Take a Breath

A regular breath practice is one of the most beneficial things you’ll bring into your world (if you haven’t already).  Below you’ll find 5 different breath practices that you can incorporate into your daily life.  Over time you’ll find that intentional breathing has an unlimited number of benefits.  There is a breath practice for almost everything!

Belly Breathing, Diaphragmatic Breathing

This is the easiest and arguably most important breath practice you can work with.

How to do it:

In a comfortable seated position, you may place your hands on your belly or in your lap. Lengthen through the spine to sit nice and tall and begin to take your breath in as deep as you can. If your hands are on your belly you’ll feel the belly rise and fall. You could do this anytime during your day. Start with sitting and intentionally breathing for 5 minutes during your day. Eventually, you’ll reach the point where you’ll feel frustrations begin to work their way into your body and you’ll immediately resolve them by engaging the breath. If you’re not a regular belly breather, you’ll eventually find this simple tool to be such a powerful part of your world.


2 to 1 breathing, Long Exhale

Taking a long exhale in your breath is extremely calming. In this breath practice, you’ll inhale for a select amount of time, and then draw out your exhale for double the amount of time.

How to do it:

Inhale for 3, exhale for 6. Start wherever you can, maybe just 2:4 seconds for inhale and exhale. Over time you’ll begin working your way up to a long exhale of 10 seconds. This breath forces you to focus on your count while also calming you through breathing. A word of caution though, never inhale longer than you exhale. It’s a very unpleasant experience!

 

Sitali Breath

Sitali is used whenever you need to cool off! Use it in the summer, during menopause, after a tough workout. In this practice, you’ll roll your tongue like a straw and inhale through your tongue. Close your mouth, exhale through your nose. Repeat this breath, noticing the cooling effect it has when you inhale.

How to do it:

In this practice, you’ll roll your tongue like a straw and inhale through your tongue. Close your mouth, exhale through your nose. Repeat this breath, noticing the cooling effect it has when you inhale.

Box Breathing

I love this breath for focus. It requires you to pay attention to your count. Avoid attempting this practice until AFTER you feel comfortable in diaphragmatic and 2 to 1 breath.

How to do it:

For this breath, you’ll work through a count (start with just 3 or 4) for your inhale, hold your breath, count through the exhale, hold without any breath.  All 4 parts of the breath will follow the same count. Repeat this for as long as you feel comfortable, making sure to stop and return to normal breathing whenever you feel like it’s too much.

Nadi Shodhana | Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate nostril breath can lower the heart rate and reduce anxiety.  Focusing on the position and movement of your hand will help you keep track of your breath without letting the mind wander.

How to do it:

Take your hand in a fist and let just your pinky and thumb out of the fist. Sit nice and tall, take a big inhale. Use your pinky to cover your left nostril, exhale. With your left nostril still covered, inhale. Switch your fingers to cover your right nostril, exhale. With your finger still over your right nostril, inhale. Switch to cover your left nostril and repeat the whole breath sequence.

 

Bhramari | Bumble Bee Breathing

MY FAVORITE! I’m so excited to share this breath practice with you! Have you ever had a time where you need to just zone out? You needed to shut the world out for just a few minutes and go inside for a little me time? If yes, this breath practice, as silly as it might seem, is perfect for you!

How to do it:

  1. Take both hands in front of you. Separate your thumbs, index and middle, pinky and ring fingers.*

  1. Bring your hands up to your face with your eyes closed. Gently place your index and middle fingers over your eyelids, not pressing, just resting them over the eyes.
  2. Your thumbs will reach back and cover the cartilage of your ears. Again not pressing just gently resting them over the cartilage enough that you’re covering the opening of the ear.
  3. Place the pinky and ring finger over the top of the lips.
  4. Inhale through the nose
  5. Take a long exhale, again through the nose, and create a MMMMMMM vibration with your mouth closed as you exhale.

*I’ve seen the hand position practiced in a variety of different ways, this is how I was taught and how I’ve done it since then.

To make it a little simpler, you can also practice this breath with just your index finger covering the cartilage of your ears.

 

You can purchase any of the items from this post below.  These aren’t sponsored items, just things I wear on a daily basis.  The Washington OM is my own personal design, I hope you like it!

Washington OM t-Shirt: My OM State

Blue Athletic Leggings: TeMa Athletics TeMa promotes body positivity and encourages women to love their body for what it can do, not just how it looks.

Perfect Circle Bracelet: Combat Flip Flops This Veteran owned company uses a portion of it’s profits to provide education and work to the women and children who have been impacted by war.  They provide jobs to US gold star family members as well as those whose lives have been dramatically changed after combat.

