Category Archives: Yoga

practice unattachment

Practicing Aparigraha by Mixing up your Yoga Rouine

practice unattachmentYoga has a ton of advantages and if you don’t believe it, then read this source. One of the yogi principals I’ve had the most chances to practice the past 2 years I’ve been traveling is practicing Aparigraha or Non-Attachment.

Day to day routines are awesome and something I desperately miss, but when you are stripped of your home, forced to make a new home every 5 days or so you learn really quickly there isn’t anything you absolutely NEED.

You learn to like things you never thought you would try.  You may think you need 2 pillows to sleep, but as soon as you reach a hotel with a nasty looking pillow your small travel pillow becomes heaven sent.  You may ALWAYS eat bacon and eggs for breakfast, but when you are in Thailand sometimes a yogurt and fruit bowl is actually better!

When we are in our day to day lives we lose track of the attachments we have, because the things we want are readily available.  Now I’m not saying you can’t have a routine.  I know a routine can be healthy and help you keep to your diet or help hold you accountable to hit your daily workout.

What I am suggesting though is spice up your life more frequently by trying new things ie–a new yoga studio!


As I’ve traveled around the world, not once but twice; I’ve taken yoga classes at 50+ different studios with even more various instructors.  When I can’t find the type of class I typically do I take something new and therefore my breadth of knowledge has now expanded beyond Bikram yoga.

Yin used to be a style I thought wasn’t for me, but my time in New Zealand taught me Yin is just the balance I need.  My power postures like Standing Bow Pulling Pose are much deeper now that my hips have opened up.

I used to think Bikram was the perfect daily check in for my body, but now I see the benefits of being just as familiar with the Ashtanga Primary series.  Both series when done regularly teach you much about your body and it’s progress.

Practicing Aparigraha

Yoga postures are just tools to check into, assess, and learn more about your body.  By limiting the tools you use, you limit the knowledge you open yourself to.  Sure delve deeper with the asanas that speak to you, but always remember;

The postures you hate are the ones you need the most.

Those who hate the Bikram series could probably use a bit more structure and routine in their life.  Those who hate the variety in a vinyasa flow may need to be a little less rigid and strict.

We all may have our favorite studio, but switching it up and trying something new is how you will learn.

One of the biggest frustrations I have as a teacher are students who are unwilling to try something new.  I have so many students ask me how I was able to learn to do Vrschikasana, handstand scorpion, yet when I give them advice they shoot it down saying

  1.   They aren’t there yet.
  2.   That isn’t part of the yoga they practice
  3.   Another teacher has told them not to do it.

I can tell you this,

  1. When I started trying Vrschikasana I wasn’t there yet either!  That’s why it’s called yoga practice not yoga perfect!
  2. I was practicing Bikram Yoga and trust me, Vrschikasana was no where near being part of that series, but sometimes I would see an advanced student doing it before or after class and that lit a spark in me to want to learn.
  3. I had plenty of instructors who told me I shouldn’t work on Vrschikasana until I could do a handstand and I shouldn’t work on handstand until I could do every posture of the Bikram series perfectly.  I still struggle with Standing Head To Knee, but I feel more and more stable in Vrschikasana each day.  In fact, it’s my dabbling in other styles of yoga which have opened up my hips and helped improve my Standing Head to Knee.

Practicing Aparigraha

I say all this to remind you, you are only limited by the boundaries you set for yourself.

It is so funny that more often than not yoga, a practice which is supposed to teach you Aparigraha attaches it’s practitioners to such strict rules.  This is the part where you have to come in and be your own best teacher since all this exercise really help strength the legs, hands and core muscles, although for people that struggle with this, they can use a vertical ostomy belt which really help supporting these muscles.  While everyone may have your best interest in heart, they are only able to provide you with the knowledge they have.  No one person is the end all be all expert, so give yourself a heads up and get the advice of others.

Some will work for you.  Some won’t.  But learning WHY something doesn’t work is the key to understanding what your body needs.

Go to a studio where the teachers have been inspired by someone other than the person you always practice with.  A yoga studio wants to keep you loyal to them.   It’s good business.  But think about how many voices you are missing if you never branch out.

Try a class you’ve never tried before.  Settling into the deep hip openers of yin, may be what you need to finally nail Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, King Pigeon.

With proper advice or/and spotting try and believe you can do a new posture.  Don’t throw away your fear, as often it’s fear that keeps us safe, but challenge your fears in safe environments.  Often as you grow and become stronger something that you once feared you won’t.  Fear may have held you back when you weren’t ready, but often the body knows when it is and those fears vanish, and even if you feel pain or soreness, people use products as CDB edibles from sites as to get help with this.


Be open to entering a posture a new way.  It may not be what you do all the time, but changing your muscle pattern could lead you to successfully doing something you’ve never done before.

As far as I’m concerned when it comes to teaching an asana the only rule is Ahimsa, or non-violence.  Never push past pain, but if you aren’t feeling pain why limit yourself to what you always do? It’s not too much to recommend a chiropractic for constant pain, visit website here.

What’s your preferred Method of Practice?

What type of practice have you never tried?

Pick a new practice and try it this week!

No seriously answer that question below!  I’d love to get to know more about you!  Thank you for reading! 🙂



yoga helps detox the body

Yoga Helps Detox the Body

IMG_20140507_135109[1]Toxins get a bad rep.

We all know that in order to be healthy we should do things to Detox the body.

