Feel the Ultimate Butt and Thigh Burn With This Intense Yoga Sequence

Feel the Ultimate Butt and Thigh Burn With This Intense Yoga Sequence

Strong| scultped thighs are always in season| whether you’re sporting a short skirt or tight leggings| but they’re also a must if you want more power and control when hitting the pavement or the snowy slopes. This yoga sequence will have your thighs calling “uncle”” because it’s all thighs the entire time. Get ready to feel the burn now and two days from now.

| Fierce

  • Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees and lower your hips as you raise your arms overhead.
  • Focus on sitting back into your heels. Tuck your tailbone in and engage your abs| keeping your spine straight. Relax the shoulders as you gaze up toward the ceiling. Hold for five breaths.

| Side Fierce

  • From Fierce pose| exhale to cross your left elbow over to your outer right knee. Press your palms together and actively push your bottom elbow against your thigh to lift and rotate your chest up| increasing the twist. Pull your left hip back slightly| making sure both knees are parallel.
  • Stay for five breaths| then inhale as you press into your feet and lift your torso| rising back into Fierce pose. If you can| refrain from straightening your legs to keep your quads and glutes engaged.
  • Exhale to cross your right elbow over your left outer knee| holding for another five breaths on this side.

| Extended Side Fierce

  • From Side Fierce on the second side| inhale and rise back up into Fierce| and as you exhale| cross your left elbow over your right thigh| planting your left palm on the floor beside your right foot. If you can’t reach all the way| just allow your fingers to hover in the air| as close to the floor as possible.
  • Extend your right arm straight up toward the ceiling| stacking your shoulders| and gaze at your lifted palm. Make sure both knees are parallel. Hold for five deep breaths.
  • Press into your feet| inhale to rise back up to Fierce| and exhale to repeat this pose on the left side| holding for another five breaths.

| 5-Pointed Star

  • From Extended Side Fierce on the second side| lift the torso up and step the feet about three feet apart with the feet parallel.
  • Extend the arms out in T position| actively drawing the abs in toward the spine for five breaths.

| Goddess

  • From 5-Pointed Star| turn your heels in| bend your knees| and squat down so your quads are parallel with the floor. Tuck your tailbone in| keeping your shoulders stacked over your hips.
  • Raise your arms in the air| bending your elbows so they are at 90-degree angles| opening your palms away from you.
  • Keeping weight back in your heels| hold this pose for five breaths.

| Twisting Goddess

  • From Goddess| rest your right elbow on your right thigh and raise your left arm over your ear.
  • Hold here for five deep breaths| gazing over your left shoulder.
  • Rise up and switch sides| resting your left elbow on your left thigh| holding for another five breaths.

| Twisting Bound Goddess

  • From Twisting Goddess on the left side| inhale to rise back up to Goddess. Exhale to rest your right elbow on your right thigh. Inhale| and then exhale to reach your left arm around your lower back| clasping your fingers around your right inner thigh if you can.
  • Hold here for five deep breaths| gazing over your left shoulder.
  • Then rise up and switch sides| resting your left elbow on your left thigh| and wrapping your right arm around your lower back for another five breaths.

| Wide-Legged Forward Bend C

  • From Twisting Bound Goddess on the second side| rise back up to Goddess.
  • Straighten the arms and legs coming back into 5-Pointed Star.
  • Inhale to bring the arms behind you clasping your fingertips together in a double fist. If this is too difficult| hold opposite elbows instead.
  • As you exhale| turn the heels out wide and fold forward with straight legs.
  • Enjoy this stretch for five breaths| allowing gravity to pull your head toward the floor.

| Wide-Legged Forward Bend D

  • From Wide-Legged Forward Bend C| press into the feet and inhale to rise up to stand.
  • Exhale to release the arms out wide in T position. Take a breath in| and then exhale to hinge at the hips| reaching for your big toes| holding onto them with your first two fingers and thumb. Keep your elbows above your wrists and draw your shoulder blades back and down toward your hips. If you can’t reach your toes| just place your hands somewhere on your legs.
  • Try to keep your shoulders relaxed and use your abs to pull your torso closer to your thighs.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths.

