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7 Mistakes You’re Making During Your Ab Routine

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No one ever said building a bulletproof core or sculpting six-pack abs would be easy. Even so, yogis of all experience levels often make it even harder than it has to be without even realizing it. Since a strong core provides a solid base for virtually every other exercise and movement you do in everyday life, it’s an important aspect of your overall fitness and one of the best things you can do if you want to stay injury-free.

Some of the most common core-training mistakes go far beyond the actual exercises you’re doing. Therefore, a deeper understanding of what’s going on from a nutrition, genetic and anatomical perspective is crucial to see where you’re falling short on your journey to chiseled abs.

Here, we’ll take you through some common core-training blunders and the mechanisms behind building a concrete core.

7 Mistakes You’re Making in Your Ab Routine

1. You’re Not Paying Enough Attention to Nutrition.

First and foremost, before I share a single concept when it comes to a solid ab routine, I would be remiss not to talk about nutrition. If you want a well-developed core, you must first pay attention to what’s going into your mouth. A consistent diet of minimally processed foods, quality protein and micronutrients is going to get you closer to the core of your dreams than all the planks in the world.

Dial in your nutrition — I can’t stress that enough! If you don’t even know where to begin, do your research or hire a coach to guide you.

2. You’re Not Actually Engaging Your Core.

The types of exercises you’re doing and how you’re doing them have a massive impact on the effectiveness of your ab routine. Doing lots of sit-ups gets you really good at doing sit-ups; this does not necessarily create a defined midline.

Incorporate exercises into your routine that not only engage your rectus abdominis but also target your transverse abdominis, which is located in the deep abdomen and resembles a strap. It’s sometimes referred to as the body’s built-in “weightlifting belt.” This muscle is your true core.

Exercises that engage the transverse abdominis create spinal stabilization, are extremely functional and carry over to pressing, squatting and deadlifting. These are activities that we must perform in everyday life.

Sure, it’s not as sexy as your superficial abs, but developing this muscle will keep you out of pain and prime you for every activity you can imagine.

3. You’re Not Changing Up Your Exercises.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome, right? Well, the same principle applies to your ab routine.

The body is amazing at adapting, so if we’re not constantly bombarding it with a new and different stimuli, it adapts and ultimately plateaus. Switch up exercises, sets and reps frequently to stay on track.

4. You’re Only Doing Core Isolation Exercises to Work Your Abs.

Classic ab exercises are not the only movements that work your core. Compound movements like squatting, deadlifting, benching and pressing all engage your core in an extremely functional manner. However, using your core for all these movements requires thoughtful activation. Think about staying braced, ribcage down and keeping tension in the entire system to make sure you’re keeping your core muscles “turned on” throughout these exercises.

These compound movements engage the erector spinae muscles. These muscles run along your spine and are responsible for keeping you upright, so saying they’re important is an understatement. The transverse abdominis (the deep core or strap muscles we discussed earlier) are also key during compound exercises. These are the primary core muscles activated when you brace during a squat or deadlift.

Compound movements do not activate your superficial rectus abdominis muscles the way a targeted ab program would, according to research. Adding in a spinal flexion movement like a sit-up or a hanging knee raise would provide a greater development of your “six-pack muscles” than these compound exercises alone — if six-pack abs are your goal.

5. You’re Doing Abs Every. Single. Day.

Maybe worse than doing the same exercises every day is working your core to the max every day. Just like you wouldn’t program two tough lower-body days in a row, the same principle applies to your abs. Your muscles need rest to perform, grow and rebuild.

Working the same muscles every day is a surefire way to see little to no changes in your physique. Taking a day off (preferably more) from training this muscle group can promote blood flow, decrease inflammation and increase muscle growth. Ample rest also prevents burnout and decreases your risk of injury.

6. You’re Not Changing the Plane of Motion of Your Exercises.

The human body doesn’t operate in only one plane of motion. Therefore, training your abs in multi-planar and transverse (rotating) planes will have better functional carry-over and hit more of your core muscles at once.

For more on planes of motion: Change Planes for Better Gains

For example: Only training planks or sit-ups focuses predominantly on the sagittal plane of motion. Adding in exercises that challenge you from multiple planes at once such as dumbbell woodchoppers, hanging windshield wipers and rotating forearm planks gives you way more in terms of gross muscular activation and better carryover to functional activities.

7. You’re Not Taking Genetics into Account.

Realistically, having a defined midsection has a whole lot to do with genetics, so it’s important to keep that in mind when it comes to your expectations. I would place the ab muscles in the same category as your upper traps and calves, meaning they have a high genetic dependency. Some people just have great calves and have never, ever done a single calf raise in their life.

Same goes for your abs. You could be doing everything right when it comes to your diet and your workouts, yet consistently feel like you’re falling short. You’re seeing a two-pack, maybe even a four-pack, but never anything more than that, and your genetics might be why.

The rectus abdominis muscles are the most superficial layer of muscles that cover the midline. They play virtually no role in spinal stabilization (aka: not very functional), but they do regulate breathing, maintain posture, and help to protect your internal organs. Think of these muscles as all show, no go.

The rectus muscles have bands of connective tissue that give the appearance of “stacking” (think: that six-, eight- or even 10-pack look). You’re born with a set number and your genetics 100 percent determine the size and length of them. You can’t build more of these bands, so being strong or weak doesn’t play any role in increasing the symmetry of this connective tissue.

If you’re not genetically blessed, it’s even more important for you to focus on training them efficiently to get closer to the results you want.

About the Author

Genevieve Gyulavary is a doctor of physical therapy, CrossFit Level I trainer, functional movement specialist and athlete. 

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9 Poses to Practice When You’re Stressed & Anxious

Always tired? Snapping at your significant other? Having trouble sleeping or difficulty concentrating throughout your day? No, this isn’t the beginning of a cheesy ad. These are all ways that anxiety can manifest in your daily life. Even without an ongoing pandemic, general unrest around the world, and political polarization, it can be downright difficult to stay calm and grounded in the 21st century.

Just about everyone gets anxious sometimes—we’re human, after all, and are juggling our relationships, jobs, finances, and other life stressors. But when those feelings linger, worsen, or interfere with your daily life, it may be time to take your anxiety seriously and seek support. In addition to treatments like therapy and medications, yoga and meditation can help ease anxiety symptoms and teach you other ways to cope.

Special Report: How Yoga Can Help Your Mental Health

What causes anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are common—up to 30 percent of adults will experience anxiety at some point during their lifetime. While researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes anxiety, they have pinpointed some risk factors, such as a family history of anxiety, childhood trauma, and some health conditions.

Anxiety often goes untreated, even as talking about mental health issues has become more common, but if you’re suffering, it’s important to recognize that you’re not alone, and help is available. A trusted healthcare provider can offer treatment options, including psychotherapy and/or medication, and may recommend complementary therapies like meditation and yoga for anxiety.

How can yoga help anxiety?

Studies have shown that yoga can help reduce anxiety. And it makes sense—yoga is relaxing, calming, and can slow down your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. Research has found that interrupting anxious thoughts with mindful movement can stop anxiety before it snowballs. Plus, a regular yoga and meditation practice can help develop the tools you need to not only ward off future attacks, but also to help you better cope with everyday stressors.

So, are you ready to get started? You can find 11 yoga practices for working through stress and anxiety here, or incorporate some of the below poses into your regular routine.

More: Expert-Approved Tips to Calm Anxiety

9 yoga poses for anxiety

Sun Salutation A, variation

Why this series helps anxiety: The rhythm of this sequence calms your brain and helps you breathe more deeply.

