Lift your right knee up to about hip height and use your right hand to grab your right ankle and place the sole of your foot against your left inner thigh. (If this is too difficult, place your foot below your knee, but never place it directly on your knee. Bring the palms of your hands together in a prayer position and place them in the center of your chest. Look at a non-moving spot on the ground in front of you to help keep your balance. If you feel steady, extend your arms overhead on an inhale.
Hands are shoulder-width distance apart and feet are hip-width distance. Look back at your toes and keep your ears in line with your arms. Press your palms into the mat and create a straight line from your wrists, to your shoulders, to your hips. Engage your core muscles. Press your heels down toward the mat (even if they don’t touch the floor) and attempt to straighten the legs without locking them.
While in the pose, find balance by maintaining mountain pose alignment. Squeeze your glutes and engage your left quad muscle. Engage your abs and lengthen your spine. Keep your shoulders pressed down away from the ears. To help with balance, press your right foot into the left inner thigh with the same effort as the inner thigh presses into the foot.
The way the capitalist economy works makes it very hard for most of us to get the basics we need to stay alive, including housing and healthcare. We are encouraged to become competitive money making bots, and we are denied the time to attend to the things that really matter, like caring for community members, mending the environment or enjoying being alive on this planet. This contradiction makes some of us anxious and/or depressed, and/or leads to addiction and untransformative social unrest.
We were initially pretty skeptical about the special alignment markings, thinking they might just be a gimmick — but our testers were taken with how helpful the markings were in practice. A centerline helps you maintain symmetry, while 45-degree lines and other parallel markings help you nail perfect alignment. (Lines are spaced at varied distances for taller and shorter people). Liforme explains how the markings should be used more thoroughly on its website, but we found this to be pretty intuitive for experienced testers, even if they didn’t read the instructions.
The mat’s open-cell design provides an excellent textured feel, but it also absorbs moisture, meaning you’ll have to dedicate more time to keeping it clean. It’s perfect for home practice, but you may not want to lug it around because it is pretty darn heavy. The natural rubber also comes with a few trade-offs. The Jade Fusion Yoga Mat has a distinct rubber smell that takes time to go away, it loses its stickiness if left in the direct sun, it won’t last as long as some synthetic mats, and it’s near the top of the range in terms of price.
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.
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