Detoxes come in all shapes and forms with some being as extreme as week long juice cleanses to things as simple as making sure to drink 8 glasses of water a day.

By definition a toxin is, “ is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms,” (Wikipedia) which means that our own bodies are actually what produce toxins.

We produce toxins when our cells break down unnatural or unhealthy substances we put into our body.–Meaning it isn’t the toxin that is bad, but rather it’s precursor.

Therefore, the best way to detox is to refrain from putting unhealthy substances into our own bodies.

That being said, even the healthiest food has waste product associated with it as our bodies break it down to absorb the food’s nutrients.

Therefore, rather than do an extreme form of detox; I’m a fan of doing the daily things I can do to detox the body, like spinning classes, they really help because you sweat a lot and your body gets detoxed fast, in you can find the best classes and routines, that you definitely need to try.

That’s where water, exercise, and yoga come in.

Drinking water increases the effectiveness of our kidneys.

When the extracellular matrix is well hydrated, cells, nutrients, and other components of the matrix can move freely.  Toxins and waste products can migrate out of the matrix into the blood or lymphatic system to be removed from the body.” -The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga

Here’s an oversimplification of this process:

  • Making sure to stay hydrated makes the toxins in the blood stream less concentrated so as blood pumps throughout our system, toxins and waste products filter out of our muscles and cells into the bloodstream
  • They are then transported to the kidneys and disposed of through our urine.

This is the first step you can take daily to detox the body.

The next step would be to sweat.  As we sweat, we release fluid through the pores in our skin to help cool the body.  This releases of fluid also cleanses our skin, the more we sweat, the more water flushes through our pores flushing away toxins and waste products stored.

Many say hot yoga is a great detox and in part that is because it encourages us to drink more water and if you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class you know you walk out of class drenched from head to toe.

Similar effects can come from running and strength training assuming you push yourself hard enough to work up a good sweat, but there is one more avenue in which yoga helps detox the body daily that running and strength training don’t.

Yoga helps rid the body of toxins stored in your joints.

Immobility of a joint causes stiffness and therefore storage of toxins in 2 major ways.

  1. Decreased functionality of Fibroblasts.
  2. Thickening of Synovial fluid

Yoga postures on the other hand compress, stretch, and twist joints in a safe way increasing the production of functionality of fibroblasts as well as transforming your synovial fluid from a gel to a more fluid material.

Here’s a little more detail on these 2 effects of yoga on our joints.

1.  Yoga helps decrease the toxins stored in the joint by making the joint less cluttered and dense, thus healthier.

Joints just like muscles and bones break down and rebuild themselves in response to stress.

Whereas bones have osteoblasts to rebuild stressed bone stronger, joints have cells called fibroblasts.

In active states, fibroblasts produce collagen and elastic fibers that align locally usually in parallel clusters increasing joint functionality as well as allowing room for for fluid to flow through cleansing the joint.

In inactive or damaged states, fibroblasts become their inactive state, fibrocytes, as well as begin mitosis (the division of 1 cell into 2 cells).

Fibrocytes are smaller and spindle shaped.  As they form and divide, the parallel structure of the cell breaks down leaving less room for the flow of liquid material through the joint, therefore toxins stay trapped in the joint.

Yoga stresses the joint allowing for proper stimulation of fibroblasts to keep them functioning properly and from becoming their inactive form, fibrocytes.

2.  Yoga Makes your Synovial Fluid more like a liquid rather than a Gel

The 2nd way Yoga aids in the detoxification of joints is by making the fluid capsule inside the joint more liquid.

In an unstressed state, the fluid capsule between 2 bones is more like a gel.

As the capsule is compressed this synovial fluid begins to transform from a gel like substance to a liquid like substance to lubricate the joint to aid in movement.

You may feel this effect in the morning as knees and ankles can often be stiff until you’ve had the time to walk around properly allow the joint to warm up, you don’t want to have to wear a Zenith ankle brace around.

Imagine you’ve poured out bacon grease into your sink.  It’s cooled and solidified forming a gel like substance over the drain.  If you pour cold water, some might trickle through, but you’ll have a blockage.

Now think about what happens as you pour hot water on the cooled grease.  It turns to liquid allowing water to flow through.  As long as you keep the hot water flowing it will all eventually wash down the drain.  (Hopefully not to only solify and create a bloackage futher down….why it’s best to just not pour bacon grease down the drain!)

This is similar to the movement of fluid through a joint.  When synovial fluid is in it’s gel-like state plasma is unable to flow through the joint to cleanse it of toxins, however a stressed joint will have liquified this synovial fluid allowing movement through the joint.

Obviously, running and other forms of exercise like strength training work the larger joints such as the knees and ankles, but very few movements work the smaller, less used joints such as the hips and spinal column.

The hips and lower back particularly are areas where most people are stiff and therefore are storing the most toxins.

The harder a posture is for you, the more you need it.

If you’re not drawn to yoga, I’m not saying you need to give up your favorite form of exercise because as I said before sweating is one way to detox the body.  However, yoga detoxes areas of the body other exercise can’t so it’s important to include yoga in addition to anything else you are doing, we also recommend to check out the products from that will help your body cleanse a lot faster.

Here are some postures you could add to your daily routine to help open up and detox your joints.

These are yin postures as yin yoga works deep into the joint rather than just stretching the muscle.

Work to hold these postures for 1-2 minutes building up to 5+ minutes.

