Feeling a bit achy in the knees, perhaps paired with a twitch in the lower back? Not to worry! We’ve compiled five of our favorite yoga poses below that can help to relax and rejuvenate those areas that tend to be a little touchier than others.
1. Cat/Cow Pose
This is a great pose for strengthening and stretching the back and spine – it helps to relieve tension in a noticeable, yet gentle, way while also helping to calm the mind. This is an ideal pose to do at home after a long day to help work out the kinks (and we mean for both body and mind). And, if you find that your knees feel a bit too much pressure during this pose, try it out using our ¼” Hybrid Eco Mat. This thick and supportive mat will provide a great surface to keep your joints at ease during any pose.
2. Butterfly Pose
This pose works wonderfully for opening up the hips to give them, as well as your inner thighs, a satisfying stretch. However, if you’re finding that this pose is a bit harsh on the knees or you have limited hip flexibility, try out a couple of blankets or foam blocks underneath the outside of your knee/leg area for added support. For a bonus neck stretch, try gently lowering your chin to your chest (but don’t strain or force anything!)
3. Marichi’s Pose
This is an awesome pose for relieving not only shoulder pain, but back and hip pain, too! Sit on a comfortable surface (such as a mat or blanket) and gently cross one leg over the other as shown above. Then, try twisting the opposite side of your body towards your upright knee to bring your arm over your knee for a lovely stretch that’s great for opening up multiple areas at once!
4. Salutation Seal
A supremely relaxing pose, salutation seal helps not only to calm and free stress from the mind, but it’s also a great pose to aid with hand and wrist flexibility – the areas affected by carpal tunnel syndrome. Whether you’re at the office or relaxing at home, if you notice that your hands and/or wrists are feeling a little stiff or numb, try taking a few moments to sit in this meditative pose with your hands together for a calming wrist and hand stretch.
5. Bound Angle Pose
Feeling the need to stretch your knees? Try out Bound Angle pose! Sitting comfortably on a mat, or Zafu for added support, bring your legs straight out in front of you. Then, while holding your feet together, gently bring both feet (soles together) towards yourself while bringing your knees outward. Don’t feel the need to strain by bringing your feet as far in as possible – wherever they feel comfortable is a good place to stop. Then, bring your chin slightly down to stretch it out (again, don’t strain). For added support, try adding blocks or blankets under your outer knees if needed.
Come visit us at Barefoot Yoga today to stock up on any and all props you need to begin, or continue, your healing journey of yoga.
Posted under Eco-Friendly Yoga Products, Health and Fitness, Meditation, Styles of Yoga, Yoga Mats
This post was written by Carolina on July 10, 2015
It’s festival season, and if you’re a community-minded yogi, you have a wealth of options for great yoga festivals to attend! Grab your yoga mat, and let’s take a look at some of the most popular and interesting yoga-oriented events coming up in July:
One of the biggest festival series in the United States, Wanderlust comes to both Colorado and British Columbia in July. Each of their retreats takes place at a beautiful and natural resort, and you can experience yoga, meditation, workshops and a number of other activities geared towards the festivals’ active and mindful participants. You’ll also enjoy performances by notable musical guests – in the past, Wanderlust has hosted artists like Moby, Girl Talk, Michael Franti and Ziggy Marley!
2. Telluride Yoga Festival
Also in Colorado, there’s the Telluride Yoga Festival. Nestled in the majestic Rocky Mountains, you can enjoy yoga practice in a huge variety of styles, along with Ayurvedic workshops, group hikes and Reiki instruction.
3. Yoga Festival Berlin
For European yogis, Berlin’s Yoga Festival is coming soon! There will be dozens of inspiring guests and speakers, focusing on a number of topics and disciplines including Buddhism, meditation, detoxification and Kundalini.
4. cOMmon Grounds Yoga and Music Festival
Yoga and music go hand in hand! The annual cOMmon Grounds Yoga and Music Festival takes place at a picturesque campground outside the Twin Cities in Minnesota. There are daily yoga classes and concerts of course, but the festival also offers evening movies, drumming circles, hiking, biking and more!
