, ankle,
or the floor and raising
your left hand straight up
into the air. Hold for 1

Lifted Triangle
For love handles

Keeping your legs strong
and belly firm, inhale and
reach both hands forward.
Bend your right knee and
reach your right shoulder
toward it, then straighten
your leg as you raise back
up. Bend and straighten 2
more times, then turn your
chest toward the ground
and fold over your straight
right leg; hold for 5 breaths.
Inhale as you bend both
knees, and return to Plank
position. Hold for 1 breath.
Do steps 310 on the left
side, then repeat the whole
series (steps 310 on each
side) 2 more times.
Chair Pose
For saggy butt and flabby thighs

From Plank position,
inhale as you step your
right foot forward, followed
by your left. Slowly rise
halfway up, lifting your
chest and bringing your
arms overhead. Sink back
into your hips (be sure to
keep your knees behind
your toes), as if sitting in a
chair (shown). Keep your
back straight, and tuck
your tailbone. Hold for 10

Standing Chest Lift
For back fat

Inhale as you slowly return
to standing. Exhale as you
wrap your hands around
the top of your hips and
butt with your thumbs at
your tailbone. Lift your
chest as you gently push
your elbows back and in
toward each other,
bringing hips forward and
arching your back. Hold
for 5 to 10 breaths.

Yoga for boosting female fertility
One of the most important questions a woman may ask is which yoga pose would
help her in increasing her chances of conception? There are certain specific poses
that can assist the body of a woman in getting pregnant faster. But before a woman
starts this yoga exercise she must consult with her health practitioner. Otherwise
yoga may affect a womans fertility adversely. Yoga is always practiced on an empty
stomach. Or, at least two hours before or after eating. There are many yoga poses
that help in increasing fertility of women.
Lotus pose

The lotus pose is used to increase fertility power of a women. It also contributes in
releasing stress and is even used during meditation. To do this pose perfectly, sit on
the floor with legs crossed having left shin over the right. Place fingertips on the floor
near to the hips and use these fingers stretch back in upward direction. Place hands
on knees with palms facing up. Let shoulders and jaw to relax. Relax every muscles
of body mentally. Start observing thoughts and feelings when they arise at
consciousness. Inhale and exhale slowly, and pay attention towards its rhythm. Sit
quietly in same position for as long as possible. To come out of this pose, take a long
breath, open eyes slowly, wiggle toes and fingers and smile. There is no need to
practice it again in a single day. Complete this pose in single attempt only. This pose
stimulates the spine, pelvis, abdomen, and bladder. Which will help to ease
menstrual discomfort and sciatica. This pose dont have any side effect. Pregnant
women can also practice this pose in any of the trimester. With continuous practice
the lotus pose meditation will show its effect within a month. However, its effects will
be shown at a gradual pace.
Legs-up-the-wall pose

Among all the yoga poses for fertility, this pose is most popular and is loved by many
women. The legs-up-the-wall pose helps to release stress which is locked in the
lower back. To do this pose, rest legs on the wall. Keep arms, shoulders and head
as shown in picture. At this position, allows legs to relax by bending the knees. This
would ultimately allow the pelvic and abdominal muscles to relax completely. Inhale
slowly with the help of abdominal muscles. Stay in this position for at least 20
minutes. Repeat this pose 2-3 times. One fact that demands attention is that this
pose should not be practiced during menstruation cycle. Try to keep away from this
pose at this time. It would be most effective if practiced right after having sex as it
would encourage the sperm to penetrate deeper and deeper into female
reproductive organs. This will ultimately make fertilization easy by allowing sperm to
meet ovum. This pose shows its effect gradually after continuous practice for a
month. The pose do not have any side effects but it is recommended to practice it
under doctors guidance.
Supported bridge pose

To do this pose, begin with a sitting position and slowly roll down until body lie on
back completely. Bend both the knees one by one and make sure that the feet are
flat. Face direction should be towards the ceiling. Place arms out to the side. The
tailbone of body should be slightly tilted towards the navel without straining your
back. Move the feet toward buttocks. Slowly push the buttocks above the floor. Hold
both the hands behind the back or place a pillow underneath. Start breathing slowly.
Stay in this pose as long as it feels comfortable, minimum of 3-4 breaths. To come
out of this pose, lower the hips on floor, roll slowly at one side with the help of arm.
Try 3-4 times daily. This yoga pose for fertility brings a stimulating energy into the
body and increases blood supply to pelvic organs like ovaries and the uterus, which
ultimately help in fertilization. This yoga pose must not be practiced during
menstruation cycle.
Hero pose

There are many types of grounding yoga poses are available in yoga world, but this
pose is one of the easiest pose to execute. This pose helps in energizing the lower
body part of women. That ultimately brings power to mind by increasing the
concentration and focus ability. This pose also helps in releasing any kind of fear. To
do this pose, sit on the knees, lift buttocks slightly so as to move feet apart, pace
them at the either side of the buttock. Keep the knees closed to each other. Place
the palm of hands of the lap. Stretch torso up and look straight, start inhaling and
exhaling slowly and stay in this pose as long as possible. Continue this pose for 3-4
minutes. After one attempt, take a break of a minute and then again go for it. Try it 4-
5 times daily. Women can also practice this pose in menstruation cycle. There is no
harm in practicing this pose. Continuous practice of this pose will be effective within
a span of 10-15 days.
Cobra pose

There are many yoga poses that brings vitality and energy to the reproductive
organs of a female. This pose is quite similar to other poses which helps to increase
the blood circulation to the ovaries and uterus. Try following this pose with your face
lied down keeping feet together and toes pointing at the back of the body. Place both
palm of hand flat on the floor absolutely close to the body and beside rib cage.
Inhale, while inhaling gently push off hands, lifting chest and head off the ground. Tilt
head back as shown in a picture. Push chest and body in upward direction as well as
forward direction, this will help in straining the back. Continue this step for as long as
possible. Exhale and move the head towards the floor. Try this pose as many times
as you can. But, do not practice much in a single day. Try to increase number of
turns with every coming day. Women can also practice this step while menstrual
cycle. The pose doesnt have any side effect. However, it is important to consult a
doctor before practicing it especially during second and third trimester.
Wide angle pose