Focus on your breathing.

With every inhale envision energy rising through the spine helping you create space.  Try to elongate your inhalations for at least a count of 4.

With that extra space you’ve created with your inhale, your exhalations should feel relaxing allowing you to move deeper into the posture.  Make your exhales just as long as your inhales if not longer making sure to completely inflate the lungs with every inhale and completely deflate the lungs with every exhale.

These postures are best done in the morning before your muscles have warmed up so that you can actually work deep into the joint, but if you only have time at night while watching TV that is better than nothing!

Just because you teach at a school or studio that has liability insurance, check for the life insurance wa has to offer to see if you can work with it, you can’t assume you are protected as well. Not all school or studio insurance plans extend coverage to their teachers but with this one is possible as it is really flexible.

yoga helps detox the body

Spinx pose works deep into the lumbar spine

yoga helps detox the body

Seal is a deeper version of Spinx

yoga helps detox the body

Saddle is a great hip flexor stretch as well as lumbar spine opener.

Shoelace with a twist works both the hips joint and spinal column. Make sure to do both sides!

Shoelace with a twist works both the hips joint and spinal column. Make sure to do both sides!

Caterpillar stressed spinal ligaments as well as stimulates the kidneys.

Caterpillar stressed spinal ligaments as well as stimulates the kidneys.

Frog opens up the adductors, deep muscles of the groin as well as stimulates the lower and upper back.

Frog opens up the adductors, deep muscles of the groin as well as stimulates the lower and upper back.

Swan (The yin name for pigeon) is a deep external rotator of the hip, as well as a good quad stretch.

Swan (The yin name for pigeon) is a deep external rotator of the hip, as well as a good quad stretch.

Sleeping Swan (Swan is the yin name, similar to Pigeon) is a deeper version of Swan.

Sleeping Swan (Swan is the yin name, similar to Pigeon) is a deeper version of Swan.


Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

What’s your favorite posture?

If you don’t do yoga, what’s keeping you from trying?



Word count: 607 Draft saved at 11:09:05 am.
headstands for beginners

Śīrṣāsana or Headstand for Beginners

Headstand pose or Śīrṣāsana has some of the greatest benefits of any yoga asana.

Headstands energize the body sending blood and nutrients to the brain, improve digestion aiding in the movement of food through the ileocecal valve (ascending colon), and  stimulate lymphatic cleansing and drainage.   All these benefits come from the effects of gravity acting in the opposite way it normally does against the body.

Mastering a headstand increases body awareness and should be a confidence boost and adrenaline rush as it is a major physical accomplishment!  Headstands are very non-intuitive.  We spend out entire lives walking on our feet so half the battle with a headstand is mental, but once you get over that mental battle, there is a simple step by step process to doing a headstand.

Here are a couple Headstand for beginners tips to make this posture a little more manageable.

There are 2 main ways to do a headstand.

fixmyasana headstandd head cradleHead Cradle – Pike Up

Arguably the harder of the two as it’s harder to press through ones elbows than hands, this option is also easier on the head because you can use your hands for support.

  1. Cradle hands together on the ground and place your head into your palms so that your hairline is in the center of your hands.
  2. Keeping your legs as straight as possible, walk on your toes towards your face as far as possible.
  3. When you can’t walk and further, suck your stomach in tightening the core as your press your elbows into the floor.  You should feel toes begin to rise off the floor.  (This would be the point where you can kick up to the wall if you would like, but always go through the first couple steps to build core strength so you can progress to piking up!)
  4. Floint (to floint means to flex your foot as you point your toes…we don’t want pointed toes in yoga) your toes to keep energy driving up and to keep your legs fully contracted so they don’t become dead weight.
  5. Once you reach headstand position, the work isn’t over.  Go back to your breath.  With every exhale suck your stomach in even more and with every inhale feel your body lengthening up towards the sky.  Keep flointing your toes, pressing your elbows into the floor, and core nice and contracted throughout the posture.

If you’ve tried kicking up a couple times and are having success, but still can’t pike up, work to tuck up.

  1. Still walk your feet into your head as close as possible.
  2. Bend your knees and tuck them into your stomach, keeping them as close to your body as possible.
  3. Straighten one leg at a time moving slowly and staying with your breath.

fixmyasana tripodTripod Headstand – Straddle Up

Tripod headstand was the first headstand I did and arguably easier because you can straddle up which requires less core strength.

It is much easier in Tripod headstand to hurt your head or neck though so make sure you are absorbing as much weight as possible in your hands by pressing firmly into the floor.

  1. Legs about 4-5 feet apart, swan dive forward leading with your chest so you elongate your spine, place your head between your feet and your hands about 6 inches in front of your face, shoulder width apart.
  2. Rock up onto your tippy toes as much as possible, flointing your toes to drive energy up.
  3. Bring your legs together and then continue to grow stronger in your posture with each breath.  With every exhale suck your stomach in even more and with every inhale feel your body lengthening up towards the sky.  Keep flointing your toes, pressing your elbows into the floor, and core nice and contracted throughout the posture.

In tripod headstand it’s important to keep pressing your elbows in toward each other to better engage your shoulder girdle and build should strength so you can progress to handstand!

