yoga

10 Essential Yoga Poses For Your Next Hike

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What will you find in this post? 9 essential tips for hiking Mt. LeConte, or any long distance hike and 10 essential yoga poses for stretching and recovery after your hike.

Shout out to all my brave peeps who rocked Mt. LeConte with me on Saturday in 29 degrees and snow! Derrick, Katy, Jose, Daniel, Brooke, Kristy and Amanda! I couldn’t have made it without their encouragement, support and sense of humor 🙂 Kudos to the best hiking group ever!

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9 Essential Tips to Hike Mt. LeConte:

1) Prepare with shorter hikes and a backpack. Condition your body with shorter distances and extra weight.

2) Eat a good breakfast. Eat healthy carbs, proteins and fats. You will need the energy.

3) Walking sticks will be your best friend! Don’t leave home without them.

4) Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes and socks. Good support and dry feet are a must.

5) Water & Snacks. Take plenty of water, healthy snacks and a protein packed lunch to keep your energy up.

6) Toilet paper/baby wipes. For rest stops along the way.  Stay hydrated even if that means peeing in the woods!

7) Appropriate clothing. Check the forecast. Do you need to layer, do you need gloves, rain gear?

8) Camera. Views are amazing! Once you climb Mt. LeConte you’ll want a picture in front of the lodge!

9) Cash for a t-shirt. A rite of passage. They should give these away but they don’t  🙂 so take cash.

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10 Essential Yoga Poses for Hiking Recovery:

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STANDING STRADDLE SPLITS  (Stretches: Hip Adductors, Hamstrings, Lower Back & Ankles)

Pose Instructions: Stepping the feet wide and hinging from the hips, folding forward. Keep shoulders active and rolling down the back away from ears. Abs engaged. Relax head, neck and jaw. Tighten quads. Keep feet flat.

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STANDING BACKBEND  (Stretches: Chest, Shoulders, Hip Flexors and Abs)

Pose Instructions: Root down through your feet, slight bend in the knees. Place fists near the small of the back. Lift out of your lower back. Push hips forward and lift your chest, dropping the shoulders back and down.

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STANDING CHEST EXPANSION WITH FORWARD FOLD  (Stretches: Hamstrings, Chest & Shoulders)

Pose Instructions: Feet hip width apart, bend the knees as much as needed and fold forward from the hips. Engage abs and clasp hands, draw the shoulders back and down.

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DANCER  (Stretches: Hip Flexors, Hamstrings, Quads & Shoulders)

Pose Instructions: Come into this pose like you would a quad stretch then slowly start to hinge forward and extend the leg back and reach the opposite hand forward. Try to keep the hips squared.

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TRIANGLE  (Stretches: Hamstrings, Hip Adductors)

Pose Instructions: Front leg is straight, relax shoulders back and down. Open up the chest. Line the rib cage over the pelvis. Engage your abs and support this pose from your core. Lengthen out through your side and waist.

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PYRAMID (Stretches: Glutes, Hamstrings)

Pose Instructions: Square your hips, straighten your legs as much as possible. Both feet will point toward the front of the mat. Relax your head and neck. Hinge from the hips and fold forward.

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 HALF BOW (See Bow below)

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 BOW (Stretches: Hip Flexors, Abs, Chest & Shoulders)

Pose Instructions: On your stomach, grab one or both ankles depending on flexibility and bring them in towards your glutes. Lift your chest and legs to the sky. Flex your feet.

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REVOLVED KNEE TO HEAD (Stretches: Hamstrings, Hip Adductors, Chest, Shoulders & Obliques)

Pose Instructions: Bend one knee in and stretch the other leg out. Hinge forward over the outstretched leg. Keep your abs engaged. Keep your spine lengthening. You can then take your hand and reach it up and over or place it on the back of the head.

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SEATED STRADDLE SPLITS (Stretches: Hip Adductors, Hamstrings, Lower Back)

Pose Instructions: From a seated position, spread the legs and hinge forward from the hips. Engage your abs and place the hands or arms on the floor.

