Challenging your muscle memory keeps your mind sharp! In this sequence, Health's contributing yoga editor Kristin McGee puts a new twist on the standard yoga flow, shaking up classic sequences so they feel brand-new. McGee says this routine is perfect for yogis of all skill levels. As a bonus, studies show that making your brain’s processing center work harder may help with long-term memory retention.
Expert recommendation: Sri Dharma's Mittra's series of classes, like this one, which cover Asana, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama and meditation. "Sri Dharma worked for close to a year exploring and sequencing the Asana classes in particular. They represent his most current thinking on Asana practice as of now." —Adam Frei, Program Manager of Dharma Yoga New York Center
Dear road warriors and treadmill champs: You’re tight. (And by that, we mean your lower-body muscles are tight!) This routine boosts flexibility in the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. The key? Spending some quality time in the poses and—as instructor Erin Motz notes—remembering to breathe deeply throughout so you don’t restrict blood flow to these areas. (via DoYouYoga.com)
About the channel: Dana Falsetti, the women behind Yoga Trees, came to yoga after years of struggling to love her body — and her practice helped her finally find inner peace. Her channel is mostly her quick Instagram tutorials, which are super helpful. You can also find her longer classes at Cody (see below). Falsetti has been featured in many online and print publications, including Shape, Mind Body Green, and more.
These days, finding the right yoga mat can send you into choice paralysis. From sticky mats that come in all different textures and levels of thickness to hot yoga towel-mats, traditional woven blanket-mats, and more, there’s a yoga mat for almost every type of yoga. Which means it can be especially tough to find the best yoga mat for your practice.
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When searching for free yoga resources, the video-sharing behemoth YouTube is a good place to start. But type “yoga” into YouTube’s search bar, and you get back more than eight million results. Many of these are one-off videos rather than easy-to-follow programs for beginners. There are, however, two free yoga programs that are worth checking out: Yoga for Dummies and Dr. Melissa West’s channel.
“I don’t have time” can never be an excuse for skipping a workout. This fast-paced routine is proof that you can pack a lot of core shaping into just six minutes. But don’t let the length of the workout fool you; this routine’s no joke. Yogi star Kathryn Budig leads you through a tough mix of pulsing leg lifts (tiny movements with major impact), bicycle kicks, and more. (via Gaiam)
One of the stellar things about yoga is that you can do it anytime, anywhere—and that absolutely includes on the beach during vacay. But whether you’re actually in the middle of an exotic getaway or just in your own living room, you’ll flow from pose to pose in this total-body, 20-minute routine led by Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up. Bonus? The rippling water and beautiful sky in the background almost make you feel like you’re there. (via Tone It Up)
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This video’s racked up more than a million views for one reason: It rocks. California-based yogi Tim Senesi kills it with this total-body vinyasa flow, which is geared for beginner to intermediate yogis (though it does include some more advanced arm-balance poses, like twisted crow). His super-specific direction makes it easy to follow and so enjoyable. (via Fightmaster Yoga)
Start in warrior 2 pose: left foot is back and left leg is straight. Right knee is bent at a 90-degree angle directly over the ankle, and right toes are pointing forward. Chest and hips are squared to the left side. Left arm is reaching back and right arm is reaching forward, so that they are parallel to the mat in a “T” position with palms facing down. Engage your abs.
A good yoga mat should walk the line between being squishy enough to take some of the pressure off your joints, while being dense enough to offer a stable foundation. Too-soft mats may be comfortable, but they’re difficult to hold a pose on — and while you can stand on a too-firm mat forever, you may end up hurting your joints. Beginners, pregnant yogis, and people with sensitive joints should consider thicker mats, which offer more support. Yogis who commute or travel a lot may prefer thinner mats that are easier to roll up and carry.
Experts say: "When you watch Tim's videos, his laid-back 'California' vibe truly shines through. People love him because his yoga videos are geared for both beginner and intermediate practitioners, and he'll also throw an advance yoga posture into the mix, which makes his videos more dynamic than other typical online classes. He always gives very specific instructions, too. When you watch Tim, you feel like you are getting more than just an online yoga class — you feel like you are getting to know the 'real Tim.'" — Serena Tom, Yoga Teacher, Equinox
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On an inhale, raise your arms straight up above your head and bring your palms together. Bend your knees slightly, and on the exhale, hinge at your hips to fold forward, lengthening your spine the whole way down as you reach your hands for the floor. Bring either your fingertips or palms to the floor, fingers in line with your toes. Slowly straighten your legs as much as you can without straining them.
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