How to: From a standing or seated position (in a chair works great!), inhale and sweep your arms out to your sides and overhead. As you exhale, turn your palms down and hinge at the hips to fold forward. Place your palms on your thighs and on your inhale press back up. As you rise, lift your arms back out to the sides and overhead. Repeat 6–10 times. On the final fold, release your hands toward the floor and let your head hang between your legs for 30 seconds. Come back up halfway and take a couple of breaths before pressing your palms into your thighs and rising all the way back up.

Woman demonstrating Balasana, Child'sPose
(: Patricia Pena)

Balasana (Child’s Pose)

Why this pose helps anxiety: Child’s Pose is a great way to calm your entire system.

How to: Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs.

Broaden your sacrum across the back of your pelvis and narrow your hip points toward the navel, so that they nestle down onto the inner thighs. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck. Rest your forehead on the mat.

Stretch your arms forward with your palms down and fingers spread wide. Breathe deeply and stay here for a few minutes.

A woman demonstrates a Standing Forward Bend in yoga

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

Why this pose helps anxiety: Standing Forward Bend relieves stress and takes advantage of gravity to help relax your shoulder and neck, which is where we often hold a lot of tension.

How to: Stand straight up in Tadasana, hands on your hips. Exhale and bend forward at your hips, not your waist, to lengthen the front torso.

If possible, with your knees straight, bring your palms or fingertips 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 inhale, lift your body slightly. With each exhale, release into the pose a little more. Let your head hang from the root of the neck, which is deep in the upper back, between the shoulder blades.

Malasana (Garland Pose) (: Chris Doherty)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Why this pose helps anxiety: Garland Pose draws your energy down, which can be very grounding when you feel scattered, stressed, or anxious (or all three).

How to: Squat with your feet as close together as possible. Keep your heels grounded on the floor if you can. If not, roll up your mat or put a towel under them. Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Exhaling, lean your torso forward and fit it snugly between your thighs.

Press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms together in Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal), and resist the knees into the elbows to help lengthen your front torso. Hold for 30–60 seconds.

Man in pose with block
(: Chris Dougherty)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

Why this pose helps anxiety: Backbends open up the front of your body, releasing stress that you might be holding in your chest and/or shoulders. This supported variation makes the pose more comfortable to hold and relax into.

How to: Rest your head on a block at its highest position and place a block under the middle of your back at its middle height. Bend the knees and place the soles of your feet on the floor. Relax your arms and let them sit naturally at your sides, palms up. Breathe in this position for 1–3 minutes or longer.

Woman in bridge pose with a block under her sacrum
(: Christopher Dougherty)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Why this pose helps anxiety: If Fish Pose feels too intense, try Bridge Pose for a moderate backbend.

How to: Lie supine on the floor, and if necessary, place a thickly folded blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible. Exhale and, pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, lift the buttocks off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Clasp the hands below your pelvis and extend through the arms to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders. Lift your chin slightly away from your sternum and press the top of your sternum toward the chin.

Add a block at any height under your sacrum/lower back for a supported version of this pose. Stay here for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhalation, rolling your spine slowly down onto the floor. Lift and remove the block before rolling down to the floor.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Why this pose helps anxiety: Cobra Pose is another backbend option that offers more chest opening. Always move into this pose slowly to avoid straining your back.

How to: From Sphinx Pose, firm your shoulder blades against your back and begin to press into your arms to lift your chest. Avoid pushing the ribs forward and distribute the backbend evenly throughout your spine. Hold for 15–30 seconds and then release back down to the floor on your exhale.

supine spinal twist

Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)

Why this pose helps anxiety: Supine Spinal Twist lengthens and relaxes your spine, which is great for relieving tension while also giving you energy.

How to: Lie fully extended on your back and make a T with your arms out to the sides at shoulder level. Bend your knees and inhale as you lift your feet off the floor, bringing your knees directly over your hips to create a right angle with your legs. Exhale and let your knees fall to your right. Keep your shoulders on the mat. Your left hip will lift as you twist to the right. Hold for 1-2 minutes. Bring your legs back to center and switch sides.

A woman demonstrates Tree Pose while practicing yoga in the forest
(: Sierra Vandervort)

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Why this pose helps anxiety: Tree Pose helps you feel more grounded, centered, and steady.

How to: Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Find your drishti a few feet in front of you. Inhale, bending your right knee and placing the sole of your right foot along the inside of your left leg. If you are unsure of your balance, start with your right foot next to your left ankle, moving up until you find the inside of your left thigh. Anywhere works, really, except your knee joint—do not put your right foot on the inside of your left knee.

Keep your hips squared toward the front of your mat as you press your right foot and your left inner thigh together. Your arms can stay at your sides, go above your head, or come together at your heart. Hold for 5–10 breaths and then exhale back to Tadasana.

See also: What Yoga Philosophy Helped Me Understand About Anxiety

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Why Is Everyone Doing Yoga with Van Gogh?

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In terms of Instagram popularity, the craze surrounding immersive art can be traced to Emily in Paris. In an episode of the Netflix show, Lily Collins, who plays the lead character, Emily, visits an immersive Van Gogh judi slot online exhibit in Paris and shares a quasi-romantic moment with her character’s love interest, Gabriel. Suddenly, everyone wanted their own Emily in Paris moment (disclosure: myself included) in the same fantastical Van Gogh exhibit.

The immersive exhibit (and its many copycats) arrived in the United States earlier this year. Among its offerings? A chance to observe the projected paintings, write a letter to Van Gogh, hear colors (yes, hear)—and practice yoga.

But the combination of yoga and art predates Emily. Whether it’s a weekly Wednesday morning yin class at the Ellen Noël Art Museum in Odessa, Texas, or a lakeside outdoor class at the Milwaukee Art Museum, art institutions across the United States have been hosting yoga classes as special events for years. There’s even a children’s book titled Yoga at the Museum. And while, yes, these classes may be a way for museums to get additional (and young!) patrons in the door and urge them to sign up as members, for some, the confluence of art and yoga represents something a bit deeper.

See also: Why Goat Yoga Has Got to Stop

The connection between art and yoga

Emily Kamen, 26, is an educator and art historian—but she’s also a yoga teacher. This past year, she taught a weekly art-inspired vinyasa class at the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts. In these virtual classes, Kamen centered each practice around a work of art, drawing inspiration from the piece itself when designing her sequence. She says this allowed her to take inspiration from the art, make new connections, and learn from others—all elements that ultimately benefit her practice.

To Kamen, yoga, like art, is a creative practice, and both pull from a common thread: the idea of care. “Thinking about the people at a museum—there’s the curator, and curate comes from the root word in Latin, cura, ‘to care,’” Kamen says. “For me, yoga is so much about ahimsa, and non-violence is linked to caring. So how can we pull out more consciousness within one’s own body—and for the outside world—through both art and yoga?”

But not everyone agrees that pairing art and yoga is a good thing. In a 2017 piece for Artsy, Daniel Kunitz writes about how participating in any exercise-based class in a museum—from yoga to interval training—has the potential to detract from the essence of the institution. Instead of contemplating the artwork, Kunitz says participants of these classes focus almost exclusively on the workout. Yogis may have a similar critique—can a yoga practice surrounded by beautiful artwork in a museum-like setting still be focused on yoga? The answer may depend on who you ask.

Yoga surrounded by Van Gogh

Carolyn Mueller, 38, headed to the Immersive Van Gogh Chicago experience with a friend earlier this summer. The exercise physiologist says she sees her yoga practice as an opportunity to slow down, focus on the present moment, and reset her body. While she had never practiced in a museum before, she says the experience of merging art and yoga was a pleasant one.

