“Yoga the essence of life foundation” welcomes all to experience and realize the potential of their inner spirit through the power of own mind, body and soul with the help of ancient science of Yoga.

A journey to take along with Manish yogi the founder of “Yoga the essence of life foundation’. Who practices classical yoga since he was into school, is celebrating yoga teacher known for his knowledge, friendly demeanor, humor and an ability to connect with all through his magnetic persona.

October 21

Bakasana - the Crow Pose with different variations

Arm Balances in Yoga are important to build upper [...]

Balances in yoga are important and bakasana or kakasana is the most basic of all the arm balances.

If you already god the basic balance, there are a great number of variations of the crow pose that you can practice depending on your flexibility, strength, and coordination.

It's important that you don't overstrain yourself doing these balances and that's why you must follow a right preparation and warm-up before trying to practice them!


July 13

surya namaskar for beginners

Surya Namaskar can help you learn how to internali [...]

The solar plexus is the central point of the human body. It is behind the navel and connects with the Sun. This is the primary reason why many yoga masters suggest the practice of Surya Namaskar in the morning. The consistent performance of this method can boost the solar plexus. As a result, vitality, confidence, ingenuity, instinctive and mental abilities increase.

This technique of yoga can be a very good workout for the cardiovascular during a fast pace. On the other hand, it can be very relaxing and reflective when yoga postures are executed at a slower pace. Nonetheless, it is enjoyable to perform a salute to the sun either way. Your body will surely stretch and become flexible with regular practice.

February 15

17 Poses to Wake Up, Energize & Start Your Day Fresh | Yoga Sequences

Wake up and feel energized with these this morning [...]

17 Poses to Jump-Start Your Day

An energizing morning yoga practice can work as a natural stimulant to set you up for 
a productive day. This backbending sequence will help warm up the body and bring you from repose to refresh. Many of us sleep 
with the spine and hips rounded in fetal position, which is calming and introspective for rest and contemplation. In contrast, backbends stretch and extend the spine and hips and bring an energetic openness to the body, preparing you for action. Take 10, 20, or 30 minutes every morning to practice, and you’ll start your day wide-awake and full of life.

Practice Tip: Start in Child’s Pose, with your knees wide and your arms extended forward, for several deep breaths. Gather your energy and get ready to move.

Instructions: Practice once, holding each pose for 10–12 breaths or 1 minute (or 30 seconds on each side). Then repeat 2 more times, moving more quickly and taking one breath per pose.

Kick start your day with this energizing 5-pose sequence.

Have a little more time? Add these poses to your sequence. 

Finish off your morning wake-up routine with these poses—17 asanas to rejuvenate and energize.

Teacher Paige Elenson is a Baptiste Power Vinyasa teacher and co-founder of the Africa Yoga Project. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya, with her 2-year-old daughter. Model Walter Mugwe is a Baptiste Power Vinyasa teacher based in Nairobi. As an Africa Yoga Project instructor, he has taught yoga to thousands of youths in Kenya.

February 15

Our Top 3 Relaxing Yoga Poses

Ease your body and mind into the holiday vibe with [...]

Our Top 3 Relaxing Yoga Poses

Posted on: Thursday, 3 November, 2016

While planning a summer holiday can be exciting, it can have you in a bit of a tizz at the end of it all.

Most people say it takes them at least two days to unwind and settle into the holiday vibe. But, by that time, half your holiday could have passed you by – not a soothing thought.

To de-stress and settle in, try our mini anywhere-anytime-yoga session. It’s suitable for all fitness levels, and the physical poses will work to release muscular tension, while some deep yogic breathing will help get your mind and body out of fight-or-flight mode and into a rest-and-digest state.

READ MORE: The Amazing Health Benefits Of Yoga

Here are our top 3 relaxing yoga poses:

Puppy pose (uttana shishosana)

This gentle bend releases tension in your neck, shoulders, upper arms, and spine.

Step 1: Begin on all fours, with your shoulders above your wrists and your hips above your knees.

Step 2: Keeping your hips stacked directly above your knees, walk your hands forward as far as you can, allow your chest to sink toward the floor, and rest your forehead on the ground.

Step 3: Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, channelling every inhale into areas of tension, and with every exhale softening deeper into the pose as your muscles relax.

Step 4: Slowly shift your bottom to your heels and rest here for a little while before rolling up into a seated position.

Extended triangle pose (utthita trikonasana)

This is one of yoga’s foundational poses and stretches out the whole body.

Step 1: Begin by standing with your feet about three to four-feet width apart, and extend your arms out from your sides up to shoulder level (your palms should face down).

Step 2: Turn your left foot in slightly and your right foot out at 90°, turning your right thigh outward too.

Step 3: Exhale, and slowly bend your upper body from the hip to the right directly over the plane of your right leg, until your right hand touches your shin, ankle, or the floor outside of your right foot – whatever feels comfortable for you.

Step 4: Gently twist your torso to the left, stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, and turn your head to look up at your left hand.

Step 5: Hold for five deep breaths – about 30 seconds.

Step 6: Inhale to come up, pressing your back heel strongly into the floor.

Step 7: Reverse your feet and repeat on the other side.

Child’s pose (balasana)

This resting pose can help quieten the mind, easing stress and anxiety, while gently stretching out the back.

Step 1: Begin by kneeling with your legs together, sitting back on your heels.

Step 2: Exhale and lay your torso down on your thighs, resting your forehead on the floor.

Step 3: Curl your shoulders forward and let your hands rest, palms up, next to your feet.

Step 4: Feel how the weight of your shoulders pulls the shoulder blades wide across your back.

Step 5: Stay in this position for anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes.

Step 6: To come back up, lengthen your torso and then, with an inhale, lift from your tailbone as it presses down into your pelvis.

