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    5 Desert Poses

    Here are 5 poses which will remind you of the desert.  Whether you are reading a book about deserts, are lost in a desert right now, or plan on camping out in a desert real soon, these poses will get you pumped up and feeling good about the occasion.  Do them preferably in order and remember, you can always add more or repeat the cycle a few times.

    Rabbit Pose:  This pose helps alleviate stress in the shoulders and neck. It stretches the back and spine.  This pose is great for headaches, sinus problems, and even insomnia. 

    How to:  Sit on your shins, bend forward and rest the top of your head on the mat in front of your knees. Grasp your fingers together behind your back, roll the shoulders down the back, away from the ears, then lift your arms over your head. Breathe deeply, then reverse the clasp of your hands and stay here for 5 more breaths.

    Snake Pose:  This pose is a good counter stretch to Rabbit pose.  It stretches and strengthens the back, arms, and shoulders.  It opens up our chest and heart.

    How to:  Lie down on your belly with your feet together and legs straight, like a strong snake tail.  Place hands next to your shoulders, palms down.  Press down, lifting your chest off the ground.  Breathe deeply for the count of five and then lower the chest back down to the floor.

    Fox Pose (really Downward Dog Pose):  This pose is great for strengthening the arms, wrists and shoulders. It stretches your back and legs.  You can run in place, which is great cardio-vascular exercise.  This inverted pose is also good for energizing the body and calming the brain.

    How to: Start by posing on your hands and knees (like a baby ready to crawl).  Your hands should be shoulder width apart.  Lift your seat up into the air as if your body is making a triangle, where the floor is one side, your legs are another side, and your arms and back are a third side.  Your booty is an angle, as well as your toes curled under and your hands pressed down to the ground.  Take 5 deep breaths. 

    Prehistoric Desert Sloth: This pose is a great stretch for the back and legs.  It alleviates stress which accumulates in the shoulders and neck. 

    How to:  From Fox/Dog pose, walk your feet towards your hands.  Then, lift your hands from the floor and let them hang, as well as your head and neck.  Your legs should be straight and your whole upper body should be dangling from your hips.  Stay in this pose for a few deep breaths to get the best stretch for your body.  This is not a stretch you should do quickly.  When done, slowly lift your upper body-stacking one vertebrate at a time until you are standing straight and tall.

    Hawk or Eagle Pose: This pose is great for balance and stability.  It helps one feel confident and happy, and can exert enough energy where you will feel heat rising from your body.

    How to: From a standing position, cross one ankle over the other  Extend your arms out in front of you and cross them over your wrists.  Turn your thumbs down to the floor, so your palms are facing each other and interlace your fingers.  Bring your clasped hands toward your body, resting them on your sternum.  Breath deeply.  For an added challenge, try crossing your front leg over and wrapping it around the calf of your other leg. You should be balancing on one leg.  Also, bend forward and try to touch your legs with your arms.  Feel the heat.


    Children have the best imaginations and you can, too with this desert adventure.  It's a great little break from sitting and reading or driving long distances, such as a road trip.  Tell a story about being in the desert and about coming across these animals.  Do the poses while you talk about the adventure, adding in details whenever needed.  For example, "Did you know that rattlesnakes don't lay eggs like other snakes?  Or that the biggest sloth on Earth was the prehistoric sloth which lived in the Southwest deserts of the United States millions of years ago. It was the size of a bear!  Have fun while stretching and feeling fit.







    5 Poses for 5 O'Clock

    Here are five great poses to do at 5 o'clock.  Nope, it doesn't matter if it's 5 o'clock in the morning or evening.  It's 5 o'clock somewhere, right? We like to call this sequence of poses the Dogsled races.  They're fun, a bit challenging, and get our heart and body ready for the day.  Do them alone and pretend you are practicing for the races, or do them with your pals, or imaginary pack of dogs.  Ready, set, go.

    Downward Dog: Strengthens and stretches shoulders, back, and legs.  This pose also strengthens the wrists and arms.  If you lift each leg up for a count of 4 to 5 breaths, you will get an extra core workout.

    Upward Dog:  This pose strengthens the abs, back, legs, arms, and wrists.  This pose also gives you energy.  Try doing a few Downward Dog and Upward Dog poses (going back and forth) and then move into Runner's pose after downward dog.

    Runner's Pose: From Downward Dog, lift a leg and bring it under your belly and place it between your hands so that your hands and foot are aligned with the foot sandwiched between the hands.  In the photo below, the right leg is not completely in position, as you will notice. Remember to do both sides.

    Half Moon:  This pose is great for indigestion, anxiety, and releasing stress.  Make sure that you do it on both sides and spend some time in the pose breathing...deep breaths.  Though the photo isn't exact, it's a good photo to show the expectations when doing these poses with young children.  The idea is to get children to love yoga, not to spend so much time on the correct posture and position. Try lifting the hand closest to the big toe up to the sky (twist). 

    Mountain Pose: Whether you stand with your hands by your side or your hands in the air, the idea is to spend a few moments in mountain pose breathing.  Try standing on your tippy toes for a challenge.  Or even more challenging-look up into the sky while standing still on your tippy toes.  Mountain pose is great for posture, core strength, and confidence.  You are ready to take on the day!


    Feel the Burn

    There are some yoga poses or workouts that you just know are working, because you can feel the heat that your body is emitting.  It's not enough to start a fire, but it's enough to warm you up and give your body a boost of energy and adrenaline.  They may even increase your metabolism. Sometimes people just want to know that work is being done when they are doing yoga.  They want to feel the heat!  So, here are a few poses to get your inner heater turned on and maybe even break a sweat (and if you don't, no worries...you are still getting a good stretch and strengthening your muscles).  Alrighty, here it goes!

    Plank Pose-Why not start with this one in the morning. Wake those lazy bones up.  You won't be moving much...just a plank....and breath.

    Boat Pose-Turn over and sit down with your legs bent and straight out in front of you. Your feet should be flat on the floor with knees bent.  Hands can be to the side or behind you.  Then, lift your feet off the ground and pretend to row with your hands.  Feel the burn in your belly...and don't forget to breathe.  Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. 

    Superman/Super Girl Pose-This pose is also called Locust Pose.  Lie on your belly and keep your legs and arms straight.  Arms can be straight out in front of you or by your side.  Then, lift your legs (keeping them strong and straight), and arms, as well as your chest, shoulders, neck, and head.  This is a good counter stretch after boat pose.

    Bow Pose-While still in Superman pose, reach around and grab your lifted feet and bend them towards your head.  This will really stretch your belly.

    Mouse pose-Take a break in mouse pose to feel  your breath in your belly.  Inhale slowly, exhale slowly. Relax.

    Warrior I, II, III-Do these poses in sequence, spending time in each pose.  Take 5 deep breaths before moving into the next pose.  Also, don't forget to do the sequence with the opposite foot forward.  We always want to balance out our bodies.

    Twisted Chair Pose-Sitting in a real chair doesn't do much, but PRETENDING to sit in a chair will get your heart beat going and boost your metabolism.  Press your palms together (in a prayer position) and twist your body to the left......breath......go back to center and twist to the right.  Don't forget to breath. 

    Eagle Pose-This pose will get your body energized and you will probably feel the heat lifting off your head. 

    I always like to throw in a few jumping jacks or frog jumps either before or after, to get my heart pumping lots and lots of oxygen to my body.  I feel awake and alive.  This is a good replacement for coffee.