These yoga poses for hiking recovery should have you stretched out and recovered in no time. Also, foam rolling is a great way to assist you in relieving sore muscles. Use blocks in any of the poses above if you have trouble reaching the floor. This will help you deepen your pose and keep your spine in alignment.  Let me know which pose is your favorite hip stretch! Questions? Just ask 🙂

Find me on instagram @outdooryogi and on twitter @bepresent100 and my new website http://www.bepresent100.com 

 

 

 

 

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This Ain’t Your Mama’s Yoga Class

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Okay so maybe it is, it’s everyone’s yoga class, actually. For those of you that know her music, the title is Miranda Lambert inspired. 🙂 This is a post specifically for beginner yogi’s. Would that be you? All country tunes aside, yoga has come a long way and its rapid growth continues. It’s popular mostly for yoga pants but also for its mile long list of benefits and results. Yet, there are so many people out there that haven’t tried it! So my hope is to encourage you to give it a try. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

What to expect in your first yoga class?

We will be moving up and down and all around. There’s a chance you will sweat. Depending on the yoga class you attend. Be sure and discuss your questions or concerns with the teacher beforehand and always checkout the class description before attending. Gentle yoga & meditation, no sweat, power Yoga, much sweat! You get the idea.

What to wear when you don’t have yoga pants?

What? No yoga pants! Don’t panic that’s why I’m here. Yoga pants are comfy and they let you move so they are nice, however workout pants, sweatpants, shorts will do the trick. Anything you feel comfortable in and that allows to move.

Advice for a beginner?

Arrive early, introduce yourself to the teacher, ask any questions that you may have. Let them know you are a beginner. If you have injuries, for instance you have had knee surgery, let the teacher know and they will be able to provide modifications throughout the class.

Do we chant and meditate in yoga class?

If were being honest, I’ve never been a big fan of the chanting even in my yoga trainings. I just kind of sit there and observed. Oh, but how a few years and research can change someone. 🙂 I’ve learned to never say never when it comes to pretty much everything, chanting included. While I personally haven’t included it in my classes there are some that do. I have started chanting some in my own meditation practice. It’s very soothing and research has also shown it to be beneficial especially in preventing Alzheimer’s. I will be posting more on that soon. The bottom line is to find a class that resonates with you whether that includes chanting or no chanting. It’s all good for you. It’s kind of like church there’s a yoga class for everyone.

Poses for a Beginner

Here are some poses you will probably see in your first yoga class. I’ve included pictures and a short video.

Forward Fold

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Place your feet hip-width apart. Raise your arms overhead, bend your knees, and fold forward, leading with your chest. Hinging from the hips. Bend your knees as much as you desire here. If you find that your hands do not reach the floor, place your hands on a block for support.

Downward Facing Dog

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From all the all fours position, curl your toes and lift the knees up and send the hips up and back. Spread your fingers wide. Lift the heels if necessary but press them toward the mat. Draw the shoulders away from the ears.

Plank

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Align the shoulders over the wrists. Draw the navel in and lengthen through the spine. Create a nice long line of energy. If you hips sink, drop the knees to the mat.

Chaturanga

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From plank propel yourself forward slightly so that your elbows align over the wrists as you lower down into a push-up. Elbows hug in towards the ribs. Shoulder blades hug the back. Again if the hips sink, drop the knees. This will keep you from compromising your low back.

Cobra Pose

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Arms are straight, legs are on the mat. Imagine you have an egg beneath your low abdomen so your lifting up and opening up the chest, drawing the shoulders down.

Upward Facing Dog

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In this pose your pressing the ground away from you, shoulders still back and down, heart is open and your pressing down through the tops of the feet. The legs are hovering a few inches off the mat. Practice the cobra pose until you feel strong enough to try this one. Listen to your body you will know when your ready to advance.

Vinyasa Flow-Sun Salutation

Follow me on Instagram @outdooryogi and tweet me @bepresent100

http://www.bepresent100.com

A Yoga Detox for the Mind & Body: Part 2, Yoga Twists for Detoxing

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Yoga moves to detox? It sounds a little well, odd,  and I know you’re probably asking, can yoga really help me detox my body? Our bodies are amazing and they are designed to detox themselves however, yoga can assist in that process by stimulating blood flow and boosting our heart rate. By adding twisting poses to our practice it stimulates our digestive system and help us to eliminate toxins and impurities. To truly detox you have to combine all components including healthy eating, yoga and mindfulness to create a healthy optimal lifestyle.