| Wide-Legged Split

  • From the Wide-Legged Forward Bend D| place your hands on the floor below your shoulders.
  • Walk your feet away from each other as far as you can| keeping the soles of your feet planted firmly on the mat.
  • Stay like this for five breaths.

| Wide-Legged Split Advanced

  • From Wide-Legged Split| deepen the stretch by lowering onto your forearms.
  • Or if you’re really flexible| lower onto your shoulders and rest one cheek on the floor. Hold like this for five complete breaths.

| Standing Forward Bend

  • Slowly walk your feet toward each other| straighten the legs and hang the torso over the thighs in an easy forward bend.t
  • After five breaths| gradually lift the torso and come to stand.

How to Get Rid of Neck Pain Instantly

How to Get Rid of Neck Pain Instantly

A long day of sitting or a rough night of sleep can lead to neck pain. When things feel a little tense| tight| or off-kilter| these yoga poses can help alleviate that discomfort.

| Child’s Pose

  • Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width distance apart| and your big toes touching behind you.
  • Take a deep breath in| and as you exhale| lie your torso over your thighs. Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
  • Rest your arms beside your legs| palms facing up| or try extending your arms out in front of you. Stay here for five breaths.

| Cow to Cat Stretch

  • Begin with your hands and knees on the floor. Make sure your knees are under your hips and your wrists are under your shoulders. Begin in a neutral spine position| with your back flat and your abs engaged.
  • On your inhale| arch your back| let your belly relax| and go loose. Lift your head and tailbone up toward the sky u2014 without putting any unnecessary pressure on your neck. This is the “cow”” portion of the pose.
  • On the exhale| round your spine up toward the ceiling| and imagine you’re pulling your belly button up toward your spine| really engaging your abs. Tuck your chin in toward your chest| and let your neck release. This is your cat-like shape.
  • Continue flowing back and forth from Cat Pose to Cow Pose| and connect your breath to each movement u2014 inhale for Cow Pose| and exhale on Cat Pose.
  • Repeat for at least 10 rounds| or until your spine is warmed up.

| Wide-Legged Forward Bend C

  • Stand with your feet three to four feet apart| turning heels out slightly wider than toes.
  • Bring your arms behind your back| clasping your fingers and pressing the heels of your palms together in a fist.
  • Fold forward| hinging at your hips| drawing the crown of your head and your hands toward the floor. Relax your toes| and try to shift the weight of your hips forward so they’re in line with your feet.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths. Then press into your feet| engage your quads| and inhale as you stand up.

What Not to Wear to Yoga Class

What Not to Wear to Yoga Class

Yoga is definitely not black and white| but there are some dos and don’ts when it comes to your attire. Comfort and fit are key so you can focus on doing the poses instead of futzing with your outfit. Check out these suggestions so you know what not to wear for yoga.

| Short Spandex and Loose Shorts

Clothing no-no: supershort shorts or loose shorts

Issues: Shorts are perfect for sweaty runs| but not for yoga class. You want to feel confident that you’re completely covered when doing poses where you’re bending forward or sticking your leg in the air| and the last thing you want to think about is whether or not someone can see your private business. Short shorts and loose shorts also tend to bunch up when you move| and you can do without the distraction of having to pull them down every five minutes.

Do wear: Go for fitted cropped or full-length leggings. Not only is your booty fully covered| but the material hugging your legs will also absorb sweat| giving you traction to do arm balancing poses like this.

| Cotton Undies

Clothing no-no: Cotton underwear

Issues: Although this fabric does breathe well| it also gets heavy when wet and doesn’t dry quickly.

Do wear: To avoid staying wet down there for an entire 90-minute class| splurge on some moisture-wicking briefs like these from Patagonia| or go undies-free!

| Thin or Holey Pants

Clothing no-no: Old| thin| holey| or light-colored pants

Issues: There’s nothing like that comfy old pair of leggings you’ve been wearing since high school| but if you’re well out of college by now| those pants have probably seen better days. Check your pants for holes in the crotch or thinning material. Also avoid light-colored bottoms as these tend to be see-through no matter how thick the fabric is. When you’re in revealing poses like those pictured to the left| you don’t want to wonder who can see your ass-ana.

