Category Archives: Yoga Poses

YJ Tried It: Stick Mobility

Up your creativity and flexibility by practicing with a 6-foot-tall bendable stick.

You can imagine my roommate’s surprise when I walked through the door with three lengthy bright-orange sticks. They were each as thick as a fist and ranged in length from four to six feet.

“What can those possibly be used for,” he asked.

“Stretching,” I said, as I tried to balance one of the sticks straight up in the air on my finger.

They’re light and surprisingly bendy, with a satisfying feel in your hands that keeps you going back for more every time you put them down. I knew I was going to have some fun with this unorthodox exercise device.

It’s possible to get a deeper stretch with a stick.

What is Stick Mobility?

Stick Mobility is reminiscent of TRX bands as a full-body fitness product to be used in a customizable training program that provides companion certification courses for coaches and physical trainers. The system emphasizes joint mobilization, strength training, and deep fascial stretching to improve performance and recovery. Six principles in particular govern the Stick Mobility experience, and they are leverage, stability, feedback, irradiation, isometrics, and coordination. Basically, the principles encourage you to see and feel when you’re out of alignment in a pose, and to use the Mobility Stick to get you back to where you’re supposed to be. To get started, you can simply access their extensive video library to engage with instructions and demo videos on how to use their signature dowels made with blended materials for target-area exercises.

Dowels are skinny rods that can be any length, and are often made out of wood, metal, or plastic. You’re more likely to find them at your local hardware store than anywhere else. Yoga practitioners have used them for decades to assist …

Accessible Yoga: Chair Sun Salutation

You can still receive the physical and mental benefits of beloved Sun Salutation from a chair. If standing is painful, difficult, or impossible, try this variation of Sun Salutation to feel at home in your body.

Sun Salutation can also be done as a seated practice, which takes a little more imagination. There are two ways to approach the practice. One is to try to align movements in the chair with the traditional standing Sun Salutation so they could be practiced side by side. Another approach is to be more creative with the movements and focus on moving with the breath, getting as many major muscle groups involved as possible.

Generally, try to inhale when you bend back (spinal extension) and exhale when you bend forward (spinal or hip flexion). Sun Salutation is, by defini­tion, a series of flowing movements coordinated with the breath. Use your imagination, and see what type of chair Sun Salutation you can create. The chair can be against a wall for support or on a yoga mat to provide more traction. When practicing in a chair, be careful to keep the bulk of your weight in the chair to avoid falling out of it.

For many people, chair Sun Salutation offers a way to continue a much-loved practice in the face of injury or illness. The flow of breath and move­ment is soothing to the mind and nervous system, and it can help bring us back to the body during times of anxiety or stress. I remember one student with multiple sclerosis who was dealing with extreme fatigue. Some days she had enough energy to practice a standing Sun Salutation, and some days she preferred to sit in a chair. But either way she was able to experience this powerful moving meditation.

To begin, …

Our Top Sequences of the Past Decade


You made this list possible. Here are the top 10 most-viewed sequences from the past decade.

Yoga’s popularity continued to explode this past decade, and we’re grateful that you turned to Yoga Journal for advice on developing your own practice. We compiled a list of the top 10 most popular yoga sequences on our website from 2010 to today. From hip-stabilizers to practices for processing powerful emotions, we count down a diverse list of tried-and-true sequences that can take you into 2020 – and beyond!

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Engage and Energize Your Body (Even on Days You're Stuck at a Desk)


Don’t have time for a mat-based practice today? You can energize and strengthen your body anywhere with this simple chair yoga sequence. It’s perfect for deskbound days, or as a break when you’re feeling sluggish in your body or mind.

This sequence from Mindful Chair Yoga Deck by Jennifer Cohen Harper and Mayuri Gonzales can be done from almost anywhere and is appropriate for kids and adults. Get the book here. 

See also An Accessible Yoga Practice You Can Do In a Chair

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Imagine if Your Younger Self Had This Explainer on Feeling Your Feels

How can kids cultivate resilience? Here, Mallika Chopra breaks it down with a simple guide and breathing practice.

Chopra’s newest book is filled with mindfulness practices to help kids deal with day-to-day challenges. 

Your mind is the part of you that experiences your emotions. It is where you experience the sensations, images, beliefs, memories, imaginations, and thoughts that make you happy, excited, sad, inspired, and fearful.

The funny thing about your mind is that you can’t really find it. The mind is different from your brain.

Your brain and chemicals in your body react to and shape your mind. Here is a super simple explanation of how your mind works: When you are happy, you have happy chemicals running through your body. And when you are sad, you have sad chemicals in your body that can create tension and even pain, like an upset stomach or headaches. When something happens to you, your brain creates chemicals that make you react and feel emotions like fear or excitement.

See also This Is the Guide to Meditation We Wish We Had Growing Up

Buy Mallika Chopra’s book now. 

What Your Mind Needs

Just like you have to take care of your body to stay healthy, you also have to take care of your mind. Being mentally healthy means you feel like you can do what you need to do every day, are comfortable socially, can control your behavior, and can experience all your emotions without overwhelming anxiety. Of course, you may still get stressed, feel awkward at times, and become overwhelmed by your feelings! If you’re mentally healthy, you just don’t let your emotions control you; rather, you know your mind and your reactions and have ways to control them when you need to.

There are different components to having a …

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!

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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 …

Rest Your Way to Self-Love

Try this variation of Savasana to give your mind, body, and spirit a break from everyday stress and a view into contentment.

When I took my first yoga class, I did not like Savasana. Not even the tiniest bit. I had enjoyed the active stretching poses, and when asked to lie down on my mat at the end of class, I felt confused about what we were doing and why we were doing it. I had negative judgments about “lying here and wasting time.” Needless to say, I was soon sold on the absolute value of being still. Now, I fly all over the world teaching people to do nothing—and I’m here to show you how it’s done.

See also Tempted to Skip Savasana? 10 Top Yoga Teachers Explain Why It’s the Most Important Pose

This pose…

  • Is familiar to almost all yoga students. 
  • Creates the potential for very deep relaxation. 
  • Can be practiced with a variety of setups, with or without props, depending on the circumstances. 
  • Is the most basic pose of Restorative Yoga and thus the most important. 
  • Lowers blood pressure. 
  • Effectively slows heart and respiratory rates. 
  • Remains a good choice for practitioners with no lower-back issues.

Avoid this pose if you…

  • Cannot easily get up from or down to the floor. 
  • Are past the first trimester of pregnancy. 
  • Have experienced some form of trauma that makes you anxious or uncomfortable to lie on the floor in a vulnerable, open position.

Props…

  • 1 sticky mat 
  • 1 bolster 
  • 1 block (If you are using a round bolster, you do not need a block.) 
  • 5 firm blankets, including a covering blanket (not shown) 
  • 1 eye bag or hand towel to cover your eyes 
  • 2 large eye bags, one for each hand (optional, not shown)

See also The Best