Week 4 | Balance | Yoga For The Core

Yoga for core strength
Reblogged from Seattle Yoga News

Yoga for core strength

Our practice so far has been building us up for this challenge. We’ve engaged in poses to stabilize our core, built our endurance with level 2 core stabilizing poses, added a little heat with a fire sequence, and now we will finish strong with balance! As with any balance pose we engage in, please proceed with caution. Listen to your body and move slowly through this practice. Feel free to also use a prop or wall for support as we engage.

Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)

Stand tall upright either on or off your mat. Take a few cleansing breaths to center yourself before your practice.
As you inhale, lift your arms above your head and lace all but the index fingers. Draw your forearms just over the ears and relax the shoulders.
As you exhale, step forward with your right leg while lifting the back left leg off the earth. Engage your pelvic muscles as you begin to draw your chest forward. Move forward until your body is parallel to the earth.
Hold Warrior 3 for 5 breaths deep breaths, keeping the body stable and core engaged. Repeat on your other leg.

Yoga for the Core

Crane (Bakasana) to Headstand (Sirsasana)

Note: Feel free to practice this pose in front of a wall for support. As with any transitional balance pose, move slowly and with control. Try practicing both poses individually before attempting the transition.

Come into a deep squat with your feet about hips-width apart
Place your hands flat on the earth about shoulders-width apart with your fingers wide-spread. Ensure your elbows are drawn into your sides (it helps to have your hands turned out slightly on the earth with your index fingers pointing straight ahead).
Place your knees on your forearms and begin to shift your weight onto your arms one leg at a time (try to get your knees high above your arms. The deeper you are able to bed into your hips, the higher you’ll be able to take your knees).
As you move forward, keep your neck lifted and take both toes off the earth into Crane. Hold for 5 breaths.

Yoga for the Core
As we make the transition to our Headstand, move with control and stability. Begin to round the spine and move the crown of the head towards the earth. Land into a tripod handstand with the crown of your head and both hands stabilizing your body.
When you are able to find your balance in tripod headstand, exhale and begin to move your legs up towards the sky, keeping your core engaged and slowly un-rounding your spine.
Hold in your headstand for 5 breaths. *Please Note: These photos do not show a tripod headstand, which is a great option for individuals who are newer to inversions.  To work into a tripod headstand you’ll keep both hands on the mat in front of you with your arms bent.  This will allow for additional support in headstand.*

Yoga for the Core

Headstand/Sirsasana Toe Taps

From your headstand, keep your pelvic muscles engaged as you separate your legs. Hold your headstand with your legs separated.
From your balance keep your core braced as you lower one leg at a time towards the earth to tap (for an additional challenge, see if you can tap your legs to the opposite side of your body).
Tap each toe on the earth 5 times.

Yoga for the Core

Yoga for the Core

Yoga for the Core

Week 3 | Fire | Yoga For The Core

Yoga for core strength
Yoga for Core Strength
Reblogged from Seattle Yoga News

This week is all about building endurance. We’ve set our base last week with core stabilization poses, now we can really work on building onto our poses.

Let’s add some fire to our practice! This week will focus on really strengthening our core through movement. Think of this as a flowing power sequence. Feel free to take a Vinyasa between each of these poses to add some heat to this sequence.

Extended Chair Pose to Airplane Arms
  1. Stand tall with your toes and knees together. Inhale as you raise your arms and as you exhale, bend your knees and sit back into Extended Chair Pose.
  2. Take a breath in your Extended Chair Pose and as you exhale, engage your pelvic muscles as you lower your upper body towards the earth and extend both arms behind you.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for 5 breaths.

Yoga for Core Strength

Yoga for Core Strength

Knee to Nose Core Flow
  1. From Downward Facing Dog, extend your right leg into 3-Legged Dog. Ensure your hips and shoulders are square.
  2. Exhale and engage your pelvic muscles as you roll your body forward. As you begin to shift your shoulders over your wrists into plank, round your back and tuck your chin as bring your knee towards your nose.
  3. Inhale and extend your leg back into 3-Legged Dog.
  4. This time, exhale as you begin to shift your shoulders over your wrists into plank and draw your right knee to the outside of your right elbow, engaging the outer oblique muscles. Keep your hips lifted throughout and core engaged.
  5. Inhale and extend your leg back into 3-Legged Dog.
  6. On this final engagement, exhale as you begin to shift your shoulders over your wrists into plank and draw your right knee across your body towards the left elbow. Keep your hips lifted throughout and core engaged.
  7. Inhale and extend your leg back into 3-Legged Dog.
  8. Repeat steps 1 – 7 with the opposite leg.

