Tag: Yoga Journal

A 45-minute Yoga Playlist to Calm Your Spirit in the Flurry of Fall

Flow into fall with these relaxing indie tracks to help clear your headspace and embrace the changing seasons.

As the leaves turn and the weather gets chilly, turn to this soothing playlist for some comfort and calm while you flow and unwind.

See also Open Your Heart: A 60-Minute Yoga Playlist for the Anahata Chakra

A 45-Minute Fall Yoga Playlist

1. “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” Yuna
2. “Big Black Car,” Gregory Alan Isakov
3. “Comes and Goes (In Waves),” Greg Laswell
4. “Island,” Yuna
5. “There Goes The Fear,” Doves
6. “She Moves In Her Own Way,” The Kooks
7. “Fader,” The Temper Trap
8. “Sweet Disposition,” The Temper Trap
9. “Down,” Marian Hill
10. “Naked As We Came,” Iron & Wine
11. “Gotta Have You,” The Weepies
12. “Islands,” The xx

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Download the free Spotify software to listen to our playlists—and check back weekly for more of our fave yoga tunes.

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10 Prominent Yoga Teachers Share Their #MeToo Stories

Many yogis have been brave enough to join actress Alyssa Milano’s #MeToo crusade against sexual harassment and assault. Here are some of their stories.

By now, someone you know has probably shared the short but powerful hashtag #MeToo on social media, drawing attention to the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in what some say could end up being a watershed moment for women’s rights.

Actress Alyssa Milano launched the #MeToo rallying cry this week in response to the barrage of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, tweeting that “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” 

Many prominent yogis have been brave enough to join in Milano’s crusade, sharing their personal accounts of abuse across social media platforms. Here’s a look at the some of their stories:

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Live Be Yoga: Less Asana, More Savasana

We’ve placed way too much importance on what our practice looks like on the outside, and not enough on the inside, says Live Be Yoga Tour ambassador Rosie Acosta.

Yoga at its core is the art of transformation. The practice of yoga is accompanied by incredible postures (asanas) that can reach superhuman levels, and look beautiful on Instagram. As a practicing yogi, I appreciate these postures as a work of art, and as a doorway to transformation. Getting into poses that require a lot of strength and dedication can sometimes take years to accomplish, but that’s not what yoga is really about. 

Yoga requires your co-participation with your inner awareness to become congruent with your natural state, and realizing your divine nature through the temple of your body. This is important to remember, especially when we find ourselves listening to our “inner critic” because our pose doesn’t look like the one we saw on our device, or as pretty as the one performed by the student next to us. Yoga has been “celebified” by yogis who present beautiful poses with grace and ease in magazines and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like. These poses are absolutely incredible, beautiful, and worthy of admiration; however, I think we’ve blurred the line between what we see and what we are supposed to do, learn, and teach. We’ve placed way too much importance on what our practice looks like on the outside, and not enough on the inside. 

Savasana is a perfect example. After a yoga class or practice, we indulge in a restful Savasana, which is the culmination of our efforts. So much can happen in our bodies when we intentionally rest. So why are we only allowing ourselves one-minute Savasanas? Or skipping it all together when we need it most? 

I think the biggest question is, how do we begin to gain a higher understanding of who and what we really are? Of course, wanting to achieve a beautiful practice can definitely propel us into exploring these deeper dimensions of yoga–dimensions that include a Savasana at the end of a well-balanced practice. 

Asana is an integral part of a yoga practice, but not all of it. Most important is our approach and our ability to reap the benefits of our efforts in our resting pose, Savasana. The physical form is only the gateway to enter a vast landscape of inner exploration. 

Thank You, YogaWorks 

When I heard that YogaWorks was going to be a sponsor for the 2017 Live Be Yoga Tour, I was beyond excited! YogaWorks is where I first began practicing yoga back in 2002, and it’s where I got my yoga teacher certification and became a yoga teacher trainer.

YogaWorks prides itself on creating classes and programs for everybody. They have a high standard of keeping the yogic tradition in every single one of their classes. YogaWorks, congratulations on your 30-year anniversary, and thank you for being a sponsor for the Live Be Yoga Tour.

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6 Poses to Open Your Energy Channels & Boost Prana Flow

When it feels like life is spinning out of control, YJ Influencer Sara Clark recommends opening your energy channels to raise your vibration and increase your stress resilience.

During a time of opposition, when there seems to be one tragedy after the next, it’s easy to feel like life is spinning out of control. When we feel powerless it can keep us in a perpetual state of fight or flight which in turn can cause dis-ease in the body. As we are met with great challenges, it is vital to keep our nervous system running as efficiently as possible. The goal in times of challenge is to raise our vibration, so our bodies and minds can rest and digest all that is happening around us. One of the best ways to do this is to circulate more energy or prana throughout the body. When prana flows efficiently, both our voluntary and involuntary functions work at optimal levels from deeper connections with community to healthier digestion to more restful sleep to increased stress resilience! That’s right, allowing more energy to flow through your body can increase your ability to skillfully deal with stress, increasing your overall well-being. Try this sequence designed to first ground and calm the mind before mindfully moving through invigorating poses that focus on connecting breath with movement. Seal the practice by setting an intention to support your day. Breathe deeply and get ready to let your energy flow!

