Living with Harmony ~ A Blog for your Mind & Body

Yoga Poses to Relieve Back Pain

Posted in How-To,Mats - Yoga / Pilates / Exercise,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Yoga Pose,Yoga Strap by Harmony on December 14, 2010

Many people suffer from chronic back pain. This video will teach us how to do three yoga poses that will help relieve our pain. The poses are: Reclining Big Toe, Standing Twist, and Legs Up the Wall. If practiced daily, you are sure to see some results.

Before following along with this video, gather your yoga mat, two yoga blankets, a yoga strap, and finally a folding chair (or straight-back chair).
Back Pain:
Yoga – Postures To Help Relieve Back Pain


Pain in the Neck? Roll a Blanket

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket by Harmony on November 30, 2010

Here’s a quick fix to get that kink out of your neck.  All you’ll need is a yoga blanket.  We offer several for you to choose from:

Crick Fixes Asana Sequence – Yoga Journal

By Barbara Benagh

Neck Blanket Stretch

Roll a blanket into a firm, even cylinder large enough to wedge between the base of your skull and the tops of your shoulder blades. Lie back over the roll so it gently stretches your neck; the roll should wedge just under the occipital ridge at the back of your skull and support your neck and your first few upper back vertebrae. Keeping your knees bent, place both palms on your forehead, fingers pointing toward the crown of your head, and bring your elbows close to each other. Close your eyes and tune in to your breath, feeling how its rhythm creates subtle movement. Notice areas in your neck, shoulders, and upper back that seem dense, dull, and resistant to the breath’s wavelike action, and invite them to relax against the blanket roll. As your muscles begin to release, slide your shoulder blades away from your skull; you may want to repeat this movement several times as your muscles continue to relax. Remain on the roll for up to five minutes, then remove it and continue to lie on your back for a few breaths, tuning in to the sensations in your neck, shoulders, and upper back.

For nine more poses to practice to reduce neck tension, see the entire sequence from Yoga Journal’s website.

Shoulder Stand with a Yoga Blanket

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket by Harmony on November 23, 2010

In the following 5-minute long video you’ll learn how to do a supported shoulder stand using a wall and the full pose. In both poses, she’ll show us how to do the shoulder stand using a yoga blanket under the shoulders.

You may wish to practice this by also wrapping your yoga mat over the top of the blanket as well. By doing this, your elbows will be on a non-slip surface and it may make it a little easier to hold your pose without your elbows sliding away from one another.

We offer several yoga blankets. The Classic Mexican Yoga blanket offers a looser weave, is a little lighter weight, and a few inches smaller then the Premiums. The Premium Mexican Yoga blanket and the Thunderbird blanket are a tighter weave, offering a slightly firmer support, in addition to be larger than the Classic. And, finally, the Mat Size Yoga blanket is the size of a standard yoga mat, which is great for someone who is looking for a little support or cushioning and a blanket that is easy to fit in a mat bag and carry to class.

A Guided Meditation with an Anusara Yogi

Posted in How-To,Meditation,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Zafus/Zabutons by Harmony on November 22, 2010

Before listening and watching the following 8+ minute video, find a quiet spot to sit comfortably with an erect spine. This video is by an English Anusara yogi and would be a beautiful Savasana meditation to do as well at the end of your yoga practice.

If you will be sitting cross-legged on the floor or earth, and if your knees are higher than your hips, Bridget suggests tucking a blanket under both of your knees to allow you to fully and deeply relax your inner thighs during this meditation practice. Another option would be to sit higher. How high would depend on how high your knees are – you may just need to sit on a yoga blanket, or your may prefer to sit on a Zafu. We offer a large selection of Zafus: round or crescent-shaped; regular cotton covers or organic; and cotton, buckwheat or kapok stuffing.

Restorative Yoga : Child's Pose

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Yoga Bolster,Yoga Pose by Harmony on October 26, 2010

Turn Child’s Pose (Balasana) into a true restorative pose that you can hold for 10 minutes or so. By adding props – such as yoga blankets and yoga bolsters – to a pose, we can extend our time in these poses to really maximize on the poses ability to release stress and deepen the stretch slowly.

