Balance Poses

One of the most challenging parts of yoga can be maintaining balance. It takes a lot of mental and physical strength to move into a Dancer Pose or Warrior III and can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t seem to keep a stable position. Balance is key for yoga, and it helps build up your mental and physical strength because of the concentration required. However, if you feel you naturally don’t have very good balance or are kind of clumsy, balance poses may feel off limits or like a challenge you don’t want to try. There are poses though that can help you achieve better balance and have quicker reaction times, so, you are less likely to fall and experience an injury. This may not seem important now, but as we age, preventing falls becomes more and more important. Give these poses a try and see if they help you!


Mountain pose

Mountain pose is a great starting point. It may seem strange that a pose where you’re standing on both feet could help with balance. In true mountain pose, you are generally evaluating where your weight is in your feet and making sure you are pressing each part of your foot into the ground. This will really help you to pay attention to your balance, and if you want extra practice, close your eyes!

Tree pose

A natural transition from mountain pose is into tree pose. The time you spent evaluating where your weight is balanced in your feet in mountain will help you as you shift your weight to the standing leg and lift the other leg to either your thigh or your shin, avoiding the knee. The hands are lifted and clasped over the head. This is a safe pose to work on your balance with because if you lose your balance, your leg just needs to come down to prevent your fall. It will help you to practice your grounding before moving on to more challenging poses.

Chair pose

Chair pose is another great pose that you do with both feet on the ground but helps improve your balance. It is performed by standing with your feet hip width apart, lifting your hands in the air, and bending your knees. You can lift your toes for extra balance benefit, but this is another pose that will help see how your balance is distributed between your feet.

High lunge

High lunge, and especially moving into it, can be a challenging pose. Both feet will still be on the ground, but you will need to use your core muscles to really work on staying upright. Perform high lunge by starting with your hands on the ground in a runner’s lunge, lift your torso up, and lift your arms up. The palms should be facing each other. Your front knee should be parallel to the floor. Keep your back leg straight, and really pull back on your hip to keep your hips squared.


These poses are primarily for a beginner or someone hesitant to try other balance poses. They will help you to focus on you how your weight is balanced throughout your body so that you will be able to move quicker to catch yourself, if need be, and safely transition to poses better. What balance poses would you like to try?

Yin And Yang Yoga Practices

The differentiation between yin and yang yoga comes from ancient Tao philosophy. The idea is that there are dual and cooperative forces, yin and yang, in everything. Within the body, there is yin and yang. The yin parts are the slow parts: 

  • The fascia,
  • Tendons,
  • And less mobile elements. 

They are mobile elements:

  • Flowing blood,
  • Joints,
  • Breath, and so on. 

When doing yoga, there can be a distinction made between yin and yang practices.

Yang yoga practices are what people often associate with yoga. Yang represents movement, flow, and strength. Therefore, yang yoga practices could be said to include faster-paced yoga flow classes and even hot yoga. Any class can be adapted to encompass more yang energy by simply speeding it up. In these classes, you will experience more heat, increased heart rate, and lots of movement in the joints and muscles. Yang yoga practices are more likely to be comfortable in yoga shorts or other breathable activewear. When people come to yoga class looking for a workout, they are actually looking for yang styles of yoga without understanding that this is only half of what it is. 

The most important tenant of the yin-yang philosophy is the existence of the light and dark, yin and yang. There is not one without the other. Therefore, individuals who seek only one type of yoga, either yin or yang, may not be serving their highest good. It is not uncommon that people will seek the same thing out of familiarity, repetition, or because they are already embodying that similar energy. Yet, someone who is already full of yang energy may not benefit most from more yang practices like fastpaced yoga. Instead, they may be needing yoga based around yin in order to create balance in their being.

