7 Yoga Poses to Relieve Stress this Holiday Season

Ahhh….the holidays are here. It’s a time for joy, getting together with family and friends and celebration. By Denise McGill SO MUCH TO DO AND SO LITTLE TIME However, the flip side of holiday merriment is stress. There are parties to plan, holiday meals to prepare, gifts to purchase, holiday crowds to contend with and travel plans to make. And if that isn’t enough, with all the irresistible foods and…

An Insider’s Guide To The Yamas Of Yoga

An Insider’s Guide To The Yamas Of Yoga

An Insider’s Guide To The Yamas Of Yoga By Julie Schoen The first time I was exposed to the idea of yamas was in one of my first yoga teacher trainings.  I was there for the yoga – the real yoga – the “let’s-move-and-bend-and-twist-and-fly” yoga.  Each day our morning sessions were filled with my idea of “real yoga”, but the afternoons were a different story.  Gathered on the floor in…

What Is An “Advanced” Yoga Practice?

What Is An “Advanced” Yoga Practice? And Why We Need To Start Dropping Labels By Julie Schoen Recently I have come across numerous yoga classes and events with the label “advanced” – “advanced yoga”, “advanced practitioners only”, etc.  My first encounter, an invitation to teach an advanced yoga class at a local studio, was met with enthusiasm.  But my initial excitement, which was brought on by the fact that I…

3 Types Of Bakasana And Embracing Change

3 Types Of Bakasana And Embracing Change

3 Types Of Bakasana And Embracing Change It seems like everyone and their mom (literally) is doing Bakasana, Crane (sometimes Crow) Pose in yoga class. In Vinyasa yoga classes it tends to be THE arm balance that is taught, often being explained as “beginner” or “easy” or “the introduction into advanced balances”. And, depending on how it’s done, those lovely yoga instructors are exactly right. For a lot of people,…

7 Reasons Why Men Should Stretch

7 Reasons Why Men Should Stretch

7 Reasons Why Men Should Do Yoga Stretch By Julie Schoen On any given day when I look out at the students before me in yoga class I see an overwhelming majority of women.  In a class of twenty, the ratio is usually 1:20.  In a group of fifty yogis, you’re looking at 3:50, and so on. That’s not unusual in the United States either.  And while there are definitely…

Yoga How-To: Alternate Nostril Breathing

Yoga How-To: Alternate Nostril Breathing

Yoga How-To: Alternate Nostril Breathing Pranayama, or breath control (prana = life force or breath, yama = control), is one of the eight limbs of yoga.  Although much emphasis has currently been placed on asanas (body postures), this is only another one of the eight limbs of yoga.  In fact, the asanas were often traditionally taught only to prepare the body for the five limbs of yoga that follow: pranayama,…

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Facing Bow)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Facing Bow)

5 Steps For Getting Into Urdhva Dhanurasana Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Facing Bow) is a beautiful but challenging pose for many people.  It requires the student to bring several things to the table: open hips, open shoulders, strength, flexibility, confidence, and a general knowledge of integrating several moving pieces in the body at once. And while the challenges are real, so are the benefits.  Urdhva Dhanurasana helps to create space in…

Samskaras, Suffering, And Almonds

Samskaras, Suffering, And Almonds

Samskaras, Suffering, And Almonds Kino MacGregor is known for her incredible physical yoga practice, much of which can be easily found all over YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.  While her incredible asana practice is inspiring to witness, most of us haven’t had the chance to meet Kino or even hear her speak.  This is a shame.  Kino is an amazing yogi for so many reasons, and her ability to quickly yet…

30 Best Yoga Moves To Tone Your Core

30 Best Yoga Moves To Tone Your Core

The 30 Best Yoga Moves To Tone Your Core Photo and Video Archive Spring is here! And while a toned core is always in season, warmer weather (and less clothing) seems to inspire all of us to get to work on shaping and flattening our midsection. Luckily for you, yoga is one of the best ways to not only strengthen your core, but to also flatten and sculpt.  Along with…

Step-By-Step Instructions For Yoga Sun Salutation

Step-By-Step Instructions For Yoga Sun Salutation

Step-By-Step Instructions: Yoga Sun Salutation By Julie Schoen The Sun Salutation (aka Surya Namaskar) is performed frequently in yoga classes to help heat the body while strengthening the muscles, improving flexibility, and also connecting one’s movements to the breath.  Sometimes simply referred to as a “vinyasa”, there are many variations of the sun salutation depending on style of yoga being practiced and personal preference. In the most traditional form of…

Motivational Quotes To Get You Out Of Bed

Motivational Quotes To Get You Out Of Bed

30 Motivational Quotes To Get You Out Of Bed (And Ready To Seize The Day!)  Some days it takes a little more than the smell of coffee to lure me out of bed.  I like to consider myself a morning person, but now with the addition of two little ones who don’t seem to get the concept of “Mommy needs eight hours of sleep” in order to pop out of…

How To Avoid Pain In Yoga: 5 Simple Tips Everyone Should Know

How To Avoid Pain In Yoga: 5 Simple Tips Everyone Should Know

How To Avoid Pain In Yoga: 5 Simple Tips Everyone Should Know As a yoga instructor, one of my least favorite things to hear is that students have to stop practicing yoga due to pain, injury, or a combination of the two.  Even worse is when the source of the pain is yoga.  Unfortunately, I hear this all too often.  Students are forced to quit practicing something they love, something…

Warrior Poses for Strength Building

Warrior Poses for Strength Building

The poses in yoga that always seem to give me the most trouble are the Warrior poses. Not because they are overly elaborate or difficult, but because when done properly they really challenge the strength of my legs, core and shoulders. I will openly admit that sometimes by the time I’m done holding warrior pose my legs are shaking and I’m secretly praying for a break. Does that mean that I…

5 Simple Tips For Improving Your Home Yoga Practice

5 Simple Tips For Improving Your Home Yoga Practice

There are a lot of reasons why people love yoga.  One of the most common reasons is that people love the challenge it presents.  They love pushing their edge, testing what their body and minds are capable of, and seeing progress, however small and slow it sometimes comes.  I love all of these things too, and I was prepared for them when I began practicing yoga nearly a decade ago. …

5 Things to Expect at Your First Yoga Class

Yoga can be a bit intimidating, especially to a beginner. I remember when I started doing yoga, I had a few main questions that I thought I would answer here. Things like what to you bring, wondering if it would heated? What does vinyasa mean? I remember thinking whoa, this is going to be hard, I think I’ll just stick to stretching at the gym! I’m sure most people expect yoga class…

Favorite Heart Opening Poses

I talked about the benefits of heart opening poses in my last post. If you are curious about the some of the physical and emotional benefits, please check it out! Since today is Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite heart opening poses. It only seems appropriate! If you are new to yoga, I encourage you to find a beginners yoga class, dvd, or…

Heart Opening Yoga Poses

If you are anything like me, you sit at a desk in a hunched over position for most of the day. Or worse, you are hunched over your phone at night as well searching pinterest and texting friends and loved ones (I’m guilty!). We are likely all guilty of this posture due to our daily movements. You may also walk around very tightly wound up, with so much going on…

Handstand Prep Part 2

I wrote about the benefits of inversions, particularly handstands. They are my favorite inversion, because I think they are beautiful and require an enormous amount of strength and stability. I’ve found they also require constant practice. Just because you master handstands does not mean that you will always be able to get into handstand and hold it for any amount of time without constant practice. I went over the basics…