Do wear: Slip on black| navy blue| chocolate| or another dark-colored pair of capris or leggings made out of durable material. Splurge on a pair made by a well-known brand.

| Shirts That Don’t Fit

Clothing no-no: T-shirts| loose tanks| and short tops

Issues: T-shirts are a definite no-no as they’ll just end up falling over your head every time you come into Down Dog. But loose tanks might be distracting as well| especially if you’re not into letting your belly show.

Do wear: Go for long| fitted tanks because they stay put and keep you covered no matter whether you twist| bend backward| or flip upside down. Test your shirt in the dressing room before buying it (yes| do a few yoga poses!) to make sure it offers you the proper fit.

| Revealing Tops

Clothing no-no: Low-cut| revealing| unsupported| and light-colored tops

Issues: I have had to tell a woman across from me in a yoga class that her boob fell out of her shirt. Some tops seem like they fit while you’re walking around| but they just don’t support your ladies once you start moving| especially when doing Down Dog or Headstands. White or light-colored tops are also risky| especially if you know you get pretty sweaty u2014 you signed up for a yoga class| not a wet t-shirt contest.

Do wear: To avoid a nip slip| sport a top that supports your body type. If you’re big-busted| a V-neck or lightweight sports bra may not be your best option. Some shirts contain attached shelf-bras| but if they offer minimal support for your girls| you might want to wear a sports bra underneath. Bright colors get the thumbs-up| just make sure they’re not see-through.

This Body-Positive Yogi Will Banish Your Perceptions About the Typical ‘Yoga Body’

This Body-Positive Yogi Will Banish Your Perceptions About the Typical “Yoga Body””

You’ve probably heard the term “”yoga body”” carelessly thrown around within the fitness community. People sometimes use those words to refer to the corded| willowy physiques frequently spotted around vinyasa studios and Lululemon stores . . . but as any yogi knows| there is no one “”yoga body.”” Unsurprisingly| the unfortunate habit of referring to one specific body type as a “”yoga body”” leaves out those who don’t fit the mold u2014 it sometimes even discourages people from beginning their own practice. But thanks to body-positive yogi Valerie| better known as Big Gal Yoga| more people are realizing that anybody can practice yoga (and look good doing it).

“”Through my own yoga practice| I’ve come to love my body| and accept it as it is now|”” says Valerie of her increasingly popular yoga practice| which she documents on Instagram and through her website. “”My practice has also given me the strength to get over the mental hurdle of my own self-doubt when it comes to enjoying the fun and beautiful things in life.”” The plus-size yogi| who is active within the San Francisco Bay Area yoga community and strives to become a yoga teacher herself| has amassed over 65|000 social media followers who adore her inspiring message. Her transparency about her body and willingness to share her yoga practice with others has inspired followers to begin yoga on their own.

“”Through my visual yoga practice| I have inspired many people like myself: the fat| curvy| chubby| plus-size| large women of color|”” writes Valerie on her GoFundMe page| where she is raising funds to attend yoga teacher training next year. Aside from her own passion for yoga| Valerie seeks her instructor certification to “”help encourage the people who never thought they could try yoga because they believed they had to look a certain way in society’s view.””

Her uniquely honest and enlightening approach to practicing yoga is something that we need more of| especially in such an appearance-focused world. Scroll on to see some of Big Gal Yoga’s best social snaps| and any perceptions of a “”yoga body”” will disappear from your mind.

