Thanksgiving yoga sequence

Thanksgiving Yoga Sequence to Help You Digest and Detox

There may be some overeating.

Scratch that, it's a certainty.

Use this Thanksgiving yoga sequence to prepare and repair

There's always the possibility you won't eat too much. You may decide to fill up on water before embarking on the tradition of expandable pants and indigestion. But in case you decide to indulge, both preparing your body beforehand and fixing what's just a little bit broken after your meal will have you feeling totally normal (almost) by Friday.

Critical information about why we practice a specific Thanksgiving yoga sequence both before and after a feast:

  • Twists are amazing for purging and aiding in digestion. When we twist, we massage our abdominal organs and deliver a fresh supply of blood to that area of our bodies. Twists also create internal fire, Agni. This also contributes to our ability to move food throughout bodies and eliminate effectively.
  • Forward folds are downright fabulous in our pursuit of digestion and for decreasing bloating. Bloating sucks, right? Let's eliminate that with some gentle compression to the organs that live in our abdominal cavities.
  • Backbends stretch our abdominal organs really well. Space is good. The action of expanding and contracting gets things moving. We're gonna do a bunch of this.
  • Releasing excess gas is a must after a big meal. There are a few poses that really help with this.

Practicing a special Thanksgiving yoga sequence so you can thoroughly enjoy your meal and time with family is, most importantly, a loving way to be present. Because it will ensure you're not distracted and irritated by what's going on in your belly, it's a damn good idea. Comfort is a priority. Share this with those you've included in your celebration. It's a simple sequence that's designed as beginner-friendly. Perhaps practicing together will become a sweet and integral tradition starting with this holiday season.

Thanksgiving yoga sequence for digestion and comfort

  • Begin in Balasana (Child's Pose). Breath deeply. Keep your knees together so they help with compressing your belly. Stretch your arms forward, keeping your forearms off the ground.
  • Slither through into Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose). Move back to Child's Pose and repeat the sequence 3 times.
  • From Cobra, move into tabletop position. Thread your left arm under your right and lay your head and shoulder to the ground. Enjoy the twist and shoulder release. Make some noise. Move on to the other side.
  • Move through Cat/Cow pose. It's one of the very best actions to stretch and compress the organs of the belly. It's also good for anxiety. If your holiday celebration offers none of that, super news. But just in case...
  • From tabletop, move into Downward Facing Dog Pose. Stretch everything. Think of your body like a wishbone (see what I did there?) and apply equal amounts of pressure in your hands and feet. Hold for several breaths and step forward to the top of your mat.
  • Remain in Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend). Enjoy the massage action applied to your abdominal muscles and organs and reset your central nervous system. Walk your feet hips distance apart.
  • Squat down in Malasana. Sit on a block or other prop if that feels better on your hips and knees. Move your left arm in front of your left shin and raise your right arm high in a twist. Hold for a few breaths and do the other side.
  • Sit down and come laying on your back. Bring your left knee into your chest and lay your right leg straight on the ground in Wind Relieving Pose. It does exactly what it says. Repeat the action on the other side.
  • Conclude your practice in Supta Badda Konasana (Reclining Cobbler's Pose). You could also place a block under your sacrum for a slight backbend if you feel inclined.

Enjoy the pleasures of food, loved ones, and downtime. I hope this Thanksgiving yoga sequence aids and abets you in this pursuit. Happy holidays!


pretty yoga poses sequence|yogi surprise

This Sequence Is Brought to You by The Pretty Yoga Poses

Pretty yoga poses look and feel glorious. Sure, some are fancy and extremely difficult. But there are also many lovely and not at all overly complicated postures that allow you to feel your most beautiful self.

Pretty poses help us to find and feel grace

You know that one friend, the one who's never awkward? Even if she falls out of Half Moon Pose, she does it with an elegant flair as if it was on purpose. She never bumps into a wall while looking for a chapstick in her oversized bag. And not once has she ever knocked her water bottle over in yoga class. Ever.

