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Looking for a way to connect with fellow yogis and yoginis? Well, FitSugar has created Yoga Stretch and Tell - a group dedicated to sharing your yoga stories, questions, tips, and celebrations. Need an answer to a burning yoga question? Want to share a tip that helped you open your back? Do you have a secret embarrassing yoga story to reveal? Or maybe you just held handstand without falling and need to tell the world.


Burn It Up: 30-Minute Circuit Workout From Equinox

Posted By Susi May on Aug 17, 2016 at 9:10PM

Circuit training is one of my favorite ways to get my sweat on. You torch calories by getting your heart rate up while building muscle with strength training — a win-win workout. My Equinox trainer, Lauren, likes 'em too. Recently she put me through the paces of the following circuit workout, and I just had to share the fun. Get ready to sweat!

There are three circuits of four exercises each. Do 15 reps of each exercise, and keep rolling through the four exercises for 10 minutes. Between each circuit, rest (stretch and hydrate) for one to two minutes. To warm up, run on a treadmill for five minutes. This workout uses 12 kg. kettlebells and a variety of dumbbell weights. As always, work with a weight that is appropriate for your strength level.

Circuit One
Exercise Reps Equipment Notes
Jump squat 15 Body weight move
Squat thrust deadlift 15 12 kg. kettlebells Place hands on kettlebells to jump back into plank; come to standing lifting kettlebells.
Single-arm kettlebell swings 15
each arm
12 kg. kettlebell Really pop your hips to get that kettlebell up!
Plank with reverse row 15
each arm
10-15 pound dumbbells

Keep reading! There are two more circuits after the break.

Vinyasa: The Link Between Poses

Posted By Jenny Sugar on Jul 18, 2007 at 9:30AM

Yoga is all about connecting your breath with your body, and vinyasas help that happen. Vinyasas link static yoga poses together, so your practice becomes more of a deliberate, fluid dance instead of just a bunch of random poses thrown together. Vinyasa is a series of 5 movements, kind of like a shortened Sun Salutation. You do a vinyasa between different poses and between the right and left sides of poses as well. Vinyasas are like the glue that holds yoga poses together.

Check out this video to see the flow of the 5 movements.

How did it get its name? To find out,

"Vinyasa" is a Sanskrit word that literally means "uniting breath with movement." Each of the 5 movements in a vinyasa is synchronized to an inhale or exhale, and those movements help to make the connection between your breath and your body even deeper. This helps to make yoga more of a moving meditation, by increasing your awareness and ability to focus. Vinyasas also make yoga more challenging, because those 5 movements really work your upper body and core. Vinyasas also enable you to maintain heat, which opens your muscles and allows you to get deeper into poses. Doing a vinyasa between each pose brings the body back to a neutral pose, so you're like a clean slate - ready for the next pose.

Here's a simple description of a vinyasa and how the breath is connected to each of the 5 movements:

  1. Inhale - LIFT your feet and hips off the ground.
  2. Exhale - 4-Limbed Staff (Chaturanga) pose.
  3. Inhale - Upward Facing Dog.
  4. Exhale - Downward Facing Dog.
  5. Inhale - Jump your feet through your legs and get ready for the next pose.

Now here's a more descriptive explanation:

  1. Inhale - From a seated position (whichever pose you are doing), plant your palms firmly next to your hips and bend your knees up to your chest. Cross your right leg in front of your left just below the knees (not at the ankles), engage your abdominal muscles and LIFT your feet and hips off the ground.
  2. Exhale - If you can, keep the lift and don't even let your feet touch the ground as you kick them back to Chaturanga. Since that's really tough, try at least to do the LIFT for a moment, then touch your feet to the ground and kick back to Chaturanga.
  3. Inhale - Scoop your chest forward between your arms and come into Upward Facing Dog.
  4. Exhale - Press into your hands and lift your hips up to the ceiling coming into Downward Facing Dog.
  5. Inhale - Look between your hands, bend your knees, jump off the balls of your feet and come into a seated position, ready for the next pose. If you can, you want to try and jump your feet through your hands and land softly on your bum. If that's not happening, take 2 jumps instead of 1. Jump your feet to your hands, then jump your legs in front of you and land on your bum.

You'll do this vinyasa in Ashtanga yoga classes and in other yoga classes too, such as Jivamukti. There's even a style of yoga called "Vinyasa" (also called "Flow"), that involves doing vinyasas between poses, and that's how it got its name.

Check out this video of a guy doing the LIFT back to Chaturanga without even touching the ground. Those are some serious core muscles!

Tagged with: yoga, fitness

Stretch It: Sleeping Shoulder Stretch

Posted By Fitness on Jan 22, 2007 at 12:15PM

People are always asking me "What's a great way to open your shoulders?" Have I got the stretch for you . . .

  • Start in a seated position on your mat with your legs extended straight out in front of you.
  • Bring one arm at a time behind your back so your fingertips are facing away from you.
  • Begin to walk your hands further away from your head, trying (if you can) to keep your arms and hands in a straight line behind your shoulders.
  • Go as far as you feel comfortable and hold for 5 or 10 breaths (or longer if you love it).
  • SLOWLY walk your hands back in - come to lie down on your back, hugging both knees into your chest and wrapping your arms around your shins to release your lower back and your shoulders.
  • Intense, isn't it? Intensely amazing, I think.