How to Use Your Shoulders to Move into Uttanasana

Try this yoga hack: In Uttanasana (forward bend), fix the hands onto the mat and attempt to drag them forward. This contracts the anterior deltoids and draws the upper body deeper into the yoga pose. If you can’t reach the floor,

How Your Breath Affects Your Nervous System

One little known fact about yogic breathing techniques concerns their profound effects on the autonomic nervous system. Extending or lengthening the exhalation is a powerful way to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, the Rest and Digest part of our nervous system’s balancing program.

Yoga for Every Body: Practicing with a Disability

Yoga is challenging. No doubt about it. It pushes us mentally and physically. It forces us to dig deep and find strength, and it forces us to accept who we are and where we are. On the flip side, when

Change Your Perspective of Pelvic Tilting: How the Transversus Abdominis Can Help

"Tuck your tailbone under" or "lengthen your tailbone" have long been among the most common alignment instructions in yoga. But lately, this instruction has taken a lot of flak, because the instruction can result in people flattening their lumbar curve, which,

Yoga Teaching: The Wisdom of Not Knowing

This morning a student asked me what should have been a simple question: What should I be feeling in this position? A minute or so later, I’d given her the best non-answer I could. Why a non-answer? First, I’m not

Tom Myers: Why Yogic Deep Breathing Matters More than You Think - The Many Important Functions of the Diaphragm

Most any yoga practitioner knows the importance of full, deep diaphragmatic breathing to enhance wellbeing and reduce stress. However, while the diaphragm plays a significant role in respiration, it has many other important functions that are often overlooked. As Tom Myers, author of Anatomy

Ayurvedic Tacos for Spring

An Ayurvedic diet takes into account the qualities of the season to optimize health benefits. A cool and damp spring is heavy, slows you down a bit, and can make you feel sad. Your digestion may be sluggish, your chest

JAMA: Mindfulness-based Therapies, Yoga, May Offer Alternative to Painkillers for Low Back Pain

If you struggle with chronic low back pain, here's some good news: Programs that combine yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises may be just as effective as painkillers in reducing the symptoms of chronic low back pain—and without the troubling side

Ahimsa at the Dinner Table

I had just returned from my evening power walk using my new fitness app to track and record the miles I covered and calories I burned. As I sat outside to cool down a bit, I scrolled through Facebook and

Rest in Center

Gravity and entropy are powerful processes in the natural world. Gravity draws things together, toward a center, while entropy scatters them into disorder. In much the same way, in our own lives, some things bring us to center, while others disturb and disperse

The Fourth Limb of Yoga: Pranayama

The eight-limbed path of yoga was delineated by the Indian sage Patanjali approximately 2,000 years ago in the Yoga Sutras. Many see this as the definitive work of classical yoga philosophy. In Light On Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar explains how each

Deepen Your Breath, Soothe Your Mind

From our first inhale to our last exhale, our breath is what sustains us, what gives us life. The process of breathing is unique in that it is one of few automatic bodily functions which we can consciously modify. If

Body Mindfulness - How to Reconnect with the Wholeness of Your Being

As a kid, I was really out of touch with my body. I hardly noticed it most of the time, and when I did, I prodded it like a mule to do a better job of hauling “me”—the head—around. This

Yoga for Every Body: Picture of an Ordinary Yogi

A few weeks ago, I was asked to model in a photo shoot for a training manual for yoga teacher trainees. Color me tickled (and terrified!) to be asked to be a part of this photo shoot! For starters, it

Relax Your Back in Forward Bends

Forward bends are an integral part of asana practice. Bodies folded in half “like a jack knife” are iconic images in the yoga photo canon, and loose hamstrings are often considered to be essential to being a “good” yogi. I