Category Archives: Beginners’ Yoga Sequences

Try this Joint-Freeing Series from Jana Long


Try this practice, which emphasizes joint health and offers movements that can be incorporated into your daily life, to help maintain or improve mobility and stability for healthy aging.

Try this practice, which emphasizes joint health and offers movements that can be incorporated into your daily life, to help maintain or improve mobility and stability for healthy aging.     

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6 Deep Hip Openers to Try Instead of Pigeon Pose

These powerful alternates will help you open your hips in all directions.

Knowing the planes helps us improve range of motion in our hips.

Many of us could use more hip opening. From sitting to standing to walking, our legs are constantly working to support our upper bodies. All this effort can make hip muscles chronically tight, especially when we’re sitting for long periods at desks or in cars. 

Understanding Hip-Opening

The phrase “hip-opening” often creates confusion, as many people assume that it’s similar to opening a door or book, and therefore limited to taking your legs apart. But opening your hips means creating mobility in all directions. 

Hips are ball and socket joints, which are the most mobile joints in your body. The head of each thigh bone (femur bone) forms the “ball’, which sits in the socket (acetabulum) of your pelvis. 

Ball and socket joints also do circumduction, which means moving in all three planes, like when you swing your leg in a circle.

See also From Hypermobility to Stability: What You Need to Know About Open Hips

In order to stretch a particular muscle group, you must take your body in the opposite direction of that group’s movement. For example, if you’ve been sitting for long periods, which is hip flexion (taking thighs toward your chest), you’ll want to extend your hip (taking your thighs back) to release your hip flexors.

Your Hips in All Planes of Movement 

We are three-dimensional beings. We move in space in many different directions. We can go forward and backward, side to side, and inward and outward. And most of the time, we move in some combination of those directions all at once. For example, to set up our front legs in Pigeon, we must both open our legs to the …

6 Yoga Poses for Athletes with Tight Hamstrings

Improve flexibility and mobility in your hamstrings for better performance and to prevent injuries.

Hamstrings are a group of muscles that run along the back of your thighs, starting at your lower pelvis and attaching to your knee and lower legs. They are often the culprit for various sports injuries and chronic pain due to tightness. Once your hamstrings are tight, it can lead to poor posture, low-back pain, and a variety of other issues. Yoga poses can be critical additions to most training programs since they can help improve flexibility and mobility in your hamstrings and set you up for better movement patterns while running, biking, and playing sports. Here, three key benefits of yoga for athletes, plus six poses to support your sport.

1. Improved Performance and Joint Health

The posterior chain (muscles along the back of your body) is vital in all aspects of athletic performance. Strong and flexible hamstrings can improve running efficiency, agility, and power. Your body will recruit other muscle groups when needing to compensate for tight hamstrings, which will require more energy and can contribute to injuries. A full range of motion will also ensure healthy joints.

2. A Healthy Spine

Tight hamstrings reduce the mobility of your pelvis, which in turn increases strain and pressure on your lower back. Your hamstrings are an essential part of your knees, pelvis, and spine health. Flexibility in this area will support a proper upright posture. Everyday movement patterns like walking, running, sitting lead to shortening and tightening of your hamstring muscles. Consistent stretches to increase flexibility in this area will counter and bring them back to a balanced and healthy state.

3. Lower Risk of Injuries

If your hamstrings are tight, it can cause the posterior (rear) tilt of your pelvis and lead to strain and weakness …

5 Yoga Poses to Overcome Burnout


Feeling exhausted and burnt out? Try this easy, do-anywhere sequence from Jules Hunt, founder of the blog Om & The City.

We met with wellness entrepreneur Jules Hunt of Om & the City in Austin, TX recently during our cross country Live Be Yoga Tour. She shared this simple practice and few tips to overcome fatigue and burnout. 

Live Be Yoga ambassadors Lauren Cohen and Brandon Spratt are on a road trip across the country to sit down with master teachers, host free local classes, and so much more—all to illuminate the conversations pulsing through the yoga community today. 

Watch also Jules Hunt’s 3 Tips to Fight Burnout. 

Follow the tour and get the latest stories @livebeyoga on Instagram and Facebook.

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Try This Sequence to Confront Your Fears and Unleash Your Inner Warrior

I always felt that yoga offered more than a great stretch or workout. It gave me a way to connect with others and myself at the same time. You can find a bit of that feeling in this sequence.