Things to Think About

  • Know what your legs are doing.  A major factor for stability comes from the legs.  If your legs are loosey goosey, it will be much harder to stay balanced.
  • Keep your core engaged.  All inversions involve core strength.  Don’t be surprised if it takes a couple times to find your balance.  There is a whole new form of body awareness that is required to being upside down.
  • Your head shouldn’t be absorbing the bulk of your weight.  If you head is hurting you need to press harder through your elbows in head cradle or hands in tripod.  The more you press through your hands or elbows, the more shoulder strength you build which will help you progress to handstand!
  • Have fun.  Part of the FUN and learning is falling down.  Enjoy the process of learning a new skill and listen to how your body reacts to it each step of the way and you always have that behavioral health tub chairs to go back to when youre done with the session.

If you ever have any questions on a posture, feel free to message me at, or post your asana to instagram and tag @Courtn3yjulia #fixmyasana for corrections from a yoga instructor.


equal and Simultaneous 50/50

Kicking and Stretching Equal Simultaneous 50/50–The Harder you Kick you Can Balance Forever….

equal simultaneous 50/50

With every inhale I reach forward more, opening up my shoulders more. With my exhales I kick harder!…This is one of the catchy lines of the Bikram Dialogue and a part I never leave out, because I love that Standing Bow Pulling Pose and that quotation actually describes how you should be feeling perfectly.

…This is one of the catchy lines of the Bikram Dialogue and a part I never leave out, because I love that Standing Bow Pulling Pose and that quotation actually describes how you should be feeling perfectly.

I love Standing Bow, because this was the first posture in which I felt how my strength would be able to make me more flexible, which I learned in one of my personal fitness training classes online.

“Equal Simultaneous 50/50.” is not just for balancing stick pose.

You should be able to find equal simultaneous 50/50 balance in any of your postures.

That balance is a very difficult thing.

To have that balance you must have Normal Breathing.

The first step of every posture is breath.

This is imperative because once you have normal breathing you can use your breath to help open your body.

With every inhale one muscle group is growing stronger.

With every exhale one joint or muscle group relaxes.

Yoga is really that simple.  The postures (yes even ones where you stick your leg behind your head) are designed to use strong muscles to stretch tight muscles.

Yoga is about training awareness in ones body.

  • Feel WHERE your body is resisting the pose.
  • Then think WHY is this resistance happening.

If you can’t answer that question ask your yoga instructor.  They will be able to give you cues to use your breath to open up those tight areas.

equal simultaneous 50/50

With my inhales I push my left knee down with me hand while pulling my heel back into my body. With the exhales I relax the left knee down.

Take lotus for example.

This is a very different posture than standing bow.  There is no balance involved here, but it involves a huge amount of flexibility and possibly a critical care ultrasound course if youre feeling something wrong in the stomach area if you don’t have that flexibility the same balance between strength and relaxation and your breath will help build this flexibility.

If you ever have any questions about and of your postures, tag me @Courtn3yjulia and #fixmyasana on instagram or twitter of just post your photo to Facebook.

take your yoga practice deeper

Take Your Yoga Practice Deeper: What I’m Working on This Year to Deepen My Own Practice

take your yoga practice depperThis year I’ve been reading the book Mediations From the Mat.  It is a 365 day journey to help you understand Patañjali’s yoga sutras.  I’m kind of cheating in that I started the book in Nov and only on day 50, but as the new year catches up with my reading I’m slowly syncing my 365 day scorpion challenge with the book.   As anyone who follows me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook would know Handstand Scorpion is the physical goal I’ve set for myself, but as is the case with Hatha yoga, the posture or Asana is only a tool to help you practice yoga.

It is great to show up to class and work on your strength and flexibility, but at some point you might start to wonder how to take your yoga practice deeper.

Here are some of the other struggles I’m currently working on to deepen my yoga practice:

IMG_20140126_112529Being still
This is something I will always be trying to improve.   I still catch myself in class wiping my eyes, adjusting my hair, and bending down wiping the sweat off my legs–but I have the intention not to.  I don’t get mad at myself when I do, but rather remind myself to not do it again.

Being still is not an easy task as it involves not acting out on impulsive thoughts. Knowing me I had a very hard time learning how to calm my head and learn to just ease down and be still.

This is the best you can do.  Have the intention to be more still in your practice today than you were yesterday.  Some days this may happen, others it won’t but the best you can do is try every day.

I choose to use my practice time as a quiet time to pray.   Ideally I like to get into the studio early to pray before class but if I am running late I take the time to do it after, before I rush off to whatever else I’m doing.

Prayers are intentions.  By taking the time to pray you send energy into the universe setting thought towards action.   Through prayer God (whichever you choose to pray to) can answer your needs or lead you to a place where you realize you may not need what you thought you did.

Prayer is a powerful medium allowing you to work through you thoughts and wants setting you closer to making whatever you pray for a reality.


Day 42 in Meditations from the Mat is a lesson in brahmacarya.  Many choose to simplify this 4th yama simply as “chastity”, but the literal meaning of brahmacarya means “walk with God.”  Iyengar said,”To focus on celibacy is to miss the power of the final yama altogether.  Brahmacarya is not a call for abstinence but a call for temperance.”

“As we practice brahmacarya, we have the opportunity to enact the balance that is yoga in all that we do.  We can bring brahmacarya  to our thoughts, words, and deeds.  -Meditations from the Mat

Moderation can be a difficult thing.  We as humans like the black and white.  The do or do not.

