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Month: November 2018

11 Yoga Moves That Can Be Part of a Great Cardio Workout

Sara Lindberg for SheKnows features Diane Malaspina, who offers a few of her favorite yoga moves to include in your next cardio workout.

It’s not difficult to sell someone on the benefits of yoga: There’s the increased flexibility, protection from injury, improved respiration and energy, weight reduction, stress reduction and mental clarity. Plus, yoga is appropriate for all fitness levels. The same can be said about the benefits of cardiovascular exercise, which is why combining these two forms of physical activity into one workout is such a brilliant idea.

How to combine yoga & cardio

International yoga expert Claire Grieve recommends two ways you can use yoga for a cardio workout. “You can either do an intense, quick-paced vinyasa yoga flow that gets your heart pumping and serves as its own cardio workout or use yoga as a balance to complement your cardio workout,” she tells SheKnows.

To build a workout that includes both cardio and yoga, Dr. Diane Malaspina, Yoga Medicine therapeutic specialist, tells SheKnows to use a high-intensity interval approach: intensity (cardio) paired with weighted movement (yoga). To create intensity, pair two yoga poses by inhaling into one and exhaling into the other, repeating until fatigue.

Yoga moves to include in a cardio workout

Here are a few of Malaspina’s favorite yoga moves to include in your next cardio workout:

1. Mountain pose to low squat to Mountain pose

Start standing tall with your feet wider than your hips and your toes turned out. Inhale and stand tall, and on the exhale, bend your knees and lower down into a squat. If there is knee discomfort, stay higher, resting your hands on your knees. If there is no knee pain, go all the way down so your elbows come to your inner thighs and hips hover above the floor. Try to keep your heels on the ground. Inhale, then stand. Exhale, then lower your body into a squat. Repeat 10 times and work up to 20 repetitions. This movement works the hamstrings and glutes, keeps the heart rate high and maintains heat in the body.

2. Runner’s Lunge hop switch

Come into Runner’s Lunge position by putting your right leg forward with your left knee lifted. Stack your right knee over your right ankle. Your hands should frame either side of your right foot. Extend forward through your spine. Press your hands into the ground (blocks can add stability). As you breathe, lift your hips slightly and hop your right foot back and your left foot forward, coming into Runner’s Lunge left side. Then hop and switch again so you are in Runner’s Lunge with your right foot forward. Once you get the hopping and switching down, pair the movement with the breath. Inhale, lift your hips and hop. Then exhale and land into the lunge (finding stability through the feet). Continue at a moderate to fast pace for 10 rounds, ending with your left foot forward. Repeat 10 times and work up to 20 repetitions. This movement will maintain a higher heart rate and stretch and strengthen the hip flexors. It also enhances agility and strengthens the core.

3. Twisting Chair pose

Start by standing with your feet straight and big toes together. Exhale and sit back into Chair pose. Bring your hands to your heart in Prayer pose. Look down: You should be able to see your toes; also notice your knees are together and even. Throughout the sequence, you’ll maintain holding the lower body in Chair pose. Inhale, and on your exhale, twist to the right, bringing your left elbow to almost touch your right outer knee (keep the knees and hips squaring forward). Staying in Chair position, inhale and twist back center with your hands to your heart. Exhale and twist to the left, bringing your right elbow to almost touch your left outer knee (keep the knees and hips squaring forward). Inhale back to center (Chair position). Repeat five times for each side and work up to 10. This movement strengthens the hamstrings, inner thighs, outer hips and glutes; it also engages the oblique and transverse abdominis muscles of the core.

4. Add Upward Facing Dog to burpees

Start by standing. Bring your hands to the floor and hop your legs back to push-up position. Keep your hips at the same level as your shoulders and your belly, drawing in. Exhale, bending your elbows to a Half-Push-Up pose, keeping your elbows alongside your ribs. Then, inhale and flip your toes so the top of your foot is on the mat. Next, pull your chest forward, allowing your hips to drop and straighten your arms, lifting your chest (this is Upward Facing Dog). Then go back to Half-Push-Up position, push up to regular Push-Up position, hop forward and stand up. Repeat with each burpee. This strengthens the upper body and keeps the heart rate high.

