Category Archives: Yoga Sequences

Take Your Spirituality and Sexuality Back This Valentine’s Day

Try these four strategies for feeling grounded, free, and loving.

There’s no time like the present to radically reframe your sexuality as spirituality. Most of society is caught up in the lower frequencies associated with sex—meaning most folks are focused on being purely physical, self-gratifying, and impulsive. Making your sexuality spiritual involves anchoring yourself in higher frequencies, such as devotion, reverence, and selflessly giving. The four principles and practices below, for how taking your sexuality back as an act of spirituality, come from Vedanta—the ancient philosophical teachings of yoga—and from my Sattvic and Sexy program, which teaches women how to be comfortable with themselves—with both the pure (sattvic) and the sexy parts of themselves. I’m going to tell it like it is… real, raw and honest.

My Sattvic and Sexy principles are ideally used in unison; not individually. See them as a collective—that build all aspects of a woman who confidently connects intimately with herself and her partners. A woman who acknowledges her challenges and sets healthy boundaries without feeling guilty.

Sattvic and Sexy Principles and Poses

1. Be Courageous

Take ownership of your thoughts, words, and actions. Avoid judgement, blame, and competition. Choose to self-direct your present experience and design your desired future.

It takes courage to own your sexuality and redefine it for yourself as spirituality, instead of something everyone has already labeled for you and defined for you. Sexual labels such as sluts, prudes, or teases only keep you in the lower frequencies because they are physical and based on whether or not you have sexual intercourse. Instead, you can be spiritually anchored in the higher, allowing freedom from valuing yourself by what you choose sexually. You choose to only have intercourse from a place of conscious intimacy with your partner. This way you are …

6 Heart-Opening Sequences for Staying Open to Love—for Yourself and Others

From overcoming grief to nurturing self-compassion, vulnerability, and acceptance, these six essential sequences will help you listen to your heart.

Find the inner strength to process grief and loss this season with this yoga sequence, developed by yoga teacher and Revolution of the Soul author Seane Corn. These nine poses call on chest-opening lunges, backbends, and twists; nurturing restorative poses; and a focus on moving slowly with your breath. The more active postures keep energy moving in the heart, while the restorative poses give your central nervous system the opportunity to rest, which can relieve some of the deep fatigue that often accompanies grief. Practice every morning in a quiet, private space. Throughout the sequence, put your physical sensations into words: “tense,” “tired,” “heavy.” Then name your emotions, too: “heartbroken,” “angry,” “scared.” This helps you to be present so you can begin to heal, instead of shutting down or running away from your grief and prolonging your heartbreak. Remember to exhale fully to release physical and emotional tension.

See also Healing Heartbreak: How Yoga Can Get You Through Grief

View the 6 images of this gallery on the original article

8 Yoga Poses to Sleep Better Tonight

Try this sequence before bed, or anytime, to relieve stress and calm your nervous system.

One of the reasons that so many of us find it hard to sleep is our inability to shift from the fight-or-flight mode into the parasympathetic nervous system, where deep rest is possible. This sequence turns down the intensity of modern life and helps you drop into your deeper, calmer self. 

See also Change Your Stress Response

Excerpted from Yoga: A Manual for Life by Naomi Annand. Reprinted in arrangement with Bloomsbury Sport.

Radical Compassion

Find peace through self-acceptance. This mindful vinyasa practice, inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will help you embody Ahimsa (nonviolence) and love—for yourself and others.

Chelsea Jackson Roberts, PhD

I was 16 years into my practice when I found myself crying profusely in Savasana (Corpse Pose). Lying in this vulnerable posture during my beloved teacher Tracee Stanley’s yoga nidra immersion, I realized I had been treating myself as an enemy. Something happened during this specific Corpse Pose—one of hundreds I’d practiced by this point—that offered a glimpse of surrender, peace, and acceptance. Enveloped in stillness and silence, I noticed that for once, I was not trying to control, critique, or compare myself, and I became acutely aware that I had been missing self-love and compassion: that I did not know how to love myself fully. It was the depth and nurturing that I encountered through yoga nidra that gave me the strength to face the truth and acknowledge the parts of myself that I had been denying, such as my needs for rest and to be taken care of and held.

As I lay there, Tracee’s words moved into every fiber of my body: “We cannot teach what we do not practice,” she said. This statement prompted me to ask myself hard questions: How can I teach my yoga students how to practice compassion with their bodies if I am not accepting all of the parts that make up mine? How can I expect my yoga students to trust me if I dismiss, and lack trust for, the parts of myself that want to be seen?