  • Lucky enough to be sailing off on the? Then, be sure to schedule in a morning of pampering at the authentic Balinese Aurea Spa on board. We love the traditional Balinese Massage ’55 (R633 for one hour) – a hands-on aromatic oil full body massage, which uses a combination of gentle stretches, acupressure, reflexology, and aromatherapy to stimulate the flow of blood, oxygen and chi (energy) around your body to induce a deep relaxation and leave you with a lingering sense a well-being.

ALSO SEE: How To Pack For Your Holiday Cruise

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February 15

Mindful Chef | 5 basic yoga poses for beginners you can do at home

Yoga will help improve physical and mental well be [...]

Yoga is a form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. Yoga is designed around a series of postures and breathing with a whole host of health benefits. It is a safe and effective way to increase your physical activity, strength and balance. We love yoga at Mindful Chef HQ and it definitely helps keep us free from the aches and pains most people suffer from being sat in a chair for the majority of the day (especially lower back pain). 

Yoga is very much about connecting to healthy habits, not only through postures and breathing but also in terms of the planet and what they put into their bodies. Most yogis will preach building a diet of whole foods and plant based foods. It is not as hard as you think to shift towards a more plant based diet just make sure you listen to your body and adapt your eating as needed. 

We are lucky enough to have a fully qualified yoga teacher as part of the Mindful family. Grace is a fantastic instructor and she has provided a list of her top 5 yoga poses for beginners that you can do from the comfort of your own home. If you’re struggling with tight hip flexors, neck or back pain, or you are simply suffering from stress why not give these poses a go and see how amazing you will feel in a matter of weeks. 

Downward Facing dog/ Adho Mukha Savansana– this is not only an integral pose for any individuals yoga practise but can also be one of the most rewarding.

Targets: Tight hamstrings (if you’re sat down all day – this will be very common)

Benefits: Strengthens arms and legs. Stretches out the hamstrings and calves

How to do it: Begin on your mat, hands on the floor, knees directly under your hips.

Spread your palms, push through thumb and index finger and turn your toes under. Connect to your breath, as you exhale lift your knees and hips up, spread your fingers apart and push the thumb and index knuckle into the ground. Straighten your legs and direct the heels towards the mat. Your feet may not touch the floor and that is ok, this depends on your flexibility in the lower back, hamstrings and calves. Lengthen the tailbone away from the pelvis creating a long and spacious spine. 

Firm the outer arms and pull your shoulders back and down, wrapping the shoulder blades around the arm pits to engage the serratus anterior. 

Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes, then bend the knees to the floor and return to Childs Pose.  

Cat, Cow Pose/  – Marjaryasana, Bitilasana

Targets: lower back and shoulders 

Benefits: Stretches out the spine, neck, torso. Provides a gentle massage to the spine and belly organs.

How to do it: Start on your hands and Knees, hands are directly under shoulders and knees are in line with the hips. As you inhale arch the back forwards leading through with the chest and on an exhale round the spine out, tucking the tailbone and looking back towards the bellybutton.

Chair Pose/ Uttkatasana

Targets: Inner thighs and ankles 

Benefits: Strengthening thighs, ankles and calves whilst stretching shoulders and chest.

How to do it: Sit your hips low (as if you were doing a half squat) and reach your arms up. Lengthen tail bone down, pull the belly in and lift the fingers up towards the celling. Rotate your thighs in and pull up through the pelvic floor muscles. With each breath try and sit a little lower and breath a little deeper. 

Eagle Pose/ Garudasana

Targets: Shoulders, chest and thighs. 

Benefits: Strengthen and stretches the ankles and calves. Stretches your thighs, hips, shoulders and upper back. Improves concentration and helps your balance. 

How to do it: Start off bringing your right arm under your left, then move your right leg over the left. Focus your eyes on something in the room straight ahead of you to balance, take deep breaths and control your breathing. One of the tricks to balancing is to squeeze the inner thighs together to get more of a sense of grounding through the hips down. Lengthen the tailbone down, pull the belly in and lift the ribs up away from the hips. Move your elbows up and away from the chest, pull shoulders back and down and hold the pose for 30 seconds. Then repeat on the other side, left arm under right, left leg over right. 

Half Pigeon/ Ardha Kapotasana

Targets: Psoas, Piriformias, hip Flexors

Benefits: Increases the external, or outward rotation of the femur bone in the hip socket. Lengthens out the Psoas muscle and stretches your hip flexors. If you don’t stretch a lot and have a fairly sedentary job this will be a major concern for you. 

How to do it: The pose we all love to hate! Start in your downward dog position, transition by lifting the left leg up, bring the left shin through towards the top of the mat. 

If your injured in your knee then the modification for this pose is to lower the left thigh down to the ground. So the weight of the body goes into the thigh, down through the hip into the ground and not into the knee. 

Rotate your left thigh out and the right thigh in. So a strong internal rotation through the back leg and a strong external rotation through the front thigh. The pelvis squares off on the mat. Do not point your toes but instead flex your front foot back, reach out through the ball of your foot and big toe.  

This pose can become very challenging for many and I would suggest holding it for a minimum of 2 minutes, as this will allow the stretch to go deeper. 

Are you looking to compliment your yoga with workouts designed to strengthen your muscles and burn fat? Take a look at our 3 workouts you can do at home in 30 minutes or less. 

February 15

Yoga Poses for Stress Relief | StyleCaster

11 yoga poses that target stress relief and weight [...]

Amazing Yoga Poses That Help You De-Stress

We’ve always known stress is incredibly unhealthy. It can make you sick, is harmful to your mental, emotional and physical well-being, and just makes daily life miserable. We want to be productive and happy, and de-stressing is a big part of that. Stress is also an enemy to weight loss.