Yoga for Core Strength

Yoga for Core Strength

Yoga for Core Strength

High Lunge with a Kick
  1. From your Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot between your hands with the knee directly over the ankle. Tuck your back toes under your foot and straighten your back leg into High Lunge. Ensure your hips and shoulders are square as your raise your arms above your head. Hold your pose.
  2. Exhale and begin to shift your weight onto your right foot as you kick your back left leg forward. Engage your core for balance as you extend your left leg in front of your and draw your hands towards your sides for balance.
  3. Inhale and draw the left leg back into High Lunge.
  4. Repeat steps 1 – 3 for 5 breaths.
  5. Repeat this sequence on your left side.

Yoga for Core Strength

Yoga for Core Strength

 

Our 4 week progressive core sequences

This 4 week sequence is brought to you by Diana Ratana of Diana Ratana Yoga.  Diana took her first yoga class at the age of 16 and from there, she quickly fell in love with the compassion, kindness, energy, and confidence she gained from yoga. What began as a means to get fit turned into a lifelong passion. Today, she instructs at Hot Feet Fitness where she regularly uses the lessons and tools learned from practice in her day to day life and vice versa. Her mission is to teach others how to learn from yoga and put their best foot forward to gain the most from their lives as well.

Week 2 | Endure | Yoga For The Core

Yoga for Core Strength
Reblogged from Seattle Yoga News

 

This week is all about building endurance. We’ve set our base last week with core stabilization poses, now we can really work on building onto our poses.

Plank Crunches
  1. Start in high plank position: Ensure that the shoulders are aligned over the wrists, and spread your fingers as you press down onto your knuckles and palm. Distribute the weight evenly across your hands (grounding of the 4 corners of your hand). Keep your legs straight with your toes tucked under your feet and facing forward. Imagine a long line extending from your head to your heels which keeps your abdomen, legs, and bottom engaged. Draw power in your plank and breath, take a moment to find your base.
  2. As you exhale, engage your pelvic floor to stabilize yourself, then begin to lift your right leg up and back. Draw power in your balance.
  3. As you inhale, extend your left arm up and forward, continue pressing the mat away and engaging your pelvic floor as you balance.
  4. Once you’ve found stability, exhale as you begin to round your spine while keep your core engaged. Bend your elbow and knee to touch beneath your belly. Keep your belly drawn throughout.
  5. On the next inhale, re-extend the limb.
  6. Repeat this sequence for 3 – 5 reps, then engage on the opposing limbs.

Yoga for Core Strength

Plank Crunches: Extended Opposite Arm and Leg

 Yoga for Core Strength

Plank Crunches: Opposite Knee to Elbow

 

Side Plank Crunches
  1. As we build onto our plank sequence, start again in high plank. Keep your pelvic floor engaged and abs flexed. As you begin to exhale, shift your weight onto your right palm and extend your left arm towards the sky. Turn your right foot onto its knifes edge as you stack the left side of the body over the right. Hips and shoulders should be stacked directly on top of one another.
  2. Extend your left forearm over your ear as you inhale. As you exhale, simultaneously bend the elbow and knee to touch. Keep your belly drawn throughout.
  3. On the next inhale, re-extend the limbs.
  4. Repeat this sequence 3 – 5 times, then repeat on the opposite side.Yoga for Core Strength
Side Plank with Extended Arm to Front

Yoga for Core Strength


Side Plank Elbow to Knee

 

Dolphin Plank and Legs In + Out
  1. Lie on your belly with your elbows directly under your wrists and your feet hips width apart.
  2. Brace your core and shift your weight onto your forearms and toes. Lift your hips off of your mat and hold. Image a long line extending from your shoulders to your heels as your breath through your plank.
  3. As you exhale, jump your feet past hips width and hold your plank. Your feet will be wide and possibly land off the mat.
  4. On your next inhale, jump your feet back together onto your mat at hips width.
  5. Repeat for 5 – 10 breaths, keeping your core engaged throughout.
  6. Yoga for Core Strength
Dolphin Plank Pose
Eagle (Garudasana) Crunches
  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and cross your left leg over your right (if you can, attempt to tuck the right foot behind the left calf).
  2. In similar fashion, cross your arms with your left arm on top of your right (if you can, attempt to have the forearms cross and palms meet).
  3. Engage pelvic muscles on your next breath in and on your exhale, bend your knees and elbows to touch. Lift your chest and engage your core as your knees and elbows meet.
  4. On your next breath in, lie back and extend your limbs back in neutral position.
  5. Repeat for 5 – 10 breaths.
Yoga for Core Strength
Supine Garudasana Arms and Legs