Yin yoga is a beautifully balancing style of yoga. Other yoga styles that embody the yin energy include restorative and gentle Hatha. When the body is given time to hold poses for long periods; as done in yin yoga classes, it can release tension in the fascia and muscles that may only hold tension otherwise. Yin focuses on the parts of the body that do not move as easily. It represents rest, stillness, and peace. Practicing yin yoga could look like holding poses for 5-10 minutes each and breathing into the body as it releases. Instead of cultivating a movement and creating heat, you are connecting with coldness and stillness. For this reason, you may want to wear yoga pants that will keep you warm when your body temperature drops and you become cold in a state of stillness. 

Yin and yang practices go together. Sometimes you can even find a yin/yang yoga class! I try to teach my Hatha classes in this style, creating heat and movement in flowing movements and then relaxing into yin-inspired savasana. I truly believe that yin and yang serve a purpose in our yoga practice and our lives as a whole, and both give us skills that extend to our entire lives. 

All You Need To Know About Yin Yoga

Yin yoga was founded in the 1970s by Paulie Zink, who was a martial arts expert and Taoist yoga teacher. Taoist yoga combines traditional Indian yoga with the Chinese energy maps of the body. It is thought that by practicing this kind of yoga, you will improve the benefits of yoga and gain a more in-depth insight into how the body works. It is these principles that Yin yoga is based upon. Today Yin yoga is very popular in Europe and North America. It is mostly due to the development of yin yoga by teachers Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. 

Two terms are often talked about in Chinese and Taoist traditions. These are ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang.’ These two things are believed to balance the forces of each other out. 

  • Yin is calming and stable
  • While Yang is challenging and ever-changing. 

Most other types of yoga are described to be very Yang because they are fast-flowing, stimulate the muscles, and generate heat. Practicing Yin yoga as well as these other types of yoga is, therefore better, as the body can achieve equilibrium and balance. 

Yin yoga is a very slow-paced style of yoga, very different from the Vinyasa style where there is one breath to one movement. Asanas are held for up to ten minutes (maybe longer in advanced classes). Props can be used to help students stay in asanas for longer. Even though the asanas are usually passive because of the length of time they are held, they can become quite challenging. Yin yoga should not be considered as a restorative type of yoga. This type of yoga is also not recommended for anyone with damaged tissues that are in the process of healing. People used to a Hatha style of yoga practice may also become confused as yin yoga teachers sometimes use different names for poses.

Yin yoga concentrates on applying a moderate amount of stress to the connective tissues, tendons, fascia, ligaments, bones, and joints as appose to the muscles that other exercises and yoga styles concentrate on. The advantage of this is that circulation in these areas is increased which then improves the flexibility of the joints. It also helps to strengthen them, which is most beneficial in all areas of our lives. Holding the poses for so long helps to calm the mind and allow us to become more spiritually connected. Yin yoga is thought off highly in ancient Chinese medicine. Ancient Chinese refers to ‘chi’ as a universal life energy force. It is believed that chi is present in every living thing, and improving the flow of chi around the body helps us to live healthily and happily. Yin yoga is a practice that allows us to do this. When we practice this type of yoga, we increase the flow of chi around our bodies and then increase the amount of chi that reaches our organs. The functioning of our organs is therefore improved, and we live happier and healthier lives.

3 Fun Ways to Practice Yoga With Your Kids

You know firsthand just how beneficial yoga can be in your everyday life. Why not share that experience with your little ones? Children can benefit just as much from a regular yoga practice as adults can. From the toddler years, you can start working on breathing practices, basic asanas, and teaching the art of mindfulness long before they start to pick up bad habits from society.

If you’re interested in attempting to practice yoga with your kids, there’s never been a better time to get started. This can ultimately create a fun bonding experience for you and your child. Follow a few of these easy steps to start practicing yoga with your kids today!

Teach Them How to Breathe

Every yogi knows that the breath is an important tool to feel completely centered and serene during your time on the mat. Learning how to breathe properly is important, and you can never start teaching this essential skill early enough. Before you begin each yoga session, encourage your child to take deep belly breaths.

If your child is a little older, you may be able to have some silly moments trying to teach alternate nostril breathing. Even if they have to use their hands to help them, this is a fun way for kids to really feel the difference that the breath can make.