“Brahmacarya is the feeling of freedom that comes when we have let an addictive craving go–when we can eat to live, not live to eat; when we can work to live, not live to work; when we stand firmly and with ease of heart in the postures of life.” Meditations from the Mat

Many think the answer is to give up a vice completely–and yes maybe there are vices that should be completely given up, but there are also many that aren’t so bad in moderation.  Giving something up completely means when you do give in you fail.

Creating rules that set you up for failure lead to negative self talk and can actually lead you to binge in whatever vice you may be trying to cut out.

The freedom of moderation leads to a healthy state of mind and physical well being.

“On the middle road I am free; in immoderation I am compromised, sidetracked, shackled to negative self-talk.  As we experience these lessons, we begin to learn the extent to which the choices that we make affect our inner world.  We begin to see that the only peace to be found comes through moderation.” -Meditations from the Mat

IMG_20140114_224328Being Present

I’m getting better at this in class but struggle with being present in my day to day life life.

In class I remember I used to count down the postures in my head.

At this point there are times I find myself thinking at rabbit there are only 3 postures left.

I used to think about this at camel when there are 4, and before that as we early at locust pose when there are 9.

The progress is that every now and then I find myself in savasana never having thought how many postures are left.

Those are the best classes.  I have the power and strength to do that every time.–However, I struggle with the discipline to get there every time, but I’m getting better day by day!

The same discipline applies to life, but that is tough with all the distractions we have in our lives.

For me particularly I find huge distractions on my phone!

One tool I’ve started using to help keep me focused on specific tasks is Toggl.

Toggl allows me more time to be off my phone so I can be more present in my daily interactions and use my time more efficiently.

I’ve made it a goal to spend more time working out and reading then I spend on facebook and watching tv.  It’s pretty humbling when you log your time and realize that isn’t the case.

These are 4 struggles that I’m working on both in and out of the yoga room.  I may not reach my ideal each and every day, but every day I work on them, just as every day I work on the asanas to help me achieve handstand scorpion I am happier and one step closer to my goals.


Yoga for athletes

Yoga For Athletes: 6 Reasons Why You Should Do Yoga to Enhance your Athletic Preformance

Yoga for athletes

One of my favorite viral images was this one to the right that started getting passed around about a year ago.

“I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible enough.”-The Many Athletes out there not doing yoga.

Athletes can do amazing physical feats but it’s so funny how often they shy away from the things that don’t come easy to them.

Many athletes snub their nose at yoga before they even try saying it’s too easy and not a good enough workout.

Sam says, that the irony in that is the ones who do try a class don’t continue because they can’t twist into a pretzel like the girl in the front row.

Most athletes are used to being naturally good at something.  Yes an athlete then works very hard to improve those natural skills, but it’s funny how quickly they quit something that doesn’t come naturally easy.

Very quickly major professional athletes are beginning to catch on yoga for athletes.

As an athlete if you can let go of your ego, you too will find that yoga can do amazing things to improve your athletic performance.

6 Reasons Why Yoga Will Improve Your Athletic Performance:

yoga for athletes

Evan Longoria

1: Flexibility

Most athletes have tight hips, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, feet the list goes on and on.  Some athletes take the time after a workout to do a regeneration session using foam rollers and/or trigger point massage therapy, but these sessions are usually hurried through so one can get home and get a good meal.

A yoga class sets aside time specifically to stretch.  A hot yoga class provides the heat necessary to prime your muscles for stretching helping increase flexibility even more.

As athletes know flexibility is important for proper range of motion, increased muscle recovery time, and injury prevention.  At least one yoga class a week provides time specifically for these benefits.

yoga for athletes

Pada Hastasana

2:  Isometric Strength Training without Breaking Down the Body

In order to actually improve your ability to do many yoga postures, you are  actually preforming an isomeric muscle contraction.

Take Pada Hastasana (Hands to feet Pose) for example you use your biceps, quadriceps,  latissimus dorsi, and abdominal strength to open up tight hamstrings.

While doing this posture, not only do you strengthen the muscles you are using, open up and stretch your tight hamstrings, but you also train the body to be able to use multiple muscle groups at once while relaxing other muscles groups gaining more body awareness a very important aspect of elite athletic performance.

Yoga not only increases your muscular strength and awareness, but it does it in a low impact way.  Many athletes don’t actually hurt themselves on the field, but rather in their training.  Yoga provides a low-impact cross training that will help an athlete get stronger without further breaking their body down.

Yoga for athletes

Standing Bow combines Balance with using your strong glutes and quads to open up hamstrings. A posture an athlete can quickly become better in when they focus their energy correctly.

3: Balance

Many yoga postures incorporate balance, improving ones ability to be stable on one leg.

The more stable you are on 1 leg, the better you will be on 2.

All sports involve balance in some way, yet many take the time in practice to improve it.

Working on your balance in a yoga class will give you an upper edge on the sports field. Here are some other practices that may help you work on your mental and physical balance.

4: Injury Prevention

We’ve already mentioned that yoga is good for increasing flexibility which also leads to decreased probability of tearing muscles.

Yoga can also help prevent common sports injuries such as torn ACLs, Minicuses, Rotator Cuffs, ankle strains and sprains.

When you do yoga, you learn to recruit the smaller supportive muscles that you don’t activate when doing tradition strength training.  These supportive muscles not only make you stronger, but also are the ones that will help protect your joints while your power muscles are performing athletic movements.

Russell Wilson

If it’s good enough for the 8-1 Seakhawks it might be good for you!

