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!
Yoga therapist and psychologist Gail Parker, PhD, applies restorative practices in an innovative way to help people heal from racial wounds.
Yoga Journal: Can you summarize your work?
Gail Parker: I’m a psychologist, a certified yoga therapist, and a yoga therapist educator. I am a lifelong practitioner of yoga. 50 years. As a practicing psychotherapist of 40 years, I pioneered efforts to blend psychology, yoga, and meditation as effective self-care strategies that can enhance emotional balance, and contribute to overall health and well-being.
I closed my psychotherapy practice four years ago, which allowed me to focus all of my attention on the therapeutic benefits of yoga, and in particular on how Restorative Yoga and meditation can be utilized and taught as self-care practices for managing ethnic and race based stress and trauma. I also teach mind-body strategies for reducing stress and healing emotional trauma to aspiring yoga therapists in the Beaumont School of Yoga Therapy in Royal Oak Michigan, the only hospital based yoga therapy school in the nation.
Yoga therapy is a type of therapy—grounded in the ancient philosophical teachings of yoga—that utilizes yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation as self-care strategies to improve mental and physical health and well-being.
YJ: How do you apply this work to racial trauma (and can you define that term)?
GP: Ethnic and racial stress and trauma refer to the events related to real or perceived experiences of discrimination, threats of harm and injury, and humiliating and shaming events. The terms also apply to witnessing harm to other individuals caused by real or perceived race-related events.
Stress and trauma are stored in the body. Effective interventions involve physical engagement. Restorative Yoga is a form of yoga that is not intrusive; …
Meditation teacher Sally Kempton shares the mythology of two Hindu deities that inform Tantra’s tradition.
Just one more setback away from giving up on your goals? Take some inspiration from the epic tale of two Hindu deities—Shiva and Parvati—and the role that persistence played in bringing them together. Sally Kempton—who leads our upcoming online course, Tantra 101—recounts the iconic story of love, devotion, and determination at the center of this tradition’s sacred teachings.
Want to learn how to tap into your innate power? Join our new online course, Tantra 101: Awaken to Your Most Divine Life, led by meditation teacher Sally Kempton. In six weeks you’ll discover Tantra’s potent teachings and practices, so you can transform every breath, movement, and feeling into a pathway to greater insight and peace. Sign up today!