There is undeniable beauty in thoughtful movement and subtle actions. And graceful executions require thoughtfulness, patience, and proprioception (knowing where your body lives in space). The awareness that comes from plotting out how to best go about any posture from High Crescent Lunge to Crow Pose is where the pretty yoga poses show up. Now, no doubt, some shapes are simply more adorable than others. Just take a quick peek at your IG feed. Certain postures such as Natarajasana(Dancer's Pose) and Urdvah Danurasana(Upward-Facing Bow) variations get a little more love than Mountain Pose.

Pretty yoga poses require attention to transition and the willingness to force nothing

The travel method we employ moving from one pose into another is considered a posture all unto itself. Since we are each in a constant state of transition, it's about the experience of moving from one thing to the next with as little stress as possible and as much ease and enjoyment as we can find. Our definition of pretty yoga poses changes. Whew, it feels like a lot. When we slow down we often wind up with more. More time, energy, appreciation, and yes, grace.

Yoga sequence to add elegance and beauty to your day

This is an accessible sequence. And if inversions and arm balances are your jam, sprinkle them in as you like. It may take a few rounds of practice to find the smooth and graceful execution that feels so satisfying. So stay with it. Add your own dramatic and subtle flair. Regardless, I hope you feel absolutely beautiful as you flow and move today. Because you are.

  • Begin in Chair Pose. Lift your right knee up toward your chest and place your right fingertips on the kneecap
  • Help your right leg to step back using fingertips. When you lose contact and the leg has landed on the soft pad of the ball of your foot. Extend your right arm forward and reach your left arm back into a twisted lunge.
  • Tilt back, left hand reaching for the back of the right thigh and the right arm reaching up towards the ceiling.
  • From that shape, move into Warrior 2 by parking your right foot all the way down to the ground and sweeping your right arm back as you simultaneously reach your left arm forward. Moving back and forth between these pretty poses becomes a thing of beauty all unto itself.
  • Tilt back towards your right leg, breathing deeply, then lift back through Warrior 2 briefly as you bring your right palm to the ground while lifting your right heel back up and reach your left arm towards the ceiling again.
  • From there, lift back into the twisted lunge, right arm forward, left arm back. Take as many rounds as you like to getter more fluid in your transitions.

It will get easier and feel more natural as you continue to practice

We all know practice is the answer to just about everything. Here's wishing you a beautiful practice and day!


yoga for hip pain modifications|yogi surprise

Practicing Yoga for Hip Pain and the Power of Backing Off

Some of us just are not all that talented at resting.

If you're an active sort and have trouble keeping still, then being told to rest might feel like a punishment. Since the joints of the hips are so large, sometimes they require more rest than we want to give them. But they will keep asking. And often, it will show up in the form of a demand.

Practicing yoga for hip pain can help depending on what's actually going on

And just because I really love stating the obvious (and I'm so damn good at it), yoga instructors are not doctors. They can't tell you why your hip hurts. Only an x-ray and qualified medical professional can help you out with that. However, if you're not ready to go that route, trying rest may be your best bet. See where that takes you. Not interested? Then go see a professional so you know what you're dealing with.

Less is often more

I promise. It feels like those words are spilling out of my mouth on the regular as of late. The very deepest place you can go is not necessarily the most optimal for you. If you're always reaching for the biggest and most extensive stretch, this may be where you need to begin. Try doing less, rest, backing off, and getting cozy with a more subtle stretch may be the yoga for hip pain prescription you really need.

Yoga hip openers and modifications

Most hip openers are asymmetrical. This is outstanding when you are trying to let one side of your body rest and heal and want to nurture the other side. Props such as blocks, bolsters, and blankets become very good friends in many hip opening and strengthening poses. We have to respond with compassion to pain. We shouldn't push past it. It requires respectful acknowledgment and a kind response.

Pigeon pose is a fan favorite in the asana realm. I really can't recall a class where people have neglected to request hip openers. It's a big need and practicing yoga for hip pain is probably how a lot of people find yoga in the first place.

If you are in pain, the only solution is to back off. Minimize how deep you go and how often you go there. Joints and tendons have strong reactions when they are pushed past their capacity.