When setting up the props, evaluate your personal comfort level. If you’re feeling too much tension in an area, add another blanket, pillow, block, or whatever you are using. As you relax deeper and deeper into the pose, you can always remove some of those props as your muscles and joints give in to this lovely gentle stretch.
Balasana Child Pose in Stress Relief Yoga — powered by

Prenatal Yoga – Volume II

The following Prenatal Yoga video using a Yoga Ball is the second in our four-part series. If you missed last week’s video, you may wish to start with that 10-minute video before watching this 9 1/2 minute continuation of this practice offered by Sara Varona.

In today’s practice you will practice doing the ever-so-important-for-pregnancy squats in which you will use the Yoga Ball, but you may also wish to add a Yoga Bolster, Yoga Blocks, or a Yoga Blanket if you struggle with doing squats with your heels flat on the floor. This is also a great time to use Yoga Wedges which will offer that stable, sloped angle to raise your heels and still have the necessary support.

In addition to squats, you will perform some arm-strengthening exercises – perfect practice for carrying your new baby!

Supported Bridge Pose

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Yoga Block,Yoga Pose by Harmony on May 11, 2010

Adding props to your yoga poses will help you to stay in poses for a longer period of time to achieve their benefits. In this example, you’ll be shown how to practice Bridge Pose supported by either a yoga block or a yoga blanket(s). When setting up the block, play with the different heights to see which is most comfortable for you. Sometimes you’ll find you can raise the height after being at a lower level for a few breaths.  Same with the blankets – some days you might want two, other days one blanket may be right for you.

Restorative Yoga – Reclining Hero Pose

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Yoga Block,Yoga Bolster,Yoga Pose by Harmony on March 23, 2010

Hero Pose by Yoga JournalHero Pose can be a real challenge for some of us. Especially if you are an athlete with tight quads (like a cyclist). But I’ve found, that if something is a challenging pose for me that it’s probably the one I should practice more to help balance me out physically.

You can click on this image to visit Yoga Journal’s page on how to do Hero Pose if you’d like.

So, if you are challenged in Hero Pose, the idea of reclining or lying back in this pose can be awfully intimidating. This is where yoga props will be your best friend.

Follow the video to see how you can set up bolsters, blankets, blocks and more to get comfortable in this pose and enjoy it’s benefits.  This is our fourth, and last, video in our Restorative Yoga session.  Well, at least for this month…maybe we’ll add more in the future since props will almost always be used in restorative postures.

Restorative Yoga – Legs up the Wall Pose

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Yoga Bolster,Yoga Pose by Harmony on March 16, 2010

Legs up the Wall Pose is also known as Viparita Kirani in Sanskrit. I’ve mentioned this pose before in another blog post, but for some of us, watching a video is easier than reading step-by-step instructions.  This actress also incorporates a yoga blanket under the spine, which is nice for someone who wants the softness under their spine, wants to use the blanket to open their heart center more, or someone who wants to reduce the backbend in this pose.

The yoga props used in this video are a Yoga Bolster, a Mexican Yoga Blanket, and a wall (or a chair as a substitute – but most of us should have an open wall in our house that could accommodate us in this pose).

This is our third of four Restorative Yoga videos.  Please check last week’s video on how to fold a yoga blanket if you missed it.

Restorative Yoga – How to Fold a Yoga Blanket

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket by Harmony on March 9, 2010

Last week’s Restorative Yoga Video gave us some ideas on how to use yoga props (such as a bolster, blanket, and blocks). This week’s short video reviews the different ways to fold a yoga blanket. As you’ll see, there are several ways to fold a blanket depending on what pose you’ll be doing and how you’ll be using this prop.

Mexican Yoga Blankets can be used for many different reasons:

  • Fold the blanket to sit on to raise the hips in cross-legged positions or during seated forward folds.  Fold once, twice, or three times – depending on your personal needs that day.
  • Folding or rolling lengthwise to place under your spine in supine positions.  This helps to open the chest & heart center when lying down.  Feels great.
  • Lay the blanket open either underneath or on top of you in supine poses.  Cushions and warms so you can relax more deeply.

This video shows several different ways to fold a yoga blanket, which she’ll refer to in our upcoming videos showing specific restorative poses.

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