Keep Your Practices Short

Children have notoriously short attention spans. While you may love a lengthy yoga practice, your child isn’t going to be able to really focus on the concepts for more than a few minutes. Start them off with a short and gentle practice so it becomes fun for them instead of a chore. You can be a yogi parent instead of a drill sergeant when you set the expectations low.

A good rule of thumb is to start with a simple 15-minute routine. Allow them to practice some of the basic postures like the downward facing dog and the tree pose. If your child loves gymnastics, you may help him/her with some simple inversions before winding down to savasana.

Practice Partner Yoga

Partner yoga may not be an active part of your regular routine, but kids love being able to work with you to create silly postures. Find some simple variations on more complicated partner poses. Your child will love being physically close to you. If things don’t go exactly as planned, laugh it off and enjoy the goofy moments with your child.

Teaching your child to love the beauty of yoga from an early age can be incredibly important. It can aid in their overall development and give them the tools they need to manage future anxiety with mindfulness. Not only are you giving them precious tools for their daily life, but you are setting up plenty of space to deepen your relationship with them. These will be treasured moments you look back on in the years to come with laughter and smiles.

Three Tips for Creating a Warm Yoga Space

When winter approaches, your entire body can start to feel cold and stiff. Simple things such as getting out of bed in the morning can become more difficult than ever before. Most of the yogis may need a little extra incentive to unroll their mats and loosen up their bodies and minds throughout the day. A good pair of warm cotton leggings may not be enough to encourage you to practice, and that’s why we feel some advice is more than welcome.

Fortunately, there are plenty of reasonable steps you can take at home to create a warm yoga space that you’ll look forward to using.

The temperature of a room definitely contributes to the warmth of the space, but there’s a myriad of other options to make your yoga area more inviting. Find a way to incorporate some of these tips into your home or yoga studio today.

Add a Warm Scent With Oils or Candles

Scent is one of the most powerful senses of the body, tying itself to our memories and our emotions. Adding a layer of a warm scent into your yoga area can help to ground you and open up your heart to the practice that awaits you. You may also want to consider lighting a candle or diffusing essential oils to bring in an extra element of warmth.

Be careful with lighting a candle in your yoga space. It should be far enough away from your yoga mat that you will not knock it over, even if you fall out of a particular pose. An essential oil diffuser is a safer option for a yoga area that has limited space.

Dig Out Your Plush Blankets

The imagery of a cozy blanket nearby may be enough to draw yogis toward their mats. However, a plush blanket can also be an extremely useful prop to help you deepen your practice. Fold it up to sit on in seated poses in order to keep your back straight. You may also be able to use it for extra padding underneath the knee in poses such as the Pigeon pose.

Make sure that the fabric of your yoga leggings feels okay up against the material of the blanket.

A thick blanket can also make you more comfortable in your final resting poses when core body temperatures drop. Drape yourself with a blanket prior to laying back in savasana for a deeper rest.

Dim The Lights

Harsh or bright lighting doesn’t beckon you into a particular area, so be mindful of dimming the lights in the wintertime. If you practice at home, you may be able to use a table lamp instead of an overhead light. Yoga studies could try to dim the lights or turn off half of their fluorescent lights for a softer glow.

The softer appearance of your space makes it feel instantly cozier and more inviting, drawing yogis onto their mats for longer practices, even when it’s freezing outside.

If you’ve been struggling to make it onto your yoga mat for a regular practice, try using these three tips to make your space more inviting. They’re relatively simple and utilize items most yogis have on hand at home. These steps might just be the very thing you need to keep your yoga practice going through the winter months ahead.

Establishing a Morning Yoga Routine

With working on making myself healthier both mentally and physically, I have noticed that one crucial step on my journey has been establishing a morning routine. Morning routines get our day started on the right note, and often make us look forward to getting up in the morning instead of wanting to keep hitting the snooze button.