Yoga for Core Strength

Bring the Elbows and Knees to Touch in Supine Garudasana

This 4 week sequence is brought to you by Diana Ratana of Diana Ratana Yoga.  Diana took her first yoga class at the age of 16 and from there, she quickly fell in love with the compassion, kindness, energy, and confidence she gained from yoga. What began as a means to get fit turned into a lifelong passion. Today, she instructs at Hot Feet Fitness where she regularly uses the lessons and tools learned from practice in her day to day life and vice versa. Her mission is to teach others how to learn from yoga and put their best foot forward to gain the most from their lives as well.

Week 1 | Stabilize | Yoga For The Core

Yoga for Core Strength

Yoga For The Core

Reblogged from Seattle Yoga News

Our goal for this week is to set the base for our practice. The set of poses for this week aim to stabilize and strengthen our core. Repeat this sequence daily as we build strength for our core flow sequence next week.

Cat/Cow
  1. Start in table top position, take a moment to find yourself on your mat. Ensure that the shoulders are aligned over the wrist, hips over knees.
  2. As you inhale, press the mat away from you as you lift your chest and tailbone towards the sky. Let the belly sink towards the earth. Lift your head to look forward. You are now in Cow Pose.
  3. As you exhale, round the spine, continue pressing the mat away as you tuck the chin towards your chest and tailbone in. Keep the belly drawn in and spine curved towards the sky. You are now in Cat Pose.
  4. Repeat this sequence 3 – 5 times.
Yoga for Core Strength
Cow Pose
Yoga for Core Strength
Cat Pose

Cat and Cow Crunches

  1. As we build onto our cat/cow sequence, start again in table top. Extend your left arm forward in alignment with your shoulder. Extend the opposite right leg back in alignment with your hip. Keep your belly drawn as we hold in our balance for a few breaths.
  2. As you exhale, begin to curl the spin back into cat pose while simultaneously bending the elbow and drawing the knee and elbow to touch beneath your belly. Keep your belly drawn throughout.
  3. On the next inhale, re-extend the limbs to meet back in extended table top.
  4. Repeat steps 1 – 3 for 10 breaths, being sure to sync your breath to your movements.
  5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 on the opposing limbs.

Yoga for Core Strength

Yoga for Core Strength

Boat Pose (Navasana)
  1. Sit on your mat with your legs extended forward in a comfortable seat. Draw your belly in to protect your lower spine as you begin to lift through the top of your sternum and lean back from your seat (feel free to place your hands on your mat for support). Make sure your spine doesn’t round as you lean back. Keep the chest moving forward in Navasana.
  2. Begin to balance on the seat of your two sitting bones and tailbone as you lift your feet from your mat. Keep your belly drawn as you exhale and draw your feel to half-mast (knee level). Option to extend legs into full boat.
  3. Draw your arms to shoulders level as you hold your pose. Hold for 5 – 10 full breaths.

Yoga for Core Strength

Dolphin Plank
  1. Lie on your belly with your elbows directly under your wrists and your feet hips width apart.
  2. Brace your core and shift your weight onto your forearms and toes. Lift your hips off of your mat and hold. Image a long line extending from your shoulders to your heels as your breath through your Dolphin Plank.
  3. Hold the pose for 5 – 10 breaths.
  4. Option to hold plank on your knees as needed.

Yoga for Core Strength

Side Dolphin Planks
  1. From Dolphin Plank, begin to shift to the right side of your body; shifting your weight onto your right forearm and the knife’s edge of your right foot.
  2. Keep your core tight and hips lifted as you extend your left arm towards the sky.
  3. Hold the post for 5 – 10 breaths.

Yoga for Core Strength

Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
  1. Lie on your belly and forearms with your elbows bent and placed directly underneath the shoulders.
  2. As you inhale, lift your upper torso and head away from the floor in a slight upper back backbend.
  3. Use the traction from the arms to lengthen through the belly and lower back. Hold the pose for 5 – 10 breaths.

Yoga for Core Strength

 

This 4 week sequence is brought to you by Diana Ratana of Diana Ratana Yoga.  Diana took her first yoga class at the age of 16 and from there, she quickly fell in love with the compassion, kindness, energy, and confidence she gained from yoga. What began as a means to get fit turned into a lifelong passion. Today, she instructs at Hot Feet Fitness where she regularly uses the lessons and tools learned from practice in her day to day life and vice versa. Her mission is to teach others how to learn from yoga and put their best foot forward to gain the most from their lives as well.