A Surprising Way Jay Z Makes Yoga Easier

A surprising way Jay Z can make a yoga class a bit easier ¡ª Women’s HealthEmbrace a healthier alternative to the midday coffee run ¡ª Real SimpleThe top 10 health-curious countries, according to Google ¡ª ShapeJawbone just made a calorie tracker into a fashion staple ¡ª SelfYoga moves that are seriously magic ¡ª Health50 top-ranked farmers markets in the country ¡ª Cooking LightThe 10 stages of falling in love at the gym ¡ª FitnessA healthier crepe alternative for busy mornings ¡ª Greatist20 stress-free mornings, thanks to these eggy recipes ¡ª POPSUGAR FoodImage Source: Shutterstock

A Surprising Way Jay Z Makes Yoga Easier

A surprising way Jay Z can make a yoga class a bit easier ¡ª Women’s HealthEmbrace a healthier alternative to the midday coffee run ¡ª Real SimpleThe top 10 health-curious countries| according to Google ¡ª ShapeJawbone just made a calorie tracker into a fashion staple ¡ª SelfYoga moves that are seriously magic ¡ª Health50 top-ranked farmers markets in the country ¡ª Cooking LightThe 10 stages of falling in love at the gym ¡ª FitnessA healthier crepe alternative for busy mornings ¡ª Greatist20 stress-free mornings| thanks to these eggy recipes ¡ª POPSUGAR FoodImage Source: Shutterstock

After Trying This Yoga Sequence, You’ll Never Do Another Crunch

After Trying This Yoga Sequence| You’ll Never Do Another Crunch

Skip the crunches and hop on your mat for this effective yoga workout designed to target the abs. Begin with a few Sun Salutations to warm up. Then move through this 14-pose sequence on the right side and repeat on the left.

| Downward Facing Dog

  • Come onto the hands and knees with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
  • Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips| coming into the classic upside-down-V shape called Downward Facing Dog.
  • Spread your fingers wide| and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms| and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button.
  • Breathe deeply for five breaths.

| Arching Three-Legged Dog

  • From Down Dog| and step both feet together so your big toes are touching.
  • Keeping the left heel on the mat| raise your right leg in the air coming into Three-Legged Dog| and then bend the knee. Actively squeeze your right heel in toward your hip| lifting the knee high.
  • Lift your head up| and turn to look over your left shoulder| arching the spine. Think about drawing your head and foot toward each other (if your spine is extremely flexible| your foot and head will touch).
  • Hold here for five breaths| keeping the belly still and breathing into the chest.

| Knee Up Plank

  • From Arching Three-Legged Dog| inhale to draw the right knee into the chest bringing the shoulders above the wrists.
  • Hold here for five strong breaths.

| Warrior 1

  • From Knee Up Plank plant your right foot between your hands. Turn your left heel in slightly| press into your feet| and lift your torso up.
  • Keeping the front thigh parallel with the floor| raise your arms in the air and press your palms together. Draw your shoulder blades down toward your hips| and gaze up toward your hands.
  • Stay here for five breaths.

| Warrior 3

  • From Warrior 1| lean forward| lift your back leg off the ground and bring the torso parallel with the floor.
  • Actively extend the arms away from you| and engage the abs for five breaths.

| One-Legged| Four-Limbed Staff

  • From Warrior 3| lower the hands to the floor in plank position.
  • Keep the left leg lifted and hop or step the right foot back| bending the elbows into Four-Limbed Staff.
  • Hold here for five breaths.

| Beginner’s Sage (Side Plank)

  • From One-Legged| Four-Limbed Staff| straighten the arms and roll the torso to the right| coming to balance on the right hand and the outside edge of the flexed right foot.
  • Stack the left foot on top of the right and reach your left arm straight above you.
  • Stay here in Side Plank for five deep breaths| trying to keep your core strong and the pose steady.

| Balancing Star

  • From Side Plank| plant the sole of the right foot on the mat and inhale to raise the left leg into the air.
  • Gaze at your lifted hand| and hold Balancing Star for five breaths. Keeping your core engaged will help you stay balanced.

| Quarter Dog

  • From Balancing Star| release your top hand to the mat and press back into Down Dog. Lower the elbows to the mat.
  • Either relax the head between your arms or direct your gaze between the palms. Hold for five breaths.