As she moved through the class, Mueller says she integrated not only the surrounding artwork, but also the life of the artist himself into her practice. “Van Gogh led a really incredible life, but a really troubled life too,” she says. “So I feel like I was able to just kind of try to put myself into the life of Van Gogh, as I was going through my practice.” Mueller says she plans on exploring more art-centric yoga practices in the future.

If you do decide to head to an art-based yoga class, you may find yourself feeling more soothed than you would following a typical studio or home practice. A study from the University of Westminster found that looking at art can decrease high stress levels. And we know that yoga can do the same. So we can theorize that combining these experiences may push you deeper into your practice, give you new perspective, and lower your stress levels. That’s a triple win.

See also: A Sequence for (Re)connecting to Your Heart

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How to Cross These 4 Peak Poses Off Your Bucket List

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Want to add some challenge to your practice? Working toward peak poses is a great way to spice up your flow—and we break four of them down for you here. Whether this is your first challenge-centric practice or you judi slot online jackpot terbesar consider yourself a peak pose pro, you’ll be able to find a pose that is right for you and your ability level.

Outside+ members get access to the full text of all of Yoga Journal‘s practice content—including poses like the ones below—to help you reach new heights. They also get access to our complete archive, from inspirational stories to sequences by best-in-class teachers. Not a member? There’s never been a better time to sign up.

(Photo: Sarah Ezrin)

Searching for a peak pose with a ton of variations? This pose gives you just that. These prop variations of Eka Pada Koundinyasana II, which is also called Hurdler’s Pose, Albatross, Flying Splits, and Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II, will give you new insight into this complicated peak posture. This guide includes warm-up poses (to make sure your muscles are ready) and a video of how to get into the peak pose using a variety of props. Practice it here.

A woman demonstrates Visvamitrasana (Pose for Sage Visvamitra)
(Model: Erika Fischer / Location: Metta Yoga Studio)

Are you looking to nail one of the most complex asanas ever? We’ve got you covered. Visvamitrasana is an arm balance, standing pose, side bend, and twist—all in one posture. We break down all of the elements for you in this step-by-step guide, so you can (safely) build to the peak pose. Practice it here

Sarah Ezrin demonstrates a variation of Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose) by using a prone position
(Photo: Sarah Ezrin)

Think a steady and strong Lord of the Dance is impossible for you? Think again. The use of props in this prep practice can help you explore your flexibility in the pose. Props also ensure that you can more honestly observe your body (and its movement) as you practice. So grab a bolster, blanket, chair, strap, or block, and follow along. Practice it here. 

Gherandasana (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Gheranda) 
(Photo: Sarah Ezrin / shot at Metta Studio in San Rafael, California)

Yes, this asymmetrical yoga pose will challenge you—it is a peak pose after all—but it can also re-center and re-energize you. This posture demands a lot, asking you to move your limbs in different directions, at the same time. But besides the physical benefits, this pose also impacts your brain. Practicing Gherandasana helps you build and improve bilateral integration—the ability to move both sides of your body at the same time. Practice it here.

Also from Sarah Ezrin: Jump-Throughs Made Easy (Really!)

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How to Use a Yoga Wheel in 7 Fun Poses

When it comes to yoga props, one of the most common questions my students ask is: How to use a yoga wheel properly?

Read on to learn all about it!

While there are many yoga props to choose from, I, like many others, have a deep love for the yoga wheel!

Yoga wheels are strong and sturdy, and using them helps increase mental awareness of body movements, and adds subtle depth to the poses to strengthen your overall practice.

Yoga Wheel Tutorial: Here Are 5 Ways to Use a Yoga Wheel (Photos)


Here’s How to Use a Yoga Wheel In 7 Familiar Poses:

When it comes to how to use a yoga wheel, there are endless possibilities. But here are a few of my favorite ways to add a yoga wheel to common yoga poses for an added challenge.

1. Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

Plank Pose tones all of your core muscles. It helps build mental endurance and is one of yoga’s foundational poses in the practice so it’s the perfect pose to learn how to use a yoga wheel in.

Start by adding your yoga wheel one leg at a time and feel the fire and strength building from within. Before beginning your pose, set your intention: “I am the fire in my life.”

Let’s try it:

  • Starting in table top with your wrists directly under your shoulders, your fingers facing forward, and your knees under your hips
  • Draw your lower belly in
  • Then lift one leg at a time behind you, resting the top of your shins on your yoga wheel
  • Once balanced, make sure your body is in a straight line with your core tight
  • Look down to stay in balance, then release, relax, and repeat one more time taking the practice for four to six breaths


2. Boat Pose (Navasana)


Boat Pose helps create stability within the body and will power within the mind. This powerful pose helps you energize, de-stress, and relax all at the same time.

Since Boat Pose enhances our Second and Third Chakras, it also helps balance our emotions while igniting our creativity. Before beginning your pose, set your intention: “I am more than enough as I stand here today.”

Let’s try it:

  • Sit on your mat with your back resting against your yoga wheel
  • Extend your legs in front of you and hold your yoga wheel with your hands from behind
  • Exhale and rest your middle back on your wheel, going into an inclined backbend
  • Inhale and raise your legs up and extend them to about 60 degrees off the ground
  • Exhale and adjust to rest your back comfortably on your wheel
  • Stay opening your chest for about four to six breaths


3. Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)


Pyramid Pose requires intense focus as it is, so when you figure out how to use a yoga wheel in it, you’re creating even more of an intense stretch that focuses on your forward bending, backward bending, and balancing.

This pose has a hidden property of helping to not only calm the brain, but also help flush out sinuses in this minor inversion while you are simultaneously stretching the shoulders and hamstrings.

Before beginning your pose, set your intention: “My body fills with light and I feel still, calm, and ready for what’s to come.”

Let’s try it:

  • From Mountain Pose (Tadasana), bring your front foot onto your yoga wheel with a slight bend in your knee
  • Square off your hips to the front
  • Hinge your chest forward and as you straighten your front leg, lift your back leg into high relevé
  • Slightly bend your arms and grab your wheel for extra support
  • Stay for four to six breaths and then switch legs

We Review the Wonder Wheel – a Jumbo Yoga Wheel By YOGABODY (Video)

4. Bound Low Lunge Pose (Baddha Anjaneyasana)

Bound Low Lunge

Adding in your yoga wheel to Low Lunge Pose helps stretch and strengthen your shoulders, back, and knees for a deep backbend.

This excellent heart and hip opener also helps give a deep stretch to your quadriceps by adding in a slight supported pushing action from your hips. Before beginning your pose, set your intention: “I will get what I focus on.”

Let’s try it:

  • From a Low Lunge, slowly lift your back foot on top of your yoga wheel
  • Carefully find your balance on your knee and square off your hips to the front of your mat
  • Bring back one or both of your hands to your wheel and foot and let your chest lift to the sky
  • Be mindful of your lower back and keep your core engaged throughout the pose
  • Hold for four to six breaths and then switch legs



5. Wide Legged Forward Fold Pose (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Wide Legged Forward Fold

Working all of the top and bottom chakras, Wide Legged Forward Fold Pose encourages stability, confidence, self-control, and acceptance.

When it comes to how to use a yoga wheel in this intense leg stretch, it further enhances your ability to strengthen and lengthen your body while also helping reduce stress and release negative thoughts.

Before beginning your pose, set your intention: “I abandon thoughts that no longer serve me.”

Let’s try it:

  • From Wide Legged Forward Fold, start with one foot on your yoga wheel at a comfortable and stable distance
  • Slowly and with control, let the wheel inch out, deepening your stretch
  • Let both hands balance on the floor or lift one up in your mudra of choice
  • Hold for six to eight breaths before using your core to help bring your extended leg back in and then switch sides


6. Splits Pose (Hanumanasana)


This challenging seated pose requires all the work from your hips and hamstrings.