Calming Yoga Sequence

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Yoga Sequence


Seattle Yoga Photographer

Sukhasana- Begin in a comfortable seated position as you work on engaging the breath.  Breathe deep, filling your body with breath while you sit tall.  See if you can stay here for 10-20 long and slow breaths.


Seattle Yoga Photographer

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Cat and Cow (marjaryasana and bitilasana)- Move up to your hands and knees and begin working your way through cat and cow.  On the inhale, you’ll drop your belly towards the floor and look up.  As you exhale, round your back and tuck your chin.


Seattle Yoga Photographer

Thread the needle- Walk your right hand forward to create space, lift your left arm high before reaching your arm through the space you created.  If this feels too intense, move up to your forearm instead of the shoulder.


Seattle Yoga Photographer

Lift your right hand and left foot as you balance.  Stay here for 5-10 breaths before moving on to the next pose.


 

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Drop your left foot to the mat and lift your left arm as you move into a modified side plank position.  Be sure to go all the way back to cat/cow and complete all of the poses until this point on the opposite side as well.


 

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Come down onto your back, take the soles of your feet to the floor and lift your hips off of the mat.  Stay here in bridge for 5-10 breaths or more at a time.  Move up to bridge 3-5 times, maybe adding a block under the hips for the last one, making it restorative.  If you add a block feel free to stay there for a few minutes.


Seattle Yoga Photographer

Seattle Yoga Photographer
Lift your right leg and either grab the toe for a nice hamstring stretch or place the right ankle over your left knee for supine pigeon pose.  Rest your head and shoulders back to the floor and stay here for as long as it feels comfortable.  Be sure to do the other side as well before you finish your sequence.


Seattle Yoga Photographer

For the final resting pose of this sequence, put your legs up on the wall and relax!  Stay here for at least 5 minutes.  To make it feel even more amazing, place a bolster or sturdy pillow under your hips.


Pictured here: This yoga instructor is one of my favorite teachers and friends!  She also happens to be my doctor.  More on how she healed me later, if you’re interested in working with a naturopath who combines healthy natural medicine with yoga then you must check out PranaVis Medicine.  Alison is magnificent at helping her patients recover from chronic health conditions!

Animal Yoga Poses For Kids

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Seattle Yoga Photographer

“Playing Yoga” has become an essential activity in our house. The benefits of introducing your little one to yoga are endless, but here are a few of the ways we’ve seen the most benefit from practicing with little ones.

 

  1. Get them moving! My 4 year old gets cabin fever easily! We get the wiggles out quickly with asana
  2. Get them settled! You can also opt for more calming poses to help center and quiet your little yogi.
  3. Help regulate emotions. My daughter learned about the power of a deep breath at a really young age. I couldn’t believe how early on a child can feel the benefit of taking a cleansing breath to calm and balance tricky emotions. She even tells me on a regular basis, “Hey mama, you should really try to take a deep bweaf!”
  4. It gives you a way to connect! When you can let your little one in on your yoga practice, everyone wins!
  5. Help them feel strong! Any little yogi who can conquer airplane (Warrior III) pose is sure to feel strong and centered throughout their day! It takes a lot of focus to stay up on one leg like that!

 

Here are a few fun poses you can do with your little yogi to mimic animals they love!


Seattle Yoga Photographer

Lions Breath

While seated take a deep breath in and on the exhale stick your tongue out making a slight roaring sound.

Make it fun!

Get really wild with your lions breath!  See how loud you can get and how far you can stick your tongue out!  This is especially great if your little yogi really needs to get some energy out!

 


Seattle Yoga Photographer

Butterfly

Kids LOVE butterflies, and more importantly they love to imitate butterflies.  Have your child sit down with the soles of the feet together.  You can take your feet farther away from your body if it feels uncomfortable on the knees and hips.

Make it fun!

See if they can gently flap the wings of the butterfly. While they’re flapping ask them what color butterfly they are and where they would fly to if they were a real butterfly!


Seattle Yoga Photographer

Frog Pose

Squat down to the floor and then place your hands down on the floor between the feet.

Make it fun!

Give your little yogi a chance to hop up and down just like a frog.


Seattle Yoga Photographer

Starfish pose

Have your little one stand with their hands either at their sides or clasped together at their heart center. Then have them jump their feet apart as they reach their arms out wide like a starfish.