Like all other yoga poses, this pose also helps in relaxation and bringing positive
energy to the uterus. This pose also helps in opening the pelvis. Lets try this pose,
sit on the floor with keeping legs wide apart. Do not stretch legs too much, stop
stretching at a comfortable position. Try to focus on releasing the tension from legs.
Lean forward and go as down as possible, if its hurting give support with the help of
pillow. Close your eyes and breath gently. Keep spine and neck long and straight.
Try to keep in the same position for 5-10 minutes. Try to do this pose regularly.
Women who are undergoing their periods are requested not to do this pose.
Pregnant women can also practice this pose but with the help of doctors advice
only. Within a month, a woman will feel relaxed and her pregnancy will not cause any
Bound angle pose

All the above yoga poses increases flexibility, but the bound angle pose will help
women in stretching their hips and thighs. By this pose, a women can increase blood
circulation to the pelvic area which would further increase fertility and would help to
get relief from menstrual pain. To do this pose, sit with legs straight out in front. Bend
knees closer to the body. Pull heels towards pubic bone. Put knees to the side as
shown in picture. Do this pose slowly, find a comfortable position and stay in it for 5-
10 minutes. The sole of feet should come together. Hold the ankles or toes and be
comfortable. Keep your back straight and lift breast bone slightly in upward direction
while lowering the shoulders. Stay in this position and breathe for several times.
Regular practice of this pose will do wonders to increase the blood circulation. Try to
practice it 4-5 times daily. The effect of this pose will be seen after regular practice
only. Pregnant women can try this in her first trimester, but in second and third
trimester consult with doctor and then only go for this pose. This pose dont have any
side effect but avoid it during periods.
Relaxation pose

This is one of the most relaxing pose in yoga. One can start yoga practice with this
pose and also end up with it. This pose will let the mind to connect with the body.
This will add tremendous healing power to the body. Practice this pose every day for
at least 20 minutes. Begin by lying on the floor and just relax. At the time of relaxing
the body, let the jaw become loose. Close eyes and pay attention to the breathing
patterns. While inhaling, feel the abdomen as it is lifting upward. During exhalation,
feel abdomen going down. Continue this type of breathing for 5-6 times and then
breath normally. This yoga pose will not have any side effect over anybody. This is
the yoga position that one can practice even in third trimester of the pregnancy. This
pose is essential and must be practiced at least one time everyday. This would help
to increase the stamina for fertilization.
The childs pose

During pregnancy, back pain is common problem. This pose will provide a gentle
stretch for the hips, thighs and ankles. This would be of a great help in getting relief
from back pain. To do this pose, make body structure like downward facing dog and
drop the knees to the floor. Try to spread the knees as much wide as possible.
However, keeping toes touching. Bring the belly to rest between the thighs and touch
forehead to the floor. Stretch the arms in front of body with the palms toward the
floor. Try to be in same position for around 10 minutes. Try to do this pose everyday.
Avoid this pose in second and third trimester. Consult with a doctor before practicing
this pose. This pose will not be harmful in first trimester of the pregnancy. During first
and second month of pregnancy, the effects can be seen while breathing. This pose
will lower down the back pain.
Best yoga poses for coping with menstrual
For any female, getting menstruation is not just a sign of fertility but also of her
health and overall fitness. Therefore, irregularities or problems with the menstrual
cycle is not just a condition, but rather a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Menstrual problems such as PMS- premenstrual syndrome, amenorrhea- missed
period, oligomenorrhea-having a period every now and then and dysmenorrhea-
extremely painful periods may be indicators of different physical problems, including
psychological stress, tumors, hormonal issues and uterine fibroid or poly cystic ovary
syndrome. So, every female must practice some yoga poses and make yoga a part
of her daily regime to cope with menstrual disorders, irregular periods and to reduce
the chances of infertility. These yoga poses need just a few minutes from your
routine and they can help you not just deal with menstrual disorders, but will also
make you fitter, flexible and healthier.
Cat pose

The cat pose or bidalasana is a major yoga pose that every woman must perform
even if she doesnt have menstrual problems. This pose helps a female to initiate
movement from the center of the body, thereby helping you concentrate on your
chakras and enabling inner well bring. This pose is responsible for the alignment of
you center by positioning your pelvis. Also, it helps the spine to straighten itself up,
increases the blood flow and removes toxins from your body. This easy to perform
yoga asana requires you to first place the hands directly beneath and shoulders. The
knees must be positioned directly beneath the hips. The back shall be horizontal and
flat. Keep your eyes gazing on the floor. Now, extend you spine and keep the front
and back strong. Dont sag the shoulders. Press each arm downward and lift the
shoulder as high as possible. Practice the movement several times to get the correct
action. Now, take a deep breath, exhale and turn your hips into a tilt. Pull the
abdominal muscles backward and tuck the tailbone. Press the middle of your back
towards the ceiling and round the spine. Curl the head inward. This pose will make
your abdominal muscles contract and helps to manage stress. It also helps in
dealing with Premenstrual syndrome, irritability and manage strong behavior
because of hormonal changes.
Bow pose

Bow yoga pose or Dhanurasana is an effective yoga pose for women who have
menstrual problems particularly irregular periods or extremely painful periods. This
pose strengthens abdominal muscles and spine thereby reducing menstrual pain
and dealing with irregularities in menstrual cycle. It is also beneficial for women with
PCOS or poly cystic ovary syndrome and helps in toning up the body. To do this
pose, firstly, you should lie on your stomach, keep you arms on side and the palms
must face upwards. Now, bend the knees and bring the heels close to the hips. Take
your arms back and grasp the ankle. Your body weight must be concentrated on
stomach and not pelvis. Raise your knees further by pulling the ankles with hands.
Make sure that you breath regular and your legs should not go back. Initially, this
exercise will require some extra strength from your side, so you must practice it more
often. Make sure you have a yoga mat. Alternate this exercise with cat pose.
Cobra pose