Since your hips and legs are moving in opposite directions, you have to make sure your hip flexors and hamstrings are strong and flexible to help keep you safe in this position.

Adding in your yoga wheel, you’re able to get deeper into the stretch without putting added pressure on your joints. Before beginning your pose, set your intention: “I abandon old habits and choose new, positive ones.”

Let’s try it:

  • Place the yoga wheel under your front foot and roll the wheel forward until it’s under your calf
  • Lift your torso and lengthen through your spine
  • Let your hips sink down while keeping them squared to the front of your mat
  • Use your arms or blocks for extra support
  • Hold for a few deep breaths before switching sides


7. Upward Facing Two Footed Staff Pose (Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana)


This advanced inverted backbend is a great pose to figure out how to use a yoga wheel. This pose is a complex combination of Wheel Pose, Fish Pose, Upward Plank, and Headstand.

It requires intense physical and mental flexibility while also giving you a wonderful full body stretch. Before beginning your pose, set your intention: “I will focus on what I can control and release the rest.”

Let’s try it:

  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor while you are sitting up
  • Place your hands lightly on the inside of your yoga wheel from behind to hold it in place
  • Lean back against the yoga wheel, release your hands, and press through your heels as you lift up your hips
  • Elongate through your spine over the wheel and broaden through your chest
  • Let the yoga wheel roll between your shoulder blades and position your forearms flat on the mat to grab the inside of the wheel
  • Relax your head and neck and engage your inner thighs
  • Hold for three to five breaths and then slowly reverse the movement to come out


Use a Yoga Wheel to Challenge Your Body AND Deepen Your Practice

Choosing to add or use a prop in your yoga practice helps to enhance your full awareness with the postures and dive deeper into your own yogi bond.

The main focus of the yoga wheel is to help open and support the body through slow controlled movements, breath, and extensions while also connecting deeper into your mindfulness to stay alert, active, and aware of what you’re doing.

It can help make challenging poses more accessible and boost your own confidence with your new mindset and strength. Not to mention, it helps make challenging poses more fun with added creative twists.

Through your journey I hope it’s filled with supported props (and friends) that help you create your own path to being your true authentic self.

Review of Three Different Sized Yoga Wheels From SukhaMat

Photo Credits: Terrence Jones Photography

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Children’s Bedtime Yoga: 3 Poses to Calm Your Kids

Exhausted mom. Rowdy kids. Lots of yelling. Does this sound like a typical bedtime at your house? Settling your kids before bed after a day full of activities and stimulation isn’t always (or ever!) easy. But, you’re in luck, because children’s bedtime yoga can help immensely.

It just so happens that there are three amazing yoga poses that you can practice with your kids to get them calmed down, settled in, and ready for bed.

The best part is they can do these poses right in their beds! Whether you pick one or try all three, they are guaranteed to bring a little more peace at an otherwise turbulent time.

Read on for some life-saving, bedtime-fixing yoga help!

3 Simple Ways to Start Doing Yoga at Home With Your Kids


Children’s Bedtime Yoga – Use These 3 Yoga Poses to Calm Your Kids Before Bed:

Most children don’t jump at the idea of sitting in a calming, meditative pose, but these three children’s bedtime yoga poses will likely make your kids want to practice yoga.

1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This is an incredibly simple yoga pose with amazing benefits. When you fold forward and rest your head, you are sending a message to the body that you are safe and that it’s okay to rest.

This posture also stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system (your rest-and-digest system). This brings about a calm, relaxing feeling as your body begins to shift into a peaceful state, knowing that relaxation is coming.

As adults we could probably hang out in Child’s Pose happily all day long, thankful for the rest and relaxation. But children aren’t so keen on being still and quiet, are they?

So how do you keep your child in this pose long enough to calm them down and get them bedtime ready? Play a game!

Stack the Stuffies is one of my favorite calming games for children. It’s easy for you, and fun and engaging for them. It also allows them to be active participants in their relaxation which is a plus when you want them to stay focused!

Let’s try it:

  • Have your child bend their knees, sitting back onto their heels
  • With knees wide and toes touching behind them, have them fold forward and rest their head on their pillow
  • Once they’re in Child’s Pose, place a stuffed animal on their back and ask them to breathe deep and slow so it doesn’t fall off
  • After 30 seconds or so, add another stuffie (stuffed animal) on top, creating more of a challenge
  • The more stuffies you stack, the more they have to focus on keeping their body still and their breath slow so the stuffies don’t topple off
  • And if/when they do – no worries! Just begin again
  • You can do this as long as it keeps their interest. The longer they stay in the posture, the better!

6 Yoga Poses for Kids (Plus How to Make Them Extra Fun!)

2. Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

legs up wall

Another great children’s bedtime yoga posture for stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, Legs Up the Wall not only calms the body and the mind, but also helps reverse blood flow in the lower body, which is especially great for kids who have been sitting for a while.

Again, this yoga pose is a big hit with parents who are itching to just lay down and do nothing for a few minutes. But not so much for kids who want to run around the room and jump on the bed. So it’s time for another game!

Let’s try it:

  • Have your child lie on their back with their legs straight up against the wall
  • Tight hamstrings? No problem, just scoot further away from the wall to lessen the stretch a bit
  • Grab those stuffed animals or dolls again for another version of Stack the Stuffies
  • Have your child flex their feet, making a flat surface
  • Place one of their stuffed animals on the bottom of each foot so your child needs to focus on stillness to keep them from falling off
  • Keep stacking slowly, taking breaks in between each new addition, letting your child focus all of their attention on keeping their legs still and their body calm so their stuffies stay put


Pro Tip: If you have more than one child to calm before bed, try having them lay side by side in this posture with just a few feet between them.

After you practice Stack the Stuffies with each of them, take away all but one stuffed animal and have them pass the stuffie down the line and back using just their feet.

You can also use a scarf or light blanket and have them pass it down the line keeping it between their heals and the wall. By giving them a fun task to complete while being in this pose you increase the time they will happily stay there.

3. Sleeping Bug / Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)

happy baby

This posture calms the mind, relieves stress, and also relaxes the spine. A tight or achy low back can make it hard to fall asleep, especially for older kids.

Another game for this posture is called Fill the Boat. This is an especially fun one for little ones. While in Sleeping Bug, the shape of your child’s body resembles a boat that you can fill with stuffed animals.

Let’s try it:

  • Laying on their back with their head on their pillow, have your child bend their knees toward their armpits and hold onto their flat, flexed feet or ankles
  • Encourage them to see what feels best for their body: lying still or rocking a bit from side to side for a little back massage
  • Stack the Stuffies can be played in this pose as well, placing a doll or bean bag on each of your child’s flexed feet
  • Perhaps they can shift a little side to side while trying to keep that stuffie in place!
  • To play Fill the Boat, begin placing stuffies on their stomach, stacking more and more until they have a boat filled with their favorite friends. Take your time here – the slower you go, the longer they spend in the pose
  • You can then have them rock side to side like a boat on a rocky sea, taking their stuffies for a ride


Create a Children’s Bedtime Yoga Routine in Your House for Relaxing Evenings

Next time you find yourself chasing your kids around with toothbrushes or yelling about how this is really the last time you’re going to ask them to get into bed, remember these three children’s yoga poses and the bedtime fun you can have with them.

Not only will it help relax your kids into sleep mode, but it will make bedtime easier and more enjoyable for you, too. 🙂

It’s a win-win! Sleep tight!

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Learn About the 4 Moon Phases + Yoga Practices for Each

The four moon phases affect us whether we realize it or not.