Make it fun!

See if they can jump around in a big circle instead of in one place.  Each time they jump in or out, move a little farther in the big circle until you get all the back to the front!

 

That’s all for today, but stay tuned for more kids yoga fun in the next few weeks!

 

 

 

Yoga for Your Dosha

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Yoga For Your Dosha

Ayurveda is a closely related science to yoga and often goes hand in hand.  While Ayurveda is highly complex, here’s a very simplified explanation.  Each person has a unique balance in their mind and body, or bodily constitution.  All bodies are made up of Vata, Pitta and Kapha to some degree.  What is different between each person is how much of each Dosha your constitution is made up of to be in balance.  To maintain balance you must be able to understand how the doshas are present in your body and work to remove obstacles that cause imbalance.  The first step to understanding how the 3 doshas interact within your own body is to take a Dosha test.  This will allow you to understand when a dosha is out of balance and give you the ability to take steps to correct it.

Seattle is home to a yoga studio that is committed to the practice of using Ayurveda to help students heal their bodies and find balance.  Please visit Eka Yoga Seattle for upcoming workshops and classes that are all based around your Dosha.

Now that you know what your dosha is, you can use the following short sequences in your home practice to help find balance.

Vata | Pitta | Kapha


Vata

The Vata dosha consists of the elements of air and space and is know as the mover of the doshas. Vata literally translates to “what blows”. The qualities of vata are: light, cold, rough, dry, moving, irregular, subtle, quick, imaginative, spontaneous, resilient, excited, sensitive, happy, and talkative. Those experiencing a vata imbalance are psychologically prone to: distractions, fear alienation, anxiety, delusions, worry, and hallucinations. Physically they are prone to: bloating and aches and pain in the hips, back, and joints. A balanced Vata feels: Happy, enthusiastic, flexible, creative, loving, motivated, and open

Sukhasana (Seated Pose)

Sit comfortably cross legged. If you’re finding that your spine isn’t finding enough length in the posture, sit on a rolled blanket, bolster or block. If you’re finding that your hip flexors are tight, place blocks underneath your knees for support.

Often those experiencing Vata imbalances may feel unfocused in the mind and fidgety in the body. Sukhasana is great for pacifying these imbalances because it encourages grounding.

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Baddha konasana (Butterfly Pose)

Sitting, slide your heels in toward your pelvis and draw the soles of your feet to touch so that your knees splay open and your legs make a diamond shaped. If you’re finding that your spine isn’t finding enough length in the posture, sit on a rolled blanket, bolster or block. If you’re finding that your hip flexors are tight, place blocks underneath your knees for support. If just arriving to the posture is your edge, stay as you are. If you feel comfortable, wrap your hands around the edges of your feet and fold from the creases of your hips, drawing your nose to your toes. Placing a block underneath your head is a great way to make the posture restorative.

A common Vata imbalance is pain in the back and hips, Baddha Konasana is a great way to make bring length and space into both the back and inner hip flexors.

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Twist)

Sitting with your legs stretched out straight in front of you, keeping the feet together and the spine erect. Bend the left leg and place the heel of the left foot beside the right hip (optionally, you can keep the left leg straight). Take the right leg over the left knee. Place the left hand on the right knee and the right hand behind you. Twist the waist, shoulders and neck in this sequence to the right and look over the right shoulder. Keep the spine erect. To add additional length into the spine, sit on a rolled blanket, bolster or block.

When there is too much Vata in the body it means their is an abundance of air and space. If it’s not moving, a common place for it to pool is in the belly. This creates bloating or issues with digestion. When this happens Ardha Matsyendrasana or any twist is a wonderful way to release that excess air.

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Standing, shift your weight into one leg and begin to lift the opposite foot off of the floor. You can bring the sole of that foot to either the space right above the ankle, below the knee, or above the knee (never on the knee joint). To open through the hips, draw the lifted leg’s knee away from the midline of your body. Stand tall to ensure you aren’t sinking into the grounded leg’s hip joint. You can bring your hands into prayer at your heart center or extend them above your head. If you choose to extend your arms, keep your shoulders soft, allowing them to drop away from your ears. Repeat on the opposite side.

Vrksasana is a balancing pose and balancing postures are great for pacifying Vata because they force both the body and mind to find stillness and focus.

