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Yoga for Beginners 101: Spring Return

Updated on January 31, 2017

Spring Welcome

After a month off to rest my sprained right knee, (and two weeks tor recover from a spring cold), I’ve returned back to yoga, Stretch-lates and Yoga-lates this week. And the timing could’ve been more perfect, since my back started to acted up from being stiff and inactive. I’ve also returned to my home yoga practice in the living room, and sometimes in my bedroom, temporarily. Since I didn’t get a chance to do what I wanted this month of trying advanced beginner and intermediate poses and modifying old ones if applicable, I’ll be starting that routine next week to kickoff summer countdown in May.

Doing the Swan Dive to a Forward Fold is a Good Stretch for the Back and to Tone Muscles

Breaking New Ground in Class

For my next Wednesday yoga class, after a month off, I’ve noticed one new yogi and a couple of new people who have joined the class during my absence. We’ve started with some meditation and some various spinal twists and side stretches to warm up the session. Then we’ve gotten down to business with the Sun Salutation sequence a couple of times of cat-cow, down dog, mountain and raise arms, forward fold, plank, knee-chest-chin, upward dog, down dog, the awkward chair pose, another forward fold, and back to mountain. Then we’ve did the warrior poses of warrior I and I for both sides, along with the reverse warrior, the side angle pose, the triangle pose, and proceeded to the balancing pose. As for the tree pose, I didn’t want to take a chance with my healing rights sprained knee, so I lifted my ankle a few inches towards my leg. We also did the knee-to-chest poses, the camel pose, and the leg-arm balance pose towards the end, with some final spinal twists and stretches, including rocking back and forth on our backs. (Does anyone know if it that pose has a name for it?) We’ve finished the session with the corpse pose.

During my Thursday’s Gentle Yoga class, we’ve warmed up on our back with the corpse pose and did some spinal twists. Then we did some leg extension exercises with our legs and did an inchworm pose, rocking back and forth on our backs and going in circles. Then we’ve did a couple of rounds of the Sun Salutations with the crescent lounge: mountain pose, lunge, plank, down dog, up dog,, crescent lunge, and back to mountain pose with the forward folds and swan dives. From there, we did the warrior one and two pose, that was followed by the side angle pose. Later we focused on the cobra and the leg-arm balance poses on both sides, the awkward chair pose, and the goddess pose. We’ve finished the class with some leg extension exercises, some spinal twists, and a side stretch in the end.

As for my Friday’s yoga class, we’ve started out with the easy sit and raised a yoga block in our hands above our heads. We’ve done some spinal twists to warm our bodies with some side stretches as well. We’ve began our workout with the lunge and the knee-chest-chin pose. We’ve followed it up with the plank, the cobra, up dog and downward dog and the down dog splits. We’ve also did some kneeling dancer/leg-arm balances and a couple of forwards folds. We’ve done at seated forward bend and seated wide-legged straddle, the triangle and the knee pose, the bridge pose with raising our legs up in the air, reverse table pose, the crow (I still can’t do), the tree pose (that I kept my ankle low at the bottom level), the camel pose, some leg extension exercises, and the boat pose, before we’ve closed out the session with the corpse pose.

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The Sunbird is a Tough and Challenging Yoga Pose for Balance at Home or at the gym

Another Round of Stretch-lates and Yoga-lates

For my 5th Stretch-lates class, we warmed up to the familiar sounds of the golden oldies music playing in the background. We’ve started with the Pilates stance lunge and followed it up with squats, both straight leg and bent knee. From there, we did half-body twists and added our swinging arms back and forth. Afterwards, we did some side stretches with our bodies, like the Mermaid side stretch only standing up, and then we’ve reached across our body on both sides, and did some leg extension exercises to stretch. We did the forward fold with the block, the airplane stretch, and added two new stretches in the class—the rope pull, when we imagine pulling a rope with both of our hands, sitting down, and the basketball stretch, when we pretended we reached for a basketball and dunked it on the other side of our body. We’ve did that on both sides and did the hug stretch, when we’ve opened and closed, lifted and lowered our arms like giving someone a wide hug, and the jackknife. For the straps, we’ve raised them in the air with the stretch and posed it over our heads for a stretch. It was followed by doing a Vee stretch, and then do a spinal twist like in yoga with our legs in a diagonal position. Then we’ve done both single and double leg taps, lower leg lifts by moving our ankles off the floor an inch, and the hitchhiker stretch, that was concluded with a roll down and roll up in the end with the straps towards the end.

