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.
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.
Experts say: "Jessamyn Stanley is a rising Instagram star and has gained much popularity for using yoga as a way to promote a positive body image and a positive self-esteem in ourselves. Yoga transformed Jessamyn's life by helping her overcome depression and years of body negativity. She uses Instagram and YouTube to defy the negative statements that many people have about people who are overweight, and you can often find her posing in advanced yoga postures. Viewers love Jessamyn's videos because they're very empowering — and she's creating a new and aspirational image of a 'healthy and athletic body.'" — Serena Tom, Yoga Teacher, Equinox
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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.
Bring your shoulders, hips, and heels into a straight line (imagine that there is a straight line from your head to heels). Keep your shoulders over your wrists. Engage your abdominals. Press your palms into the ground to engage your triceps and biceps. Press your shoulder blades down the back, and lengthen your sternum forward to keep your chest open. Look toward the front of the mat.
On an inhale, reach your front hand as far forward toward as you can, bringing the rib cage forward. On an exhale, hinge forward from the hip joint, reaching your right arm down and your left arm up, creating straight line up and down. Place your right fingertips either on top of your right ankle, on the floor, or on a block just outside the ankle. Extend the arms and open the chest.
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.
Experts say: "Initially, Dana used her Instagram account as a way for her to track her own progress. She quickly became popular on the platform because she frequently posts photos of herself contorting her body in complicated and advanced yoga postures. People love Dana because she promotes self-love and her poses are aspirational. She advocates that yoga is for EVERYBODY, that people of all ages, sizes and body types can have a regular yoga practice. Most of all, she is relatable, transparent, and authentic — which is why so many people connect with her." — Serena Tom, Yoga Teacher, Equinox
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.
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.
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 name of the video really says it all. Texas-based yogi Adriene Mishler directs you through a series of poses that works the lower body and gets you one step closer to the elusive "yoga booty," all while clearly having a blast. She serves up the sequence with a side of goofiness—you’ll feel like you’re taking class with one of your funnier friends. And laughing totally counts as a workout, right? (via Yoga with Adriene)
I just got mine so cannot review on how long it lasts. I love the color. I prefer a thin mat so I feel grounded and can hold my poses but when I do restorative or other yogas that I feel I need a bit more cushion I just place this one on top of another thin one and it is perfect. I am not experiencing that my mat is slick like some other reviews stated. I like sticky mats and I think this one is perfect and I do not slide around at all. I am 5'7 and fit on this mat fine but wish they offered a longer mat as I prefer a little more length.
While the holidays are amazing, they inevitably come with their own unique set of stressors, from family drama to gift shopping. Taking time for yourself is especially important during stressful times, and yoga can help. In this video, Equinox trainer Noemi Henriquez demonstrates an 11-minute flow that was specifically designed to challenge your body and help you unwind during the busy holiday season.
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 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. Shift the weight toward your toes. Straighten your arms and lift your chest away from your thighs to make a flat back.
Specifically designed for pregnant ladies (like Kristoffer herself!), this sequence helps define arms and open the shoulders to counteract any hunching that might occur as a result of carrying extra weight. Similar to a regular flow class, it involves poses like lunges, downward-facing dog, and chaturanga (modified with your bump in mind). Be sure to talk to your doc first before attempting. (via Qinetic Live)
Women's yoga clothing from Old Navy is an excellent investment because of the range of options for integrating them into your everyday wardrobe. Of course, a full zip compression jacket is a great choice for warming up before or cooling down after a session, but is also ideal for running errands or casual weekend wear. Stylish yoga tops from this collection can be worn for drinks after a session thanks to their quick drying material, and their distinctive colors and embellishments will keep their eye catching appeal long term thanks to their wash and wear design. Yoga pants have become a staple of modern style with the sleek and streamlined silhouette they can create. Teaming a pair up with a flowing top showing off a modern cut and a fun, vibrant color creates a no fuss ensemble that works in a variety of venues. Complete the look with a cute pair of flats in a textured material such as leather or suede to give the pairing depth, or choose a pair of low profile athletic sneakers to play up the sporty aesthetic. Build a seamless rotation of active and casual looks with yoga apparel for women from Old Navy.