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon)

Standing, take a large step back with your left foot so that you find yourself in a low lunge with your hands framing your right foot. Draw your left hand to your hip and shift all of your weight into your right leg, allowing your left leg to lift slightly. Engaging your core, allow your right hand to move in front of your right foot, peeling the left side of your body open – left shoulder and hip draw back and your toes should flex towards your nose. Press away from the floor with your rooted foot to ensure you aren’t sinking into the the right hip joint.  If the floor isn’t accessible for you to place your right hand hand on, bring a block underneath it. Your left hand can stay on your hip or you can extend that arm up toward the ceiling, allowing your left shoulder to stack over your right. Repeat on the opposite side.

Ardha Chandrasana is both a balancing posture and a hip opener. Balancing forces both the body and mind to find stillness and focus and the hip opener has the ability to help release any excess air that’s being held in the hip joints.

Seattle Yoga Photographer


Pitta

The Pitta Dosha consists of the elements of fire and water and is known as the metabolizer of the doshas. Pitta literally translates to ‘what cooks”. The qualities of Pitta are: hot, sharp, light, moist, slightly oily, intellectual, confident, impatient, joyous, jealous, outspoken, combative, ambitious, and brave. Those experiencing a Pitta imbalance are psychologically prone to being antisocial and overly critical, self-centered, aggressive, impatient, competitive, and easily agitated. Physically they are prone to: rashes, inflammation, boils, skin cancer, heartburn, ulcers, anemia, jaundice, and hair loss. A balanced Pitta feels: Passionate, inspired, creative, focused, perceptive, confident, intelligent

Padmasana (Half Lotus)

Bring yourself to a comfortable cross legged seat. If your hips are willing and able, you can draw one foot to the crease of the opposite hip for half lotus. From your seated posture, begin to fold over your legs onto a prop(bolster or block), keeping your hips grounded and your shoulders away from your ears. Finding a position that you can comfortably hold for 2-5 minutes. If you took half lotus, be sure to repeat with the opposite foot drawn to the crease of the opposite hip.

Because Pitta is associated with the element of fire, Pitta pacifying postures should be cooling and nurturing. Whenever we take a folded posture, such as the the one above, it’s like we’re smothering any flames that may have gotten to big in the pelvic region.
Seattle Yoga Photographer

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold)

Start in a comfortable seat with your legs stretched out in front of you. To add some additional length to the spine, sit on a folded blanket, bolster, or block. Place a bolster, block or both on top of your legs and carefully fold forward drawing your forehead to your prop(s).

The Pitta dosha is all about doing and doing it the best and the fastest. We need that Pitta energy to stay productive in life, but it becomes a problem when don’t know how to put out the flame and go to bed. In this posture, drawing your forehead or your third eye to your prop stimulates the pineal gland. The pineal gland produces the hormone Melatonin, which helps regulate sleep.

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Supta Jaṭhara Parivartānāsana (Supine Twist)

Laying on your back, draw both of your knees into your chest and reach your arms out to a “T” shape. Carefully, allow your stacked knees to fall to one direction. If drawing your legs all the way down to the floor is not accessible, bring a prop (blanket, bolster, block) underneath them. If your neck feels healthy, gently turn your head to bring your gaze over the opposite shoulder. Hold for 2-5 minutes. Repeat on opposite side.

Postures that aim at the small intestine, and keep the energy in the navel balanced and flowing, such as this one, balance or neutralize Pitta.

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall)

Seated, draw the edge of one hip to a wall and then carefully rotate so the front of your body faces the wall and your legs are able to slide up it. As your legs move up, allow your upper body to lie down onto your mat, reaching the arms away from the body or drawing one hand to your heart and one hand to your belly. Props (blankets, bolsters, blocks) can be added underneath the hips, heart, or head for added support and comfort.

When we allow our bodies the opportunity to submit or relax, we are practicing the opposite of activity, which is receptivity – Exactly what that Pitta fire needs to soothe it.

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Supta Baddha Konasana (Supine Butterfly Pose)

Lying down, draw the soles of your feet to touch and your knees to open toward the edges of your mat. Your hands and arms can either roll away from the center of your body or you can draw one hand to your heart and one hand to your belly. If the hip flexors are tight, allow a block to come underneath each knee for support. If the spine needs additional support, allow a bolster to come directly underneath your spine. The bolster should start at the base of your spine. If your head is not supported by the bolster, place a block underneath your head.

Supta Baddha Konasana is particularly beneficial for the pelvic organs (ovaries, kidneys, bladder, prostate gland) in addition to stretching the groin and inner thighs. It also helps relieve symptoms of menstruation and menopause for women. During these times in women’s lives, Pitta tends to run high. During menstruation, the body is working incredibly hard to purify and a shift in hormones can cause feelings of anger and irritability or increased Pitta. During menopause, the decrease in estrogen causes our bodies to detect an increase in body temperature, causing hot flashes, causing an increase in Pitta.

