• Yoga for Back Pain Relief: An Easy 20 Minute Sequence

    Do you have back pain? You’re not alone. Most of us will suffer from it at some point in our lives. If you’re experiencing back pain now and looking for some relief this short, simple yoga sequence will help release your tense back and get the blood flowing to those muscles again.  You’ll find that this class will not only ease your back pain but will also help you feel good all over and give you a renewed sense of energy.  Scroll down to the bottom of the post to watch the video and practice along with Kino or look at the pictures and read the descriptions to practice on your own.

    Cat Cow Pose

    Let’s start with Cat Cow Pose. To do this pose, start on all fours with your wrists directly below your shoulders and your knees hip-width apart. Inhale as you drop your belly toward the floor and look up. Then exhale as you round your spine upward and tuck in your chin, looking down at your navel. Continue flowing between these two positions. Inhale drop your belly and arch your back and exhale round your spine and tuck your chin. Do this for five breaths.

    Downward Facing Dog

    Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog helps stretch out tight hamstrings, calves, and Achilles tendons. This pose is one of the most popular in yoga because it feels so good when done correctly!

    Begin in a tabletop position. Place your hands shoulder-width apart and tuck your toes under. Exhale and lift your hips up and back. Keep your head between your arms. Release your heels toward the floor. Try to evenly distribute your weight between your hands and feet.  Hold for five breaths, then release back to tabletop.

    Child’s Pose

    Child’s Pose helps to lengthen and stretch the spine while releasing tension in the neck and shoulders. To perform Child’s Pose start on all fours with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and knees hip-width apart. Slowly lower your hips to your heels. Stretch your arms out in front of you. Stay here for five breaths.

    Low Lunge

    Starting from downward facing dog, step your right foot forward between your hands. Sink your back knee down to the ground. Point your back toe. Lift your ribs up and out of the pelvis. Reach your hands up over your head. Hold for five breaths.

    Sphinx Pose

    Sphinx pose strengthens your back while stretching the muscles in your abdomen and chest. Lie on your stomach. Come up onto your elbows with your forearms on the floor pointing straight out in front of you. Your elbows should be aligned directly beneath your shoulders. Relax your back muscles. Hold for five breaths before releasing.

    Puppy Pose

    Puppy pose helps to stretch and open up the chest, as well as release tension in the lower back. To do puppy pose, start on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees hip-width apart. Slide your hands forward on the ground allowing your head to come toward the floor. Keep your hips up and tuck your chin toward your chest. Place your forehead on the floor. Stay here for five breaths.

    Yoga Squat

    Yoga squat releases tense low back muscles. To do the pose, come into a squatting position with your feet wider than your hips. Try to keep your heels on the floor. If you can’t use a rolled-up blanket or towel under your heels to support them. Lengthen through the back. Bring your hand together in prayer position in front of you. Hold the position for five deep steady breaths.

    Reclining Fish Pose with Blocks

    In this version of reclining fish pose, we’ll use blocks to give your back and head support. To do this pose, place one block lengthways in the second position and the other block in the highest position at the top of the first block. You’re setting the blocks up to support your spine and head. Now slowly lie back on the blocks. Bring your arms out to the sides, and relax in the pose for five breaths.

    Constructive Rest

    Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor about hip-width apart. Let your knees fall in toward each other. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Notice your breath. Stay here as long as you like and relax.

    Watch the video below with Kino to do the whole practice with her. Remember, always consult with a doctor before starting any new exercise routine. And be sure to modify any of these poses as needed depending on your own individual body and needs. With a little bit of practice, you should start to feel relief from your back pain in no time! Namaste.



  • 29 Reasons to Start a Yoga Practice

    Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence. When the mind has settled, we are established in our essential nature, which is unbounded Consciousness. Our essential nature is usually overshadowed by the activity of the mind. – Patanjali

    The ancient practice of yoga can be traced back thousands of years. Since its beginnings in northern India, it has spread throughout the world and has morphed into many different styles formed from the ideas of many different gurus, but all of yoga still has something important in common—its benefits.

    No matter how old you are or what kind of physical condition your find yourself in there is a yoga style that suits you. Starting a practice can be a life-changing endeavor that will improve your mental and physical health.

    Here are 30 benefits of yoga to encourage you to start a yoga practice this year.

    Improves sleep

    People who practice yoga regularly report improved quality of sleep. Higher quality sleep helps your body and mind function better throughout the day. People who get a good night’s sleep are more productive and happier.

    Strengthens muscles

    Yoga uses your own body weight to build lean strong muscles at any age. The movements done during a practice activate muscles you may not use regularly in your daily life.

    Increases flexibility

    Getting into all those yoga poses stretches out tight still muscles. Loose flexible muscles are healthy muscles that are less vulnerable to injury.