5. International Tantra Festival
This festival, dedicated to the ancient practice of Tantra, will be held at a beautiful resort in Estonia, with lakeside camping available to all attendees. This program focuses on both the spiritual and physical aspects of Tantra, inspiring its participants to fully embrace life and love with a broad range of workshops.
6. Northwest Yoga Feast
And back in our neck of the woods, we have the Northwest Yoga Feast in northern Idaho – that’s right, it’s now Yoga Feast, not just Yoga Fest! Featuring Seattle-based chef Karrian Neal, this event will feed both mind and body. The chef’s menus focus on “conscious consumption” and are all vegetarian and vegan. But the yoga doesn’t take a back seat to the food – there are tons of classes, ranging from Acro Yoga to Vinyasa.
And for yoga on the go, check out Barefoot Yoga’s convenient yoga mat bags, which are perfect to tote all your festival necessities this summer!
Posted under Food and Cooking, Health and Fitness, Meditation, Styles of Yoga, Yoga Conferences, Yoga Events, Yoga Mats, Yoga News
This post was written by Lauren on June 29, 2015
On International Yoga Day (June 21st) – while taking a free outdoor yoga class here in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle – which is adjacent to Barefoot Yoga Headquarters – I made a commitment to do yoga for at least a half hour, 6 days a week. Today is day 6.
I’m happy to report I have stuck to my commitment. Not sure I would have if not for announcing this. Life has been extra busy.
I had envisioned waking up early and getting my yoga in, but the snooze button won all week. Here at work, I rolled my yoga mat out in my office. The first day it was completely flat, making it hard not to step on when walking from my desk to anywhere. I got in 5 minutes of yoga. I have since folded it in half, and then I folded it again. I have not returned to it since “day 3″.
So, each evening I have found myself hungry for dinner, home with my freshly-out-of-school-for-the-year almost 8 year-old daughter, and with the prospect of not doing yoga at all. That first night I decided my yoga would happen after eating, but it would be in the form of sitting meditation. There was a time I would have said, “Well, that doesn’t really count.” That was before I tried sitting upright and silent for 30 minutes years ago. In my experience, it ain’t no walk in the park.
The other night, as I drove home from the grocery store at 11 PM, I considered making that day my day of rest for the week. But then it occurred to me I had already inadvertently taken a day of rest on day 2. I went home and did my 30 minutes. This time I played some meditative music (which seems to make it easier – but I wonder if it takes away some of the purity).
The last three nights – between 10 and 11 PM, I have done 30 minutes of sitting meditation. All were different, but had things in common. In each case, I felt more comfortable than I anticipated – with my daughter’s zafu (pictured above) supporting my seat, and my legs bent underneath me (Virasana-hero pose). In each case, I felt proud of myself when the clock started, and I settled in. In all 3 meditations, my mind floated in and out of thoughts, and occasionally stopped thinking altogether, my closed-eyed gaze a deeper black, and just the sound of my breath. In each meditation, my mind wondered impatiently whether I had 15 minutes left, or 3, or 20? In each meditation my skin crawled, and I stirred uncomfortably – wondering if I could keep going. It got intense, and I thought about the folks who do Vipasana meditations for hours and hours. This helped.
Last night I stuck a Barefoot Yoga zabuton (pictured above) underneath my daughter’s zafu. Sometimes to motivate ourselves for a disciplined action, we need help. The zabuton definitely improved my comfort, and will be used as often as possible from here on in. Also, this new meditation throne which resides conveniently under my bed is beckoning me to sit on it. Reminds me of the phrase from Field of Dreams – “build it, and they will come.”
I will have to return that zafu to my daughter, and grab another one for myself. In the meanwhile – meditation definitely counts, although I’m looking forward to yoga movement too in my near future. For now, it’s all about “getting it in.” I believe this flow will grow.
Posted under Health and Fitness, Meditation, Styles of Yoga, Yoga Mats, Yoga Supplies
This post was written by David on June 26, 2015