Cobra pose is an excellent asana for any woman facing menstrual irregularities or
struggling with any sort of menstrual problems. This pose is also beneficial for
females who have low back pain before or during periods. The pose is easy to
perform, relaxes your body, strengthens shoulders and arms. To perform cobra pose
or bhajungasana, you must start by lying on your belly and resting your head on
lower arms. Now, raise the forehead while looking upwards and stretch your hands
backwards. At this moment, the weight must rest on your chest. Tilt the head
backwards and start to move your belly further backwards while pulling it with your
arms. The weight should slowly shift from chest to belly. Once you cant raise your
chest any further, put your hands on the mat. Stretch your arms to create a 90
degree angle with the floor. Remember, while doing this exercise, your buttocks
must be relaxed. Inhale while you move upwards, hold the position for 10-20
seconds and then exhale. Initially, women may feel pain and uncomfortableness in
the lower back, but this will go after a few days. Practice the pose at least 8 times
along with the first two poses.
Seating pose

Dandasana or sitting pose is the basic yoga pose for all sitting poses. The asana
increases flexibility, balances hormones in the body and can be performed by a
beginner. It is a natural treatment for cysts in the ovaries that cause missed periods
or late periods. To do this staff pose, you must sit with the legs outstretched on a
yoga mat. The legs should be in the front. Now engage the thigh muscles and feet.
The heels can come a few centimeters above the floor. Remember to keep you
spine long and erect. The hands must rest on the side with palms facing. During the
advanced stages, women can work harder and move the feet above the ground. The
exercise works on thighs, abdomen and helps in dealing with painful periods.
Practice this along with other poses like cobbler pose, lying cobbler pose and
breathing techniques like kaphalbhati.
Cobbler pose

This pose is specifically for women who have dysmenorrhea or painful periods. To
do this pose, first sit in dandasana. Now, bring the soles of your feet together,
keeping your knees bent. Hold the toes with your hands and pull them closer to your
pelvis. Make sure that you maintain the pose and keep your back erect. Breathe
deeply and slowly. Maintain the pose for at least one minute. Return to the original
position. This pose must be repeated 2-3 times and must be practiced five days a
week. During this pose, any female must remember to keep her spine erect
otherwise the pose will not help in curing painful periods. Practice this asana along
with breathing technique calling kalapbhati that involves deep inhalation and
sudden exhalation while contracting the abdominal muscles.
Cobbler pose in lying position

This pose is great for females who have problems with blood pressure that can
cause menstrual irregularities. It is also beneficial for teenage girls who still havent
developed a regular menstrual cycle pattern. To do this asana, you must first sit in
badhha konasana or the cobbler pose. Now, slowly lie on the back with your back,
shoulders and head touching the floor. Use your hands to hold the ankles and pull
them up. This might be quite difficult initially, so you pull them only to the position
where it is comfortable. After some practice, you will be able to pull them up to the
anal region. Now, put the hands below thighs and the palms must face upwards. Try
to touch the knees to the floor. This can be done with regular practice. Maintain the
pose for about a minute and repeat 2 to 3 times.
Heros pose

Most of the women may have menstrual disorders because of stressful lifestyles.
This can make them more stressed out and worried. Therefore, this pose must be a
part of any womans exercise region as it helps in eliminating stress and tension,
improves digestion and minimizes the effects of PMS. To do this pose, firstly take a
yoga mat and kneel on the mat while keeping your spine erect. Now, make sure that
the hips rest between the feet and the toes must point backward. Keep your hands
on the knees. Maintain this pose while breathing normally. You can also perform this
pose after eating food as it can improve digestion and help in dealing with cysts or
fibroid. Sit in this position once a day for at least 5 minutes.
Heros pose in lying position

This pose is particularly recommended for women who have low back problems due
to menses or those who have irregular periods. A teenager can do this asana to deal
with hormonal changes associated with puberty. To perform this asana, firstly sit in
heros pose. Now, recline your back. Make sure that your elbows rest on the floor.
Straighten the arms over the head and the palms shall face upwards. Inhale and
exhale. Maintain the position for a few seconds and then return back to original pose
while exhaling slowly. Remember, this asana is a little difficult for the beginners so
you must take special precaution of the neck and head and perform the asana
Head to knee pose

This pose is the best pose for any kind of menstrual disorder and can help in coping
with stress, menstrual irregularities and underlying conditions behind menstrual
problems. To perform this asana, sit in dandasana or staff position. Bend the right
knee horizontally and place the right foot against the left thigh. Twist your torso
towards the left while making sure that your back is straight. Exhale and bend the
trunk and arm forward. Hold the toes of your extended leg. Allow the head to touch
the left knee or any other part of the left leg. You will be able to contact your head
and knee after practicing of this asana makes you flexible. Maintain the pose and
breath normally. Maintain the pose for 20 seconds. Repeat the next side.
Yoga asanas in times of excessive bleeding in
For many women around the world, menstrual cycle or periods as is commonly
referred to the process is a painful experience which they had to bear every month.
Some women may be lucky to escape the pain but a large number of women are
victims of the excruciating pain. Excessive bleeding is another problem which many
women have to face during the menstrual cycle. This leads to discomfort in the
women. The pain accompanied with the heavy bleeding can disturb the normal work
of the woman. Yoga asanas can be very helpful in dealing with this problem. The
various asanas help the women in concentrating on the emotional disturbances that
are accompanied with the menstrual cycle. It also helps in gaining inner strength.
Therefore, having an in-depth knowledge about the asanas that an individual should
perform during excessive bleeding is helpful for the well-being of the individual.

This exercise is extremely beneficial for women who experience excessive bleeding
during their menstrual cycle. For doing this asana, the individual would have to sit on
the ground and have to spread the legs forward. Next the right foot should be placed
on the left thigh and the left leg on the right thigh. The individual should next place
the hands on the knee joints. The individual should ensure that her body, back and
head is kept straight and the eyes are kept closed. This asana helps in improving the
concentration of the person. It also helps many women in preventing abdominal
diseases and also helps them to get rid of the excessive bleeding during their
monthly cycles.

