Planning a healthy Summer getaway? Consider one of these yoga festivals that aim to bring like-minded yogis together through music and yoga flow. Each of these festivals offers an experience that will leave you rested, refreshed, and heading back to the "real" world with a positive attitude. Click through to learn about the festivals we'd love to attend before you book your next adventure.
Standing poses might not be as glamorous as the big arm balances, but their benefits are plenty. They can open up your chest and shoulders and help you build long, lean, and strong arms and legs. The following 31 standing poses vary from beginner to advanced, so try out those that only serve you right now. Instead of feeling discouraged about those you can't do yet, look forward to what you'll be able to do a few months down the line!
If you suffer from tight hips, it doesn't just affect your hips and hip flexors. The tightness radiates up into your spine and into the thighs, which can cause soreness and pain when exercising or even when sitting or standing. Runners, cyclists, and desk-bound folks commonly complain of tight hips that cause lower back pain, and stretching this area is one way to alleviate tightness.
Butterfly Pose is one of the most effective stretches you can do, and if you've done this pose a million times, try these variations to get an even deeper stretch. Begin with five breaths in regular Butterfly, and then move on to these:
Hands on knees: Instead of resting your hands on your feet, place your palms on your inner knees. Gently use your arm strength to push your knees down toward the ground to stretch the inner thighs.
Clasp hands on the neck: Elongating the spine can intensify the stretch and change where you feel the opening in your hips. Clasp your hands with bent elbows and place your palms on the back of your neck. Keeping the elbows pressing behind you to prevent the spine from rounding, gently pull your head away from your hips as you fold over your legs.
Interlace hands behind you: Before folding forward, interlace your hands behind your lower back, pressing the heels together in a double fist. As you fold forward, raise the arms overhead to not only add a little downward pressure but to also offer a nice shoulder and chest opener.
Sometimes, all you need is 10 minutes to feel healthier, less stressed, and more fit, all while burning a surprising amount of calories. The following total-body workouts range from five to 10 minutes and will work up a sweat while still keeping your busy schedule in mind.
- Do-it-anywhere workout: You can do this 10-minute, no-equipment workout anywhere where you have space for your mat; set up your laptop and follow along to our workout video here.
- Wake-up workout: This short and sweet five-minute workout will help you energize in the morning to get ready for your day.
- Max HIIT workout: Very high-intensity interval training is the way to go to save time and burn major calories — it's even been proven in studies. This seven-minute HIIT workout is the perfect circuit to raise your heart rate while working your entire body.
- Yoga with weights workout: Follow along to our 10-minute hybrid yoga workout for a creative way to strength train: with a stretching yoga sequence that incorporates dumbbells.
- Yoga flow workout: For a more traditional, relaxing yoga sequence, try this 10-minute yoga flow workout video.
Five more intense, short workouts after the break!
Beginner yoga poses may look easy at first glance, but after holding your body still and feeling your muscles burn, you'll realize these poses are the ticket to rocking your swimsuit. Here are seven beginner yoga poses to strengthen and tone your bikini body.
Inversions already work your core, since the ab and back muscles are what help to hold the lower body steady and balanced. To work your core even more, here's a strength-training yoga move that will tone your entire torso as well as your upper body — you just might give up traditional crunches forever!
- Begin on your hands and knees. Lower your elbows to the floor and interlace your fingers, bringing your lowest pinkie in front of the other pinkie, forming a semicircle with your hands.
- Place the back of your head against your palms, and the top of your head on the mat, so your skull is vertical with the floor. Once your head and forearms feel stable, straighten both legs and walk you feet toward your face as far as you can.
- Shift your hips over your shoulders, and keep your elbows planted firmly on the mat. Lift both legs into the air, coming into Bound Headstand.
- Stay in Headstand for five breaths, relaxing the jaw as well as the shoulders away from the ears. Take a breath in, and as you exhale, slowly lower both feet toward the mat so they are parallel with the floor. Hold here for another five breaths.
- Inhale and then exhale to raise the legs back up into Headstand. Repeat four more times.
Up for a bigger challenge? See an advanced variation after the break!
For 9-to-5ers, taking a yoga class after work can result in eating a late dinner. If you're eating closer to bedtime, then cut back on heavy meat and dairy to help ease digestion, and prep meals in advance to make the process of cooking a quick one. With some advice from a few Ayurveda and nutrition experts, here are five ideas for quick and healthy suppers to make after yoga.
A homemade soup is often as easy as throwing ingredients together into a pot. Cook broth in advance to always have the makings of a soup ready to go, but if you're crunched for time, then use a low-sodium, store-bought version. This recipe for ginger-carrot soup is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese, which aids in digestion, plus it offers hydration after a sweaty yoga session!
Replacing a meat-heavy sandwich with a lighter veggie wrap can be easier on the digestive system to help prevent you from feeling weighed down after yoga. These vegan spiral wraps from Happy Healthy Life offer vibrant color, creamy hummus, and serious veggie power.
Keep reading for two more late-night dinner ideas.
Yoga may be blissful, but it isn't cheap! Depending on where you live, classes can run you an average of $15 to $20 a pop. Dropping $50 or more for yoga classes each week isn't an option for everyone, but we can all benefit from a regular practice. The Internet is bursting with free full-length classes or shortened yoga routines. If you're willing to pay a little, then you'll be able to view a greater variety of videos. Here are some sites to check out.
- Yoga Today: This site offers one free class each week, and if you're itching for more, download other classes for $4 each. You can choose ones geared toward your ability level, or choose by instructors you like. If you're really into it, pay $90 for a yearly membership, which includes unlimited classes. Store them on your computer, and follow along anywhere you happen to be.
- Yoga Journal: For beginners and advanced yogis, these videos, ranging in length from five to 35 minutes, are the high quality you'd expect from Yoga Journal. Some of my faves include the hip-opening sequence Bird by Bird and Heart Wide Open, full of chest openers.
- My Yoga Online: These videos may not be free, but they're dirt cheap. Pay $10 per month or $90 for a year for unlimited access to the entire library of videos for yoga, Pilates, dance, martial arts fusion, meditation, and workplace wellness. The site also offers samples of popular yoga DVDs such as Shiva Rea's Surf Yoga Soul and David Life's Transform Yourself With Jivamukti. Another plus: you can sample a clip before you buy.
Keep reading for more websites that offer inexpensive yoga classes.
Yoga may be an ancient practice, but it feels like we're constantly hearing a new celebrity boasting about its impact. If you still haven't tried out a yoga class, maybe seeing how these beautiful celebrities keep their youthful glow from the practice will be the push you need. From Ellen DeGeneres to Gwyneth Paltrow, these celebrities have all praised the benefits of a solid, consistent yoga practice.
Expert teacher Shiva Rea is a pioneer in the yoga community, so it's no surprise that she's a fixture at the four-day yoga and music Wanderlust Festival, happening at various locations across North America.
While the yoga life is a good one, Shiva recognizes that not everyone has the opportunity to practice yoga for hours every day. When we asked her for the number one pose for 9-to-5ers who sit at a desk, her response was the "all-around asana" Downward Facing Dog, since it's "an inversion, backbend, and forward bend" all rolled into one.
For people who can't drop to the floor and enjoy yoga freely at the office, Shiva offers a desk-approved version of Downward Dog. Keep reading to learn the variation that will help you release tension at work.