    Improves mobility

    Mobility is always important but as we age we tend to have issues with mobility and balance that contribute to falling injuries. Older people have some improvements in mobility and balance when they start a regular yoga practice.

    Improves balance

    When you practice yoga, you do balancing postures. These postures don’t just improve balance they also improve foot and ankle strength.

    Decreases depression

    The combination of breathing and movement you do when you practice yoga helps balance hormones and boost the hormones that make you feel good. In turn, this lowers your stress and anxiety helping with depression and general happiness levels.

    Teaches you to live in the present moment

    Yoga is a kind of moving meditation. As you practice you focus on the combination of your movements and breath to stay grounded in the moment.

    Relieves stress and anxiety

    85% of people who practice report that they use yoga for stress relief. It also eases anxiety. Yoga calms the nervous system through the use of deep breathing and movement.

    Motivates you to make other health improvements

    People who practice yoga say that it has motivated them to take further steps to take care of their bodies like eating better and getting additional exercise.

    Eases chronic pain

    The combined benefits of yoga including increased mobility, improved circulation, and decreased inflammation all contribute to relieve chronic pain. Yoga has been found to decrease the pain of conditions like arthritis, low back pain, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain conditions.

    Improves lung capacity

    Yoga connects your breathing to your movements. Deep controlled breathing is part of the practice and as you continue to practice, you’ll find your breath capacity and your ability to control your breath improve.

    Gives you a sense of inner peace

    Yoga teaches you to use breath to help regulate your emotional state. It also helps you feel a deeper connection between yourself and the world around you.

    Builds confidence

    People who practice yoga have more body confidence. The principles of yoga teach you to accept yourself as you are and not to compare yourself to others.

    Improves your posture

    Yoga stretches and lengthens muscles freeing up vertebrae and giving you the ability to stand up straighter.

    Helps you focus

    People who practice yoga as little as 20 minutes per day report that they are better able to focus when performing other tasks and can remember things more easily.

    Reduces inflammation

    After people practice yoga anti-inflammation markers in their blood decrease and pro-inflammatory markers decrease.

    Helps you get in touch with your body

    The regular practice of movement increases body awareness and helps you get in touch with your body in a healthy way.

    Improves circulation

    The movement of your muscles increases blood flow providing your cells with more life-giving oxygen and helping your feel better physically.

    Gives your immune system a boost

    Lowering your stress hormones boosts your immune system helping your body fight disease more effectively.

    Regulates your energy

    You can use yoga to give you a natural boost when you’re feeling tired and to help you unwind at the end of the day.

    Helps you feel good all over

    People who practice consistently report feeling better after completing a practice.

    Boosts your metabolism

    Regular movement practice boosts your metabolism helping your body burn more energy.

    Improves spine health

    In yoga you move your spine in ways you might not in normal daily life, improving circulation to back muscles and the movement of craniosacral fluid.

    Helps you to get to know yourself

    Coming back to the practice again and again teaches you some important lessons about yourself. As you practice you’ll notice the way you approach your practice mirrors the way you approach life.

    Prevents joint deterioration as you age

    The movement yoga requires keeps your joints naturally lubricated and keeps the blood flowing slowing down the breakdown of your joints as you age.

    Improves bone health

    The weight-bearing and balancing postures help improve bone density.

    Drains your lymphatic system

    Your lymphatic system depends on the movements of your muscles to push lymph throughout your body. The way yoga encourages you to move in ways you normally wouldn’t helps push more lymph through your system.

    Lowers blood pressure

    The calming breathing and movement of yoga calms your nervous system and lowers your blood pressure.

    Gives you a sense of belonging

    Yoga is practiced by people all over the world and there is a community of people who are dedicated to the practice. When you start to practice you become part of that community. Attending yoga classes helps connect you to others.

    By Omstars

    Photo by Elina Fairytale from Pexels




  • Yoga for Stress Relief

    When you’re feeling stressed a gentle restorative class or Yin Yoga class can be just what the doctor ordered. If you are particularly stressed out and you aren’t in a situation where you can do a few yoga poses you can try a short mindful breathing exercise to calm your nervous system and soothe your mind.

    Most of us will feel stress at some point in life, but too much stress can damage your health and even shorten your lifespan. No matter what the root of your stress it’s important to find relief. Yoga can provide stress relief when you need it most. You don’t have to do a full hour of practice to get the stress-relieving benefits of the practice. Taking a few minutes to do a couple of poses can make a big difference by calming your nervous system, relaxing tense muscles, and soothing your busy mind.

    What is yoga?

    Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that increases your physical and mental health. When you practice yoga, you use breath along with movement to deepen your mind-body connection.

    Yoga isn’t reserved for people who are already flexible or in shape. Anyone can do it. Poses can be modified to fit any body type or physical ability. You don’t have to wear fancy yoga clothes or have an expensive yoga mat. You only need a willingness to learn.