This asana has beneficial effects on the livers, kidneys and especially the uterus.
This asana is therefore a must for women as they help in easing the menstrual
discomfort. For doing this asana, the individual must sit with her legs stretched in
front of her. Exhale and then bend forward and try to reach the feet. The individual
should never bend her knees for touching the feet. If any individual feels a slight
constriction during bending, she should straighten herself and again try to touch the
feet. The individual should hold on to the pose for some time before returning to the
normal position. Beginners may not be able to reach the feet at the first attempt.
They should not over exert themselves as that may increase the bleeding.

This is one of the meditative postures that many yoga teachers teach individuals. For
doing this asana, the individual should stretch out both her legs together. The hands
should rest by the side of the body, with the palms facing downwards and the fingers
pointing forward. Next, one leg should be folded and put against the joint of the other
legs thigh. Continue the same thing with the other leg. Then the person should put
the hands on the knees in jnana mudra. After holding the position for some time, the
individual should relax by moving the right leg first. Then the left leg should be
stretched out and both of them should be kept stretched.

For doing this asana, the individual should sit on the floor with her legs stretched out.
Next the individual should fold the left leg and bring the foot under the right hip.
Similarly, the individual should fold the right leg and bring the foot under the left hip.
Both the soles of the feet should be facing upwards. The next step involves raising
the right hand and bending it to bring it behind the shoulder. The same should be
done with the left hand and the fingers should be entwined. The spine of the
individual should be kept straight. This posture should be held for thirty seconds
before trying this on the other leg. This asana helps in getting rid of pain caused due
to excessive bleeding.
Baddha konaasana

Practicing this asana is immensely helpful for women in getting rid of menstrual
discomfort and also soothes the pain resulting from the excessive bleeding. For
doing this asana, the individual needs to sit with their legs stretched in front of them.
If the groins or hips are tight then the individual should sit with raised pelvis. The
individual should then bend in the knees and pull the heels of the feet towards the
pelvis. Then the knees should be dropped down to either side and the base of the
feet should be pressed together. The big toe of each foot of the individual should be
held by the first and second finger and the thumb. The outer edges of the feet should
be kept firmly on the floor. The individual should never force her knees down.
Instead she should release the thighbones on the floor and thereby the knees will
follow the actions.

For doing this posture, the individual should lie on her back. The hands should be
kept by the side of the body in a straight manner and the feet should be kept
together. Next, the palms should be made to face downwards and placed beneath
the body. Pressing down on the elbows, the individual should try to make her body
into an arch. The head should be dropped back so that the head touches the ground.
The weight of the body should rest on the elbows. Inhale deeply while in this
position. For coming out of the pose, the individual should lift his head and place it
gently down and then should release the arms. This posture will help in getting relief
from the back pain that is often accompanied during the menstrual cycle.
Ardha chandrasana

For beginners, one can stand beside a wall and do this pose. Standing a couple of
inches from the wall is a good option. This will help the individual from falling and will
help in gaining balance. As the individual will open the leg and raise it towards the
wall, this will act as a balance for the individual. This asana is not only good for the
uterus but is also helpful in strengthening the calf and hip muscles.

Yoga for your Period

by Alexandra Bruin
Calm Menstrual Pain
Sometimes we can feel extra-tired and cranky while "Auntie Flo" is visiting. So whats
the best way to stay cool, calm and collected during arts and crafts week at panty
camp? This restorative yoga set will have you feeling relaxed and revitalized.
1 Reclining bound angle pose

This yoga pose relieves symptoms of menstruation, mild depression and stimulates
the abdominal organs.
Start in a seated position with a bolster directly behind you and legs extended
out in front of you. As you inhale, bend your knees and pull heels in towards
your pelvis with the soles of the feet touching.
Exhale, release knees out to the side and down towards the earth. Place yoga
blocks under knees to support them and encourage relaxation, and make sure
the bolster is against your back, touching the sacrum.
Inhale and lengthen through the spine; exhale and recline back onto the
bolster. You can use a blanket under the back of your neck and head for
As you settle into the pose, make sure your entire lower back is completely
supported by the bolster; relax arms down to the sides with palms facing up.
Stay in the pose for 10 to 20 minutes. To come out of the pose: Inhale; use your
hands to help draw the knees together, then extend legs straight for a few breaths,
allowing the knee and hip joint to reset. Then roll to either side and press your way
back to a seated position.
2 Supported wide-angle seated forward bend

This pose stimulates the abdominal organs and calms the nervous system.
From a seated position, extend your legs out to a wide V-shape with
kneecaps facing straight up. Place a bolster in between your legs so it rests
snugly against the front of your pelvis.
Inhale and lengthen up through the spine. Exhale and fold forward from the
hips. Rest the torso on the bolster with one ear facing down. Be sure to switch
ears about halfway through the pose to balance the opening in the neck.
If a bolster is too low, add folded blankets to raise the height of the bolster or
use yoga blocks to support your forehead. As you relax into the pose, allow all
muscles to soften, and let your hands and arms to relax on the earth,
completely surrendering onto the yoga props.
Stay in the pose for three to six minutes. To come out of the pose, bring your hands
to the back of the knees; on the inhale, pull your knees together toward the torso,
resting the soles on the feet on the earth with knees bent. If it feels good, you can
release the knees side to side in a windshield-wiper movement to help relieve any
3 Supported child's pose

This is a resting pose that helps to soothe menstrual discomfort and relieve
symptoms of fatigue and stress. It is very nurturing and soothing to the mind.
Start in a kneeling position with knees wide and big toes gently touching. Sit
down and back so sit bones are resting on your heels. Place a bolster or stack
of folded blankets between the thighs so it rests close to the torso.
Tightly roll a blanket into a Tootsie Roll shape and place snugly into your hip
creases. Inhale and lengthen up through the spine; exhale and release your
chin toward your chest and rest your torso on the bolster with one ear facing
Be sure to switch ears about halfway through the pose to balance the opening
in the neck. Allow the back to round slightly as the rolled blankets put gentle
pressure on the lower abdomen.
Rest in the pose for 10 to 20 minutes. If the blanket roll feels like too much pressure
you can pull it out at any time. When you are ready to come out of the pose, place
hands onto the earth under your shoulders and press your way back to a
comfortable seated position.
4 Supported corpse pose

