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 music inspiration|yogi surprise

Yoga Music That Will Move You in All the Ways (Song Suggestions Included)

How does one define yoga music?

In my humble opinion, 'one' does not. Yoga music is any music you want to practice to. At home, you have every option. If you love Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, and have even been known to rock it out to Led Zepplin, super duper, crank it up. If it gets you on your mat and helps you harmonize your breath, then it's most def yoga music.

When sequencing music for a yoga class, it's a little more important to consider the tastes of many. I've threatened to teach a class entirely to a Beastie Boys soundtrack, but as of yet, it's just a threat. Choose the music you love that's conducive to movement without being distracting. The music has to arch just as a class does. If you begin your classes with gentle poses and you're moving slowly, the music needs to reflect this, obvi. When you're working towards a more dynamic phase, it's helpful if the music is a bit more upbeat with a faster tempo.

Creating yoga music playlists is an art form enjoyed by many

But that doesn't mean it's simple. I always wind up putting a clunker on the first time around and have to tweak and refine it. It takes time and patience and you don't want to hear the exact same songs in every single class. I've long been a gigantic fan of Thievery Corporation, and they're on almost every single playlist from 2010-17. But it turns out a whole lotta yoga teachers really dig them too. You'll hear them frequently in Vinyasa flow classes. Keep it fresh so it's not a distraction. The idea is to add to the class experience.

If you're looking for some yoga music suggestions, that's terrific news because I have tons. You just might maybe find your latest favorite song to practice and teach with. Music lends itself so hardcore to finding liberation and creativity on your mat. Find your earbuds and get ready to be moved.

  • Horsetown in Vain by Kid Loco. It's eerie, sensual, and will inspire you to discovered uncharted territory on your mat. This is yoga music at it's finest. Put it either at the beginning or end of your playlist if you're using it for a class.
  • You Better by Grenda. This song wasn't a punch in the gut. It wasn't a love tap. It was a wake-up call. The very first note mesmerizes and it doesn't let go. Depending on the type of flow you want, you can put it almost anywhere on a playlist. Maybe it's not a savasana song, but it's a song to rever and it's very yoga-conducive.
  • Nectar Drop by DJ Drez. Such a cool, chill song. But it won't put you to sleep chill. It's definitely a movement song and you'll have a really good time exploring your practice with this one.
  • Ritual Union by Little Dragon. Damn this song is fun. It's catchy and so easy to move to. Put it in the middle when you're really getting into the groove of your practice.
  • Brain by Banks. I love this woman. I love this song. You will feel things, maybe even uncomfortable things. But that's what yoga music does. It gets us out of our comfort zones sometimes too. It can go at the beginning of a playlist if you plan to start with a bit more intensity. But it might be best placed right before you're going to start winding things down.
  • Writing Poems by Ludovico Einaudi. To me, this is one of the most perfect savasana songs in the universe. It's gorgeous, dreamy, and will encourage peaceful feelings. You'll also probably want to play it on repeat for a while.

Enjoy your exploration into the vast world of yoga music. Please add any suggestions you have in the comments too.

 


sense of direction location|yogi surprise

Yoga Sequence to Improve Your Sense of Direction

Do you know how to get where you're determined to go?

If you answered, 'sometimes', welcome to the club! Often we are more focused on the arrival to our destination. We can see the finish line so clearly, it's like we're already there. Except we're not. Nope. We need a compass, GPS, an old-fashioned map, something. Yet, those things can be very elusive if we don't have a strong sense of direction. I can visualize a breath-taking island where the locals are lovely and the music, food, yoga, and all-around revelry are abundant. But I haven't the first clue about how to actually locate it. Can you relate?

I envy those who have a strong internal sense of direction

Maybe you're one of the lucky few who always seems to understand the directional pulls and instinctively comprehends not just where to go but also the best pathway and most direct route. But if you're more like the majority of us, you often veer down roads that lead to dead ends, forcing you to double back and try another way. Hey, we're all in this together. And sure, we can see that taking wrong turns or roads that lead nowhere is all apart of the journey. But it sure is nice to feel that sense of direction and inherently know it's leading us directly where we want to land.

Try this yoga sequence to develop your sense of direction and plant yourself firmly on your path to greatness

We all have a dharma and once we've determined what that is, we're in a really big, damn hurry to get going. This yoga sequence will not only help you develop your inner compass, but chances are it will shake loose the information that, up until now, has felt elusive and evasive. Give it a go and let us know any awakenings you have. We'd love to see you execute it on IG. If you decide to go that route, please tag us so we can tag you back. As I said, we're all in this together, yo.

  • Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Get oriented to your crown being north, your feet being south, your left side being west, and your right is east. Visualize a bright compass sitting directly in the center of your chest. Feel its presence guiding you.

  • Reach your arms wide (east and west). Bend your knees and lower your hips (south) into Chair Pose. Wrap your left arm over your right arm, hugging yourself tightly. Position your palms together, then wrap your right leg over your left culminating into Eagle Pose. Pull everything towards the center of your body, stimulating your inner compass. We can always come back here if we get lost.
  • Unwrap everything and find the four corners of your space. Arms are out in a V-shape and step your legs into a V as well landing in Star Pose. Take up space while feeling grounded. Breath deeply, filling yourself with a sense of clarity and strength. Hop back to center, Mountain Pose.
  • Fold forward into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend). Invert so that everything is moving south. Take advantage of this perspective shift by noticing the change in your breath and reorienting your focus.
  • Step back into Plank Pose. Look forward (north). Feel your heels reach back (south). Come onto your shins into tabletop. Move your hips toward the ceiling or sky and your heart forward into Cow Pose. Dome your upper back and point your hips down pulling your ribcage into your spine, Cat Pose. Take a few rounds to massage your spine and enjoy the directional pulls motivated by your breath.
  • Come back to tabletop and extend your left leg straight back landing on the ball of your foot. Now step your left over to the right side of the room (east). Feel the radiation in your hips and you move along a diagonal plane. Your leg is straight. Now bend it and move your left kneecap behind your right knee crease. Move your shins as far apart as you can and walk your hands further to the left, maintaining a diagonal line (northwest). Sit back if your hips allow for it, possibly all the way to the ground. Breath here for as many moments as you like. return to tabletop and repeat on the other side. Each time you shift directions, enjoy the reorientation process always knowing you control the direction.
  • Once you've completed both sides and returned to tabletop, sit back in Child's Pose (Balasana) and rest, coming back to your center.

Even when we change our direction, we can always find our way back. This eliminates the fear of going the wrong way. We can undo and reverse our direction whenever we feel the need. But even when we do this, we are still moving forward with new knowledge and a better understanding of where we want to be. Being still isn't being stagnant. Enjoy everywhere your mind and body go today. It all serves a purpose.