    Benefits of Yoga

    Stretching and moving your body is good for your muscles. The human body was meant to move around after all.

    Researchers have been studying yoga for years and have found that when practiced even for a few minutes it can lower stress hormone levels.

    Studies have shown that yoga …

    What to do when you’re stressed…

    When you’re feeling stressed a gentle restorative yoga class or Yin Yoga class can be just what the doctor ordered.

    If you are particularly stressed out and you aren’t in a situation where you can do a few yoga poses you can try this short mindful breathing exercise.

    Sit up straight and breathe deeply through your nose. Be sure to breathe from your diaphragm, letting your belly and then your chest expand with each inhale to fill your lungs to capacity. Then slowly exhale through your nose. As you exhale let your muscles relax. Feel the tension flowing out of your body. Focus your mind on the feeling of the air moving through your nostrils. Take 10 slow steady breaths to calm your mind and body.

    When you are in a space where you can do some yoga this 10-minute practice will relax the tension you’re holding in your body and melt away the stress.

    We live in a hectic world, but with yoga on your side, you have the tools to keep stress at bay and walk through this busy world with a calm and steady mind. If you’re ready to start practicing regularly sign up for a 14-day trial with Omstars and find out how an at-home yoga practice can change your life.

    By Omstars

    Sign up for an Omstars membership to take your yoga practice to the next level.

    Click here to start your 14-day free trial today!


    Photo by rishikesh yogpeeth on Unsplash

  • SUP Yoga: Connecting with Self on A Paddle Board

    SUP yoga is a beautiful blend of devotion and meditation. It takes poses from traditional yoga and puts them into a tranquil setting that will calm your mind.

    SUP yoga is a low-intensity, full-body workout that takes you away from distractions. There’s nothing calmer than being out on the water on a board. Doing yoga on a paddle board adds an extra element of challenge to your practice and gives you an opportunity to connect with nature and calm your mind.

    Here’s what you need to get start SUP Yoga:

    1. Flat Paddle Board
    2. Fishing Anchor
    3. Life Jackets
    4. Leash
    5. Waterproof Vest (PFDs)

    Flat Paddle Board

    An inflatable board is preferred for advancing your skill levels on a paddleboard. Choose a board size of more than 35 inches perfect for placing your body. A board with a mount for attaching a camera is perfect for recording all your sessions.

    The length and width of the board matter a lot to practice all types of yogic exercises. A board with a soft surface should be preferred so that you don’t tend to harm your knees and elbows.

    Fishing Anchor

    You will never prefer the idea of moving boards while you are concentrating on practicing yogic positions. An anchor will come in handy in such a situation, just attach it to the board so that it remains tied at one place and prove to be helpful when you want to fix the position of your board and focus on your practice sessions.

    Life Jackets

    A bit out of trend but is the most important gear inside water. You may try your hand at a complex set of exercises which may lead you to face a splash inside the water. Life jackets will be the savior in such a situation but better ace your swimming lessons because it is not wise to risk your life while you are enhancing your skill sets inside water.


    Prefer a board with a leash so that when you might fall, your board takes you along. Attach it carefully to the board and while you immerse yourself in the vicinity of natural beauty over the crystal-clear water, a leash acts as a precautionary measure.

    Waterproof Vest (PFDs)

    Prevention is better than cure and you don’t know when your board tends to lose grip and let you face the splash. A waterproof costume that soaks all the water if you face a fall and let you begin your sessions from the same point where you stopped.

    It’s good to be fashionable but with it following safety measures won’t cost much. Spend on high-quality vests which are a boon for acing water skills.

    Handy Tips to Get You Started

    ● A calm and composed spot where you can relinquish to the tranquillity of natural surroundings is a perfect place to get started. A body of water covered with dense trees would be an added advantage in case you want to save your skin from the wrath of intense rays of the sun.

    ● It is never good to start fast even if you are a pro. Practicing on land and in water comes with huge differences. You might go at a fast pace on land but in water and especially on board never increase your pace because moving slowly also helps you to have a pleasant time.

    ● Find a comfort level with your board because until you ace that comfort level you will tend to lose the grip and fall again and again and it will also affect your pace and you will never experience the full the benefit of SUP yoga.

    ● It’s great to be a soloist, but when you are a newbie, it’s not bad to have an expert guiding you. The yogic experts know how to deal with the challenges of practicing on board and if you take help from the expert in initial sessions you might become an expert in the future as well.

    Health Benefits

    The challenges associated with SUP yoga offer added health benefits. It takes hard work and patience to ace this skill. SUP yoga has a calming effect on mental health and also acts as a stress buster.

    Being away from noises and disturbances instills positive energy in your mind. The balancing technique on the board engages your core and promotes flexibility, concentration, and overall health.