LET’S DETOX & TWIST

Warm up with several sun salutations before beginning these poses. If you need an example see “This Ain’t Your Mama’s Yoga Class” at http://outdooryogi.wordpress.com  Challenge yourself to hold these poses for 30-90 seconds per side.

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Downward Facing Dog Twist

Begin in your downward facing dog and walk your hands back toward your feet to reach your right hand to your left leg and switch.

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Warrior I Twist

Warrior I lunge, bring the back knee in and you may even want to bend it a little and twist your upper body towards the opposite side.

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Chair Pose Twist

Chair Pose, sitting back into an invisible chair. Keeping the knees centered and aligned, twisting to the right side first and opening up the arms. Another option is to place the hands on the leg or bring the hands into a prayer pose, elbow to the outside of the knee.

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Pyramid Twist

Pyramid pose, stepping back from forward fold about 1/2 way, not the full distance of a lunge, feet are pointed forward, hinging from the hips, lengthening the spine. Use a block  if you need to, as demonstrated. Place the opposite hand on your leg or lift up towards the sky.

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Revolved Half Moon Balance

Balancing and pressing your weight into the left foot, reach the right hand to the block as the right leg reaches back, parallel to the floor. Option to bring the left hand and place it on the thigh/hip or reach it up to the sky.

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 Boat Twist

Begin seated in boat pose and reach the arms out in front switch the arms and legs back and forth twisting to each side. Option to hold or flow this pose back and forth.

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Spinal Twist

Lying flat, hug the right knee in and slowly take it across the body. Keep the knee bent or extend the leg as shown. Shoulders remain on the mat and looking in the opposite direction to intensify the twist.

Enjoy these rockin’ twists! Next Thursday, the third and final Part 3: Mindful Meditation will bring you meditation tips and practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine. Until next time, send me any thoughts or questions.

Find out more from this adventurous yogi at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Be-PresentYoga/336705043142303 and on twitter:@bepresent100 and @outdooryogi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Yoga Detox for the Mind & Body: Part 1, Healthy Eating

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Do you struggle with eating healthy as much as I do? With numerous food choices and our fast paced lifestyle, it’s easy to see why. It’s not only a time thing but it’s a mental thing. Some of our favorite foods provide comfort when we’ve had a bad day, energy to get through the afternoon slump and add fun to our favorite celebrations. Food is go-to therapy for many of us.

How do we change? We know to do better, but why don’t we? Well because there’s Oreo’s, that’s why! Okay, maybe it’s not fair to blame Oreo’s for everyone’s unhealthy eating habits but you get the idea.

Healthy eating is a lifestyle we create. It’s not easy but it’s doable.

1) Start by creating awareness.
2) Make small changes.
3) Put it into action.
4) Seek advice or help when you need it.

We don’t have to give up foods we enjoy entirely, but we do have to make smarter choices. We do have to makes changes to keep our body healthy and functioning at an optimal level.  Eating healthier allows you to look and feel your best and it’s also one of the best prevention methods for numerous health concerns and disease.

Awareness

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Seven Day Food Diary

Begin by keeping a food journal for seven days. This will create awareness as to what were putting in and it also makes you stop and think…do I really want to have to write that down? It’s a great tool. Try it. No excuses, we have phones with note pads and  it will only take a  few seconds. Record the time of day, the food and how it makes you feel. It can be as simple as 4:50pm, almonds, great. It will help keep you on track or get you back on track. To create change we must first be aware of what needs changing.

Change

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Start off your week by goal setting

Try picking  3 choices at the beginning of every week for the next three weeks. Making small changes adds up to lasting results.  The choices below are some examples you can use, but I encourage you to come up with your own list and make it specific to your needs.

  • Drink more water.
  • Choose wheat instead of white.
  • Add two vegetables to your dinner every night.
  • Limit take-out to 2x a week, if any.
  • Cut out sodas and yes, including diet.
  • Cut out adding sugar to anything you consume.
  • Cut back on salt.
  • Cut out as many processed items from your diet as possible. Ex. Cookies, snacks, etc.
  • Switch to fat free or low 1% milk
  • Eat some seafood
  • Add protein to every meal

Action

Quick & Easy Recipes for Healthy Eating

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Breakfast:  Pineapple Smoothie

1 cup spinach

½ cup kale

½ cup almond milk

½ cup plain greek yogurt

½ banana

½ cup frozen pineapple

Blend ingredients together and you have a healthy breakfast or lunch to go.