5: Focus and Concentration

It isn’t any secret that the more you focus on any particular task, the better the performance.

When you take a test, the teacher provides a quiet environment.  This isn’t the case when you’re on the field.  There are fans, coaches, and opponents creating constant distraction, yet few sports team take the time to train their athletes to focus.

Focus is a key component to yoga.  Not only will the focus learned in yoga help you have more body awareness and control improving balance and injury prevention, but it will also make your reflexes quicker allowing you to be one step a head of your opponent.

yoga for athletes

Most athletes quickly transition to shallow breathing as soon as their heart rate increases. Yoga trains you to use your full lung!

6: Breath

The first step of any yoga posture is breath.  A good instructor will tell you if you can not maintain normal breathing (long slow inhales and long slow exhales) you aren’t actually getting the benefit of the posture.

Controlled breathing reassures the brain that you are in control.  It also decreases circulating carbon dioxide a trigger that causes your heart rate to increase.  Controlled breathing naturally allows your heart rate  to decrease allowing you to actually work harder.

Yoga trains you to be comfortable maintaining normal breathing.

When you take longer inhales, you actually breathe into the deeper bronchial branches of the lung allow more surface area for your blood stream to take up oxygen (fuel for your muscles).  Your working muscles then utilize that fuel turning it into carbon dioxide.  When you take a longer slower exhale you are able to get all the metabolic waste out allowing a larger percentage of oxygenated air to get in with your next breath.

The physical presence of more oxygen to fuel your muscles with the mental perception that you aren’t working as hard when you heart rate decreases allows you to have a larger work output than you would otherwise.

Over time as you develop this skill in the yoga room, it transfers over to any other endeavors that increase your heart rate making you much more efficient at breathing and providing the oxygen your muscles need to function. If you are planning to workout at home with a recumbent bike, these are the things to consider when choosing a recumbent bike.

Now that I’ve convinced you need yoga as an Athlete, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Go in with an open mind.  If you think yoga is a waste of time, it will be for you.
  • Breath.  The first step of every posture is normal breathing.  If you can’t maintain long slow inhalations and long slow exhalations your body isn’t relaxed and you won’t be able to get the full benefits of the posture.
  • Take it easy, Leave the win or lose mentality at the door.  As long as you are trying your best and breathing you will get benefits.  The first law of yoga is non-violence and that starts with yourself.  If you are forcing yourself into a posture you are liking to tear a muscle causing injury…the exact opposite of what you’re looking to achieve.
  • Enjoy the relaxation.  Don’t fight it.  Relaxation is built into yoga to help clear and focus the mind.
  • Make yoga a regular routine.  Treat your yoga practice the way you would treat any other aspect of your training.  If you don’t do it regularly you won’t get the benefits.
  • Listen.  Don’t take corrections from a teacher negatively.  Teachers are meant to help you.  If a teacher tells you to relax you probably aren’t following the first 2 bullet points.  This is often the case when athletes first start yoga.
  • Smile as you practice.  It makes the experience better.
summer for your health benefit

8 Ways to Get Outside and Use Summer for Your Health Benefit

summer for your health benefitSummer has arrived.  Here in Tennessee, the heat is in full swing and I’ve noticed all my friends around the country have begun posting pictures of their adventures in the sun.

Hop on the summer train and join in the fun with these 8 ways  to get outside and use summer for your health benefit!

1.  Walk:  

The weather is gorgeous, why sit in your car.  Where can you walk to that you normally drive to?

Can you walk to ___________?  

Fill in the blank, maybe it’s work, the grocery store, around the block after dinner, during your lunch break.

Maybe it’s all the above!  Whatever works for you, incorporate more walking into your day.  In fact, even make it a competition!   Get a Fitbit!  Compete with your family and friends.  Be my friend.  Having a Fitbit is like playing a video game that improves your health and the only way to win is to get outside and get walking!

2. Run:

After you try that walking thing, start running.

You don’t have to go far, just go around the block.

Maybe the next time try running a mile.

You don’t have to go far, but give it a try.  It in’t so bad.  Try doing it first thing in the morning!  Getting your heart rate up can wake you up better than drinking a cup of coffee.

Many people talk about running one day.  Make this summer the time that you start.  The hardest part is putting your shoes on and stepping outside!

3.  Yardwork:

IMG_20130610_121513The number one excuse I get as a personal trainer is not having enough time to exercise.

During the summer you can kill 2 birds with one stone.  Household chores like washing the car and mowing the lawn burn calories!  Spend an afternoon in the yard and you can burn over 500 calories while getting a tan at the same time!

Raking: 225 calories/ 30 min

Mowing the Lawn: 173 calories/ 30 min

Washing the Car: 150 calories/ 30 min

Weeding:  115 calories/ 30 min (add some squats into this one and the calorie burn goes up!)

4. Work

summer for your health benefit
Take your work outside!

Answer emails with your mobile.

Write that presentation on your laptop.

Head to a local park, find a quiet spot in the shade.  Get some work done outside.  Get some fresh air.

It’s good for your brain.  It will help you think clearer and more efficiently.

5. Swimming

Swimming is great exercise!

Find a pool and start doing laps!

If you’ve never really learned how to swim, take a swimming lesson!

Swimming is a great way to burn some killer calories, without pounding your joints.

Find an outdoor pool and you can burn fat, tone your muscles, and get a great tan all at once!