| Child’s Pose

  • Give your arms a little break by releasing your knees to the mat. Sit back on the heels and extend the arms in front of you.
  • Lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
  • Stay here for five calming breaths.

| Boat

  • From Child’s Pose| lift the torso up and bring the legs between your hands| extending the legs in front of you.
  • Bend the knees| and lift your legs off the floor| bringing your knees in toward your chest with your shins parallel to the floor. Sit up as tall as you can| and slowly begin to straighten your legs. Your legs don’t need to be straight since the action of keeping your spine long and drawing your belly in is what works your abs here.
  • Hold Boat pose for five breaths.

| Intense East

  • From Boat| release your feet to the mat and extend the legs out in front of you.
  • Place your hands behind your hips about six to eight inches| with your fingers pointing toward your toes.
  • As you inhale| press into your hands and feet firmly| lifting your hips into the air. Lift them as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Slowly release your head back| looking behind you| and open through your throat.
  • Stay here in Intense East pose for five deep breaths.

| Extended Squat

  • From Intense East| lower your hips to the floor and sit up coming into an Extended Squat.
  • Release your hands to the floor| and walk them out in front of you| allowing your belly to fall between your knees.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths.

| Crow

  • From Extended Squat| place your hands shoulder-width distance apart on the mat. Spread your fingers as wide as you can| creating a strong| stable base.
  • Straighten your legs slightly| placing your knees as high up onto your triceps (back of your arms) as possible. Slowly shift the weight into your palms and lift your feet off the ground. Touch the toes together and squeeze the knees in to help you stay balanced and to give you more lift.
  • Stay here for five breaths| gazing at the floor in front of you.
  • Step or hop the feet back| and find your way into Downward Facing Dog. Repeat this sequence on the left side.

Relax and Renew: A Restorative Yoga Sequence

Relax and Renew: A Restorative Yoga Sequence

This restorative yoga sequence will help open your heart and relieve tension after a long day. If you’re feeling stressed out, then you might notice that your breath is a little shallower than you’d realized. Place emphasis on deep, full breaths, and each of these poses will feel easier and easier.

| Child’s Pose

Set the tone for this relaxing sequence with Child’s Pose:

  • Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width distance apart and your big toes touching behind you. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, lay your torso over your thighs.
  • Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
  • Rest your arms beside your legs, with your arms extended out in front of you.
  • Stay here for at least five breaths.

| Hero Pose

If you find quad-opening Hero’s Pose too tough on your legs, then sit on a block or a rolled-up blanket for a little extra support:

  • After Child’s Pose, sit up on your heels, and bring your knees knees together. Separate your feet so you can sit down on the ground between them.
  • Use your hands to roll your calves away from your thighs. Curl the arches of your feet around the curve of your bum so your toes are pointing behind you and slightly toward one another.
  • Rest your hands on your thighs, press your palms together in front of your chest, or raise your hands overhead. Stay here for five deep breaths.

| Camel Pose

Camel Pose is a big heart-opening pose that will help release tension from your back and neck:

  • From Hero’s Pose, come toward the top of your mat so your knees are under your hips. Reach your right hand back toward your right heel, and then reach your left hand toward your left heel.
  • Your hands are there for balancing support, so don’t lean all your weight onto them. Try to shift your weight forward onto your knees, which will increase the stretch in your quads, belly, and chest.
  • Lower your head behind you, and stay here for five breaths.

| Pigeon Pose

Even when Pigeon feels tough, breathe deep, and relax into it the best you can. After a while, you’ll be surprised at how calming this pose can feel:

  • After Camel Pose, place your palms flat on your mat, and press back to Downward Facing Dog. Step both feet together, and bring your right knee forward between your hands and lower your body so your outer right leg is resting on the mat.
  • If your hips are more open, then inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat.
  • Stay here with your hands resting on your hips or your right leg, or walk your hands out in front of you, allowing your torso to rest over your right knee.
  • Hold here, breathing into any areas of tightness and tension for at least 10 breaths. Once you’re ready, plant your hands on the floor and push your right leg to the sky for a quick Three-Legged Dog to give your hips a little release. Then come back to Downward Facing Dog before performing Pigeon on your left side.