This pose reduces headache, fatigue, insomnia, and symptoms of stress and mild
depression. It helps relax the body and lower heart rate.
Lie on your back with a bolster or folded blankets under your knees and a
blanket under the back of your neck and head. Fold one edge of the blanket
thats under the head and neck so it supports the natural curve in the back of
the neck.
Allow palms to face up and relax your jaw so that the lips slightly part. Close
your eyes and completely relax.
Stay in the pose for 10 to 20 minutes. When you are ready to come out of the pose,
deepen your inhale, and wiggle your fingers and toes. Stretch out long, like a
morning stretch, then hug knees in and roll to either side in a fetal position, resting
there for a few breaths. When you are ready, use your hands to help press back up
to a comfortable seated position.

Yoga for Men (and Women)
Postures for Healthy, Stress-Free Living

By Thomas Claire

Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, August/September 2004. Copyright
2004. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.

I have selected the following yoga postures specifically for male bodywork
practitioners to incorporate into their self-care practices. While these poses can be
especially beneficial for men, women may find them helpful, too. Of course,
individuals with any specific physical concerns or complaints should check with their
primary healthcare provider before starting any bodywork activity or exercise
Uttanasana: Standing Forward Bend with Arms Raised Overhead and Behind
Bodywork is a nurturing profession. It can be especially important for male
bodyworkers to nurture themselves, reclaim their center, and practice from their
hearts. Bodywork practitioners have a tendency to spend a great deal of time
bending forward with their arms stretched in front of them as they work. This
tendency can lead to a rounding forward in the chest area. Men who work out a lot
trying to develop strong pectoral muscles may actually contribute even further to this
rounding tendency. Because male bodyworkers can benefit from an opening of the
chest and heart areas, an especially good stretching posture to incorporate into your
wellness routine is the uttanasana. Follow the directions below and try it out for
Figure 1 --Standing Forward Bend with Raised Arms
Assume an erect standing position, your feet
parallel and hip-width apart. Keeping your arms
straight, move them back behind you. Bring your
palms together and interlace your fingers behind
your back. Inhale as you arch your chest, and with
the front of your pelvic basin forward, let your neck
roll gently backward so that your nose tilts toward
the ceiling. (If you experience any neck problems,
be careful not to arch your neck backwards too
far.) Keep your arms as straight as possible, and,
if you can, your palms pressed against one
another throughout the remainder of the exercise. If this is too difficult, then simply
interlock your fingers together without palms touching. Exhale as you bend forward
from the hips, allowing your upper body and head to lower toward the floor. As you
lower your upper body, press your arms and hands out in back from you and away
from your body, keeping your arms as straight as possible. Rotating your arms from
the shoulders, press your hands as far in back of you as you can, then up toward the
ceiling, and, if possible, out over your back so they are pointing in front and away
from your body.

The model pictured in Figure 1 is experienced and accomplished in this pose. Work
within your own limit of comfort when performing this yoga stretch. With practice,
your execution of the pose may become even fuller. Bear in mind when beginning
your routine that yoga is about progress and not necessarily absolute perfection.

Breathe several full, deep rhythmic breaths when in your fullest position of
uttanasana. Feel your heart center opening and expanding as your chest, shoulders,
and even armpits expand and widen. To come out of this pose, inhale as you slowly
raise your upper body back to a full standing position while releasing your arms
down along the sides of your body. Come back to a comfortable, erect standing
position. Take several deep breaths as you take the time to be aware of how you
feel. In particular, bring your awareness to your heart and chest area. In Sanskrit,
this posture means "intense stretch." How do you feel after this intense, heart-
opening stretch? Do you feel more open and expanded? Does your breathing feel
different? Do you feel different? Do you perhaps feel more open to life's possibilities?

This pose is simple, yet powerful, and can be incorporated into your daily work life.
It's a great exercise to do in between clients. Take a few minutes every now and then
during the day to open your heart and stretch out your chest with this powerful yogic
forward bend.
Baddha Konasana: Cobbler Pose
Many men are tight in the hip area. To have the greatest mobility of movement when
performing bodywork -- whether standing as you work at a massage table or
kneeling and crawling on the floor, as in bodywork practices such as shiatsu or Thai
yoga massage -- it is helpful to be as flexible as possible in the hip area. Yoga poses
that help open the hip, pelvis, and groin area can also be beneficial for a host of
other male health issues -- helping to promote optimal functioning of a man's
prostate gland, urinary tract, and sexual organs.

One of the best yoga poses a man can do to open up the pelvis and groin area is
baddha konasana. Try this pose out for yourself for an internal as well as an external
workout. (See Figure 2)

Figure 2 -- Cobbler Pose
Baddha konasana literally means "bound
angle pose" in Sanskrit, but is more
commonly referred to as cobbler pose
because it resembles the position in which
cobblers in India traditionally sit when they
work. In addition to promoting better
bladder and prostate function, it can help
the functioning of the kidneys and
abdominal organs while stretching the
thighs and muscles of the hips and
buttocks. It can also help bring improved
tone and circulation to the sexual organs.

Begin by sitting erect on the floor, legs straight out and together on the ground in
front of you. Sitting on a carpeted or padded surface will provide greater comfort.
Place your arms straight down along your sides, with your palms pressed into the
floor. Press down on your palms to help make your spine even more erect. Slowly
flex your legs as you bend them at the knee joint, and bring the heels and soles of
your feet together in front of you. Bring your heels to within about a foot, or as close
as your flexibility permits, to the genital area. Take a moment to be aware of how
your legs feel. Do your thighs and knees comfortably touch the ground? If you're like
most men, they probably don't. If your knees are raised high off the ground and the
posture feels uncomfortable, try placing pillows, cushions, blankets, or rolled-up
towels under your thighs to support them.