The good news is you can battle stress and work toward weight loss simultaneously with restorative yoga. Below are some poses to help calm the mind, emotions and body. Remember to take the time to breathe, as well. It’ll help with the stress — and the poses!

Legs Up The Wall
Place your yoga mat against the wall. “Sit on the mat with your right hip flush against the wall or a foot away from if that proves to be too difficult. Supporting yourself with your arms, recline onto your back and extend your legs up the wall. Let your ankles rotate outward and your feet settle about hips width  apart. Walk your shoulders away from your ears. Turn your palms to face up. Place a folded blanket on top of your belly and an eye pillow over your eyes. Stay in this position for 5-10 minutes,” says Julie Wilcox, founder of the Julie Wilcox Method.

MORE: 8 Ways to Reduce Stress

Pigeon Pose
We store a lot of emotion, tension, and stress in our hips, so hip openers like pigeon are a wonderful way to release. This pose can be intense and uncomfortable, but just like anything, if you allow yourself to sit with that discomfort and soften into it using the breath as a guide, the sweet release will come eventually, along with all of the benefits of letting go.

“From downward facing dog, place the right knee behind the right wrist and lay the right shin down onto the mat. Untuck the left toes and then slide the left leg all the way back behind you. Be sure the left leg extends directly from the hip, and that the foot is in line with the leg. Square your hips in front of you and use a prop like a block or a blanket to prop up your right hip if needed. Release onto your forearms and drop your head onto the mat or a block. Extend your arms all the way out in front of you. Breathe deeply, in and out through the nose,” says Julie Weber, a yoga instructor at Serene Social, a rooftop yoga partner of The James New York.

When you are ready to release, walk your fingertips back up towards the hips, tuck your back toes and make your way back to downward dog. Repeat on the left.

Chair Pose
“With your feet on the floor, hip-width and parallel, bend your knees tracking them over your toes. Lengthen your arms ahead of you. Stay there for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Every time you exhale, contract in your lower belly, and on each inhalation, lengthen your side waists,” says Lauren Weisman, mind body director at exhale Santa Monica. Chair pose is excellent for strengthening your legs, glutes and upper back. It is also excellent for fat burning and for focusing your mind.

“In yoga, I find clients most easily de-stressed by a serious challenge – that way they are forced to take their mind off of their own emotions. This pose is challenging, dynamic and will increase the heart rate into a fat burning zone,” says Bizzie Gold, Founder, BUTI Yoga and a celebrity trainer.

Forward Twisting Restorative Pose
“Sit with one hip against the short end of a yoga bolster. Bend your knees in front of you, one loosely on top of the other. Slowly walk each hand to either side of the bolster and forward taking deep breaths as you lower your abdomen onto the bolster. When your whole torso is on the bolster, allow your arms to settle about inch above the top end of it with your elbow slightly bent. Turn your head toward your knees and lay the side of your face down. For a deeper twist, turn your face and deepen the rotation of your torso away from your knees. Switch sides. Hold each side for five minutes,” says Wilcox.

MORE: How to Make the Most of Your At-Home Workout

Lunge to Balancing Stick
“In the same vein as above, the challenge element inherent in this dynamic exercise set forces the student to dedicate 100% of their focus to their body and balancing. Students will move from yoga high lunge with arms extended overhead to Balancing Stick and repeat for approximately 30 seconds,” says Gold.

Forward Fold
This helps with weight loss because you are strengthening your leg muscles while lengthening your back and backs of the legs. “When you strengthen muscles, you burn more fat. You’ll also breathe and your nervous system will start to relax, which will reduce stress and therefore help you lose weight,” says Stephanie Mansour, CEO of Step It Up with Steph, a TV Personality, lifestyles coach, and certified yoga instructor.

Spinal Twists
“Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Taking your arms to a ‘T’ shape, bring your knees up to your left diagonal and stay there for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Then repeat on the other side,” says Weisman. Twists are excellent for detoxifying and for creating a healthy spine. This asana will calm you and also help your body to function efficiently.

Tree Pose
“From Mountain pose, bring your hands to your heart center, shift your weight onto your left leg and bring your right foot to your left inner thigh (left ankle will do if that’s better for you). Making sure that your hips are level, and reach your arms overhead for a challenge,” says Weisman. Tree is an excellent stabilizer for the mind and an excellent challenge for your core. Be sure to repeat on each side.

MORE: What Stress is Really Doing to Your Appearance

Plank Pose
“You’ll be working your core like crazy to maintain this pose, which will help shrink the waistline and also build confidence in yourself,” says Mansour.

Fallen Triangle Hip Pulses
“From Fallen Triangle pose, feet staggered, drop your hip down toward the floor and quickly engage the upper oblique to raise the hip back up to start position. This pose requires significant core strength, single arm balance and focus. This repetition would last approximately 30 seconds per set,” says Gold.

Reclined Bound Angle
Make an L with two blocks, one standing vertically and the other lined up from its base (this one is on the lower level). “Place a bolster over the blocks so it looks like a slide (diagonal). Sit an inch or two in front of the bolster. Recline onto the bolster, making sure that your spine is straight. Bring the soles of your feet together. If your knees are high off the ground, place two blocks under your thighs (one under each). Lay an eye pillow over your eyes. Turn your palms up and let your shoulders drape over the edges of the bolster. Hold for 5-10 minutes,” says Wilcox.

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February 15

10 yoga pose routine for a flat tummy you MUST try | TheHealthSite.com

Here are 10 yoga asanas that can help you get a fl [...]


February 15

4 Best Yoga Poses for Allergy & Asthma Sufferers | Rodale Wellness

Help condition your lungs -- thus strengthening yo [...]

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It can help boost mood, release stress, and improve flexibility, but yoga can also be your new go-to workout when it comes to battling your allgergies. 