Ways to modify in popular hip openers

  • Pigeon pose: use a blanket, block or bolster underneath the hamstrings of the forward bent leg. It will help with easing pressure placed on the knee joints and possibly provide a more valuable stretch to the hips.
  • Cobbler's pose: Sit on a block to tilt your pelvis forward and provide relief to the muscles surrounding the spine.
  • Figure Four: If you are laying on the ground. you could place the foot of the bottom leg on the ground instead of suspended in the air. This will minimize the stretch and not tax the spine.

Subtle stretches have a lot to offer. Apply the principle of how much you give and what you're specifically receiving to take the very best care of yourself possible.


yoga arm balances benefits|yogi surprise

Yoga Arm Balances: The Benefits and Reasons We Want to Do Them So Badly

The first time I saw Crow Pose (Bakasana), I was pissed that the pose even existed. It was surprising to me that yoga arm balances were even a thing. I didn't know much about yoga, and arm balances hit me hard because I knew it would take a lot of practice to be able to achieve them one day.

I remember thinking, "Oh my stars, I will never be able to do this pose. How is it possible that in a class of twenty people, I'm the only one who can't do it?" Everyone else lifted into it so seemingly easily. It was dumbfounding. If everyone else could do it, how hard could it actually be? Um, turns out the answer is pretty damn hard. And acknowledging that is crucial if you want to pursue these postures.

Yoga arm balances are flat out cool. We desperately want to be able to pull them off.

There are a lot of benefits to arm balances. But do they really deserve the amount of attention we give them? Are the benefits that valuable?

The answer is complicated. It all depends on your goals and what you think is worthy of your time and dedication. It also very much depends on your health. If you have chronic shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand injuries or pain, should yoga arm balances be a part of your practice?

Let's examine the benefits first

  • Strength. Yoga arm balances are highly effective in developing strength in the core, arms, hands, shoulders, wrists, and back. Being strong protects us and makes our bodies more efficient. Strength is important.
  • Confidence. When something initially isn't possible and we work for it, the biggest gift is the confidence in ourselves that we develop. When our hard work pays off, we feel really good about our dedication and commitment. It's not so easy to appreciate the things that come easy. We begin to believe in ourselves in more meaningful ways.
  • Learning from failure. To try, fail, try again, fail again, change your strategy, and eventually succeed is life changing. It helps us develop a mental toughness we can't gain otherwise. Not giving up and being willing to alter our approach teaches us that we can accomplish our goals. The effort is necessary for success.

Addressing yoga arm balances and injury

Injuries are quite the teacher. It's the rare adult who's never had even a minor injury to contend with. Some injuries happen because of accidents. And others happen when we push ourselves too far or ignore what our bodies are warning us against. So how can someone with an injury still benefit from arm balances?

Postures are shapes. We contort our bodies constantly. Let's take a look at Crow Pose. You can do the shape of the pose laying on your back and receive lots of benefits and information. It can also be done perching on a block or lifting only one foot to feel the strengthing actions necessary as we develop our muscle memory.

The most important thing is to let injuries heal. We have to learn from them and take a different approach to our practice to protect an injured area. Prioritizing our health and keeping ourselves safe is the choice we need to make to be able to continue to practice.

Reasons students crave arm balances

Obviously, not everyone cares about yoga arm balances. Lots of people do yoga for stress relief, restoration, and to stretch and move their bodies. Plenty of students don't have arm balances and inversions as a part of their practice and they're so good with that. But for those who do care, it's important to know the reasons beyond the benefits stated above.

  • Ego. You saw that coming. But we don't need to always demonize our egos. Everyone has one and our egos can help motivate us to try new things and desire goal obtainment. Yoga arm balances are challenging, dynamic, and difficult postures. The ability to pull them off feels good. That's really okay.
  • The need to challenge ourselves. It is a need for many of us. We want to see what we're capable of. Arm balances and inversions represent a challenge. They help us face our fears. They give us a sense of power over our bodies and control.
  • The feeling we take with us after our practice. Trying new things has long-lasting effects. Being exposed to poses we've never tried is exciting and opens our minds to the vastness of a yoga practice. Overcoming obstacles is vital. And knowing we can do it is key.

The most important takeaway is knowing what we value and why. If this is a practice that's important to you, stick with it. Seek out instructors who are experienced in teaching arm balances and be willing to change your approach. Remember the quote, "Practice and all is coming." ~Sri K Pattabhi Jois