5. Bridge pose rollups

Come to your back with you knees bent and hip-width apart and your knees over your ankles. Point your toes straight and forward. Bring your arms alongside your torso with your palms facing down. Inhale, and starting from your hips, slowly lift your hips, then each vertebra from your low back up your spine, keeping your upper back and head down while reaching your arms up and overhead into Bridge pose. Exhale, and from your upper spine, slowly lower each vertebra until your hips are on the floor while lowering your arms back down. Repeat 10 times. This strengthens the back of the body and opens the front of the body, transitioning from intensity to recovery.

For a heart-pumping workout, Grieve recommends doing these intense poses in sequence at a fast pace.

6. Sun salutations

Sun salutations is a series of postures that warm up the body and wake up your inner energy. They will get your heart pumping while strengthening your major muscle groups.

7. Knee to nose

Begin in Downward Dog pose. Get on all fours, tuck your toes and lift your hips. Drop your head so your neck is long and palms are flat on the mat. From here, lift one leg high in line with your body. Keep the opposite heal on the ground. Lower your leg and repeat on the other side. You are now in the Down Dog Split.

Starting from Down Dog Split, shift your shoulders over your wrists and draw your knee into your nose. Try to kiss your knee as you activate your core. This pose has all the strengthening benefits of a Plank pose and also digs deeper into the abdomen, helping to tone muscles you may not be hitting when you do crunches.

8. Plank pose

Begin in a Push Up position on your hands or forearms and toes; lengthen all the way from the crown of your head to your heels. Keep your core pulled into your spine with your back flat. Plank pose is one of the most effective exercises, as it not only strengthens the core but also strengthens the wrists, shoulders, chest, buttock, spinal muscles, triceps and neck.

9. Chair pose

Inhale and raise your arms up to the sky, allowing your shoulders to relax away from your ears. As you exhale, start to bend your knees and lower your hips down as if you are sitting in a chair. Sit down even lower; shift your weight onto your heels as you lengthen your lower back and lift up through your heart. Hold for up to one minute. Chair pose generates heat in your body and works many major muscles — including your triceps, deltoids, abs, spine muscles, glutes, hamstrings and lower legs — all at once.

10. Warrior 3

Begin in a Low Lunge position and drop your back knee to the mat. Raise your arms above your head. Exhale and deepen into the forward lunge. Inhale to come out, bringing your front knee back over your ankle. Repeat on the other side. This is Crescent position.

Start in Crescent pose with squared hips. Engage your core as you begin to lean forward. Keep extending your arms parallel and actively reach as you lift your back leg. Flex your foot as if you are pressing into an imaginary wall. Stretch through your whole body and keep your gaze a few feet in front of you. Remember to breathe and hold for 30 seconds. Warrior 3 is the ultimate lengthening and energy pose.

11. High-Low Boat pose

Sit on your butt with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Extend your arms, reaching your hands forward toward your legs. Inhale as you lean back while engaging your core. Extend your arms straight out past your knees. Raise your feet and slowly start straightening your legs, bringing your body into a V-shape. With an exhale and control, start to lower your upper body and lower body simultaneously until you are a few inches above with ground with your upper back and feet. Inhale and, with control, keeping your stomach pulled into your spine, raise your upper body and lower body. Repeat 10 times or more. This pose strengthens the core, builds balance and is great for your posture. It also stretches the hamstrings and hip flexors.

So, if you’re up for some yoga but not for a traditional cardio workout, these poses can be a great option. Best of all, you can do them from the comfort of your own home.

Slept On Your Neck Funny?
These 6 Stretches Will Soothe Your Pain By Noon

Looking to relieve neck pain? Try these Yoga Medicine exercises from Tiffany Cruikshank and Diane Malaspina to help release tension and tightness in the neck.

By Bee Creel for Yoga Journal.

Before you book that massage or get stuck in unhelpful thought patterns about your neck pain, try one or more of these yoga poses and stretches.

Whether you woke up with tension in your neck or you often have low-grade pain because you spend so much time hunched over your phone or laptop (hello, tech neck!), you know that neck strain can be terrible. What’s worse, it can also lead to poor posture, irritability, and even migraine headaches.