    Your breath is important and yoga is beneficial for improving breathing and circulation. I’ve found SUP to be a life-changing experience.

    Five Handy Points for Beginners

    1. Turn off your mobile phones before getting on the board. Don’t keep it at home because you might need it for emergency situations. Keep it on silent mode or fix it on the mount for capturing some good shots so you can relish the experience later on.

    Don’t move back and forth between your phone and practice sessions. Focus on what you have really decided to practice. You can look at your phone later.

    2. Use sunscreen. The rays of the sun can get pretty intense, especially when you’re on the water. You don’t want to burn out there.

    3. While you might plan your sessions on an empty stomach but that’s not a good idea. It might give you nausea but don’t overload yourself with heavy meals either. Take light meals and plenty of water. You can even keep water bottles inside a SUP cooler attached to your board.

    It’s mandatory to hydrate yourself from time to time. Being under the sun for a maximum amount of time makes your body starve for energy and water or glucose water should be on your list.

    4. It is not advisable to practice every yoga pose on the board. Take into consideration the amount of space you have on your board before you plan a yoga sequence to try.

    Don’t put one leg or hand inside water while keeping the other one on the board. All your body will be fixed on the board, so don’t practice exercises that don’t allow your body to remain fixed on the board.

    Here are some poses you can do on a board:

    A. Seated prayer pose (Relaxes the mind, improves circulation, and strengthens the spine)
    B. Plank yoga pose (Strengthens core, heightens metabolism, and reduces back pain)
    C. Downward facing dog pose (Calms brain, strengthens shoulders, arms, and legs; energizes the body)
    D. Child pose (Releases tensions in back, shoulders, chest; strengthens muscles and tendons)
    E. Crescent lunge (strengthens legs, hips, thighs; opens the front body and balances the body)

    5. Practice makes perfect. Before trying your hand at this fantastic activity on the water practice on your board on land. You can take Youtube classes if you are a newcomer or find a teacher. Once you get a hang of it on land you’ll be ready to get in the water.

    This trendy water workout is not only for fitness enthusiasts and surfers. Anyone who wants to give it a try can.


    Now that you know how to get started you’re ready to experience the calming power of SUP yoga. It is a beautiful blend of devotion, meditation, and expression of power and energy. SUP yoga takes the sequences and positions from traditional yoga and puts them into a different setting. So grab your board, throw your hair in a bun, and just breathe!

    By Kenneth Driscoll

    Kenneth Driscoll is an expert paddleboarding enthusiast and a yoga lover. He loves to find locations for his adventures, and meet new people who have similar passions. He has been working with various outdoor activities and yoga publications online and offline, providing them quality and meticulous content catering to the range of informative articles. He is a fun-loving and ambitious person who likes to grab every opportunity to have an adventurous experience. Currently, he is working in inflatable paddleboard blogs and online publications.

    Photo by Daniel Frank on Unsplash.

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  • Top Three Yin Yoga Postures to Relieve Stress

      Puppy Pose is perfect for stretching out tired shoulders and tight lower back muscles. Supta Baddha Konasana is a therapeutic pose that allows your mind and body to truly relax and heal. Viparita Karani is the ultimate pose for all over stress relief and healing.  

    Puppy Pose

    Puppy Pose is perfect for stretching out tired shoulders and tight lower back muscles. A nice long hold in this asana helps relieve tension in the body and mind. Start off in table top pose and then slowly extend the arms forward. Align the hands as close together as possible. Exhale as you send the top of the forehead towards the ground. Be sure the hips are slightly open and that your body weight is evenly distribute between the hands and legs. Stay for minimum five breaths but up to a few minutes. To deepen the pose, try sending your chest towards the ground instead of your forehead (but avoid pressing too much weight on to the chin).

    Supta Baddha Konasana

    Supta Baddha Konasana is a therapeutic pose that allows your mind and body to truly relax and heal. Start off in Constructive Rest pose with your sacrum resting on the ground. Place two blocks wider than your hips width apart. Exhale as you send your knees outwards and rest your thighs on the blocks. If you need a little extra support for your back, use a bolster under the spine. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Hold the pose for a minimum of 30 seconds but up to five minutes.

    Viparita Karani

    Viparita Karani is the ultimate pose for all over stress relief and healing. To practice this pose, lie on your back and slowly fold your legs in towards your chest. Extend the legs upwards, engage your quadriceps and point your toes. Relax your shoulders and be sure that your sacrum is pressing into the ground. If it’s uncomfortable to lift the legs in the air, then rest your legs and feet against the wall. Hold for minimum 30 seconds, but up to five minutes. This pose is great for long days of standing, sitting or walking. Viparita Karani calms the nervous systems and helps your body and mind release tension.

    Start your 14-day Free Trial with Omstars Today!

    By Kino MacGregor

    Practice LIVE with Kino MacGregor on Omstars!