Jivana Heyman

Do you ever find yourself clenching your jaw waiting for something bad to happen? Or waking up in the morning with a sense of dread? Whether they come in small doses or huge heart-stopping moments of panic, these feelings can be traced back to fear, which can be debilitating, producing a gnawing anxiety that sucks the joy out of life.

In my life, one particularly fearful time stands out: leading up to the moment I told my mother I was gay. I was 17 and confused. I’d found myself living a secret life and not sharing it with her. Speaking my truth was a major victory, and it made me understand even more how fear had been ruling my life.

Those of us who are marginalized tend to internalize our oppression, which can manifest as fear. During this time in my life, I was scared of being different and of being excluded from society—tossed out like garbage. Mostly, I feared disappointing my mother. My self-worth was so intimately tied to what she thought of me.

See also 5 Poses to Help You Own Your Worth

It wasn’t until I began practicing yoga regularly that I recognized I was living in a constant state of fear, even after coming out to my mother. A mild panic was always boiling just below the surface. Savasana (Corpse Pose) gave it away. I remember getting very quiet, maybe for the first time ever without the help of alcohol or drugs. I jerked awake as if I had fallen asleep too quickly. But I …

Yoga for Diabetes: 12 Poses and a Meditation to Mitigate Stress

Use this sequence to find refuge from the clutches of chronic illness.

Evan Soroka

Resting is hard for me. I would rather be on the go, overcoming hurdles or realizing my life vision. However, it’s difficult to achieve creative goals without rest, introspection, and relaxation. The same is true in diabetes care. If you have diabetes, like me, you’re constantly connected to your continuous glucose monitor, personal diabetes manager, or insulin pump. People with this condition are plugged into a monitor to stay alive, and blood glucose readings get mixed up with who we think we are and we lose our sense of self. Every arrow on the screen, every deviation up or down leaves a residue of subtle negative emotion in the landscape of the body and mind, making it impossible to relax, because every misstep can have potentially deadly consequences.

Any person facing modern technological advances suffers a great deal from similar mind spin; diabetes is just the microcosm of the macrocosm. The disease simply accentuates the detrimental distractions that people face without diabetes. Mental fluctuations are influenced by external and internal factors. For instance, a blood glucose reading of 400 mg/dL (very high!) can be a catalyst for thoughts that can spiral out of control because of past negative experiences—any number outside of normal range may cause you to remember the last time your glucose was too high and how awful you felt. Even more subtle than the thought is the impression left by the event. You may carry judgmental guilt, stew in the past, fret about what you should have done, worry about the long-term effects, or whatever the story may be. When the mind spins, we often react instead of respond. On a physiological level, the nervous system is in overdrive. A heightened state …

A Gentle Yoga Sequence to Target Your Nerves

Your yoga practice can be a therapeutic tool for pain management and prevention. Try this gentle sequence to target your nerves and protect their signaling powers.

Join Tiffany Cruikshank at Yoga Journal’s upcoming event in January at 1440 Multiversity. Learn more at dogdewormer.net/thepractice.

With all of the new and emerging information on pain science, yoga students and teachers have the opportunity to apply modern research to their practices and help alleviate and prevent pain.

Preliminary research suggests that gentle movement of your nerves is vital to both managing pain and supporting the general health of your nervous system. The idea is that healthy nerves should be able to gently slide, elongate, and angulate within neural tissues (some nerves can move as much as ¾ inch) in order to adapt to different loads and minimize pressure that can worsen existing pain, alter sensation, or lead to new pain patterns. Sometimes, tone and tension around neural tissues can be a problem. These tissues are bloodthirsty and rely on an important pressure gradient around them to maintain adequate blood flow. So even small changes in tissue tension around a nerve can be enough to block nerve mobility and lead to compression that disrupts blood flow and nerve signaling back to the brain, contributing to pain.

See also Low Back Pain 101: 3 Sequences to Ease Your Pain

To help you keep your nerves adaptable and protected, try the asana technique on the following pages based on an understanding of neurodynamics (the study of nerve movement through its surrounding tissues) and nerve pathways. We have the ability to alternately put tension on different ends of the nerve to create a movement of the nerve through the tissues, often referred to as nerve gliding. As you floss the nerve, you potentially allow it to …