If you’re dealing with neck pain, it’s important not to do anything to make it worse. Avoid deep stretches, says Tiffany Cruikshank, an acupuncturist, yoga teacher, and founder of Yoga Medicine®. And if the muscles in your neck are in spasm, Cruikshank recommends taking an epsom salt bath to help calm the inflammation.

When you’re ready for some gentle stretching, try this sequence created by Yoga Medicine® therapeutic specialist Diane Malaspina, Ph.D. Grab a foam roller, block, and strap and practice one or all of the following yoga poses designed to ease neck pain—fast.

Yoga for Neck Pain: A Home Practice

From a comfortable seat, bring your left hand behind your body, resting your left hand on your right thigh. If you are unable to reach your thigh, rest your hand on the floor behind you. Drop your head to the right and hold for 10 slow breaths, then repeat the stretch on the opposite side.

11 Dos And Don’ts of Coping with Soreness After Yoga

Dr. Amy Sedgwick, MD and Erica Yeary for Yoga Journal discusses how to deal with your discomfort and still stay Zen.

Here’s what to do to get over soreness after yoga, and what not to do according to experts.

It’s no surprise if you feel a little ache-y after yoga—especially if you’re just getting back into it after some time away or practiced postures you don’t normally do. The reason a good yoga practice can feel so wonderful, after all, is because it can deeply stretch certain muscles that you’re not accessing in your everyday life.

“You may think your muscles are active, but some yoga poses will still stretch them in unfamiliar ways,” says yoga teacher Loren Fishman, MD, medical director of Manhattan Physical Medicine, author of Healing Yoga, and the creator of the Yoga Injury Prevention program. “Muscles can also become sore because they’ve been overused.”

The soreness after yoga you may be experiencing is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which usually occurs 12-48 hours after exercising. The level of soreness you might feel depends what style you’re practicing, how intensely, and how frequently—as well as your individual body type, says Fishman. And even if you’re experienced in your practice, there’s a good chance you might feel sore from time to time. Though yoga is typically a low-impact exercise, it can still put a big strain on your muscles.

“Yoga is filled with eccentric contractions that cause microscopic injuries to the muscle and fascial tissues,” says Erica Yeary, MPH, RYT, an exercise physiologist and a Yoga Medicine registered therapeutic specialist based in Indianapolis, Indiana. “Our bodies produce an inflammatory response to these micro-tears and this causes muscle soreness.”

But, it turns out this muscle soreness is actually a good thing. “Once your muscles recover, you’ll experience muscle growth and improved performance,” says Yeary, ultimately making you stronger.

Of course, if your soreness after yoga is very painful, see a doctor. However, for run-of-the-mill soreness—which means pain is minimal—there are plenty of smart tricks you can try to ease your discomfort.

Here’s what to do—and what to avoid—to cope with muscle pain and soreness after yoga, according to medical and yoga experts.

Drinking water will help the muscles heal after yoga practice.

DO hydrate, then hydrate some more.

Drink water, not sports drinks, says Amy C. Sedgwick, an emergency medicine doctor and Yoga Medicine certified yoga instructor in Portland, Maine. “We want to help increase our blood volume so this fluid can be distributed more easily to the tissues to allow transfer of nutrition, healing cells and flushing out metabolic waste. Hydration is the way that happens.”

DO get plenty of sleep.

Without sleep and rest, your body can’t “gear down” to allow for the parasympathetic nervous system (rest-and-digest mode) to be in charge, says Sedgwick. “Without enough sleep, the neuroendocrine system will not prime the body and tissues for repair and relief.”

DON’T down caffeine and energy supplements.

Unless you’re an ultra-endurance athlete, you are not likely depleting your system so much that you need caffeine, energy drinks, or supplements, says Sedgwick. “This only adds unnecessary calories and other substances to a body that simply needs gentle movement, hydration, and rest,” she says.

DO exercise—gently.

Exercise is the best way to relieve soreness after yoga, says Sedgwick. In fact, research shows doing the same muscle movements and sequences you did prior to feeling sore—but in a less intense way—can help relax muscle spasms and allow muscles, connective tissue, and joints to find greater range of motion, she adds.