    International yoga teacher, Kino MacGregor has over 20 years of experience in Ashtanga yoga & 18 years of experience in Vipassana Meditation. She is one of a select group of people to receive the certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga & practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. With over 1 million followers on Instagram & over 500,000 subscribers on YouTube & Facebook, she spreads the message of yoga around the world. To Kino, yoga is more than making shapes. It is a daily ritual where people tune deeply into their spiritual center & experience the peace of the Eternal Divine. Her goal is to make the tools of traditional yoga accessible for all different sizes, shapes, ethnicities, & ages. She believes yoga is truly for everyone. Learn more from and connect with Kino on Instagram!

  • Moon Day – March 21st Full Moon

    It brings me great joy to offer you our very first Omstars Moon Day Blog Series! I’m nervous, scared, excited, and all things – but you know what?! I decided that I have to do this for myself and not behave the way my mind would want to. It feels good to shed some new skin, push out of our boundaries and shake up what we’re used to doing.

    T he Full Moon enters Libra Wednesday, March 20 at 9:43 PM EST. It’s a rare and powerful event as the Super Moon and Equinox land on this same day. The Equinox in the sign of Aries is about questioning what’s important to us as we connect to our hearts and co-create our reality. Do we want what we see or do we want something different, maybe new? Open to the real potential of you living your wildest dreams.

    We end a cycle most recently with the Sun moving through Pisces that was finishing, closing, wrapping things up from the previous year making way for this time. It’s a culmination of all the inner-work that is going to manifest socially in our relationships and the world. Libra full moon is a time to bring fairness, balance, and right relationships into our lives. Major life issues may come up for transformation and resolution. Significant aspects of your shadow may emerge to be integrated, loved, or acknowledged. Significant challenges may arise for you to change your trajectory to align you with your highest timeline and potential.

    The super full moon in Libra highlights relationships, with restoring the balance of energy shared and given. Pay attention to what comes up for transformation, healing, and resolution. Ease of opportunity to show you a whole new way to show up in your relationships. How do you balance giving and connecting while taking the time to nurture, uplift and support yourself? Go within your practice (meditation, yoga, outdoors), so you can develop and bring greater love and awareness to all relationships. Through this, there is potential for flourishing connections and for the ones out of balance they may fall away. Use your awareness to observe from a place of non-duality. Recognize where the relationship is giving you opportunities to learn and grow. See where it is mirroring to you something about yourself and how you can expand into your higher divine self.

    This year, the equinox point is conjunct Chiron. This conjunction stands out because it is very close together. Chiron is a symbol of holistic healing. It means that 2019 will be the year of holistic healing. The Northern Equinox conjunct Chiron implies that at a collective and individual level, this year we will have the opportunity to restore our wholeness. No matter what needs healing in your life, in the coming year you have the chance to regain your balance and become whole again finally. In these alignments, an opportunity to access higher realms and dimensions of spirit by an influx of divine crystalline light assisting and supporting you in embodying the next level of your highest divine truth. There is a new potential in how we can live our life. We’ve seen the possibility of what we could do, have, and become. It’s a process of rapid reorganization with what no longer serves us. We will have to go down into the lower world and face what’s in there. We will have to open ourselves to the mysteries of the upper world and embrace the unknown. Yes, the journey will not be easy, but it will be worth it. There is no greater gift than restoring one’s wholeness.

    We are not alone as Chiron is also a symbol for mentors, so you can expect to find a mentor that will steer your life in the right direction. You may also find yourself traveling to holy sites to receive messages and spiritual growth. Emotional maturity and connecting with our hearts will enable us to speak our truth. The true you always existed, and now it wants to be living in your physical character, personality, and actual life. Cosmic Service will be more prevalent to raise the consciousness of humanity.

    Get somewhere with a good view low to the eastern horizon at dusk on March 20th. A pale orange moon will appear due east, and quickly become pale yellow. It’s golden for a few minutes if there are clear skies. If not, you’ll have to wait for 29 days until the next one. That’s half the fun.

    I wish you clear skies and wide eyes!

    By Danielle Hicks

    Danielle Hicks is an adventurer, writer, creator, and explorer of the unknown. RYT-200hr and longtime yoga practitioner, she came to Ashtanga Yoga right before embarking on a year-long van-life journey two years ago. Danielle is on cloud nine as she is an apprentice, assisting, and guiding others in their Mysore style practice at The Yoga Shala in Orlando, Florida. A zany magnetic off-beat intuitive Danielle is learning to share and embrace her side of the inner world. Cultivation of her fruits will be gifts to share as she is on the verge of something new. To read more about Danielle’s journey go here: elfeatheryoga.com @el.feather.yoga

  • 6 Reasons Why Yoga is Essential for Mountain Bikers

    Here at Omstars, we truly believe that yoga is for every one, and we love sharing new information about how yoga can help make your life better. We recently spoke with avid mountain biker, Sophie Elise, who was more than happy to share her list of reasons why yoga is super beneficial to mountain bikers and other athletes who are looking for something to add to their regular routine. If you’re a mountain biker who is curious about yoga, take a look at all the reasons why you might want to finally give yoga a try.