Everyone’s idea of health is different. For me, it is keeping in check with my mental and physical health, keeping in touch with my faith, and taking care of my mind, body, and soul. Establishing a morning routine that touched on all of these aspects was a challenge for me at first. But in doing so, I found that my days always are started on a peaceful and positive note.

Find what works for you, and do what you love. Every person is different. We have our own unique interests and passions. Embrace your own! For example, I like to pray in the morning. This may not sound appealing to others, but it is something that I place a great deal of value on. Started my morning in prayer helps me to keep in touch with my faith.

Another part of my morning routine that I love? Having a cup of coffee! I look forward to a warm mug of coffee and getting my day started with lots of caffeine. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, maybe try a nice hot cup of tea or some warm lemon water to get your day kick started. For me, having a warm drink and taking it a bit slower in the morning helps me to prepare myself for the business of the day to come.

Most days, I like to begin with a good sweat. Whether that is working out at the gym or doing yoga, I think that getting up and moving your body will, in turn, give you the energy to power through the day. What better time to workout than in the morning? And the gym is always emptier, so it’s a win win. I love having the time in the gym or on my yoga mat in the morning because it is time just for me. That 45 minutes per hour is the time for bettering myself. It is time to clear my head, to let out steam, and to refocus my brain.

Another thing I advise doing in the mornings is journaling. Writing down my intentions and goals for the day or the week is super helpful for me. It is able to keep me motivated and remember what I should be prioritizing. Starting my day by writing down things I am grateful for helps me to stay grounded in life and realize all of the blessings I do have, some of which I forget while in the midst of stress and busyness.

Routines take a while to develop, so give yourself some grace! Try different things to find what works for you, and remember that your routine may look different than someone else’s which is completely okay. With a routine you love, you won’t even be needing to hit that snooze button over and over again. You’ll genuinely look forward to starting your day and getting out of bed.

The Crow Pose

We all go to yoga classes and there’s that one girl who can do one-handed handstands and is brilliant at everything. Let’s face it; most newbies would be too afraid to try out something so dramatic. One of my happiest moments in a yoga class was when I finally pulled off the crow pose. I was balancing on my hands with nobody propping me up and I was holding it! Happy days! I’m going to attempt to explain how I finally did it and hopefully help you to do the same.

Please be aware that this pose is not recommended for pregnant ladies. Practicing this pose with any wrist or hand problems will also be difficult or even impossible for you. Only go as far as your body allows you to, you are responsible for your own yoga practice.

  1. So to begin, move the feet to a little wider than hips-width.
  2. Turn the toes out (at ten to two) and squat down. You should now look like a monkey that is eating.
  3. Extend your arms forward and plant your hands on the floor slightly in front of you.
  4. Spread the fingers. Your torso will move forward.
  5. Try to keep the back straight and lengthened, just rocking forward on the toes.
  6. Slightly bend your elbows and rest the inside of the knees against the outer edge of your upper arms. Come on to the balls of your feet.
  7. Now the key to this pose is to look about 12 inches in front of your hands on the floor. Remember this as we go onto the next stage. Do not look back!
  8. Slowly lift the right foot off the floor, pointing the toe. Feel your core engage. Hold this for a few breaths.
  9. Drop the right foot and try the same with your left. Make sure you point the toes.

Once you feel confident that you can lift both feet up separately, that you can feel the engagement of your core when you do this and when you can confidently hold your foot off the ground without looking behind you to see it, then you are ready to try both feet. So don’t jump into this, go one foot at a time. Don’t move the gaze. Look 12 inches in front of your hands. You’ll be surprised and hopefully as impressed as I was with myself when I suddenly flew. Fly Crow! You can do it!

Crow is a pose that is especially good for strengthening the arms as you are holding up your whole body weight. It is also amazing for strengthening those abdominal muscles contributing a stronger core. A strong core means a strong spine and this has so many health benefits (that I will go into another time). Wrist strengthening is also another big plus to this pose as is the improved sense of balance. As with all balances, concentration is a big thing so concentrate! Thanks for reading!