See also Chelsea Jackson on Diversity + Embracing Who You Are

Because I truly felt held by the yoga and the guidance of my teacher, I felt liberated from self-judgment around these questions. …

Find Serenity with this Self-Compassion Sequence

Radical self-compassion is essential for the health and wellness of all human beings. Yoga provides a powerful way to practice it with our own bodies before practicing it with others. This flow is ideal for quickly honoring your body with both gentle movement and rest.

See also Align Your Heart Chakra with This Chest-Opening Sequence

Learn About Trauma-informed Yoga with Hala Khouri

Start to feel safe and centered with practices that emphasize grounding and breathing.

Easy pose with arms crossed can create a sense of grounding and containment. 

In many yoga and healing circles, “trauma-informed” has become somewhat of a buzzword, referring to practices that are sensitive to the needs of—or specifically address the symptoms of—trauma survivors. The foundational intentions of a trauma-informed yoga practice are to help you find a sense of grounding and support in your body, to connect to sensations in a safe way, and to use the practice to help you trust your body’s signals again. This way, you can learn to self-regulate and find a sense of physical, emotional, and psychological safety, as well as presence and balance.

Trauma-informed methodology is less about specific poses or sequences and more about the focus of each pose and how it is inhabited. Ultimately, the practice’s cuing, pace, and sequencing are meant to help create a sense of support so that practitioners can feel sensations and emotions without being overwhelmed. I often say that it’s about learning to tolerate discomfort so that you can move through it rather than run away from it; unresolved trauma can leave you in a constant state of disconnection. Yoga can help free you from the grip of the past so that you can be truly present in an authentic and embodied way.

See also A Yoga Therapist Shares The Truth About Trauma

Traumatic events (car accidents, abuse, natural disasters, violence, death) can overwhelm your capacity to cope and respond. So can high levels of stress. Unresolved trauma affects overall mood regulation and physical health and can leave you feeling disconnected from your body. It can manifest as anxiety, depression, digestive issues, headaches, back pain, or autoimmune illnesses. Trauma can leave you feeling dissociated, …

Accessible Yoga: Bed Sun Salutations

Even if you have chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, or autoimmune diseases like Lyme or rheumatoid arthritis and have to spend part (or most) of the day in bed, you can still reap the benefits of Sun Salutations.

The energetic flow of Sun Salutation can be experienced lying in bed or lying on a mat. Use your creativity to explore what movements feel good in your body. Working from this position, gravity affects the body in a different way. Notice how raising your arms in front of you creates a similar experience as raising them over your head in a seated position.

See also Chair Sun Salutations

The movements in this flow tend to focus on hip and shoulder opening, which can be a great practice if you’re spending a lot of time in bed. This includes people with chronic illness, fatigue, before or after surgery, and so on.

Begin by checking your posture in bed; this is a variation of Corpse Pose focusing on comfort and stability. You can begin with both knees bent and your feet on the bed.

From Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body by Jivana Heyman © 2019 by J. Heyman. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO.

Awaken to Your Body's Wisdom in Flow

Yoga teacher Jordan Smiley, founder of the In Body Meant Project, shares a playful sequence to help you break patterns and get better acquainted with your body’s wisdom.

Yoga practices are designed to disrupt us. They do so by creating clear changes in how our mental, spiritual, and physical energies flow. These interruptions help us see and transform ourselves, our relationships, and our communities. I live in a transgender body of color, and my identity is one reason why I’m interested in awakening practices and how to use them to create personal and collective change.

As we’ve continued to wake up as a society, it’s become apparent that practicing yoga in the West is an act of privilege. Here, our yoga spaces are powerfully informed by social frameworks such as whiteness, heteronormativity, able-bodiedness, and class. Thanks to the truthfulness of many leaders, there are yoga movements currently working to create more inclusivity. We have a lot of ground to cover, but we are starting to discuss who has access to healing practices and why—and how those who feel represented in yoga spaces actually apply the practices outside of the classroom. If we want equity, we must first disrupt our personal and collective conditioning of inequity. I call this process embodiment, and I believe it starts with how we relate to—or don’t relate to—our bodies.

See also 6 Conversations That Yogis, Teachers, & Activists Are Having About Inclusivity

I invite movers in yoga classes to encounter and express energy in a way that disrupts patterns and changes momentum. Research shows that 47 percent of the time, we’re thinking about something we’re not currently doing. The thoughts that have kept us safe and helped us to repeat pleasurable experiences become pathways of low resistance. When we get stuck in repetitive thought, …