Clasp the top, outside surfaces of the feet with the hands and press firmly inward so
that the soles of the feet stay firmly pressed together. Exhale as you bring your
upper body forward (see Figure 2). As a variation of cobbler pose, you can try
opening the soles of the feet -- the outer edges of the feet and heels stay together as
the balls of the feet open up like a book, with the soles opening toward the ceiling. In
either variation, relax the groin in the direction of the knees, encouraging the hips
and thighs to open. Hold cobbler pose for up to 30 seconds if you are a beginner. As
you progress in this posture, hold the position for one to five minutes.
Navasana: Boat Pose
At some point in their lives, many men will experience back pain, especially low back
pain. Back pain can be a special problem for bodyworkers who stand erect during
much of their work with their backs bent and sometimes twisted. Frequently, back
pain is caused or aggravated by weak abdominal muscles. Yoga poses that help
strengthen the abdominal muscles can be a boon for any male bodyworker. In
addition to helping relieve or prevent back pain, abdominal strengthening poses can
also help build healthy, attractive stomach muscles. Navasana, or boat pose, is an
excellent yoga pose to develop strong abdominal muscles. In addition, boat pose
can help you develop balance and poise, helpful attributes to have in virtually any
Figure 3 -- Modified Boat Pose
To perform boat pose (navasana means
"boat"), begin by sitting on the floor on a
comfortable padded surface with your legs
bent and the soles of your feet planted on the
floor in front of you. Exhale and lift your legs
off the ground. Extend them out straight in
front of you and lift them as high as you can,
pointing the toes. Extend your lower legs as
you straighten them from the knees, and point
your toes toward the ceiling. Extend your arms
and hands straight out in front of you so that
they are parallel to the floor. Balance as fully
and securely as possible on your sit-bones and see if you can form a V, with your sit-
bones forming the bottom fulcrum point of the V. (See Figure 3) Breathe naturally
and rhythmically for several rounds. When you are ready to release from the pose,
lower your legs and back to the ground.

If the full navasana is challenging for you, then try doing a modified navasana with
your knees bent and lower legs parallel to the floor.

Try incorporating these poses into your ongoing wellness routine. If you're new to
yoga, bear in mind that yoga can be fun. It's not about competition. Work within your
own edge of comfort. Yoga can be challenging, but it is not meant to be stressful.

These postures are adapted from Thomas Claire's most recent book Yoga for Men:
Postures for Healthy, Stress-Free Living (Career Press/New Page Books, 2004).

Yoga Treatment for Male Impotence or Erectile
Yoga is the very ancient technique (around 3,000 years older) that helps the human
beings to live a happy and healthy life. The origin of the Yoga is found to be from the
Asian countries and mainly from India. The etymology of the word Yoga is that it is
originated from the root word in Sanskrit, yuj, which means to connect to the God
with the help of union between mind, body, and spirit. The most important part of the
Yoga is the asanas that contribute considerably in the meditation. It has been said
that person who practices yoga is free from all the health problems and lives a very
balanced and happy life. It has been proved by the Yoga that even the most deadly
disease that cannot be treated by the Medicines, can be cured by it. Yoga even has
some asanas that could be used by the impotent men to cure the impotence.
Read more on Male Impotence Treatment and Premature Ejaculation Treatment
and also visit on Increase Sperm Count
Yoga not only cures the impotence but can be very useful in maintaining overall
health of an individual. Here are few asanas that could help you to overcome
1. Dirga Pranayama:
This method means to control the breathing. To try this method you should start with
the Pranayama and then move on to Dirga Pranayama. Take the air inside through
one of your nostrils by closing another one. Hold the air inside, count on 1 to 5
numbers then slowly release the air outside from the other nostrils. Follow the same
procedure for both the nostrils for about 3 times in a day. Keep on increasing the
number count when you take inside the air after ever week. This technique will teach
you a better self-control. You will notice stronger erections after following this
technique for about a month.
2. Surya Namaskaram:
Similar to the posture that we use while doing the dips in the workout sessions. The
only difference is that instead of going straight down, you need to follow the swinging
technique. Like a bird, you should first go back and then swing towards the front side
with head upwards. This technique is found to regulate the blood supply throughout
the body. This asanas gives man a capacity to withhold his erections for the long
3. Pawanmuktasana:
Pawanmuktasana is the wind relieving posture the helps to remove out the non-
required winds (gases) in your body. It improves the oxygen supply to all parts of the
body. Lie on your back. Hug your knees into your chest, while you keep your head,
neck and shoulders relaxed and on the floor. Hold the posture for as long as it feels
good. You can do it for a short duration for first 2 weeks and then increase the
timings. This asana relaxes the muscles and arteries in the penile region and
improves the blood circulation, which finally cures impotence.
4. Bhujangasana:
This is most important asana that stretch all your body muscles and improves your
stamina. This asana if performed regularly for about 2 months may improve your
sexual appetite and you will certainly be able to hold the erections for more time. To
do this asana first relax your body, lie of the floor facing towards the ground. Then,
place the palms on the ground underneath the shoulders. Raise your head slowly
and bend the spine backwards. Finally stretch the feet and lie in that positions for
about 10 seconds. Take in the air and release it. Practice this asana daily to get the
best results.
5 Common Yoga Mistakes
From up dog to down dog
Whether youre just a beginner or seasoned pro, fine-tuning your yoga practice can
be a serious struggle! Ask any yoga guru out there and theyll tell you that even the
tiniest of adjustments can make a world of difference when it comes to perfecting
your poses.
Shoulders aligned with wrists, knees aligned with hips, chin towards chest, chest
towards thighs... so many things to remember! It can be overwhelming trying to
master all of the intricacies that go along with each and every pose. Thankfully, thats
what instructors are here for!
Often I notice that students, both new and old, get a little nervous or self-conscious
when I or another instructor try to correct their pose. And I totally get it, Ive been
there too! I used to get embarrassed when my yoga teacher would assist me during
class, and you'd better bet I avoided eye contact at all costs when I saw he or she
headed in my direction. I mean, lets be honest, no one wants to be singled out in
class for doing something wrong.
But what Ive come to learn during my own practice, and what I try to teach my
students now, is that its impossible to learn, grow and improve without a little help.
From one yogi to another, heres some advice: Never fear correction, never be
embarrassed to receive help, never turn down help and always embrace challenges.
So the next time you spot your yoga instructor heading in your direction, dont hide in
childs pose, stand proud in that not-quite-so-perfect down dog of yours and
welcome the opportunity to not only better your practice, but better yourself.
And on that note, here are some tips on how to correct some of the most common
yoga mistakes.
Down dog
Bad dog
Rounding the back, taking too short of a stance between your hands and feet,
remaining on the tippy-toes and
not reaching the back heels
toward the floor.
Tame that dog
Make sure you have a good
distance between your hands
and feet. Your ankles and heels
want to be reaching as close to
the ground as you can get them, with the ultimate objective to get those feet flat on
the ground. It is also extremely important to push your chest in toward the tops of
your thighs while keeping your gaze toward your legs as well. This is what creates
the nice flat back, as opposed to the rounded back in the first photo.
Plank pose
Wrong way
Once again, rounding the spine too much in this pose defeats the objective, as does
lowering the hips too far to the ground and creating an arch in the spine.