Have you ever looked up at the sky at night in awe of her judi slot online jackpot terbesar simple beauty? Is she constantly changing and affecting us knowingly or unknowingly? She seems so far away: powerful but gentle, bright and enchanting. The moon is magic.

Read on to learn about the 4 phases of the moon, how each moon phase can affect us, as well as a yoga practice you can do for each phase.

What Are the 4 Moon Phases?

Every night the moon looks different. What we see of the moon in the sky will depend on where it is in orbit around the Earth, and where the Earth is in relation to the sun.

The moon itself is not changing but what we can see of the moon from Earth is. We see all the different shapes of the moon – whether we see a bright circle or a narrow crescent shape, these are called moon phases.

The 4 phases of the moon (also known as lunar phases) in order are:

  1. New Moon
  2. First Quarter
  3. Full Moon
  4. Last Quarter

Moonphases explains that although we have the 4 phases of the moon that we are more familiar with, there are 8 phases in total.

“An additional four intermediate phases make up the combined eight phases that comprise the Phases of the Moon in the following sequential order:

  • New Moon
  • Waxing Crescent
  • First Quarter
  • Waxing Gibbous
  • Full Moon
  • Waning Gibbous
  • Last Quarter
  • Waning Crescent

Your Quick Guide to Moon Phases, Their Meaning, and How They Impact You

The 4 Phases of the Moon in Yoga

The moon, also known as chandra in Sanskrit, represents our emotions and personality. It’s known as the mother, divine goddess, and women.

In yoga, the moon is said to be connected to the “manas,” a part of the emotional, sensory mind. This part of the mind governs how we respond to the external environment and how we react emotionally. It’s deeply connected with how we experience ourselves within the world.

The yogic quality of the moon is known to be that of purity (sattva). The moon corresponds with the subtle body such as the chakras, energy channels (nadis), and the energies (vayus). The subtle body is the vehicle which consciousness moves from life to life.

“When the moon shines, Brahman shines; And when the moon sets, Brahman goes.” – Kaushitaki Upanishads 2.1

The gravitational pull, or attraction, between the Earth and the moon is what causes the rise and fall of the ocean’s tides.” The strongest gravitational pull is said to be around the time of the full moon and new moon.

We earthlings are made up of around 70% water, and many studies have suggested that when the moon has the most impact on the sea, she also has the strongest impact on us and the “manas” and how we respond to the world emotionally.

Learn How to Practice Moon Salutations (Photo Tutorial)

These Are the 4 Moon Phases, How They Affect Us, and Yoga Practices We Can Use for Each:

Read on to learn about each lunar phase and how it can impact you, plus a yoga practice that embodies the specific needs and energy of each moon phase.

1. New Moon

When we cannot see the moon in the sky, there is no illumination. A new moon happens every time the moon is orbiting between the Earth and the Sun. This is when the side of the moon facing Earth is in darkness and the back side of the Moon is illuminated.

Manifest Your Dreams With a New Moon Ritual – Here’s Your Step-by-Step Guide

How does this affect us?
The new moon is also known as the beginning of a new moon lunar phase and is a time when we may feel we would like to start planning new things, set intentions, begin new projects, or set out new routines and habits.

This phase is a perfect time to start a new yoga routine, a skincare plan, or even a work project with a fresh start.

The new lunar phase is a great time to journal, practice soothing lunar yoga, light a candle and take time to ponder, and sit with your pen and paper listening and honoring your gut feeling and instincts so you can create and set goals for the days and months ahead.

Yoga for the new moon:

Practice seated forward folds like Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana), which is soothing and calming so you can tune inward.

Bonus! Practice This New Moon Yoga Flow on YA Classes by YogiApproved

Take your new moon energy to the next level with this vibrant New Moon Flow online yoga class on YA Classes.

New Moon

With Chelsea Ortega

22-minutes Class | All Levels

2. First Quarter

The first quarter happens around one week after the new moon: around the seventh day of the moon cycle. The first quarter is also known as the half moon because we only get to see 50% of the moon’s surface illuminated by the sun.

The moon is at a 90% angle from the Earth, and the sun is creating this shadow.

The half moon is suggested to have perfect shadowing and is beautiful for astronomers to see because breathtaking details of mountains and craters can be viewed and observed. This perfect shadowing is said to last about three days in total.

How does this affect us?
If you planted seeds, intentions, or goals during the new moon phase, this might be the time when things begin to take shape, and you start to see things flourish.

Make sure you stay grounded with your end goal in sight. Obstacles may naturally occur at this stage, so staying balanced and looking after yourself with rest, a balanced diet, and yoga are essential to keep clear physically and mentally to deal with anything that arises.

This moon phase is also a perfect time to explore and learn new things to achieve future goals and intentions. Connecting with the world and universe may serve you on your journey toward your destination.

Yoga for the first quarter moon:

Practice Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana), which opens and expands your body to help you find balance, strength, and focus.

3. Full Moon

The full moon takes place when the Earth is located between the sun and moon. The full moon happens when the moon’s nearest side is fully illuminated because it’s on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.

The sun illuminates directly across at the moon, making it appear to be whole and complete. When the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned, this is the time the gravitational pull is at its highest. The solar tide has an impact on the lunar tides, creating extra high tides.

How does this affect us?
The full moon is a time of peak energy, and you may experience heightened emotions or feelings. Your sleep may be disturbed.

Many studies have explored the moon and the effect it may have on us earthlings.

During this moon phase, there may be a completion of the goals and intentions that you set during the new moon.

This is a time of completion, letting go, surrendering anything to the light that no longer serves you, taking time to release anything that is heightened that you no longer want to hold onto, and making space for the new to arrive.

Yoga for the full moon:
Practice meditation during the full moon, to release and let go of all things that do not serve you and make space for the new.

Channel the Moon’s Potent Energy In This Free Full Moon Yoga Class

4. Last Quarter

In this last quarter moon phase, we get to see the opposite side of the first quarter of the moon. After this phase, the moon begins to get smaller and smaller. The last quarter moon, also known as the half moon, takes place around one week after the full moon.

How does this affect us?
This moon phase allows all that you were ready to surrender the opportunity to begin shedding. You may feel the urge to cleanse and let go of old habits, negativity, old beliefs, people, or things.

It is a time to honor what needs to be released. You may have an urge to deep clean your environment or even cleanse your inner body.

As you release, let go, and forgive, you open up new space to get ready for new manifestations, ideas, and abundance during the new moon phase that is on its way.

Yoga for the last quarter moon:

Half Lord of the Fishes
Practice seated twists like Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana), which allows you to let go, release, and find calm.

Honoring the 4 Phases of the Moon

The moon is proven to affect the Earth and the tides, and we are one with nature. She gives us the perfect opportunity to tune in to ourselves and devote time to understanding the cycles of nature and life.

Harness the Moon’s Potent Energy With These Moon Rituals

She offers us the wisdom of knowing we are a part of something magical, something bigger. We are one.

Practice Yoga Through All the Moon’s Phases With Sun Moon Flows!

Join YA Classes instructor Kate Van Horn as she guides you through unique online yoga flows to channel the moon’s potent energy on your mat.

Sun Moon Flows

With Kate Van Horn

4 Classes | All Levels

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8 Yoga Poses for Golfers to Improve Your Swing

Golfers, did you know there are specific yoga poses for golfers that can improve your swing and overall performance? What’s more, is these yoga poses can also help balance out your body.

According to the golf magazine 19th Hole Mag, yoga can judi slot online jackpot terbesar improve your golf game by improving your balance, flexibility, core strength, and mental focus.

As a yoga instructor, I tell my clients who golf and complain of shoulder tightness, undertrained obliques, and wrist pain that any sport that uses one side of the body more than another is going to create an imbalance.