In a 2012 study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, researchers compared lung function and diffusion capacity (how well the lungs process air) of people with asthma before and after 2 months of practicing yoga. They found that pranayama yoga breathing and stretching postures increased respiratory stamina, relaxed the chest muscles, expanded the lungs, improved energy levels, and helped calm the body.

More: 5 Essential Yoga Poses You Should Do Every Morning

When you practice yoga, especially one of the less-vigorous forms, you relax your mind and your immune system. According to Yoga Journal, the best way to use yoga for relaxation is to perform it smoothly and slowly. Further, yoga instructors discourage allergy and asthma sufferers from engaging in certain yoga forms, including Bikram or "hot yoga," which is done in a room that is at least 105°F and at 60 percent relative humidity, as well as Ashtanga yoga, which is an intense and physical yoga form.

As you practice yoga, try to steer clear of forceful breathing through your nostrils, which can be uncomfortable and difficult if you are congested. Instead, do a short inhalation followed by a long, slow exhalation, which is more calming for your body and mind.

More: How to Add Weights to Your Yoga Routine

In general, standing poses that involve forward and backward bends and twists, like the Shoulder Stand Pose and the Plow Pose, massage your spine and thoracic cage and help condition your lungs, thus strengthening your immune system. There are also a few specific yoga poses that can help with asthma and allergy symptoms: 

This pose helps your chest and lungs to open and uses gravity to drain mucus out of your nose and lungs. To perform the pose: 

1. Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides.

2. Step forward with your right foot so your feet are 3 feet apart, and bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Try to keep your back left heel pressed to the floor.

3. As you're bending your right knee, raise your arms above your head, keeping them shoulder-width apart, with your arms straight and your palms facing each other. (Your arms should be next to your ears.)

4. Inhale and exhale slowly. Hold this pose for 3 to 10 slow, deep breaths.

5. Come back to standing and repeat the pose on your left side

 

This pose eases breathing by opening your rib cage and lungs, so it will help clear your head if you have hay fever symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. To perform the pose:

1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides.

2. Place your left hand on your left hip and turn your right leg 90 degrees out to the right.

3. Extend your right arm straight out to your side at shoulder-height.

4. Bending at your waist, reach down with your right hand and place your fingertips on the floor a few inches in front of your right foot.

5. Lift your left leg straight behind you so that it is parallel to the floor, and open your hips to the left. Extend your left arm so that it is in line with your right arm. Turn your head and look up at your left hand. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

6. Slowly lower your left arm back to your left hip and look toward the floor. Slightly bend your right knee and gently lower your left leg. Straighten your right knee.

7. Come back to standing and repeat the pose on the opposite side.

Both the Shoulder Stand Pose and the Plow Pose are used to open nasal passages and help drain the sinuses. Fold two or more blankets into rectangles and stack them to create your support. You may want to place a sticky mat on top of the blankets to help your upper arms stay in place while you are performing the pose. To perform the pose:

1. Lie down so your head is on the floor and your shoulder blades are on the blankets. (The short edge of the blanket should be parallel to your arms.) Place your arms flat on the floor so they are parallel to your torso, bend your knees, and put your feet flat on the floor.

2. As you exhale, press your arms against the floor and push your knees away from the floor. Draw your thighs in toward your torso.

3. Continue to lift your legs upward by curling your pelvis, and push the back of your torso away from the floor so your knees come toward your face. Put your arms out so they are parallel to the edge of the blanket, and turn them so your thumbs are behind you and your fingers press against the floor.

4. Bend your arms and draw your elbows toward each other, then place your palms flat on your lower back and the backs of your upper arms on the blanket. Raise your pelvis over your shoulders so your torso is perpendicular to the floor. Walk your hands up your back and down toward the floor, keeping your elbows shoulder-width apart.

5. As you inhale, lift your bent knees toward the ceiling, bring your thighs in line with your torso, and let your heels hang down by your buttocks. Press your tailbone toward your pubic bone and turn your upper thighs slightly inward. As you inhale, straighten your legs and press your heels up toward the ceiling. Once the backs of your legs are fully extended, push your feet upward through the balls of your big toes so your inner legs are slightly longer than your outer legs.

6. Push your shoulderblades and the backs of your arms into the blanket support and move your chin toward your sternum. In this position, your forehead should be parallel to the floor, and your chin should be perpendicular to the floor. Try to lift your upper spine away from the floor and look at your chest.

7. Hold the pose for 30 seconds. As you get stronger, gradually add 5 to 10 seconds to the pose until you can do it comfortably for 3 minutes. To exit the pose, as you exhale, bend your knees toward your torso and keep the back of your head against the floor as you roll your back slowly down onto the floor. You may also move right into the Plow Pose without exiting the Shoulder Stand Pose.

The Plow Pose is usually performed after the Shoulder Stand Pose, for anywhere between 1 and 5 minutes. To perform the pose:

1. From the Shoulder Stand Pose, exhale and bend from your hip joints, and slowly lower your toes to the floor so they are above and behind your head and your thighs are in front of your face. Your torso should be perpendicular to the floor and your legs should be straight and completely extended.

2. Keeping your toes on the floor, lift the top of your thighs and your tailbone toward the ceiling, drawing your inner groin into your pelvis. Imagine that your torso is hanging down from your groin. Draw your chin away from your sternum and soften your throat.

3. Press your hands against the back of your torso, pushing up toward the ceiling as you press the backs of your upper arms down onto the floor. Actively press your arms down on the floor behind your back as you lift your thighs toward the ceiling.

4. To exit the pose, bring your hands onto your back and roll out of the pose as you exhale.

Adapted from Dr. Psenka's Seasonal Allergy Solution

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February 15

10 partner yoga poses for building intimacy | Well+Good

How to cultivate open communication and a strong r [...]
How to cultivate open communication and a strong relationship, on the mat and off, this Valentine's Day.
February 15

Yoga Poses for Beginners | SELF

Flexin’ like a yogi.