    Regardless of your reason for riding, if you’re a mountain biker, then yoga has massive benefits for you. You all know that yoga is about flexibility, right? Plus, it can help you maintain mental alertness.

    Many people think they’re not flexible enough for yoga, but the fact of the matter is, you don’t need to be flexible. Yoga is what’s going to help you become more flexible. In fact, even just taking a few stretches every so often will help enhance resilience.

    So, why do mountain bikers need yoga?

    1. It will help you improve breathing

    Yoga emphasizes the importance of proper and conscious breathing. The benefits of proper include increased focus and physical strength. To experience this, take the breathing techniques you learn through yoga and practice them as you ride.

    Focusing on your breathing as you ride makes you avoid external distractions and instead concentrate fully on the riding activity. The fact that it increases your lung capacity makes you able to ride on those mountains for a longer period of time.

    Correct breathing releases tension and stress from your body.  It will help you sleep better and thereby have sufficient rest.

    You see, negative mental images and thoughts can be a part of our daily experience. As a rider, you might experience panic and develop negative images that affect your race or play up your fears. Especially when taking on new tasks and challenges.

    Thanks to yoga, breathing consciously is the easy way to stay in the moment and avoid the stresses that your mind might create.

    1. You develop physical strength and flexibility

    Most people think that yoga just means stretching. That is certainly not the case! A well rounded yoga practice will help in strengthening your body and your mind as well. Mountain bikers who practice in yoga are less likely to become tired after the ride, and they are less susceptible to injuries.

    You see, after riding, most bikers develop stiff quads, tight hamstrings, shoulders and sometimes even painful thoracic spine. This is a result of the sitting position and repetitive pedalling for movement. If you don’t cater to these problems they could potentially bring your days of riding to an end.

    Yoga is a life saver because it stretches all those tight muscles and ultimately helps to keep them strong. Even if you’re new to yoga, you could engage in simple practices like any of the beginner’s series’ available on Omstars.com.

    You’ll be stronger and more flexible before you know it!

    1. For quicker recovery and balance

    When you stay for long hours pedalling on your bike, your whole body becomes tight, making recovery much more difficult. After a long day’s ride, yoga will help you relax and get rejuvenated for your next ride. Plus, yoga reduces the production of cortisol in your body which leads to proper sleep and rest.

    Recovery is an essential part of any exercise. It will help you to reduce tension and pain. With proper recovery, it gets easy to identify areas of massive tension to focus on. Yoga will give you the quick body recovery you need after a ride.


    Maintaining a hunched back over your bars will make you lose balance over time.  When doing yoga, consider poses that help you regain balance. The arm balances and one-legged standing poses can help with that. The benefits of these sort of poses include proper coordination, a strong core and injury protection.

    1. Enhanced riding flexibility

    A mountain biker requires flexibility because biking is a whole-body workout. Moreover, you need massive strength and endurance to peddle on mountains. Flexibility will make controlling your bike easy. Especially when riding on hilly and rough roads.

    Yoga can help you increase flexibility and enhance your overall comfort as you move. A flexible body means you’ll be able to move smoothly as you ride. It’s easy to protect injuries with a flexible body because your muscles are less likely to pull or put stress on your joints.

    Other than that, yoga can really help you to understand the inner workings of your body, leading to more body awareness. Having a deeper understanding of your body can make all the difference in the world.

    1. Prevents injuries

    Bikers get injured every so often. Sometimes it might be impossible to avoid an injury, while other times, you can. Yoga could help you avoid muscle injuries that result from long rides or falls.

    With yoga practice, you stretch your muscles and lubricate your joints, creating more ease of movement and making it easier to avoid muscle injury.

    While sometimes you can’t avoid the fall, it’s possible to protect yourself. Considering you have increased flexibility from your yoga practice, you might be able to react in a way that reduces the impact of a fall, ultimately reducing the impact of the injury.

    1. Improved focus

    Mountain bikers need to focus during their ride. While focusing comes naturally when engaging in various forms of exercise or activity, sometimes your brain starts to wander. Yoga helps you learn to focus on one thing at a time.

    It teaches you how to stay fully present in the moment. Most yoga teachers encourage their students to avoid mind wandering, offering focus-related techniques that will teach you how to stay present. Riders need focus to win a competition, reach targets and even just avoid injuries.

    I can’t emphasize enough how beneficial yoga is to mountain bikers. In fact, yoga is a great complimentary practice for all athletes to consider. If you’re new to yoga, take a look at the many beginner options offered through Omstars.com. And if you’re new to mountain biking, you can find affordable bikes by clicking here.