| Bow Pose

The active Bow Pose will help increase flexibility in your spine:

  • After moving through Pigeon Pose on your left side, push back to Downward Dog.
  • After a few breaths, bring your knees to the mat and lie on your belly. Bend your knees, reach back with your hands, and hold onto the outside edge of your right ankle and then your left.
  • Once you have a firm hold of each ankle, try to keep your toes together, either pointing or flexing your feet. Lift your feet up as high as you can, and shift your weight forward so you’re resting on your naval instead of on your pubic bone.
  • Hold for five deep breaths, and then slowly release.

| Butterfly Pose

Butterfly Pose opens up hip flexors and kicks off some of the most calming poses in the sequence:

  • From Bow Pose, come to seated position on your bottom. Bend both knees, and bring your feet together.
  • Using your hands, open your feet up like a book, pressing your knees toward the floor with your elbows. If you want more of a stretch, then extend your arms out in front of you.
  • Stay here for five breaths.

| Legs up the Wall

Tight legs and stiff lower backs will find comfort in this simple but important posture:

  • After Butterfly Pose, grab your mat, and move toward the closest wall.
  • Sit sideways, and position yourself a few inches away from a wall. On your exhale, swing your hips 90 degrees to bring legs up the wall.
  • Allow your shoulders and head to rest lightly on the floor, relax your arms at your sides, and close your eyes.
  • Keep your legs firm against the wall, but don’t force anything in this pose. If it feels uncomfortable on your lower back, then move a few more inches away from the wall.

| Fish Pose

Fish Pose opens up your chest and releases unnecessary stress from your neck:

  • From Legs up the Wall, move backward so your head is at the top of your mat and your back is lying flat on the floor.
  • Bring your arms close to your sides, palms facing down. Keeping your bum on the floor, inhale as you press your hands and forearms into the ground to arch your back, lifting your shoulders off the floor. Tilt your head backward, and rest the top of your head on the floor.
  • Keeping your legs strong, hold for five breaths. Then lower your back to the mat.

| Reclining Twist

Finally, Reclining Twist will give some final love to that tight lower back:

  • From Fish Pose, come back to lying flat on your back. Draw both knees in toward your chest, giving them a nice big squeeze.
  • Either keep your legs bent for a more beginner-friendly posture, or extend them out straight up in the air, and breath in deep.
  • On the exhale, open your left arm, gaze to the left side, and drop your legs toward the right. If your legs are extended, then reach for your thigh, ankle, or foot, and look toward your open left hand.
  • Hold for at least five breaths before coming back to center and then dropping your legs toward the left while gazing to your right.

Relax and Renew: A Restorative Yoga Sequence

Relax and Renew: A Restorative Yoga Sequence

This restorative yoga sequence will help open your heart and relieve tension after a long day. If you’re feeling stressed out| then you might notice that your breath is a little shallower than you’d realized. Place emphasis on deep| full breaths| and each of these poses will feel easier and easier.

| Child’s Pose

Set the tone for this relaxing sequence with Child’s Pose:

  • Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width distance apart and your big toes touching behind you. Take a deep breath in and| as you exhale| lay your torso over your thighs.
  • Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
  • Rest your arms beside your legs| with your arms extended out in front of you.
  • Stay here for at least five breaths.

| Hero Pose

If you find quad-opening Hero’s Pose too tough on your legs| then sit on a block or a rolled-up blanket for a little extra support:

  • After Child’s Pose| sit up on your heels| and bring your knees knees together. Separate your feet so you can sit down on the ground between them.
  • Use your hands to roll your calves away from your thighs. Curl the arches of your feet around the curve of your bum so your toes are pointing behind you and slightly toward one another.
  • Rest your hands on your thighs| press your palms together in front of your chest| or raise your hands overhead. Stay here for five deep breaths.

| Camel Pose

Camel Pose is a big heart-opening pose that will help release tension from your back and neck:

  • From Hero’s Pose| come toward the top of your mat so your knees are under your hips. Reach your right hand back toward your right heel| and then reach your left hand toward your left heel.
  • Your hands are there for balancing support| so don’t lean all your weight onto them. Try to shift your weight forward onto your knees| which will increase the stretch in your quads| belly| and chest.
  • Lower your head behind you| and stay here for five breaths.

| Pigeon Pose

Even when Pigeon feels tough| breathe deep| and relax into it the best you can. After a while| you’ll be surprised at how calming this pose can feel:

  • After Camel Pose| place your palms flat on your mat| and press back to Downward Facing Dog. Step both feet together| and bring your right knee forward between your hands and lower your body so your outer right leg is resting on the mat.
  • If your hips are more open| then inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat.
  • Stay here with your hands resting on your hips or your right leg| or walk your hands out in front of you| allowing your torso to rest over your right knee.
  • Hold here| breathing into any areas of tightness and tension for at least 10 breaths. Once you’re ready| plant your hands on the floor and push your right leg to the sky for a quick Three-Legged Dog to give your hips a little release. Then come back to Downward Facing Dog before performing Pigeon on your left side.

| Bow Pose

The active Bow Pose will help increase flexibility in your spine:

  • After moving through Pigeon Pose on your left side| push back to Downward Dog.
  • After a few breaths| bring your knees to the mat and lie on your belly. Bend your knees| reach back with your hands| and hold onto the outside edge of your right ankle and then your left.
  • Once you have a firm hold of each ankle| try to keep your toes together| either pointing or flexing your feet. Lift your feet up as high as you can| and shift your weight forward so you’re resting on your naval instead of on your pubic bone.
  • Hold for five deep breaths| and then slowly release.

| Butterfly Pose

Butterfly Pose opens up hip flexors and kicks off some of the most calming poses in the sequence:

  • From Bow Pose| come to seated position on your bottom. Bend both knees| and bring your feet together.
  • Using your hands| open your feet up like a book| pressing your knees toward the floor with your elbows. If you want more of a stretch| then extend your arms out in front of you.
  • Stay here for five breaths.

| Legs up the Wall

Tight legs and stiff lower backs will find comfort in this simple but important posture:

  • After Butterfly Pose| grab your mat| and move toward the closest wall.
  • Sit sideways| and position yourself a few inches away from a wall. On your exhale| swing your hips 90 degrees to bring legs up the wall.
  • Allow your shoulders and head to rest lightly on the floor| relax your arms at your sides| and close your eyes.
  • Keep your legs firm against the wall| but don’t force anything in this pose. If it feels uncomfortable on your lower back| then move a few more inches away from the wall.

| Fish Pose

Fish Pose opens up your chest and releases unnecessary stress from your neck:

  • From Legs up the Wall| move backward so your head is at the top of your mat and your back is lying flat on the floor.
  • Bring your arms close to your sides| palms facing down. Keeping your bum on the floor| inhale as you press your hands and forearms into the ground to arch your back| lifting your shoulders off the floor. Tilt your head backward| and rest the top of your head on the floor.
  • Keeping your legs strong| hold for five breaths. Then lower your back to the mat.

| Reclining Twist

Finally| Reclining Twist will give some final love to that tight lower back:

  • From Fish Pose| come back to lying flat on your back. Draw both knees in toward your chest| giving them a nice big squeeze.
  • Either keep your legs bent for a more beginner-friendly posture| or extend them out straight up in the air| and breath in deep.
  • On the exhale| open your left arm| gaze to the left side| and drop your legs toward the right. If your legs are extended| then reach for your thigh| ankle| or foot| and look toward your open left hand.
  • Hold for at least five breaths before coming back to center and then dropping your legs toward the left while gazing to your right.

Not-Always-Decent Thoughts During a Yoga Class

Crap, did I leave the oven on? Is my butt crack showing? These are just a few of the things people worry about when working out. And even though yoga is supposed to be about quiet reflection, misplaced thoughts like these can’t help but sneak in. Just note that the language in this video makes it NSFW.