One simple way to improve your health is to start doing yoga. A regular practice has been show to help boost your mood, strengthen and tone your muscle, increase your flexibility, improve your cardiovascular fitness, increase your energy levels, and more.

To help you ease into your practice is Mandy Ingber, yoga instructor and author of upcoming book Yogalosophy for Inner Strength, out in May. (She’s also worked with celebs including Jennifer Aniston, Kate Beckinsale, and Jennifer Lawrence.) “I love yoga because it allows me to slow down and experience how good it feels to be in relationship to my body. It teaches me patience, acceptance, and how to receive,” she tells SELF.

Ready to love yoga, too? Here, Ingber breaks down a few (10 to be exact) of her favorite beginner-friendly poses. Don’t worry, being able to touch your toes is NOT required.

The point here is to become more familiar with the postures so you can walk into your first class (or hit play on that DVD you bought) with confidence. Consider this a primer for each posture, not a specific flow to follow. And while it’s OK if some of the poses feel a bit strange at first, stop if you feel any sort of sharp pain.

Now let your booty do that yoga…

Javiera Estrada, Courtesy Of Mandy Ingber

Cobbler’s Pose

Benefits: Stretches hips and groin and opens the lower back and pelvis

“This restorative pose allows the nervous system to relax, which is a main benefit of a good yoga practice,” says Ingber. “If sitting upright is uncomfortable, you may try the same action while sitting on a yoga block.”

  1. Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing the knees to fall open. (Put something under each knee if this is more comfortable.)
  2. Bring your feet close to your pelvis.
  3. You may remain here, or inhale and lengthen your spine. Exhale and fold forward, holding on to the feet.
  4. Hold 30 seconds or 5 deep breaths.
Javiera Estrada, Courtesy Of Mandy Ingber

Cat/Cow Pose

Benefits: Stretches the spine and helps oxygenate the body

“Almost anybody can do this posture and is important for the flexibility of the spine which is primary to yoga,” says Ingber. “It’s very easy on the body, and gets the you connected to the mobility of the hips and the pelvis.”

  1. Begin on your hands and knees. Align your shoulders over wrists and your hips over knees.
  2. Take a slow inhale, and on the exhale, round your spine and drop your head towards the floor (this is the “cat” posture).
  3. Inhale and lift your head, chest, and tailbone towards the ceiling as you arch your back for “cow.”
  4. Move through this gentle sequence 10 times.
Javiera Estrada, Courtesy Of Mandy Ingber

Mountain Pose

Benefits: Strengthens knees, thighs, calves, ankles, abs, and glutes

“Mountain pose is the mother of all poses,” says Ingber. “The alignment of mountain pose is contained within every yoga posture.”

  1. Stand with your feet together and heels slightly apart. Ground down through your feet.
  2. Spread your toes and cover as much territory as you can with your feet.
  3. Firm your thighs and drop your tailbone down towards heels.
  4. Roll your shoulders back and down. Find extension through the crown of your head, as you simultaneously push down through your feet.
  5. Hold 30 seconds or 5 deep breaths.
Javiera Estrada, Courtesy Of Mandy Ingber

Tree Pose

Benefits: Clears and calms your mind and improves balance

“This is one of my favorite balance poses to give to those just starting out with yoga,” says Ingber. “Almost everybody has tried this pose as a child and has played around with it. It’s a fun, feel-good yoga pose and isn’t too complicated. It also gives the experience of basic balance, which requires extension, fixed gaze, and connection to breath.”

  1. Stand with your feet together.
  2. Shift your weight to your left leg. Fix your gaze and hug your right knee into your chest.
  3. Open your right knee to the side and place the sole of your right foot on the side of your left calf to start. If you’d like more of a challenge, try bringing your foot to your inner left thigh as pictured. Just be sure to avoid placing your foot directly on your left knee.
  4. Press your palms to your heart or extend the arms up overhead.
  5. The key to remaining balanced is to hold your gaze and actively press the sole of your right foot into your left leg.
  6. Hold 30 seconds, or 5 deep breaths, on each side.
Javiera Estrada, Courtesy Of Mandy Ingber

Warrior II Pose

Benefits: Strengthens and stretches your legs, ankles, feet, groin, hips, and shoulders, and helps builds strength and stamina

“Most yoga classes will have this pose in the arsenal no matter what level the students are,” says Ingber. “It’s a good one to learn for that reason.”

  1. Stand with your feet wide, left toes facing forward and your left heel in line with the arch of your right foot.
  2. Bend your left knee so thigh is parallel to ground.
  3. Extend arms out at shoulder height with palms facing down.
  4. Keep back leg straight and firm and gaze toward the center of your front hand.
  5. Hold 30 seconds, or 5 deep breaths, on each side.
Javiera Estrada, Courtesy Of Mandy Ingber

Triangle Pose

Benefits: Stretches thighs, knees, ankles, hamstrings, and calves

“This standing pose helps you to get in touch with lines of energy,” says Ingber. “Imagine a line of energy shooting through each leg, the hips, through the crown of the head, and fingertips.”

  1. Stand with your feet wide, right toes facing forward and your right heel in line with the arch of your left foot
  2. Extend arms out at shoulder height with palms facing down.
  3. Push your hips back and reach forward to the right. Lower your right hand down to your shin as you reach your left arm up. You can rest your right hand on the floor, your ankle or your shin.
  4. Keep your head, shoulders, hips, and feet aligned and shift your gaze in a neutral position. Or turn your head to the left to gaze at your left hand if that’s comfortable.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds, or 5 deep breaths, on each side.
Javiera Estrada, Courtesy Of Mandy Ingber

Standing Forward Bend

Benefits: Creates length in the spine, stretches the backs of legs, and stimulates the kidneys and liver

This is a simple pose, but not always easy, explains Ingber. “It’s important to note that if you have back issues, you may want to avoid this at first, but many find that the improvements from repeating this simple posture yield measurable results,” she explains. “I like this pose, because it is an inversion without putting any pressure on the head or neck.”