Right way
The secret to plank pose is engaging your core! Keeping those abs nice and tight, try
to create as straight a line as possible with your body by lowering those hips so that
they are even with your back and spine. Also make sure that your wrists are directly
in line under your shoulders and youre on top of your toes, with your heels lifted
toward the sky. Your gaze should be a little in front of your fingertips so that your
head is in line with the rest of your body.
Fear it
Shoulders are lifted toward the ears, creating tension in the neck and spine, and toes
are curled under, as opposed to flat on the floor.
Fix it
Press the tops of the feet firmly into the ground and really lengthen the legs out
behind you. Planting your palms into the ground, one to two inches behind your
chest bones, lift your chin and chest off the ground, keeping a slight bend in the
elbows so you're not hyperextended, and pressing the shoulders toward the floor,
creating more space between your head and body. Keep your gaze lifted toward the
Warrior 2
Weak warrior
Not enough space between legs in the stance and not enough bend in the front knee
to get the most benefits out of this pose. Shoulders are also lifted toward the ears,
creating tension in the neck.
Strong warrior
Standing with a good distance between your front and back leg, create a deep bend
in your front knee, while still pushing through the back foot so that it remains flat on
the floor. Make sure that your ankle is in line with your knee so that it is creating a
straight line, as opposed to being too far in front of or behind your ankle. Keeping the
bend in your front knee, extend your arms in opposite directions, following your legs.
Lower your shoulders and press through those fingertips, keeping your gaze over
your front hand and creating a strong, powerful stance.
Tree pose
Broken branches
Resting your foot on your kneecap is the No. 1 no-no of tree pose. Avoid breaking
that branch by placing your foot above or below that knee.
Solid tree trunk
Pressing into your supporting leg, begin by bringing your opposite knee into your
chest. Once you have your balance, allow your knee to turn out to the side and rest
the bottom of your foot above your knee on the inside of your upper thigh or below
your knee on the inside of your calf. Continuing a steady breath to help focus your
mind and body, bring your hands to a prayer position at your heart, or experiment a
little by raising them toward the sky, creating branches with your arms.
The Yoga Butt-Lift
by Alexandra Bruin

How To Get A Yogi Butt
Do your cheeks hang low, do they wobble to and fro? This non-traditional yoga set is
based on yoga pulse moves that target the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and
gluteus minimus. Its a kick-butt yoga set that will lift, sculpt and tone your sweet bee-

1 The side jab

Start in a tabletop position with hands directly under your shoulders and knees
directly under your hips. As you inhale, extend the right leg back so the heel is in line
with the hip. Press through the heel as you hug the thighbone into the hip joint.
Focus on keeping the hips level and drawing your belly button toward the spine,
keeping the core strong and active through the whole set. Exhale and extend your
leg as far to the right as possible. On an inhale, draw the leg back to center and
repeat 10 to 12 times: exhaling and extending leg to right, inhaling and drawing the
leg back in. Once youve completed the set on the right side, return to tabletop and
repeat on the left side.
This move is a butt-burner that works all three glute muscles and is a good way to
connect movement with your breath.
2 Three-leg downward-facing dog pumps

From a table-top position walk knees and feet back 5 to 6 inches, tucking toes under
so you are on the balls of the feet. On an exhale, lift your sit bones upwards, bring
the body into a V-like shape downward-facing dog pose. On an inhale, raise the
right leg as high as possible; once it's up there, point your toes away from you and
try to separate your pinky toe from the rest of your toes (this is called "flointing" the
toes, and it encourages all the muscles in the legs and glutes to engage). Focus on
hugging the belly button toward the spine and keeping the shoulders level. Begin to
make tiny pumps up and down with your right foot, pulsing the foot up and down 16
to 24 times. On an exhale, return to down dog and repeat on left side.
Works the gluteus medius and core, and energizes the body.
3 Warrior II flow

From a standing position, step feet out about 3 1/2 to 4 inches, coming into a wide-
leg stance with feet parallel. On an inhale, pivot your right foot forward facing the
front the mat. While grounding firmly through the outside edge of your back foot,
begin to bend the right knee, stacking it directly over the ankle. Inhale, reaching the
arms over head, then exhale and draw the arms to a T shape parallel to the floor,
gazing over the right middle finger: this is Warrior II. Focus on rotating the right knee
towards the pinky-toe side of the right foot by externally rotating the thighbone; this
brings the glutes into action. On the inhale, straighten through the right leg by firmly
pressing the foot down and squeezing the kneecap up, engaging the quad; reach
your hands overhead and gaze up. On the exhale, come back into Warrior II, making
sure to rotate the knee toward the outside edge of the foot. Repeat eight to 10 times,
then release back to a wide-leg stance and repeat on left side.
This pose sculpts the buttocks, thighs and is a gentle hip-opener. It also is a great
way to connect movement with the breath.
4 Muffin-top Melter