    By Sophie Elise

    Sophie Elise is a passionate cyclist, author, and blogger. She is very passionate about writing on different types of women’s bikes, accessories, health, fitness and more. She regularly writes on sportsly.net

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  • Entering Motherhood? How Yoga Can Help You Prepare

    Prenatal yoga has come to help many women through pregnancy, birth, and being with their newborns. It can help you feel less frightened about motherhood by helping you become aware of the intense connection you have with your baby already; when you’re able to understand and feel that connection, there is no greater power. Plus, there are poses that can be done safely at any stage of your pregnancy, and it helps you relax, which puts the baby inside of you more at ease.

    Practicing Meditation

    Meditating involves creating stillness throughout your entire being. Usually, this type of stillness only occurs when you sleep, but it’s important to commit to plenty of stillness when you’re pregnant. A yoga practice can assist you in your quest to find peace and tranquility within, and it is the gateway to creating a stronger meditation practice.

    Additionally, yoga relaxes the space of refuge in which your baby resides, and helps you to send warm, energetic love to your little one. If you are able to spiritually tune in, you can really sense your baby. That awareness makes you feel incredible love and knowing. We already know that baby can hear music, so it must be true that they can sense the love and safety you are sending them.

    Yoga Helps You Gain Strength for Child Birth

    While the poses you do in yoga are gentle, they do slowly build up your strength at a deep level. You will need to withstand a great deal of pain during your delivery. As you know, labour can be a marathon and it’s very hard on the body. The baby also goes through this intense process with you. When you’re more relaxed due to physical and mental strength, you are more able to focus on the intention of bringing your baby peacefully into the world.

    Giving Yourself Space to Connect with the Baby

    Yoga and mindfulness are deeply connected. When you practice yoga and breathe into the poses, you can also mentally breathe loving energy and thoughts to your baby. Taking time out to be with your baby and connect with him or her at a deep level is good practice. There are a lot of unknowns when you’re entering motherhood. Feeling the energy within you and getting to know your baby before it arrives makes it a lot less scary, and helps you relax into the process.

    Your Baby Connects with Yoga

    When you go into certain poses, it’s actually helpful for your baby. Downward dog is an example of this. When you go into a pose that puts you upside down and takes pressure off your organs, you may also be putting your baby upside down.

    The direct benefits don’t occur until you attend mom and baby yoga later, but your baby will have remembered the feeling of being upside down and will respond well in the yoga class. It’s not such a foreign idea for your baby because you’ve already put them in similar position.

    The Benefit of Yogic Breathing

    Breathing deeply is going to calm you down and help you feel more relaxed emotionally, physically, and mentally. The baby feels everything so when you can relax, you give baby the safe space it needs. Certain breaths can help to slow down your heart rate so your body naturally relaxes. Your heartbeat is the soundtrack your baby hears over and over. Offer baby soothing music.

    To practice breathing for the time you’ll be going into labour, you want to be well versed in your breathing techniques. Deep breathing into the belly and the chest mimic some of the breathing you’ll need to do for when you’re in labour.

    Gaining an Awareness of the Body

    Yoga helps you get to the point where you know your body well. You understand what is tense and what areas are loose and relaxed. If you practice even just a little every day, you can put out fires in the body and ensure that all tension is released. You also become aware of the emotional tension that arises which is important when you’re pregnant. Many expecting moms have a lot of anxiety.

    Yoga and the act of mindfulness allow you to gain better insight into why the anxiety is there. You can sit with discomfort and still live with an open heart. The beautiful part of it is you can look to your unborn child and find peace. This takes some practice but it really helps you find the courage to relax into your future.

    The Baby and Mom Connection

    Many times, women will experience deep depression and anxiety once the baby is born. They will feel terrified that they won’t do the right things. If you experience post-partum depression, it can become a terrible cycle of loneliness and terror. This is where yoga really helps an expecting mom.

    Yoga helps create strength within you at all levels. When the baby does come, you’ll be able to find the strength and peace within yourself. You will understand that you’re never alone and that you are always connected to the source, the spirit, the higher energy. When you can be the peace for your baby, you are contributing to his or her sense of security too. You can accept when something didn’t go quite right that you are both learning and are just humans. You let go of imperfection which can be a major source of your anxiety.

    Maybe your baby has eating problems, experiences discomfort or doesn’t sleep well. Self-blame doesn’t improve the situation. Be in the moment, relax into it and remember what you developed within your yoga class.