The key is to train the body symmetrically, and to choose yoga poses that will help strengthen your hips and core while opening your spine and shoulders. Luckily, there are many excellent yoga poses for golfers that do just that.

Calling All Athletes! Yoga Can Increase Your Athletic Performance – Here’s How

These 8 Yoga Poses for Golfers Will Ease Your Sore Body and Improve Your Golf Game:

Try doing your less dominant, or ‘weaker’ side, first in order to create strength and symmetry in your golf game.

1. Supine Spinal Twist

Borrowing from the world of Pilates, this is one of my personal favorite yoga poses for golfers. Instead of the rested version, activate your abs by hovering over the ground.

Let’s try it:

  • Lay on your back with your arms in the shape of the letter T. Press all 10 fingers into the ground
  • Lift your knees to 90 degrees, creating a little tabletop with your shins
  • While pressing your shoulders into the floor, inhale and rotate your knees over to the right
  • Hold to challenge the hover
  • Exhale and bring your knees back to center
  • Repeat on the left side – inhale to twist and exhale to return to center
  • Do a total set of 10 to 12 repetitions for strength

2. Downward Facing Dog

down dog 1

Downward Facing Dog, aka Down Dog, is one of the most well-known yoga poses, and for good reason. This basic pose stretches your calves and shoulders, teaches you to lengthen your spine, and helps you focus on breathing – which is why it’s one of the best yoga poses for golfers.

Let’s try it:

  • Start on your hands and knees and take a deep breath in
  • As you exhale, lift your hips to the sky and press your heels toward the earth
  • Create an upside down V shape by pressing your full palm into the floor, tilting your tailbone up, and lengthening your spine from your hips to your head
  • Stretch your hamstrings and calves as you try to straighten your knees
  • Pull your shoulders away from your ears to create space for your neck and breath
  • Rotate your arm bones so that the creases of your elbows point forward and your triceps activate
  • Stay for five to 10 breaths and repeat up to five times

Curious About Your Alignment In Down Dog? Watch This Yoga Pose Tutorial (Video)

3. Low Lunge

Low Lunge 1

This is a great pose to warm up your hips and quads, and also stretch the muscles in your torso.

Let’s try it:

  • From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot forward next to your right thumb as you exhale
  • Drop your left knee down to the ground, and as you inhale, lift your torso upright and bring your hands to the top of your right thigh
  • Find space in your low back by shifting your hips back slightly. Engage your core and then lengthen your tail toward the earth
  • Deepen into the lunge forward and feel your hips and left quads stretch
  • Stay for five to 10 breaths and feel your heart expand as you open up the front line of your body
  • Repeat on the other side

4. High Lunge Presses

High Lunge

This is a balance and strength-training drill to tone your legs and abs. New to balancing? Use a wall or chair for an assist.

Let’s try it:

  • Start in a High Lunge position, with your left foot forward and your right foot back and your arms extended skyward
  • Bend your left knee so it tracks over your left ankle and lengthen your right leg behind you, pressing into the ball mound of your right foot
  • Pressing into the ball of your right foot and the full foot of your left side, straighten your left knee
  • Feel your quads tone and think of pressing your legs center like blades of a scissor
  • Inhale and re-bend your left knee
  • Repeat eight to 12 times and then switch sides

5. Chair Pose

Chair 1

Like the last yoga pose for golfers, Chair Pose (Utkatasana) is great for toning your outer hips.

Let’s try it:

  • Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides
  • Inhale and sit your hips back to about 45 degrees and reach your arms above your head
  • You’ll notice you’re in a zig zag shape from the side (which is why some call this Thunderbolt Pose)
  • Send your drishti, or gaze, forward to help you balance
  • Squeeze your knees together and ensure your tailbone is not tilted upward. Envision a laser beam coming out your tailbone and let it shine behind you on the floor
  • Draw your front ribs in to your midline to engage your abs and spread your toes into the ground
  • Hold for five to eight breaths, then return to standing

What Is a Drishti and How Can It Improve Your Balance In Yoga?

6. Revolved Chair Pose

Revolved Chair 1

A literal twist on the last pose, Revolved Chair Pose adds a stretch of the spine and an engagement of your obliques, making it one of the best yoga poses for golfers on this list. Be mindful of your knee and hip alignment – they can be easily forgotten as you twist!

Let’s try it:

  • From Chair Pose, glue your palms together overhead and then draw them into your sternum
  • Take a deep inhale and as you engage your abs, lift your heart and twist to the right
  • Ensure your left knee and hip have not shifted in space. Instead, draw your navel back to your spine to support the pelvis
  • Stay here, gazing sideways, or if you’d like to challenge your twist even more, link your left elbow to the outside of your right knee
  • Again, check that the left hip bone or kneecap haven’t drifted forward. Use your outer glutes to square your hips
  • Stay for three to eight breaths, then exhale to return to center
  • Repeat on the second side for the same amount of time

Athletes and Weekend Warriors: Here’s How to Use Yoga to Prevent Injuries

7. Bird Dog

Bird Dog 1

This is one of the best yoga poses for golfers because it works stability and balance across the full body.

Let’s try it:

  • Start on all fours, with your hands stacked under your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips
  • Raise your left arm forward and your right leg back. Try to get them both as high as your spine
  • Support the left hip by pulling up your abs and your right shoulder by drawing the arm bone away from the floor
  • Stay here, gazing toward the ground, for five to eight breaths
  • Repeat on the second side for the same amount of time

These 6 Stability Exercises Will Drastically Improve Your Balance

8. Boat Pose to Half Boat Pose

Two more great yoga poses for golfers, both Boat and Half Boat build lots of core strength.

Let’s try it:

  • Start seated on the floor and lift your legs into the air to create a V-shape with your body
  • Reach your arms toward your toes. Balance on your tailbone in this Boat Pose
  • With a deep inhale, press your feet forward to straighten your legs and lean back until your mid-spine is on the floor. Bring your hands to prayer position
  • As you exhale, return to the V-shape, reaching your fingers to your toes
  • Inhale as you lower down to Half Boat Pose
  • Exhale as you lift your body back to full Boat Pose
  • Repeat five to 10 times or until your abs jump ship (haha!)

Use These Yoga Poses for Golfers to Improve Your Game

Golf can do wonders for your physical and mental state, and these yoga poses for golfers can help you up your game and bring ease to your body.

Repeat them three to five times per week to see how your core strengthens and your shoulders open.

They will keep you playing longer, playing stronger, and might even lower your golf score. Now off to that hole in one!

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These 13 Poses Prepare Your Body for Bondage

Shibari bondage, which is also known as “kinbaku,” is a contemporary form of rope bondage that originated in Japan, according to sexologist Midori, the author of Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage.

The literal translation of shibari means “tying” whereas kinbaku means “tight bonding.”

Shibari is the act of tying someone up for aesthetic purposes. However, for many, the benefit of shibari bondage goes far beyond aesthetics.

For some, the pressure of tight rope wrapped around the body can create pleasurable sensations – sensual and otherwise. Shibari bondage is also used as a form of meditation, relaxation, trust-building, and as a precursor to kink play.

What Does Shibari Bondage Have to Do With Yoga?

Who knew attending a shibari conference out of curiosity would change my life forever? You typically only hear things like that about yoga classes . . .

My first experience in a shibari conference space left me breathless, not only from all the beautiful and intricate rope art going on, but also from the many people in yoga poses.

Some people were literally tied in yoga poses such as Lotus Pose and Butterfly Pose. Others were practicing a sequence of yoga poses as preparation for getting tied up.

I spent most of that night watching the beautiful mix of yoga and bondage and reflecting upon the intersection of the two practices. As a result, I quickly saw that the two practices are both complementary to each other.