Foam rolling is a great way to reduce muscle tightness after yoga.

DO use a foam roller.

Foam rolling for 20 minutes immediately after working out can reduce tenderness— even if it causes some discomfort, says Yeary. Take it slow and be gentle; you don’t want foam rolling to cause so much pain that it actually makes your soreness worse.

DO eat a balanced meal.

Make sure your post-workout snack or meal includes protein, which repairs and builds muscle, and carbohydrates, which will also speed recovery, says Yeary.

DON’T take anti-inflammatory drugs.

It may seem like a smart idea to pop an aspirin to take the edge off your soreness after yoga, but it’s not the best way to help speed your recovery, says Yeary. “Inflammation is how the body responds to any type of injury,” she says. “In order to properly repair any damaged tissue, you must have inflammation. If you take away that inflammation with a drug you are hindering your body’s natural healing mechanisms.”

DO take a hot bath.

Not only does this feel great, but it actually helps to initiate the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce tension and allow the body to be in a state of healing, says Yeary.

Increase circulation in the body through stretching.

DO stretch.

And when you do, be sure to stretch through all planes of motion. This will increase circulation and range of motion while also preventing chronic tension and pain, says Yeary.

DON’T do intense stretching.

Long, static stretches or over-stretching sore muscles can do more harm than good, says Yeary. “The tissues are already slightly damaged and working on healing.” If you over-stretch your muscles and “wring them out” of all their fluids, you reduce their ability to heal and may even damage them in the process, she adds.

DO continue to practice yoga, gently.

One of the absolute best ways to cope with soreness after yoga is to do more yoga, says Fishman. “Concentrate on the areas that hurt and try to gradually relieve tension and tightness,” he says. “Becoming inactive because activity gives you some soreness is a very poor response to your soreness, and is likely to leave you in even more pain the next time you practice.”

The 6 Best Meditation Apps For 2018


For something that’s supposed to mellow you out and leave you feeling refreshed, meditation can be kind of stressful sometimes: How do I do it? When should I do it? And for how long? Before long, you’ve given up on meditating and put on yet another episode of The Great British Bake-Off.

Still, the practice is undoubtedly good for you—according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation can help reduce stress, chronic pain (such as headaches), and blood pressure, as well as help you quit smoking and better navigate a variety of mental health conditions.

So, how do you finally buckle down and do it? Apps. (No, really.) “Meditation apps are a great supplement to a mindfulness practice as they help you continue anytime, anywhere, putting the power of mindfulness in the palm of your hand,” says Pax Tandon, a mindfulness thought leader and author of Mindfulness Matters.

Curious what apps experts recommend for discovering your meditation groove? Here you’ll find your top choices, as well as why each one might work best for you.


Experts across the board agree that Insight Timer is primo when it comes to choosing a meditation app.

“This app has many of the most experienced mindfulness teachers on it, and allows you the freedom to pick and choose depending on how long you have to practice, what style you’d like (e.g. body scan, loving kindness, anxiety/stress reducing, etc.), or just set a timer and sit without guidance,” Tandon says.

Lindsey Elmore, Pharm.D., a pharmacist turned wellness expert (she’s known as “The Farmicist”) says the app is her go-to because, in addition to the variety of guided meditations, the app has a tracker that allows you to chart your progress and earn badges that keep you coming back for more.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play


Tiffany Cruikshank, an internationally registered yoga teacher and founder of Yoga Medicine®, says she loves the YogaGlo app because it has “a large variety of guided meditations to choose from with such well-respected teachers.”

Plus, you can customize your workout by choosing the length, teacher, and/or level you want, as well as a variety of topics and focal points that can help you zero in on specific meditation goals, Cruikshank says, adding that the app is a great option for new or experience meditators. Added bonus? You’ll also have access to teacher-led yoga classes within the app.

Cost: Free 7-day trial/ $22.99 per month after trial

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play


Headspace is one of the most well-known meditation apps out there.

“There are hundreds of guided meditations, mini-meditations, sleep sounds, SOS meditations for emergencies, meditations for kids and animations to help you better understand meditation,” Elmore says.