6. Yoga

summer for your health benefitIf you live in most areas of the country, being outside is like stepping into a hot yoga studio.

Take advantage of one of your local parks.

Set up your Yoga Mat.

Play around with the yoga postures you know.

If you do Bikram you know what you need to do.

If you practice vinyasa or power yoga, play around with whatever feels good to your body.

Every yoga teacher says, “you are your own best teacher.”  Give this a try.  Your body will steer you into the postures you need to do.

If you aren’t familar with yoga just sit down and focus on breathing deeply.

Listen to the world around you.  Listen to your breath.  Feel your lungs expanding and contracting

Even 15-30 min clearing your mind can make the rest of your day better!

7. Read

Find a book that will help you improve your fitness.

Then read it this summer.

In fact take it outside, lay in the sun for 15 min once a day and work your way through your book.

There are all kinds of books on fitness.

If you never tried yoga pick up Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga.  It has some great step by step tips to develop a beginning yoga practice and understanding.

Get motivated for your run with I run, Therefore I am–NUTS!

Learn more about the food you put in your mouth with the Smarter Science of Slim.

Get motivated to deepen your yoga practice with Hell Bent  Benjamin Lorr’s personal account through Jedi Fight Club and Bikram Yoga Teacher Training.

Take some time each sunny day to learn how to keep yourself healthier year round!

Reading about fitness makes your more motivated to make fit decisions and be active!

8. Go to a Farmer’s Market

Venture outside of your normal grocery store and visit your city’s local farmer market.

You can’t get produce any more fresh than what’s found at Farmer’s Markets.

You will see produce you don’t normally see.

Pick a veggie you’ve never eaten before and experiment with a new recipe.

Just like it’s important to vary your physical activity, mixing up the food you eat keeps your body burning fuel more efficiently.  Different veggies pack different nutrient loads.  If you always stick to the same ones, you may be missing out on some important vitamins and minerals!

Being healthy starts with spending more time outside.  Take advantage of the sun and warm weather.  Try to get outside and use the summer for your health benefit in one way or another each day!


eagle pose garurasana

4 Tips to Improving Your Eagle Pose Garurasana

eagle pose garurasana

Eagle Pose Garurasana is the first twist in the bikram yoga series.

By the time you get to this pose, you should be sweating!

In Eagle Pose Garurasana you cut off blood flow to the right side of the body and then the left.  It is the first time in class that you begin to to transfer, move, and use the oxygenated blood that you have been working so hard to create.

For most, the first couple times you try this posture it often feels impossible.

Here are 4 tips to twisting yourself into a knot and making yourself the shortest person in the room:

  1. Step One in this pose is to twist your arms.  Once you bring your right arm under the left, focus on getting your hands together next.  I know it might feel like it might never happen, but the more you visualize it happening the sooner it will!
  2. Then work for the foot wrap.  Focus on pointing your toe back towards the calf you want it to tuck under.  The twist initiates at the toe.  Once you get the tuck, however, work to relax your foot as much as possible.
  3. Breath!  Once again the posture starts with your breath.  Maintain normal breathing as you set the posture up.  Normal breathing means to take long slow inhales and long slow exhales.  Once you get into the posture, work on sitting down more with your exhales  and arching your upper body back more with your inhales.
  4. Make sure you sit down as low as possible to start the posture.  Arch back as much as possible.  Then work to keep the body weight in your heel.  

Muscles Contracting:

  • Hamstrings
  • latissimus dorsi
  • abdominals
  • rhomboids
  • Ankle Stabilizers


  • Opens up the 12 major joints of the body: heels, ankles, hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
  • Lengthens and stretches the leg muscles, most specifically the glutes and IT band.
  • The posterior muscles of the rotator cuff specifically the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor muscles.


  • Ankle Joint, Knee Joint, Hip Joint, Elbow Joint, and Wrist joint breaking down scar tissue.  


  • Reproductive system and sex organs.
  • Kidneys
  • Lymphatic System
  • Central Nervous system
  • Immune System

Bikram says Eagle Pose Garurasana Benefits us by:

  • Improves flexibilities in the hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists.
  • Eagle Pose supplies fresh blood to the reproductive system and sex organs, plus the kidneys, which increases sexual vitality and helps clear up reproductive problems.
  • Improves the function of the lymphatic system
  • Improves concentration and balance
  • Energizes the entire body completing the Bikram warm up by flushing blood from one side of the body to the other.
  • Stimulates better immune system function
  • Improves mobility of hip joints and balance
  • Strengthens the legs and calves
  • Good for improving varicose veins
  • Flushes out the kidneys improving the filtration of minerals such as calcium and sodium.
  • Good for Stress Reduction
padahastasana or hands to feet pose

4 Tips to Improving your Padahastasana or Hands to Feet Pose

padahastasana or hands to feet pose

Padahastasana or Hands to Feet pose is one of my favorite postures!

It is the first time in class your shoulders get a break, if you don’t have proper posture, we suggest to check this review!

By the time I am coming up arms and head together from Hands to Feet pose, I feel like I have finally awakened for my day.  My muscles feel exponentially looser and I feel as if my spine has lengthened a foot!

I was going through the posture correctors 2018 and came to a conclusion that Padahastasana had helped me unlock the secret to yoga:  Use your own strength to stretch your body.  It’s really no secret my instructors said it and now I say it all the time, “Pulling is the object of stretching!”  This posture, however, was the first posture where I actually found this to be true.