Seattle Yoga Photographer


Kapha

The Kapha Dosha is the elements of earth and water and is known as the glue of the doshas. The dominant location of Kapha in our body is the upper chest and respiratory system. Kapha literally translates to “what sticks”. The qualities of Kapha are: heavy, cold, oily, sweet, steady, slow, soft, sticky, dull, smooth, calm, enduring, sympathetic, relaxed, nurturing, stable, courageous, forgiving, and loving. Those experiencing a Kapha imbalance are psychologically prone to: procrastination, lethargy, excessive sleep, and problems letting go. Physically they are prone to: poor circulation, mucus, heart disease, arthritis, swollen glands, bone spurs, and weight gain (usually in the stomach and thighs). A balanced Kapha feels:  Nurturing, loyal, compassionate, grounded, patient, content.

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

Entering into triangle pose, begin in warrior two, then straighten through your front leg and begin to reach forward through your arms as far forward as accessible. With your arms in one straight line, begin to fold into your front side. Avoid locking out your front, standing leg by gently softening your knee. Try to find length through both side bodies by rotating your chest to open to the side wall. Maintain length through your spine by drawing your hips to stack, tailbone to tuck under and lengthen through your neck.

Stimulating the side waist is a good way to prevent mandagni and increase digestion.  The side-to-side motion also offers spaciousness to the lungs, where excess mucus can build due to excess kapha. Allowing your bottom hand to remain lifted, brings you more into your core, where you will build heat and begin to move some of the stagnation of kapha.
Seattle Yoga Photographer

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

From warrior two, begin by straightening your front leg. Internally rotate your back thigh to bring your hips closer to squaring to the front of the room. Squaring through the hips and the shoulders, begin to lower your chest parallel to the earth. With a flat back and square hips you can begin to revolve through your thoracic spine, rolling your shoulder blades back to open your chest and allow your bottom hand to rest on the earth or a block.

Standing twists are one of the quickest ways to build heat in the body. Building heat is beneficial for initiating the movement and breakup of kapha in the body. This pose should be done mindfully and not held for too long. The compression in the abdomen is effective at simulating agni (digestive fire) while the opening through the chest allows kapha to find space for movement.

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Full Wheel Pose)

To enter into full wheel pose, begin by laying on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the ground, hip distance apart. Bring your hands up by your ears, fingers facing back towards your toes. Begin to lift up by pressing your feet down, shins forward, hips up and chest back. If you have tight shoulders, blocks may be helpful under your hands.

Backbends stimulate circulation and the movement of energy in the chest and head. This movement creates a more balanced energy and a clearer, more active mind. Compression of the spine increases heat and opens the chest and lungs where Kapha is dominant. Weight bearing, dynamic backbends are heating (kindling agni) which creates movement, reducing kapha.

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)

From tadasana, standing pose, inhale to reach your hands up and with a flat back, draw your navel in towards your spine and fold your chest towards your thighs. Rocking your weight forward to shift your hips above your ankles, continue to lift your sitting bones towards the ceiling, draw your inner thighs behind you and release your neck to draw the crown of your head down towards the earth.

In a more active standing forward fold, the effort involved in bringing the head closer to the ground can have a heating effect to the body due to added pressure. Lifting the hips over the head can offer a sensation of lightness which may be appealing to a typically heavier set kapha type. Forward folds in general, reduce fatigue, improve digestion and this standing forward fold will increase circulation into the legs, torso and head.

Seattle Yoga Photographer

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)

Begin by laying on your back with your feet stacked above your hips, finding yourself in legs up the wall pose (viparita karani). With your arms by your side, you can begin to press them into the earth to lift your hips into the air. Rolling your shoulder blades under your back, place your hands near your sacrum, elbows down, fingers up. From here try to stack your feet in line with your hips and your hips in line with your shoulders, sending all energy in an upward direction. For more access, begin by folding a blanket two or three times and lying it beneath your back, in line with your shoulders, before entering into the pose.

Inversions bring a sense of lightness in the chest and upper respiratory system, the seat of Kapha. They also bring stimulation to the central nervous system from the flow of prana to the brain. When you reverse the blood flow in the body, accumulated fluid in the ankles and legs (which can be caused by too much kapha) begin to disperse. Kapha dominant individuals also benefit from the new perspective the inversions offer on the world, getting them out of their same old routines.

Seattle Yoga Photographer