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Lunch: Veggie Quiche

3 eggs

5 egg whites

½ cup of spinach, chopped

¼ cup of red onion, diced

¼ cup red peppers, diced

¼ cup green peppers, diced

1/4 cup green chilies, diced

1/2 cup tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup of feta cheese

1/8 tsp of Mrs. Dash extra spicy seasoning

Mix it all together, bake in a pie dish or 8×8 pan at 350 for 45 minutes.

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Dinner: Baked Chicken with Spicy Pineapple Salsa & Broccoli 

4-5 thinly sliced boneless chicken breast

fresh broccoli

Salsa:

1 cup strawberries, diced

1 cup pineapple, diced

3-4 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

3-4 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon of sugar

1/8 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash spicy extra seasoning

1 medium lemon

Prepare chicken by salting, peppering  and sprinkling some of Ms. Dash spicy extra seasoning.  While chicken is baking prepare salsa, combine and stir all ingredients together. Cut lemon in half and squeeze lemon juice into salsa. Bake chicken at 450 for 20-25 minutes until done. Scoop salsa onto chicken after it’s baked. Drizzle broccoli with olive oil and bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes.

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Dessert: Fruit Kebabs 

Strawberries, Pineapple, Bananas & Dark Chocolate

Place the fruit on a kebab. Heat chocolate and drizzle over fruit.  Place them in the freezer for 5 minutes to harden the chocolate. Enjoy! Place the leftovers in zip lock bag and put them in the fridge. They will last for 2-3 days.

Healthy Snack Options:

clean eating snacks

Detoxing is about eating healthy whole foods and eating less processed foods. It’s about creating a healthy lifestyle that you can maintain but yet still indulge in your favorite treats every now and again. Start where you are remember this is not easy. Don’t beat yourself up when you feel like you have failed. Just simply choose better at the next meal. It’s a process and it will take time. Be patient and keep moving forward. Ask for help or support when you need it. Check out the resources below if you would like additional recipes and advice. If you have questions or need encouragement reach out. 🙂 Next Thursday, Part 2: Yoga for Detoxing.

Find out more from this adventurous yogi at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Be-PresentYoga/336705043142303 and on twitter:@bepresent100

Additional Resources 

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/detox-diets/faq-20058040

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/detox-diets-cleansing-body

http://life.gaiam.com/article/3-day-clean-food-detox-plan

http://skinnyms.com/7-day-clean-eating-and-detox-menu/

 

 

 

 

Hiking & Yoga on House Mountain

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House Mountain, nestled away in Corryton, Tennessee, a hiking trail with amazing views and challenging terrain. Our hiking group tackled this short (4 mile) hike this past weekend.  They indulged me while I took numerous photos of every wild flower along the trail. They also put up with my many attempts to capture the perfect group photo, so this post is dedicated to Amanda, Daniel and Curtis! So proud of Daniel and Amanda they completed a 5k the morning of this hike! Kudos to you both!

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This trail proved to be rocky, challenging and refreshing. The hike was fairly short but provided a good workout. We were feeling fairly accomplished on our way down when we saw a man hiking up barefoot going twice as fast uphill as we were downhill. I was impressed!

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The trail was plentiful with wildflowers. Top left: Fire Pink, Top Right: Wild Geranium and Woodland Stonecrop on the bottom.

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The views from the top are worth the hike! There are gorgeous rock formations throughout the trail and on top of House Mountain. So pack a lunch or a snack and enjoy the scenery.

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And lastly, I had to get some yoga in! What did you expect? Here’s me attempting crow pose a few times. This was a beautiful day for a hike. We enjoyed the outdoors, exercise and several good laughs. Good times with good friends! Perfect Day!

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Runners & Desk Junkies: 4 Yoga Poses You Need In Your Life

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What do runners and desk junkies have in common? Tight hips! Use these juicy yoga stretches to open your hips and stay injury free. In order to get the most benefit from these hip openers, I suggest using a timer and holding each pose for 90 seconds. This will ensure you stay in the pose long enough to start allowing the tension and tightness to release. Let’s get started.

Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

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Begin seated, bringing the soles of your feet together. Keep the spine long and hinge forward from the hips. Allow your hips to open and your knees to fall closer to the floor without pushing them. Just allowing them the space they need. If it’s only a thought for today, that’s perfectly okay. Work where you are.  Close your eyes and begin to breathe.

Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

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Starting in a kneeling lunge position, (left foot in front) walk both hands to the inside of the knee/foot. Leave the arms extended or bring the forearms to the mat or block. Deepen the pose by lifting the back knee up off of the mat. Allow the knee to open up a little more to the left, lifting up through the arch of the foot to open the hips a little more.

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

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There are a number of ways to come into pigeon pose. We will begin from the Lizard pose. One hand on each side, placing them underneath the shoulders, but not exact. You may walk your hands out in front as the photo demonstrates.  Beginning with the left foot in front, we walk the foot over as close as we can toward the right hand and the left knee will stay close to the left hand.  The back leg stretches all the way out behind us. Draw the navel in and keep the hips centered by not leaning to either side.  Imagine your tail bone curling slightly forward. You now have the option to fold forward and reach the arms out in front or stay upright. Yogi choice. 🙂

Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)

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This is an intense hip opener and it may take some time for your hips to release to the full version of this pose. Be patient, do your best and listen to your body. Option 1: Start in a seated position, legs stretched out. Keep the left leg stretched out and bring the right foot in and place it on top of the left leg right above your knee. If this is enough, keep it here, allow yourself to sink into the stretch. Option 2: Deepen this pose further by bringing the left leg in. You will then be stacking your legs like fire logs demonstrated in the photo above. Shin over shin, knee over ankle on one side and ankle over knee on the other. In either option above, you may fold forward from the hips to intensify the stretch.

Hope you enjoyed these 4 hip opening yoga poses. Do them daily for the best results and try to incorporate a short warm-up before stretching which will help deepen your pose. If you have questions, send them to me!

Find more yoga and inspiration at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Be-PresentYoga/336705043142303 and on twitter:@bepresent100 

 

 

Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: How to Avoid and Prevent Injuries in Your Yoga Practice.

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As I was demonstrating proper alignment for chaturanga several months ago, I tweaked my shoulder. One wrong move is all it takes to compromise our alignment, even when were careful and even when were teacher’s :). It still frustrates me thinking about it but such is life. So here are the facts, whether you’ve been practicing yoga a week or several years, there aren’t any fool proof ways to guarantee injury will never happen to you. Injuries can happen even while walking down the stairs. Yes, that’s right I fell down the stairs a little over a year ago and broke my elbow. Yes, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, and yes, I was completely sober. So it doesn’t really matter whether you’re doing yoga or walking there is a risk there apparently for some like me. However, I’m aware of the title of my post and I have some good news! There are ways that we can be more mindful in our practice which will help us to avoid and prevent injuries. (I count every step now) See my tips below for creating more mindfulness in your practice.

1) Stacking Your Joints. This helps to properly align your muscles, joints and bones. For example, stacking your joints while on your hands and knees consists of placing your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Now obviously, we are not stacking the joints in every pose, the downward facing dog is a perfect example where we are stretching and lengthening our spine as opposed to stacking.

2) Navel to Spine. Drawing the naval toward the spine helps to keep our low back protected and engages our core muscles, including our abs. So it’s a win/win. It takes some time to develop navel to spine awareness but with practice you are on your way to a safer workout and fantastic abs!

3) Use Props. Props can deepen your pose and your practice. I have been teaching yoga for several years and I use them on a regular basis. They make you stronger and allow you to go deeper. They help strengthen your muscles and help you avoid compromising your alignment and risking injury. You may not need them for every pose but use them when you do.

4) Listen to your Body. This is the key to developing body awareness and learning your own limitations in each and every pose. When we are tired it’s okay to admit this and work with our body instead of against it. This may mean coming to child’s pose more throughout your practice or dropping to your knees in chaturanga. In other words, take it day by day, practice by practice.

5) Private Yoga Sessions. This will allow you to get personal attention and instruction for your body. You can also go over any lingering questions or concerns you have.

6) Ask questions. If you have a question, please ask your teacher.That’s why we are here and why we do what we do. We want to help you stay safe and grow in your yoga practice.

Comments? Questions? Send them to me!

Find more yoga and inspiration at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Be-PresentYoga/336705043142303 and on twitter:@bepresent100