I used to and still have very tight hamstrings, but I do have to say that the muscle enhancement pills also helped out.  Every class that I am able to lock my knees makes me so happy.

Here are 4 tips to lock you knees, Lock Your Knees, LOCK YOUR KNEES!:

  1. Make sure to glue your body to your legs and get your elbows as close as possible to each other behind the calf muscles.  After you can grab your heels, your next goal is to touch your face to your shins–not to lock your knees
  2. Use your Breath:  Like every yoga pose, you want to maintain normal breathing in this posture.  With your inhales, pull harder on your heels.  With your exhales, roll forward weight in your heels and lift your hips up to the ceiling.
  3. Use your Quadriceps muscles:  The quadriceps is the hamstrings’ antagonistic muscle.  Your hamstrings bend your knee and your quadriceps extend the knee.  If you want to “Lock your knee” (or extend it)   You have to use your quadriceps.  The more you work to constantly and consistently contract your quadriceps, the more your hamstrings will be forced to slowly open up and stretch.  ****Using on your strength won’t pull muscles.  Make sure to never bounce into a posture.  Then you are using strength and momentum.  This combo can pull muscles.
  4. Imagine your Head Moving Down your Shins:  Once you can lock your knees, the goal then becomes to lengthen your spine.  Imagine your head sliding down towards your toes.  To do this, you will need to continue pulling with your biceps.  Then try to depress and retract your shoulder blades so you can use your back strength to open up your upper spine.

Muscles Contracting:

  • Biceps
  • Quadriceps
  • latissimus dorsi
  • rhomboids


  • Spine
  • hamstrings
  • hips
  • glutes
  • Erector Spinae
  • trapezius


  • Large intestine
  • Small intestine
  • Abdomen


  • Digestive System
  • Heart
  • Nervous System
  • Brain

Bikram says Padahastasana or Hands to Feet Pose Benefits us by:

  • Improves digestion
  • Stretches out the the wrists.  Helping with Carpel tunnel and arthritis, using Kidney Atlas.
  • Opens and Stretches the Hamstrings
  • Stretches the spine.
  • Improves Sciatica
  • Awakens you, sending blood to the brain.
  • Stimulates the nervous system
  • Tones the abdomen
awkward pose

Awkward Pose

Awkward Pose is a crucial part to warming up the body in the Bikram yoga series.  Stand alone, it is a posture that tones the legs, arms, and core.  The posture helps realign the body improving  and preventing many painful conditions.  The posture only works though if you set it up correctly.  Here are some tips to improving your awkward pose:

1st Part Awkward Pose:

  • Keep a six inch gap between the knees feet and hands
  • Keep legs and arms parallel to the floor
  • Relax your shoulders but tighten your arms by keeping your fingers together and focusing on stretching forward through the whole posture.
  • First allow the chest and upper body to come down to sit down as low as possible. Once sitting as low as possible, then focus on bringing your upper body back.
  • Keep 100% body weight in the heels.  You will feel like you might fall down backwards, but your arms continuously reaching forward will help you balance.
  • Focus on all your energy channeling into your arms, abdomen, and legs to relax your face and shoulders.


“If you allow your stomach to be loose, you will overtax your back muscles possibly causing back pain.” Craig Villani


2nd Part Awkward Pose:awkward pose

  • Come up onto your toes as much as possible.  If you think about your big and 2nd toe pressing into the floor you can come up higher.
  •  Focus on squeezing your calf muscles to help you balance.
  • Sit down until your hips touch an imaginary chair behind you to make sure you get the full benefits.  It is normal to feel your legs shake and burn.  It means you are warming up, burning calories, and toning your legs!
  • Spine should be perfectly straight, if you are leaning forward you need to come up higher on your toes!
  • Every time you come up focus on coming up slow and fully extending your knees to build more strength in the legs.

“Whenever there is shaking, there is always a threatened nerve. It’s NEVER an impulse saying, “If you keep going there could be trouble.” Shaking is not bad, it is your body creating new neural passageways and learning to strengthen and hold.” Emmy Cleaves

3rd Part Awkward Pose:

  • Only come up on your toes until your can bring your needs together.
  • Focus on squeezing your knees together like you have a quarter in between your knees.  This will keep the entire length of your thighs pressed together toning your inner thighs!
  • Keep your spine as straight as possible throughout the posture.
  • Work to exhale the entire way down and inhale the entire way up.

“Your mind will be screaming come up come up, but I will be be yelling ‘Chest up!  Sit down!  Stay there! and of course you will listen to me!” Bikram

Muscles Contracting:

  • Deltoids
  • Triceps
  • Abdominal Muscles
  • Quadriceps

Stretches and Opens:

  • Ankles
  • Feet
  • Arches
  • Calves
  • Toes
  • Pelvis
  • Shins


  • Liver
  • Spleen
  • Intestines
  • Pancreas


  • Realigns hips and legs helping improve and prevent lower-back pain
  • Realigns knee joint benefiting the meniscus
  • Strengthens the arch of the foot improving and preventing flat feet, bunions and bowed legs
  • Relieves menstrual cramps
  • Improves and Prevents sciatica
  • Improves and Prevents arthritis in knees and hips
  • Heals chronically cold feet
  • Increases the circulation to the knees and ankles
  • Helps to relieve rheumatism and arthritis in the legs and helps to cure slipped discs and other problems of the lower spine