Come to a seated position with the legs extended in front of you. Begin by bending
the right knee to 1 oclock position and the left knee to 11 oclock position (12 oclock
is directly in front of you). Place the hands on either side of the left knee, staying on
the fingertips as if you are cupping the earth with the hands. Focus on keeping the
shoulder blades moving together and down, lifting the sternum up and forward, and
pulling the belly button back toward the spine. On an inhale, draw the right thigh,
knee, shin and foot to float 5 to 7 inches off the ground. Try to separate the toes as
much as possible and press through the big-toe mound of the foot. On the exhale,
extend the leg; on the inhale pull the leg back in. It is somewhat similar to doing
"crunches," but you are working the external oblique (muffin-top area) and glutes.
Repeat 12 to 16 times, then release and repeat on the left side.
This pose is a challenging pulse yoga move that helps to strengthen the legs, hips
and lower back.
After finishing the yoga pulse sets, come to a neutral position, lying on your back in
corpse pose, allowing the body to completely settle and calm. Relax in corpse pose
for 3 to 5 minutes before completing your practice.
The Lowdown
Are the yoga pulse moves not cutting it for you? Interestingly enough, the glute
muscles only partially contribute to the shape of your buns; the composition of the
panniculus adiposus (fat storage location) greatly impacts whether or not you have a
saggy butt or that desired round shape. Exercise, like yoga and cardio, and a healthy
diet contribute to fat loss and a reduction of the fat storage location in the buttocks.
Be sure to support your butt lift goals by eating healthy and drinking lots of water.

Detox Yoga
by Sadie Nardini

Before the holidays is a great time to detox. It can stave off weight gain and put you
in a healthy mindset to help you resist temptation. And detoxing after the holiday re-
tox no matter how much carnage was left on that Thanksgiving dinner table, or
how much stress crept into your weekend is as easy as unrolling your mat. No
matter when or on what level you could use a little realigning, this sequence is for
Follow the how-to and photos below for this fast and effective 10-minute yoga
for detox sequence for firming up, de-bloating, resetting the metabolism and
cleansing the inner body. Ive also included a simple stress-relief tool: a heart-
clearing meditation. Use them during the holidays or any time you need to take
an express trip back to centered.
Youll do this with Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, a style I created for multi-taskers to
get more from every minute of the practice, so prepare to use my signature Core
Postures to move, play, and get your health back on track today.
You can do this sequence as a separate practice, and repeat it as many times as
you like, or insert it into your own sessions for a calorie-torching addition to your
regular yoga routine.
The Practice: Holiday Detox
Instructors note: If you are doing this sequence by itself, please warm up with 3-5
rounds of Sun Salutations, such as my Core Salutations. Breathe Ujjayi slow,
deep inhales and exhales through the nose. Keep the pelvic floor muscles, Mula
Bandha, gently lifting for the duration of the practice until the Childs Pose rest at the
Benefits of this practice: Burns calories, reduces water weight, tones thighs, rear,
abdominals and arms. Releases lower back and shoulders. Inverts and oxygenates
the body for optimal detoxifying and supports stress release. Builds lean muscle for a
higher metabolism.

Shakti Kick 1 Shakti Kick 2
Standing Shakti Kicks: Step to the front of the mat. Reach down and plant palms or
fingertips at shoulder distance. Maintain your core strength by lifting the navel and
low ribs toward the spine as you exhale and bring the right knee into the chest.
Inhale here. As you exhale, kick one foot into the air, open your mouth and strongly
sigh, roar, or vocalize as you wish to release old energy and bring in the new. Inhale
to stretch longer into the splits, and exhale knee back into the chest. Alternate 5-10
times, then switch sides.
Down Dog Splits:

From the Shakti Kicks, Plant your hands
and walk back into Downward-Facing
Dog Pose. Press hands and fingertips
firmly into the mat, and lift the right leg.
Middle fingers point forward to align the
wrists. Square the hips and face toes
towards the floor to access your navel
lift. Press energetically out through your
top heel. Pulse your leg higher 5-10

Core Plank:

From Down Dog Splits, Exhale and
sweep your right knee into the chest.
Bring your shoulders over the wrists,
and round up through the back and hips,
the higher, the better. Lift your navel into
the spine, hold, and breathe for 3-5
breaths. Alternate a few single breaths
with Down Dog Splits for the best

Twisted Lunge:

During the last Core Plank, exhale and
lightly step your right foot to the right
thumb using this higher place of
strength. Lift your back thigh up to make
space, then curl the tailbone down,
finding an inner wave from the pelvic
floor, navel and low ribs to reach up into
a high lunge. Bring the palms together at
your chest. Keep the back leg active and
pull the navel in to move the front hip
crests back. Place your left elbow on the
right knee. Maintain squared hips, and roll the top shoulder back, deepening the twist
from the heart slightly on each exhale. Take 3-5 breaths here, then return to Down

Bow Pose Waves:

From Down Dog, come forward into
Plank Pose, and lower onto the belly.
Bend your knees, and either reach for
your feet or catch hold of the outer
ankles. Maintain the shins and feet over
the thighs and press the feet back and
up as you lift the heart and shoulders
into a backbend. Inhales bring you up
higher, exhales lower your forehead
back down to the floor. Repeat 3-5 times.
Childs Pose:

From your final Bow Pose, press your
hips to heels, back rounded. Touch your
forehead to the floor or make fists under
it and rest. Breathe deeply into the back
body for 5-10 breaths or more.
After your Childs Pose, return to hands
and knees, and repeat the sequence on
the left side. When you return to Childs
pose for the final time, try the following
meditation practice.
Drop the Baggage Meditation
As you rest and breathe, take this precious moment to let go of anything youve been
carrying: stress, limiting beliefs, a critical self-image, other peoples choices. With
every exhale, allow more past resistance to release, making room for inhales of
freedom and possibility. Then go out there, and fill up with all the thoughts, words
and actions that are the most meaningful, and empowering, to you!