Category Archives: Poses by Benefit

Wind Down with a Calming Evening Sequence

Prepare yourself for deep, restful sleep with this 10-minute, relaxing sequence that stretches all the major muscles and quiets the monkey mind.

An evening practice is wonderful for calming the mind and preparing your body for deep rest. In this evening practice, you will focus on looking inward. Forward bends and hip openers help relax you and set the mood for sleep. This short practice can provide a really beautiful end to a busy day. Simply slow down and tune into your body and breath. Sweet dreams!

A Twisting Practice to Connect to Your Steady Center

Bring yourself back to “the good place” within that isn’t swayed by anxiety, fear, insecurity, and distraction.

“Practicing asana with an awareness of the spinal column and midline of the body is a way of physically connecting to your center,” writes Barrie Risman, author of Evolving Your Yoga: Ten Principles for Enlightened Practice. In this piece, she offers a twisting practice to connect to your innate steadiness within.

“The Self cannot be pierced by weapons or burned by fire; water cannot wet it, nor can the wind dry it. The Self cannot be pierced or burned, made wet or dry. It is everlasting and infinite, standing on the motionless foundations of eternity.” —Bhagavad Gita 2.23-24

Snow was still piled up on the sidewalk outside the studio as I sat down to teach my Friday class. It was February in Quebec, which means temperatures barely reached minus 3 Celsius (26.6 degrees Fahrenheit) on a good day. The students, like me, were all bundled up. Though the coats, hats, scarves, and gloves came off in the reception area, the layers remained: thick socks, leggings covered by leg warmers, tank tops covered by long-sleeved shirts, and those in turn covered by cardigans. We felt safe and cozy beneath the layers that protected us from the elements. As we started to move and build heat, the layers slowly came off.

On another level, of course, we all bring layers of different sorts with us to the practice: the various roles we play in our lives; the other people and things we are responsible for; and indeed full spectrum of our experiences past and present. In some form, all these come to the mat with us as well.

But yoga brings us back to an essential sense of who we are, free from …

Quiz: What Is Your Dominant Element?

If you’re the life of the party and tend to burn out, you might be a…

If you’re the life of the party and tend to flare up and burn out quickly, you may be a…

Is your dominant element Water, Wood, Fire, Earth or Metal—and why does it matter? Well, according to the Five Elements, a system that arose 5,000 years ago out of the holistic principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, it says a lot about what happens to your mind, body, and relationships when they’re under stress. It guides you in restoring balance. Even better, the elements also examine and explain why you relate to folks at work and at home in the way you do, in hopes that with awareness you can stem conflicts and find common ground.

“Knowing your dominant element helps you understand how you operate in the world and gives you a deeper insight into your motivations and actions. It’s the lens through which you see the world, as well as the lens through which you get ill and heal,” says Lauren Walker, creator of Energy Medicine Yoga, which combines yoga sequences with the wisdom of the Five Elements (as well as eight additional energy systems in the body) learned from her teacher, renowned energy healer Donna Eden.

“It’s empowering to understand your strengths and weaknesses, so you can come in balance, health, and joy. You also gain so much compassion when you recognize that other people are operating from their own set of challenges and blessings,” says Walker.

See also How Energy Testing Helps You Find Balance in the Subtle Body. 

So, ready to find out for yourself? Answer these 10 questions to identify the element that defines you

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