As yogis, we spend a lot of time stretching our hamstrings and glutes. But consider this: How much time do we spend strengthening them? Not enough, says Irene Pappas. Here, she borrows a couple of strengthening moves from Pilates to target the glutes and hamstrings.
Yoga asks a lot of our joints, and building more stability around them is one of the best ways to prevent or remedy pain and injury. Here, Irene Pappas walks you through two drills to strengthen the muscles on the front, back, and underside of your shoulder. You’ll need a cork block, heavy book, 3-pound dumbbell, or can of soup. (Warning: The weight of that block will sneak up on you!)
All you need is a blanket to ratchet up the challenge.
Think you’ve mastered Plank Pose? All you need is a prop to ratchet up the challenge. Carrie Owerko—who leads YJ’s upcoming series of video practices, Iyengar Yoga for Strength and Agility—takes you through three variations of this classic core-strengthening move. Grab a blanket and get started!
Encourage mobility with a quick practice you can do at the office.
Spending too many hours hunched over a screen can really stiffen your shoulders and upper back. But the solution may be simpler than you think: Take a quick break to release the tension with this simple sequence from Carrie Owerko, who explores creative ways to enhance movement in YJ’s upcoming video practice series, Iyengar Yoga for Strength and Agility. Here, she shares an easy exercise you can do to mobilize your shoulders—and all you need is a wall.
You don’t have to wear a white turban when practicing Kundalini Yoga, but you might want to. Here’s why.
Walk into any Kundalini Yoga class and you’ll likely see many students with white scarves and turbans tied around their heads. Head coverings are worn as an expression of faith in many religious and spiritual traditions, including Islam, Christianity and the Sikhism. Kundalini Yoga, a practice rooted in Sikh Dharma, borrows certain traditions from this faith, such as chanting mantra, early morning sadhana (practice), not cutting body hair, and wearing turbans, among other things. Head coverings in Kundalini Yoga are entirely optional, but here’s why you might consider wearing one.
1. Covering the head focuses the energy at the third eye.
Yogi Bhajan, the father of Kundalini Yoga in the West, emphasized the importance of head coverings during practice as a means to focus and contain your energy and clarify your thoughts, creating a meditative focus at your third eye or Ajna Chakra.
2. A snugly-tied turban creates a natural cranial adjustment.
According to the technology of Kundalini, a tightly tied turban stabilizes the many tiny bones in the skull, which affect our neurological system and electromagnetic field. Proponents claim that a light pressure on the cranium provides a sense of calm and wellbeing.
3. A turban can symbolize your devotion to your practice.
Rituals like covering your head and sitting facing an altar or sacred space, may help set the stage for a deeper practice by signaling a transition from the physical to spiritual world. I find that when I settle down in front of my altar covered with images of gurus and departed loved ones, light incense, anoint my wrists with essential oils, and cover my head, I am …
Try this playful take on Side Plank Pose to engage your entire body.
Routine got you in a rut? Shake up your usual Side Planks with a creative approach that builds full-body strength. Here, Carrie Owerko—who explores innovative ways to build resilience in an upcoming series of video practices called Iyengar Yoga for Strength and Agility—shows you how to use your desk chair as a prop for some playful exercises. Work your muscles in just two minutes—and have a blast while doing it.
Bring on the bounce to improve agility, coordination, and balance.
Want to improve agility, coordination, and balance? Then bring on the bounce! Carrie Owerko, who leads our upcoming collection of video practices called Iyengar Yoga for Strength and Agility, shows you how to fuse elastic recoil play and other movement exercises with familiar poses like Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose) and Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose). Hop to it and have fun!