Cost: $7.99 to $12.99 per month after trial

Where to find it: Visit and use code PRHearst1M for a one-month free trial code, or code HEARST for three months free of a year subscription.


Ensō isn’t necessarily for beginners. “For those well-versed in meditation, I love the Ensō app which has a simple timer that you can set with bells at different intervals to keep you alert and set a soothing endpoint to your practice,” Cruikshank says.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store


Elmore likes the Calm app when she’s feeling choosy about her meditation practice. After all, the app provides guided sessions ranging in time from three to 25 minutes. And with topics ranging from calming anxiety to gratitude to mindfulness at work—as well as sleep sounds, nature sounds, and breathing exercises—you can really choose your focus. “There are new meditations every day, progress trackers, and seven-day and 21-day programs for beginners,” Elmore says.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play


Based on the book by the same name (by ABC news correspondent Dan Harris), the 10% Happier app is perfect “for the skeptic who is not sure that they want to do meditation,” according to Elmore.

“This one has meditations aimed to help users with anxiety and sleep, and there is new content each week,” she says, adding that there is a free version, as well as a premium version with more than 500 vides and additional content.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play

All of the Superfoods This Yoga Guru Eats in a Day

By The Newsette.

Tiffany Cruikshank is the founder of Yoga Medicine, a teacher training system that prepares yoga instructors to work in healthcare settings, as well as creates resources for healthcare providers. She also started the Yoga Medicine Seva Foundation, a non-profit that rehabilitates women rescued from human trafficking in India as a way to give back to a culture that has given the world so much, while also empowering other women in need. Talk about inspiring. In addition to her notable ventures, Tiffany loves to spend time with her teacup Maltese Lulu and husband Forrest. As an expert in holistic health, this wellness guru says her “routines are essential.” Below, she shares what a typical weekday looks like for her, with a focus on food and exercise.


What I eat: Smoothie on the go.

The time I eat it: 8 A.M.

How I make it or where I get it: Blended a frozen Kale & Banana Smoothie packet from Daily Harvest with my favorite protein powder I5 Energize by Xymogen, some water & vitamin C powder. Daily Harvest makes some amazing frozen food for people on-the-go and short on time who are unwilling to sacrifice quality.


What I eat: Peach and walnuts.

The time I eat it: 11 A.M

How I make it or where I get it: Wash and eat!


What I eat: Braised beet and quinoa salad with sea asparagus (it’s a succulent and it’s amazing!).

The time I eat it: 1 P.M.

How I make it or where I get it: Sakara Life (I travel a lot so I love coming home to these incredible, tasty, nutrient-packed meals from Sakara).


What I eat: Nori chips.

The time I eat it: 4 P.M.

How I make it or where I get it: Sakara Life snacks.


What I eat: Raw kelp noodle salad (amazingly delicious!!).

The time I eat it: 6:30 P.M.

How I make it or where I get it: Made with love by Sakara.


Workout I did:

The time I did it: 9:30 A.M.

Overall thoughts about your day today and how you feel?

Having high-quality sources of nutrition interspersed throughout my day keeps my energy level stable and my mind alert and ready for whatever my day brings. Even more important when I’m on the road teaching and need to be 100% mentally & physically.

What are other wellness activities or habits that make you feel like your best self?

Definitely daily meditation, usually right when I wake up for 20 minutes. This prepares me for my day and sets the tone of it. Sleep is my secret weapon and yes I’m a good sleeper but mostly because I have good sleep rituals. I always say nothing replaces a good night of sleep! So I usually stay away from my phone after about 8pm. I dim lights later in the night and slowly wind down to sleep. I also have an arsenal of supplements I use depending on what I need from glutathione or vitamin C powder in my smoothies to fish oil, herbs to support my adrenals and when needed a little detox support with herbs like milk thistle. I use myofascial release the same way, as needed to keep my body and tissues healthy and resilient.

Make Like a Tree: 7 Steps to Balance Your Body this Fall

Megan Kearney for Yoga Digest shares the perfect routine of yoga for fall. Find balance in the transition from summer to winter with these insights from Traditional Chinese Medicine.