    By Meera Watts

    Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of SiddhiYoga.com, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali)

    Meera Watts yoga teacher, prenatal yoga article


    Try Prenatal Yoga On OMstars


  • 4 Benefits of Yoga for Runners

    Are you a runner? Did you know that a yoga practice can actually be really good for balancing and improving your experience with running? We know a lot about yoga here at OMstars, but to help shed light on the AMAZING benefits that yoga can offer to runners, we reached out to sports enthusiast, Jane Grates. In this post, Jane will be sharing 4 benefits that yoga can offer for runners, and we think you’ll like them. So if you’re a runner who’s looking for ways to improve, or if you’re already considering yoga as a means of cross-training, check out what Jane has to say!

    When you talk to runners, it’s a near-universal truth that all they want to do is run. If given the option between running for 40 minutes or doing a 30-minute run, followed by a 10 minute full-body cross-training routine, such as yoga, I’d wager that 9 runners out of 10 would prefer to just run. This line of thinking is with good reason, too; runners think that in order to become a better runner — faster, stronger, healthier, fitter — that they have to simply run more.

    The issue, of course, is that sometimes exclusively running can set runners up for injuries and over time, if left uncorrected, they can inadvertently sideline themselves. It’s often not until  runners are sidelined due to injury that they begin to cross-train in earnest — such as incorporating a weekly or near-daily yoga routine — and it’s then, and only then, that they finally begin to see the light.

    Fortunately, as yoga has gotten more mainstream and popular, it seems that many runners are slowly becoming aware of the role yoga can play in their running. Of course, yoga can do a number for runners’ mental game — teaching them how to focus, how to remain present, and how to quiet internal doubts, among others — but yoga can also do great things for runners’ flexibility.

    Runners tend to become really strong in certain muscle groups and very weak or tight in others, thanks to the tendency to run in only plane of motion and for most runners, at only one speed. Yoga, then, has a great role to play in essentially “balancing out” runners’ muscular imbalances. For many runners, they may have quads of steel, but their hamstrings are likely extraordinarily tight and/or weak. Yoga can do wonders for this issue or for others like it.

    Below, I’ll describe in additional detail, more benefits of yoga for runners. Afterward, I’ll also include good yoga poses that runners should incorporate into their practice.

    Some benefits of yoga for runners include the following:

    Yoga can help runners learn how to focus. Yoga is often described as a meditative practice, and similarly, many people refer to running as moving meditation. It’s common for runners’ minds to go all over the place when they’re running and to sometimes give up when the going gets tough. Yoga can help runners learn how to focus by figuring out how to stay in the present moment (or the present mile, for the matter) and not get ahead of themselves or fear the future. There’s a lot of quiet downtime in a yoga practice, particularly if you practice by yourself as you move through the sequences, and it’s from these quiet moments that runners can cultivate a renewed or stronger ability to focus.

    Yoga can help runners learn how to stay calm. Closely related to the above, yoga can also help runners learn how to stay calm. Both running and yoga can be meditative and cathartic practices, but sometimes running can become extremely stressful, such as in racing environments or in really tough practices. A lot of times, you’ll hear runners complaining that their minds gave up on them before their bodies did. Sports psychologists will attribute this to a lack of mental fitness — as opposed to physical fitness — and yoga, with its associated opportunities to focus on the single, solitary moment or present — can do wonders in cultivating a sense of calmness, even amongst the cacophony of modern-day life.

    Yoga can help rectify muscular imbalances brought about by running. As I mentioned earlier, runners often become very strong athletes. More often than not, though, they become very strong in some areas — such as their quads — and very weak in others — such as their hamstrings, glutes, or iliotibial bands. An effective yoga practice can help rectify these imbalances and can essentially “even out” runners’ musculature. Runners don’t need to be as flexible as gymnasts, necessarily, but being sufficiently flexible and having a healthy range of motion will enable runners to derive as much power and force out of their foot strikes and strides throughout their runs.  That said, it behooves runners to be at least a little flexible.

    Yoga can be a powerful way to strengthen runners’ core musculature. Finally, runners often spend a good amount of time strengthening their core muscles — those found in their abdominals, back, and trunk — and yoga is a very efficient and effective way to strengthen core musculature. There are many different types of poses that target various parts of the “core,” and runners would greatly benefit from incorporating these different moves/poses into their practice each week.

    In addition to all the benefits that yoga confers for runners, it’d be worthwhile to know exactly which ones are most pertinent to runners’ needs. While there are seemingly hundreds of different types of yoga poses out there, the following poses can be especially effective for runners.

    They include the following:

    1. Triangle
    2. Low lunge/lizard
    3. Bridge
    4. Pigeon – reclining or standard
    5. Upward/downward dog

    Runners have so much to gain from yoga, and hopefully with a little insistence and urging on your part, they’ll begin to see for themselves just how much a regular routine can enhance their running.

    By Jane Grates

    Give Yoga A Try On OMstars – The Yoga Network!

    Jane Grates is a Sports enthusiast and a hiker. Making at the intersection of simplicity and function to craft delightful brand experiences.