For my 5th Yoga-lates class, we started out with the easy sit and warmed up with some spinal twists and leg extension exercises, and the extended child’s pose, and the figure eight pose. We’ve did a couple rounds of the downward dog, and followed it by the sunbird and the swatting horsetail pose. We’ve also done some planks and one-legged planks, and the child’s pose. We’ve also did a couple of the downward dog splits, and two new poses, the Sphinx, and the full locust pose, before we’ve closed out with some side stretches to end the session .

The TImbuk2 Scrunchie bag is a Good Choice for a Yoga Tote to Carry Your Gear

A Tote bag or Strap Would Make Your Yoga Gear Portable

When you take your yoga mat and gear on the go, you can buy a yoga tote to take it to class, to the beach, the park, and even home from work or school. Besides the traditional tube, here's a selection of high fashion handbags or sporty messenger totes; but there's a feature of hidden straps for your yoga mat. They look good and give great functionality.

The Lole Lily Tote bag has a lot going for it: great shape, tons of pockets, converts into a backpack, and comes in a punchy red, black and grey color. A rolled up yoga mat can be tucked in vertically for days you're heading to class.

The Yoga Sak is a good-looking, fully functional yoga backpack. The Yoga Sak leaves you encumbered by holding your yoga mat in a vertical position, and has lots of storage, so you won't have to buy another bag. It's highly recommended for cyclists.

The Timbuk2 Scrunchie Tote could be the perfect yoga bag. It's not so big to throw out your shoulder on the way to class, but it's big enough to handle your workout clothes and all that other stuff that rattles around in your purse. You can, and you will, will use this for all sorts of non-yoga activities as well, since your yoga mat nestles casually on top. It comes in nice colors and has a modern hobo shape.

The Hotdog Rollpack is a very cool bag for people to squeeze in a yoga class before, during, or after the office. The bag unrolls to function as a garment bag, keeping your work clothes neat, in addition to a number of small compartments that help you keep organized.

The Sherpani Spirit Tote is a nice, big gym bag with a place for your bag, mat and shoes. So you can find what you need with plenty of pockets to keep you organized.

The Manduka Go Steady 2.0 is a very good take on the classic mat bag. The Manduka practice tote offers a roomy compartment for your mat, (even the Manduka black mat will fit), and a separate pocket for your clothing, making it the only bag you need to carry for class. With big grommets that look cool and keep your mat from mouldering after hot yoga, the mat compartment is aerated.

The Zobha City Bag is a smart-looking canvas bag is looking to accommodate a yoga mat and also has a special compartment for your damp post-workout clothing.

The Gaiam Tree of Life Tote has an appealing simplicity to this white cotton bag. The embroidered motif takes this a great choice for tree-huggers and the price point can't be beat.

The Prana Piggyback Mat Strap is what you're left off, when you take away the bag, and which it is exactly what the Prana Piggyback is. It's the most basic mat tote you can think of, and as an added bonus, you can use it as a yoga strap, too.


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    • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Hi there Perspycacious. I've done walking meditation last year during my memorial walks. But it has nothing to do with yoga class. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Explore a Laotian form called "Walking Meditation." It can be done by the chair-bound as well as the rest of us.

    • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks akriti for stopping by and commenting. I so agree with you there.

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 

      4 years ago from Shimla, India

      Yoga and pranayam are great ways to keep both the body and mind healthy :)

      Nice post.

    • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Benny, it takes practice and patience. That's what I've learned when I've started last fall and getting better and stronger every day. Keep at it!

    • Benny01 profile image

      Ijeoma Peter 

      4 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria

      I have been practicing some of these poses on my own, its interesting but not so easy at all.

    • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Good for you and your daughter to do yoga, this summer. The down dog is a fun backbend to do, daily.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      My daughter has to take a summer gym class for high school which involves up to 10 hours a week of exercise classes or assigned activities (so she can take more advanced classes during the school year). Last year she did a good number of yoga classes and of course wasn't satisfied unless my husband or me joined in. She is doing it again this summer. Yoga is more challenging than it looks! Downward dog time coming.

    • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Let me know how tai chi goes. It's a bit costly for me to do at the gym. But yoga's working wonders for me and my back. Good advice, Catherine.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Yoga always looks so great. I've don a little of yoga. Right now I am interested in trying tai chi. I was talking to a friend about. Stay with your exercise program. It doesn't mater which type of exercise you do as long as you are moving.


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