As the sun starts to set faster and fold into cooler nights, we begin to see the trees, once working hard to acquire energy from the sun, release and let go of their leaves. Autumn is definitely a time for taking in and letting go.

So too is our internal nature. We may find ourselves appreciating our hard efforts and passionate pursuits, even enjoying the fruits of our labor, as we move towards more of a harvesting time of year.

Traditional Chinese Medicine & Fall

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient practice that supports health and wellness, and believes in harmony between the opposing complementary forces of yin and yang. TCM also believes that the human body is a microcosm of the expansive universe around us. The five elements that appear in nature (fire, earth, wood, metal and water) also appear within us and represent all manners of life and explain the function of the body and how it changes during dis-ease. In TCM, disease is a result of an imbalance between yin and yang, and fluctuation of energy within the five elements. This vital energy that flows through the body is known as qi (CHI) and performs multiple functions in the body and helps maintain health.

Each season corresponds with an element, just as we have different seasons in our own lives. This time of year is defined by the metal element and the meridians of lung and large intestine. This is a time to literally draw in a breath of fresh air — called “grasping the qi of the heavens” — and find inspiration in our daily living, create healthy boundaries and firm schedules for meet our need for routine and ritual.

When the energy movement through the meridians of the lung and large intestine is imbalanced, we might be especially rigid or stuck to a particular way of doing things. We might be socially cut off or extremely judgmental of others and their decisions. And you might be seen as a perfectionist or a rather dogmatic individual. Of course, there is the extreme imbalance — where one is sloppy with their work and places very little value in their work. We might find ourselves sick often, struggling with upper respiratory issues, allergies and just an overall poor immune system.

1.) Breath work:

Laying on your back, place your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your chest. Breathe into your belly, feeling the right hand rise and then spilling over into the left hand. Exhale from the left hand and then the right hand at the belly. If you are used to another way, do what feels comfortable and be consistent. Breathe for 2-4 minutes.

2.) Supine pec roll:

Using a yoga blanket, roll your blanket long ways and then lay over the blanket, matching your spine over the yoga blanket. You can use a second blanket at the neck to support your cervical spine. Allow your arms to open out to cactus arms even overhead holding your elbows. Relax for 5 minutes.

3.) Cat pulling its tail:

Lay on your right side. Scissor your legs with your left leg forward and your right leg back. Sweep open your left arm and reach back and grab your bent right leg around the ankle. If available, grab your left foot with your right hand. Slowly lower your left shoulder to the mat. Hold for 2-4 minutes. Switch sides.

4.) Reverse tabletop:

Sitting upright, place your hands behind you and plant your feet hip distance apart, knees bent. Push through the hands and puff the chest, bringing the shoulder blades onto the back. Gently lift the hips into the letter “M” or higher into a reverse tabletop. Hold for 5-7 breaths.

5.) Supine gomukhasana arms:

Lying on your back, take your right hand behind your head, holding the nape of the neck or even placing your hand palm up between the shoulder blades. Roll to your right, tucking the left arm behind you at the lower back or as high as the shoulder blades, palm facing down. Feel free to bind if it is comfortable. Roll back to your back and relax over your hands. Relax for 2 minutes. Repeat on the other side.

6.) Contemplate something bigger than yourself:

Get outside and seek inspiration from the natural world. Balance your daily routine of the mundane with some moments of walking in nature appreciating the bigger picture.

7.) R-E-S-P-E-C-T:

Respect YOURSELF! Let go of your imperfections, let go of the things that no longer serve you, and focus on a life without regrets or complaints. This will require working to accept fear and vulnerability. Be bold, be brave! People with integrity live with curiosity and courage over comfort and complacency. Create a mantra or positive affirmation and practice reading it in the mirror daily.

These are just a few steps to help you balance your qi this fall, to see your own fantastic value, and to encourage you to hold on to the things you need and let go of the rest.

Yoga for Daylight Savings Time

 for Yoga Journal shares a simple flow to help relieve symptoms associated with the daylight savings time changes.

Daylight Savings Is Ending. This TCM-Inspired Sequence Will Help You Adjust to the Shorter Days With Ease

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