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and hinge forward from your hips to fold body down.
  2. Allow your knees to bend slightly and your torso, arms, and head to dangle freely toward the floor.
  3. The crown of your head should be pointing toward the floor. If you are more flexible try straightening your legs.
  4. Hold 30 seconds or 5 deep breaths.
Javiera Estrada, Courtesy Of Mandy Ingber

Chair Pose

Benefits: Strengthens thighs, glutes, lower back, and torso, and helps improves focus

“Chair pose helps you connect to two opposing forces: gravity sinking down and extension reaching upward,” explains Ingber. “It’s a great pose for finding the subtle distribution of weight in your feet—feeling the changes as you move the weight from the front to the middle, and then back can bring awareness to how weight distribution alters the work.”

  1. Stand with your feet and knees together and sink down into a quarter squat.
  2. Inhale and sweep arms overhead by ears with your palms facing each other.
  3. Sink down even more and shift your hips back so that your knees are not pushing in front of your toes.
  4. Lift up through your sternum to bring your torso more upright. Be sure to keep your weight in your heels.
  5. Hold 30 seconds or 5 deep breaths. Note: a good way to prep for this move is to do a wall sit.
Javiera Estrada, Courtesy Of Mandy Ingber

Bridge Pose

Benefits: Stretches neck, chest, and spine, and energizes the body

This pose is a mild backbend, explains Ingber. “Any pose that is an arch will open the chest cavity and is excellent for energizing the body,” she says. “In particular, I like this backbend because when you are on the floor, and supported, it’s easy to be in proper alignment. I find this to be one of the most doable back bends.”

  1. Start on your back with your bent knees.
  2. Plant your feet on the ground, hip-width apart with toes pointing forward.
  3. Press through your feet and peel your hips off the floor. Continue to lift your hips high, but keep your feet, head, and shoulders connected to the ground.
  4. Rest your arms by your sides. If you can, roll your shoulders under your torso to bring your arms to meet. Clasp your hands.
  5. Hold 30 seconds or 5 deep breaths. To come down, release the clasp and lower your torso down one vertebra at a time.
Javiera Estrada, Courtesy Of Mandy Ingber

Reclining Twist

Benefits: Realigns your spine and stretches your back and hips

“Most yoga classes end with a twist and this particular twist is favorable because you can rely on the support of the floor,” says Ingber. “Don’t get discouraged if you can’t cross your leg completely over the other. The only difference between a flexible person and one who is not is that the flexible person has to go farther to get the same stretch. Flexibility is primarily structural.”

  1. Start flat on your back with your legs extended.
  2. Bring your arms out to the sides at shoulder level with your palms facing down.
  3. Bend your right knee. Now cross it over your left leg so that your torso is twisting toward the left. Be sure to keep your shoulders on the ground, and you may place your left palm on the outside of the right knee.
  4. Gaze over your right palm.
  5. Hold 30 seconds, or 5 deep breaths, on each side.
February 15

5 Soothing Yoga Poses for Sleep

If you're not getting quality sleep, try prac [...]

The Jawbone Blog

5 Soothing Yoga Poses for Sleep

If you’re not getting the length and quality of sleep that you would like, try practicing these 5 simple yoga poses for sleep before you get under the sheets. Yoga has a profoundly calming effect on both your body and your mind, slowing down your heart rate and allowing for a little headspace from the constant flow of thoughts. Hold each of the poses for 5-10 breaths before slipping under the covers for a deeper and more restorative night’s sleep.

1. Legs Up The Wall

Benefits

Gently stretches the hamstrings, lower back and the back of your neck. Alleviates lower back pain. Relaxes the body and calms the mind

Instructions

  1. Rest your feet up against the wall at the head of your bed.
  2. Bring your arms by your sides, palms facing up.
  3. Close your eyes and relax into the pose for 5-10 deep breaths. Notice as your belly expands on your inhalation and contracts as you exhale.

2. Seated Twist

Benefits

Increases spinal flexibility. Stretches the knees, abs, chest, shoulders and neck. Alleviates lower back pain

Instructions

  1. Sit cross-legged in the middle of your bed.
  2. Place your left hand on your right knee and your right fingertips a few inches behind you.
  3. Inhale, sit up tall. Exhale, twist to the right from the base of your spine–looking over your right shoulder.
  4. Stay in the pose for 5 deep breaths–inhaling to lengthen and exhaling to twist a little deeper.
  5. Come back to centre on your last exhalation and switch your legs for the other side.

3. Folded Butterfly

Benefits

Stretches the inner thighs, groin, hamstrings, knees, upper and lower back. Opens up the hips. Releases tension in the neck and shoulders. Alleviates back pain. Relaxes the body and calms the mind

Instructions

  1. Bring the soles of your feet together in the shape of a diamond and let your legs fall open. Inhale, sit up tall. Exhale, fold forward and completely relax your upper body–arms, neck and head.
  2. Close your eyes and relax into the pose for 5-10 deep breaths–breathing deep into your abdomen.
  3. To come out of the pose, take a deep breath in. Exhale, gently come back up to sitting, bring your legs out in front of you and give them a shake.

4. Child’s Pose

Benefits

Stretches the upper and lower back, glutes, knees and ankles. Relieves anxiety, stress and fatigue. Alleviates back, shoulder and neck pain. Relaxes the body and calms the mind

Instructions

  1. Come to all fours, touch your big toes together, sit back on your heels and rest your forehead on the bed. Bring your arms by your sides, palms facing up and let go of any tension across your upper back and shoulders.
  2. Stay in the pose for 5-10 breaths.
  3. To come out of the pose, take a deep breath in, bring your palms to the bed and press up to kneeling on an exhalation.