Meaning, I quickly saw how yoga (the practice of yoga poses and breathing techniques, focusing on the present moment, and sitting through uncomfortable moments) could help one be physically and mentally prepared for kink.

Similarly, it also occurred to me that some kink practices (sitting through pain, increased discipline, and a focus on the present moment during a scene) could benefit a yoga practice.

In addition to the two practices being complementary, I also saw how beneficial yoga can be to prepare the body for kink.

For example, poses such as Bridge Pose, Downward Facing Dog, and Cow Face Pose all help to open up the chest and shoulders. Each of these poses could help to prepare your body for having your hands tied behind your back or over your head.

It was this night at the shibari bondage conference and my experience that inspired my book, Yoga for Kink: A Guide to Using Yoga to Prepare the Body for Bondage.

Continue reading to learn more about how yoga can help prepare your body for bondage and/or kink play.

How Does Yoga Prepare Your Body for Kink and Bondage?

Yoga for kink can benefit many types of kink and bondage play. Some people enjoy having their hands tied behind their backs while others enjoy getting tied into an intricate backbend. Both can benefit from doing some yoga beforehand.

There are two types of stretching: static and dynamic. Static stretching involves holding a position for 30 seconds or longer. Dynamic stretching involves using movement into and out of a position repeatedly to take the body to (not beyond) its limit.

Static stretching, like yoga, has been shown to: help muscles relax, help stretch fascia and ligaments, increase bone density, and increase mobility. The longer the hold, the greater the benefit in terms of releasing fascia and ligaments.

Ligaments are fibrous connective tissues that connect bones to other bones. Fascia is a sheet of connective tissue beneath the skin that encloses and separates muscles and other internal organs.

Static stretching provides the exact benefits needed for a body in preparation for bondage and kink play.

In taking the time to use yoga to prepare your body for kink play, you are able to safely and enjoyably explore kink with your partner.

Now that you understand how yoga can help prepare you for kink, continue reading for specific poses that can help.

3 Important Benefits That Sex and Yoga Have In Common


These 13 Yoga Poses Prepare Your Body for Kink and Bondage:


1. Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana)

Stretch your hamstrings and lower back to prep your body for bondage.

Let’s try it:

  • Begin standing
  • Make sure your feet are hip-width distance apart
  • Inhale and reach your hands to the sky
  • Exhale and hinge at your hips, coming into a forward fold
  • Rather than straightening your legs, push your feet down into the earth
  • Allow the back of your hands to rest onto yoga block or the floor, or hold onto opposite elbows
  • Very slightly, push your ankles outward. This is a minor adjustment, don’t overdo it
  • On each exhale, gently push your feet into the earth and reach your hips toward the sky
  • Stay here for five to seven breaths
  • Note: If your back is rounding, put a bend in your knees and allow your belly to rest on your thighs. It is more important to have a straight spine than straight legs in this pose


2. Bound Forward Fold Pose (Baddha Uttanasana)

bound forward fold

Get ready for shibari bondage binds with this Bound Forward Fold.

Let’s try it:

  • Begin standing
  • Make sure your feet are hip-width distance apart
  • Inhale, reach behind you and clasp your hands by interweaving your fingers
  • Exhale, fold forward, hinging at your hips
  • Allow your hands to fall toward the ground
  • If your back is rounding, put a bend in your knees and allow your belly to rest on your thighs
  • Rather than straightening your legs by pushing back with the knees, push your feet into the earth
  • Very slightly, push your ankles outward
  • On each exhale, gently push your feet into the earth and reach your hips toward the sky
  • Stay here for five to seven breaths


3. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)


Elongate your spine and create space in your whole body to prepare for kink with Down Dog.

Let’s try it:

    • Begin on your hands and knees
    • Spread your fingers wide with your index fingers pointing toward the front of the mat
    • Rotate the crease of your elbows toward the front of the mat
    • To really ground through your hands here, push down through the base of your thumb and index finger
    • Imagine that you’re trying to open a jar. Energetically speaking, you’re activating your hands in such a way that you’re opening a jar with your hands, but you’re not allowing them to move
    • Exhale and lift your hips up and back, into Downward Facing Dog
    • At first, keep your knees slightly bent and your heels lifted away from the floor
    • Draw your navel in and up toward your spine
    • Engage your quadriceps by drawing your knees up your thighs
    • Slightly rotate the heels of your feet outward, bringing them wider than your big toes
    • Actively drop your heels toward the ground
    • Stay here for five to seven breaths
    • Note: If your low back is tight, bend your knees, this allows you to work on lengthening your spine. It is more important to have a straight spine than straight legs in this pose
    • If your heels are more than two inches from the floor and your calves and heels feel very tight, you can bring the mat to your heels, so to speak, by placing a rolled-up blanket or yoga mat under your heels

4. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

childs pose

Find a safe space in Child’s Pose.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin on hands and knees
        • Exhale and lower your seat to your heels
        • Slowly walk your hands out, bringing your belly onto (or toward) your thighs
        • You can keep your knees close together or wide apart. The closer together they are, the deeper the stretch will be in your lower back
        • Stretch your hands out above your head and rest your forehead on your mat or a yoga block
        • Rotate your biceps outward (away from your face) to help your shoulders roll down your back
        • Allow your chest to fall toward the floor
        • Hold for five to seven breaths. For a Yin version of this pose, you can hold it for five to seven minutes
        • If the deep bend in your knees is too much, you can place a rolled-up blanket between your sit bones and heels
        • To lessen the intensity of the pose, you can place a yoga bolster under your torso
        • You can also bring your arms by your sides, resting your hands next to your feet

30-Minute Yoga Sequence to Activate Your Sexual Energy (Free Class)

5. Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)

Warm up your spine for your shibari bondage kink with some Cats and Cows.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin on your hands and knees
        • Align your wrists directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips
        • Untuck your toes and gently press the tops of your feet into the mat
        • On an inhale, lift your head, heart, and tail while allowing your belly to drop toward the mat
        • Ensure that your shoulders don’t drop with your belly by pressing your hands into the earth
        • Rotate the crease of your elbows toward the front of the mat
        • On an exhale, arch your spine
        • Draw your chin toward your chest and pull your navel in and up toward your spine
        • Rotate the crease of your elbows in, facing each other
        • Repeat for five rounds of breath


6. Easy Seat Forward Fold (Sukhasana Variation)

easy pose fold

Give your spine and hips some gentle opening as you prepare for kink with this Easy Seat variation.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin in a seated position
        • Fold your feet in toward you in any way that is comfortable for you
        • On an exhale, place your hands on the mat and walk your hands out away from your body
        • If it’s okay for your body, you can bring your forearms down to the mat. If not, leave your hands on the mat
        • Drop your forehead toward the floor, allowing your spine to curve
        • Be sure to keep your sit bones on the floor. If needed, gently push into your hands (or forearms) to keep your sit bones grounded
        • Stay here for five to seven breaths
        • If your low back is tight and it is difficult to bend forward, place a yoga block under your sit bones


7. Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)


Open your hips, hamstrings, and backbody with Pyramid Pose.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
        • Step your left foot back about two to three feet and place it at a 90-degree angle so that your toes are pointing toward the left front corner of the mat
        • Your feet should be wide enough apart so that your hips are squared to the front of the mat
        • On an exhale, gently hinge forward at your waistline. If you feel your spine starting to round, stop and back out a little bit. It is important to keep the spine straight
        • Gently draw your left hip forward and your right hip back and work toward bringing your chin toward your right shin
        • Engage your quadriceps by drawing your knees up your thigh
        • Open up your collarbones by rolling your shoulders down your back
        • Press down through your front big toe
        • Ground down through the outer edge of your back foot
        • Gently press your elbows up and away from your back
        • Stay here for five to seven breaths


8. Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)


There’s nothing quite like Triangle Pose to open your entire front and backbody.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin in a standing position
        • Step your left foot back about 18 inches, placing your foot at a 45-degree angle
        • Your right foot is pointing toward the front of the mat
        • Both knees should be straight
        • Make sure the heels of your feet are in line with each other
        • Exhale, hinge over your right hip, bringing your right palm onto your shin or a yoga block. If you’re using a block, it needs to be on the outside edge of your right foot
        • Tuck in your chin slightly and look up toward your top thumb if it is comfortable for your neck
        • Ground down through the outer edge of your back foot and the big toe of your front foot
        • Engage your quads by drawing your knees up your thighs
        • Let your hip come slightly forward and draw your tailbone toward your inner back heel
        • Slightly rotate your torso from your navel and draw the back of your left shoulder toward the wall behind you
        • Stay here for five to seven breaths


9. Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)


Give your hips some love with Lizard Pose to get your body ready for bondage.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin in Downward Facing Dog
        • Step your right foot forward, coming into a Runner’s Lunge
        • Drop your left knee to the mat and untuck your left toes
        • Move your right hand to the inside of your right leg
        • Extend your heart forward and roll your shoulders down your back
        • On an exhale, drop your head and settle into the pose
        • You can leave your palms on the mat, or you can come onto your forearms. Forearms could also be placed on yoga blocks
        • Don’t allow your right knee to fall out toward the right, keep it directly over your ankle
        • Make sure that your palms or elbows are in line with your right ankle
        • Draw your shoulder blades together and press them into your back
        • Slightly draw your left hip forward and your right hip back
        • Let your hips and your head drop toward the floor
        • Draw the navel in and up toward your spine
        • Stay here for five to seven breaths
        • For a more intense stretch, you can lift your back knee


10. Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

bound cow facing

Open your shoulders and hips with Cow Face Pose to prepare your shoulders for behind-the-back bondage.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin on your hands and knees
        • Draw your right knee forward, in between your hands and then bring your right foot outside of your left thigh
        • Next, slide your right knee back to meet your left knee
        • Gently sit your hips down between your heels
        • Try to bring your heels an equal distance from your hips
        • Sit evenly on your sitting bones – don’t allow one hip to bear more weight than the other. If this isn’t possible for your body, you can place a small folded towel under the higher hip
        • Your knees may not stack directly on top of each other and that is okay – don’t force yourself into it
        • Flex your feet
        • Inhale and stretch your right arm out straight to the right side of your body and parallel to the floor
        • Rotate your arm inwardly, turning your thumb toward the floor. To keep rotating, next point your fingers toward the wall behind you with your palm face up toward the ceiling
        • Exhale and sweep your right arm behind you and tuck your forearm into the curve of your lower back, parallel to your waist
        • Roll your shoulder back and down. Then begin to work your forearm up your back
        • Work to get your forearm parallel to your spine with your hand between your shoulder blades, but be sure to listen to your body and stop as needed
        • Inhale and stretch your left arm out in front of you with your palm facing up. Lift your hand straight above you
        • Exhale and bend your elbow and begin to reach down for your right hand to clasp them together
        • Please feel free to use a yoga strap here if you can’t clasp your hands together
        • Inhale and work to lift your left elbow toward the ceiling and descend your right elbow toward the floor
        • Make sure your floating ribs are not jutting outward
        • For the fully integrated pose, exhale and hinge forward at your hips to bring your chest toward your legs
        • Allow your forehead to drop toward the floor
        • Stay here for five to 10 breaths and then switch sides


11. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)


Warm up your entire spine with Bridge Pose to prepare your body.

Let’s try it:

        • Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor
        • Bring your heels as close to your glutes as possible with your feet hip-width distance apart
        • Place your arms alongside your body with your palms facing down
        • Inhale and press your feet and arms actively into the floor to lift your tailbone toward the sky
        • Exhale and begin to roll onto your shoulders and bring your hands underneath you. If it feels okay on your shoulders, clasp your hands underneath your buttocks
        • Lift your chin slightly away from your chest. There should be enough space for someone to place two fingers between your neck and the floor
        • Keep your knees over your heels but push them forward, away from your hips
        • Lengthen your tailbone toward the back of your knees
        • Stay here for five breaths


12. Supported Reclined Hero’s Pose (Supta Virasana)

reclined supported hero

Gently open up your entire front body with this supported version of Reclined Hero’s Pose.

Let’s try it:

        • Sit with your knees bent and your buttocks resting on your heels
        • For support, place a yoga bolster or two yoga blocks beneath your spine before reclining
        • If you use blocks, place one along the spine (vertical) between your shoulder blades and one (horizontal) under your head, creating a T with the blocks
        • Slowly recline and allow your knees to separate
        • On an exhale, recline back over your props
        • Roll your shoulders down your back to open your collarbones
        • Gently draw your pelvis in and up toward your spine
        • Stay here for five to 10 breaths


13. Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana)

Give your hips, spine, and hamstrings some extra love with a Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold as you prepare.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin in a seated position with your legs spread as wide as possible
        • Lift the flesh from your sit bones
        • Press your hands into the floor behind you and scoot your buttocks forward an inch or two – or to where is most comfortable. You want to feel a generous stretch on the inner thighs, but no pain
        • Ensure that your back is straight and not rounding
        • Rotate your thighs outward so that your kneecaps are pointing straight up toward the sky. Flex your feet and press through the balls of your feet
        • Engage your quadriceps by drawing your knees up your thighs
        • Inhale and hinge forward at your hips coming down as far as you can while still maintaining a straight spine
        • Place your hands (or forearms) on the floor (or on blocks) in front of you
        • Rotate your pelvis toward the ground – not so dramatically that you cause rounding in the back though
        • If your belly and/or torso is on the ground, use the strength of your arms to gently pull your torso away from your hips
        • Stay here for five to 10 breaths
        • If your low back and/or hamstrings are very tight, you can sit on the edge of a folded blanket

7 Secret Ways Yoga Improves Your Sex Life

The Takeway on Yoga for Kink and Bondage: It’s All About Safe Exploration

One of the main focuses behind yoga is to safely explore your body’s ability by gently pushing yourself close to your limit. This is true about kink as well. This safe exploration is the big picture behind using yoga to prepare the body for bondage. When you and your partner are able to explore new areas of intimate activities like Shibari bondage in a safe way, it can be very connecting.

However, it truly is important to make sure you’re safe while doing so. In the larger kink community, there are a set of principles that people adhere to so that everyone is safe. RACK – Risk Aware Consensual Kink – is one of these principles. The philosophy behind RACK is that every activity has a degree of danger to it and what is “safe” is best determined by the parties involved. To be risk aware, is to understand the risks involved in whatever activity you plan to engage in. Only you know what feels ok for you and your body today.

In addition, enthusiastic consent is key. As sexologist Jess O’Reilly, PhD says, “To be considered consensual, all parties involved must be capable of expressing their explicit and informed consent.” Just because your partner was ok with bondage yesterday, does not mean that they are ok with it today. Consent should be a continual discussion, not a onetime conversation.

Yoga is a great way to safely prepare the body for kink and bondage. By practicing chest and shoulder opening yoga poses before being tied into a backbend type position, for example, you’re setting yourself up for a successful adventure. One where you are at less risk for injury.

In addition to playful exploration, the practice of yoga and kink can help you learn to focus on the present moment, breathe consciously when you’re feeling stressed, become more disciplined, and sit through uncomfortable moments with ease.

Start slow, check in with your partner frequently, and always listen to your body and your heart.

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