See also Positively Prana: Yoga Your Way to a Happier Mood

6 Poses to Boost Energy Flow

About Our Expert
YJ Influencer Sara Clark is known for her compassionate teaching style and calming presence and has been practicing yoga for over 14 years. Her unique blend of power and intention allows students to safely explore their highest potential both on and off the mat. With a B.A. in Journalism, Clark worked in television post-production for HBO & TruTV prior to teaching yoga. Certified as an Ayurvedic Nutritionist and an ERYT 500-hour yoga teacher, Clark teaches throughout Manhattan and frequents Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health both as a student and faculty. She teaches retreats and events around the world, including thousands in New York City’s Bryant Park for Yoga Journal. Her empowering vinyasa sequencing and mindfulness techniques nourish the soul, inspire you to deepen your practice, and leave you wanting more.

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Iyengar 201: Get Ready for Your Deepest Locust Pose Ever…

This challenging yet accessible variation of Salabhasana uses a strap to integrate upper body and lower body for a more exhilarating and expansive experience.

Join Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher Carrie Owerko for our new online course Iyengar 201—a mindful and fun journey into a more advanced practice. You’ll learn different pose modifications and creative uses for props, all designed to help you work with physical and mental challenges. And you’ll walk away with the skills you need to adapt to whatever life throws at you, on and off the mat. Sign up now.

Adding variety to your favorite poses can be accessible, challenging, and invigorating, all at the same time. For example, in Salabhasana (Locust Pose), the arms are typically in extension behind the body with the hands near the hips. In the following variation, having the arms reach upward above the head makes the pose more exhilarating and expansive. This variation is also great if you have wrist issues or lack the strength in the arms that is necessary to lift the weight of the body away from the floor. The front of the body receives a wonderful stretch, and the whole body is fully engaged and toned. This wonderfully earthy, yet energizing backbend can also have a grounding effect on your nervous system. Plus, the belt is a great way to integrate your arms and legs to each other and to your spine, helping the pose feel both contained and expansive.

A Challenging Variation of Salabhasana

You will need: A belt

Ready to learn more variations of familiar poses? Sign up for Iyengar 201 now.

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3 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Health from Head to Toe

Did you know that certain yoga poses and practices can boost your immunity, rev up your brainpower, and lubricate your joints?

You know yoga calms your body and mind, but did you know that certain poses and practices can also boost your immunity, rev up your brainpower, and lubricate your joints? Try the following postures to support your physical and mental health.

Yoga Poses for Immunity 

Yoga may promote good digestion, which has been linked to immune system support. Larissa Hall Carlson, former dean of Kripalu’s School of Ayurveda and co-leader of Yoga Journal’s Ayurveda 101, recommends the following 3 poses to help you support your health all year round:

1. Rotated Chair Pose

Gently building heat and boosting metabolism to burn off toxins is key for supporting your health throughout the year, says Carlson, and this twisted squat is just the thing for getting warm fast and wringing out congestion. From extended Mountain Pose with arms overhead and palms together, inhale deeply, then squat and twist right on exhalation. Inhale back up to extended Mountain, then squat and twist left. Create a toasty mini vinyasa with Ujjayi pranayama–continue for 1-2 minutes.

2. Dolphin Pose

This fiery inversion drains excess lung congestion while building arm strength, Carlson explains. With forearms grounded, spine straight, and legs lengthening down through the heels, close the eyes and take 6-10 deep full-body breaths. Keep a tissue handy to clear out mucus from the lungs and sinuses after you come out of the pose. Experience the enhanced invigoration and clarity.   

3. Constructive Rest pose

Stress may not be good for the immune system, Carlson says, so soothing the nervous system and calming the mind may be a good idea. By binding the legs, relaxing the torso, and crossing the arms, a deep sense of relaxation sets in, and after 10-20 minutes, the whole system feels rejuvenated. Make sure to stay warm, though–put on socks and cover up with a blanket if you tend to run cold.    

Yoga Poses for Joint Health

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Rheumatology suggests that yoga classes may help sedentary individuals with arthritis safely increase physical activity and improve physical and psychological health. Plus, rheumatologist Sharon Kolasinski at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine has told Yoga Journal that yoga “not only safely exercises the muscles, ligaments, and bones in and around the joints, but may also trigger a relaxation response that might help improve functioning.”

Looking to keep your joints healthy? Try this simple warm-up to increase circulation and lubricate the joints.

Yoga Poses for the Brain

Studies have linked mindfulness and meditation to significant increases in gray matter and reduced stress and anxiety. Meditation may also help you concentrate. Learn 6 ways to sit for meditation, plus learn more about mindfulness meditation here.

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