5. Happy Baby

Benefits

Opens up the hips. Stretches the groin and hamstrings. Alleviates lower back pain. Relaxes the body and calms the mind

Instructions

  1. Lie on your back, take hold of the outsides of your feet, bring your ankles out over your knees, flex your feet and gently pull them towards you.
  2. Press your lower back into the bed.
  3. Close your eyes and stay in the pose for 5-10 breaths, rocking gently from side to side

Photo credit: Sean Reagan

 

About The Author

Abi Carver is a Yoga Instructor and Personal Trainer. She is the founder of Yoga 15, a comprehensive program of 15-minute yoga videos designed to improve flexibility, strength, mobility, balance and mental clarity. The app for the program (available for iOS) also now works with UP. Her routines are ideal for time-pressed men and women, keen to stay fit and healthy despite a hectic schedule. Born, raised and trained in the UK, her career has spanned Europe, South America and Asia. She teaches in person and online, all over the world. Follow her on Instagram.

February 15

6 easy yoga poses for kids - Today's Parent

Whether it' a frog or a camel, here are some fun a [...]

Whether it' a frog or a camel, here are some fun animal-themed yoga poses for kids.

February 15

6 Yoga Poses That Help Reduce Anxiety | The Chopra Center

The never-ending flow of information from news sit [...]

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6 Yoga Poses That Help Reduce Anxiety

The never-ending flow of information from news sites and social media feeds can cause even calm people to feel anxious or stressed. It’s no wonder that some 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Many alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda can help; follow these five yoga poses to get your anxiety under control.

Nadi Shodhana in Padmasana (Seated Lotus Pose)

 

 

Anxiety typically affects your breathing first. When you feel threatened or have received information that causes anxiety, you start to breathe shallowly, faster, or you might hold your breath altogether. Nadi Shodhana (Alternate nostril breathing) is a way to control your breathing and ensure that oxygen-rich blood gets to your brain.

Sit in Padmasana, lotus, or any seated cross-legged position and make sure your spine is tall. If you’re already feeling the effects of anxiety, you may want to ground yourself by sitting against a wall with pillows under your knees. Start with your left hand facing up on your lap. Take your right hand and bring the index and middle fingers in between your eyebrows to rest there as a shelf. You will alternately close your right nostril with your thumb and your left nostril with the inside of your ring finger. At times you will hold both nostrils.

Begin by inhaling deeply through both nostrils and exhaling deeply through both. Then, hold the right nostril and inhale through the left only and count to two. Hold both nostrils closed and count to six. Let go of the right nostril only and count to four. Then inhale through the right for two, hold both for six and exhale through the left for four. Repeat the whole process for about two minutes.

To prepare for your anti-anxiety yoga poses, have the following yoga props: a mat, two yoga blocks or small pillows, a bolster or rolled up towel, an eye pillow or rolled up hand towel, and a blanket.

Viparita Karani (Legs Up on the Wall Pose)

 

 

For this pose, make sure you have an open wall space and a rolled up towel or yoga bolster. Start seated sideways to the wall with your knees; one hip should be touching the wall. Swing your legs vertically up onto the wall as you lie down on the floor. Place your rolled up towel or bolster underneath your hips at the area of the sacrum. Allow your legs to extend completely upward with your toes facing the ceiling. Bring your arms out to the sides resting slightly below your shoulders. If you’re feeling anxious, face your palms downward toward the floor. If you’re feeling vulnerable, place a blanket over you. You can remain in this pose between 5 and 15 minutes.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

 

 

Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Make sure your feet are parallel and your arms are alongside you with the palms facing the floor. Press down on your palms, raise the pelvis upward, and squeeze your bottom. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths. You can support your bridge pose with a yoga block. Place the block underneath the sacrum just above the tailbone. Allow your lower back to rest on the block.

This inverted posture will bring oxygen-rich blood to your brain, which has a calming effect.

Balasana (Child’s Pose)

 

 

Start by sitting on your heels. Bend forward with your arms outstretched and bring your torso to the mat. If your knees are bothersome, open them wide like a letter “V.” You can also wrap your arms alongside of you with the palms facing up. If this pose still isn’t comfortable, place a pillow underneath your torso to bring the floor closer to you. Child’s pose is a gentle inversion.

Alternatively, you can do a puppy pose where your bottom stays aligned with the knees to create a 90-degree angle with your lower legs. Again, drape the blanket around your lower back to keep warm and to keep you grounded.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

 

 

Begin this pose in a seated position. Place a bolster or rolled up blanket behind your tailbone. Gently lie down on the blanket or bolster, and place your feet together with your knees open in a butterfly pose. If you need knee support, place your yoga blocks or pillows under each knee. Your arms can either be placed on your stomach or outstretched to the sides, allowing the heart and chest to be open. To benefit from full relaxation in this pose, you can place a blanket over you and an eye pillow or rolled up hand towel over your eyes.

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

 

 

Crocodile pose is deeply relaxing and it facilitates full, diaphragmatic breathing. Begin by lying facedown on your mat. Open your legs a little wider than hip-distance apart with your toes going outward and heels pointing inward. Bring your arms in front of you and fold them with your hands wrapping around opposite elbows. Now draw the elbows in toward you so your shoulder and upper back are slightly off the floor. Rest your forehead on your forearms. Your belly will rest on the floor easily. Begin taking deep abdominal breaths. This pose relaxes your abdomen, enabling you to expand into the lower back. To release tension in the shoulders and neck, you can alternatively place a rolled up towel under the upper chest and underneath the armpits. You can hold crocodile pose between 5 and 10 minutes.

Try practicing a couple of these poses each day as a preventive method against anxiety. Having effective yoga tools when anxiety hits is useful. Keeping your body and mind healthy with consistent practice can prevent anxiety altogether and keep you in a more peaceful state of being.

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

Discover the easiest, most powerful way to bring into clear focus who you really are at our 7-day signature meditation and yoga retreat, Seduction of Spirit. Develop a meditation practice that will last you a lifetime. 

 

February 15

11 Beginner's Yoga Poses To Help You Get Started

New to yoga? Check out these basic positions to wa [...]

11 Beginner’s Yoga Poses To Help You Get Started

New to yoga? Check out these basic positions to warm up for your first studio class.

Here are some beginner-friendly yoga positions to help you ease into the awesome art of yoga.

1. Mountain Pose

Sanskrit name: Tadasana
Benefits: Improves posture, sense of center, mental clarity; solid breathing exercise

How to: Simply stand—feet hip-width apart, weight spread evenly—with your arms at your sides. Then breathe slowly and deeply at an even pace, keeping your neck aligned with the rest of your spine. You can move your hands and arms as you focus; some people take a prayer position or reach up to the sky for a stretch.

2. Downward Facing Dog

Sanskrit name: Adho mukha svanasana
Benefits: Encourages full-body circulation; a great stretch for calves and heels

How to: Get on all fours with hands and knees shoulder-and-hips-width apart. Walk your hands forward and spread your fingers wide for stability. Curl your toes under and carefully press your hips upward so your body looks like an inverted V with your knees slightly bent. You can get a stronger stretch by keeping your heels on the floor; “walk your dog” by alternately pressing your heels down.

3. Warrior Pose

Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana
Benefits: Strengthens and stretches your legs and ankles

How to: Stand with your legs three to four feet apart. Turn out your right foot 90 degrees and your left foot in slightly. Keeping your shoulders down, extend your arms to the sides with your palms down. Lunge into your right knee 90 degrees; keep your knee over your foot and don’t let it go past your toes. Aim your focus over your hand for as long as you like then switch sides.

4. Tree Pose

Sanskrit name: Vriksasana
Benefits: Improves your balance; strengthens your thighs, calves, ankles, and spine

How to Take mountain pose. Then shift your weight onto your left leg. Keeping your hips facing forward, place the sole of your right foot inside your left thigh and find your balance. When you’re there, take a prayer position with your hands. To kick it up a notch, reach your arms up as you would in mountain pose. Be sure to repeat on the other side.

5. Bridge Pose

Sanskrit name: Setu bhanda
Benefits: Strengthens your chest, neck, and spine; great warm-up for more intense backbends

How to: Lie on the floor with your arms at your sides. With your knees bent, press your feet into the floor as you lift your hips. Then clasp your hands under your lower back and press your arms down for support. Lift your hips until they are parallel to the floor as you bring your chest to your chin. Rookie mode: try pillows under your head and/or hips.

6. Triangle Pose

Sanskrit name: Trikonasana
Benefits: full body stretch; strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles; relieves backache; well-recommended for pregnant women

How to: Take warrior pose on your right side without lunging into your knee. Then touch the inside of your right foot with the outside of your right hand. Reach up to the ceiling with your left hand. Turn your gaze toward and past your left hand to stretch your back. Don’t forget to repeat it on the other side.

7. Seated Twist

Sanskrit name: Ardha matsyendrasana
Benefits: gives you an amazing stretch, especially after long hours sitting at the office; works the shoulders, hips, and neck

How to: Sit on the floor and extend your legs. Cross your right foot over the outside of your left thigh. Bend your left knee keeping your right knee pointed toward ceiling. Keep your right hand on the floor behind you to stay stable and place your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Twist to the right as far as you can, moving from your abdomen. Be sure to keep both sides of your butt on the floor. Do this on both sides.

8. Upward Facing Dog

Sanskrit name: Urdhva mukha svanasana
Benefits: Stretches and strengthens the spine, arms, and wrists

How to: Lie facedown on the floor with your thumbs under shoulders, legs extended with the tops of your feet on the floor. Tuck your hips downward as you squeeze your glutes. Keeping your shoulders down, push up and lift your chest off the ground. Relax and repeat.

9. Pigeon Pose

Sanskrit name: Eka pada rajakapotasana
Benefits: opens up the shoulders and the chest; great quad stretch

How to: Start in a push-up position, your palms under your shoulders. Place your left knee on the floor near your shoulders with your left heel by your right hip. Press your hands to the floor and sit back with your chest lifted. You can also lower your chest closer to the floor for a stretch. Try it on the other side.

10. Crow Pose

Sanskrit name: Bakasana
Benefits: Strengthens your arms, wrists, and abs; more of a challenge, but a great trick to pull out at parties

How to: Get into downward facing dog position. Then walk your feet forward until your knees touch your arms. Carefully, bend your elbows and lift your heels off the floor. Rest your knees against the outside of your upper arms. Keep your abs engaged and legs pressed against arms.

You can leave your toes on the floor or if you’re a pro, lift them off and hover. To do this, try to keep tucked tight, with your heels close to your butt. When you’re ready, push your upper arms against your shins and draw your inner groins deep into the pelvis to help you with the lift.

11. Child’s Pose

Sanskrit name: Balasana
Benefits: lets you relax and breathe into your back; stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles; relieves back and neck pain.

How to: Sit upright comfortably on your heels. Roll your torso forward and bring your forehead to rest on the ground in front of you. Extending your arms forward, lower your chest to your knees as close as you comfortably can. Hold the pose and breathe into your torso. Exhale and release to get deeper into your fold.

Practice these and you’ll be a pro in no time!

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11 Beginner's Yoga Poses To Help You Get Started
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