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Stella Versteeg

Cozy At Home Yoga Sequence

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While staying at home, it can be easy to feel lazy, unmotivated to exercise, eager to eat more than usual or even overwhelmed and stressed about current events. In addition to stress, the weather is cold which lures you into your warm bed, often unwilling to physically challenge yourself in your practice. What if I told you that you can incorporate a slow-paced, restorative yoga sequence into your daily routine which will leave you relaxed and refreshed instead of sore and tired? Restorative yoga sequences usually consist of only a few asanas that are held for a minimum of 5 minutes in order to supply the full benefits of each asana. The following sequence provides a wonderful way to wind down during stressful times and treat your body without feeling exhausted.


1. Child’s Pose

Begin in Child’s Pose, sitting back on your heels with your knees spread apart. Extend your arms in front of you and allow your forehead to rest on the mat. Take a deep inhale and with every exhale, stretch your fingertips even further and let your hips sink down toward the mat. This asana is ideal to practice at the beginning and end of a restorative sequence as it provides a gentle stretch in the lower body while relaxing the upper body and releasing tension. After a few minutes of holding this asana, feel free to try variations. For instance, you can stretch your arms to either side or thread one arm under your torso toward the other side with the other arm extended forward for a deep shoulder stretch.

2. Happy Baby Pose


After you’ve relaxed in Child’s Pose for several minutes, slowly transition to Happy Baby Pose. To do this, walk your fingers toward your torso as you lift your upper body from the mat. Then, untuck your feet from beneath your sit bones and lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Bring your knees into your chest and grip the outsides of your feet or your big tones with your hands. Gently pull your feet outwards so that your knees open wide and you feel a deep stretch in your hips. You can choose to rock side to side for an even deeper release in the groin area or simply find stillness in this asana for a few minutes. With every exhale, allow your knees to drop closer towards the mat and focus on letting go of stress and tensions as you continue to breathe through this deep stretch.

3. Reclining Bound Angle Pose

From the previous asana, release your legs onto the mat with your knees still bent and opened outwards to each side. Make sure to position your feet close to your pelvis Bring the soles of your feet to touch. Remain lying down and allow your arms to rest by your side or on your abdomen. Close your eyes and focus on taking deep breaths for up to 5 minutes in this classic, restorative asana. The benefits include stimulation of the abdominal organs, circulation, and heart as well as a gentle stretch of the thighs and knees.

4. Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose

Transitioning from Reclining Bound Angle Pose, position yourself close to a wall and facing the wall, extend your legs up against it. Your back should remain straight and horizontal with your arms resting wherever they are comfortable. In this asana, your sit bones should be either touching the wall or close to it while supporting your legs and your body should be creating a 90 degree angle. Remain in this position for at least 5 minutes as you continue to breathe deeply and steadily. The benefits of this asana include increased circulation, a deep stretch in the lower back and hamstrings, stress relief, and relaxation of the pelvic floor. To exit this pose, slowly bend your knees and shift them to one side as you come to a seated position.

Step 5. Seated Forward Fold


Begin by sitting on the mat with a straight back and your legs extended in front of you. Feel free to sit on a folded blanket or a bolster for additional support. As you inhale, reach your arms up towards the sky and with a deep exhale, fold your body from your hips as you attempt to reach your knees, feet, or even toes. A key thing to remember is that the goal is not to force your fingertips to your toes; instead, focus on bringing your chest to your thighs, nose to your knees, and forehead to your legs during this stretch. With every exhale, allow tension to be released from your body and surrender even further in this asana. Some benefits of Seated Forward Fold include stress relief, a deep stretch in the shoulders and spine, and improve digestion.

Step 6. Corpse or Savasana Pose

Let’s end this sequence with a mindful asana to eliminate any meaningless thoughts and ground yourself. Keep your legs extended in front of you on the mat with your arms resting by your sides with your palms facing up. Make sure that your back is straight and there is no arch in your lower back as you lie flat on the mat. Close your eyes and feel your body sink as it becomes heavier with every breath. Corpse Pose is a favorite asana for many people due to its restorative nature. Corpse Pose is a pose of total relaxation which requires remaining in a neutral position, often a challenging task. The purpose of corpse pose is to consciously calm the mind which in turn, calms the nervous system and lowers blood pressure resulting in a state of ultimate serenity. The duration of this asana depends on your preference, however 10-20 minutes are recommended.

Don’t let the stress or being at home hinder your yoga practice and instead, let it nourish it! There’s nothing wrong with leaving hatha and ashtanga yoga aside during this time and focusing on restorative poses to feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and at peace.






Stella Versteeg was exposed to yoga early in life from her father – traveling to India to practice yoga with her family. Living in ashrams and being surrounded by the beautiful and intricate Indian culture, from a young age, Stella was able appreciate and learn about the origin of yoga as well as meditation. Stella received her 200 HR yoga training from YogaRenew in 2018. She currently runs a blog, Ride Your Wave Yoga, which shares yoga tips, poses, nutrition, travel and mindfulness. Her goal is to spread honesty, love and awareness about a yogic lifestyle through her blog posts as well as create a supportive, inspired community. She aspires to share as much information as possible about yoga to others.




7 Essential Oils for Stress Relief and Relaxation

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7 Essential Oils for Stress Relief and Relaxation


Stress is experienced by everyone; the very nature of our fast-paced lifestyles often triggers stress and anxiety which, understandably, can be challenging to cope with. That said, the use of essential oils is a very effective way to combat the overwhelming effects of stress in a natural way. Aromatherapy has been utilized since ancient times in order to encourage relaxation and tranquility in the midst of stress. There are various ways to use essential oils such as applying them directly to the skin, inhaling them from a bottle, diffusing them in water or adding them to your hygiene products. Essential oils have a variety of purposes such as boosting energy, relieving headaches, helping with focus, improving sleep quality, and decreasing stress. Feel free to diffuse the following oils while practicing yoga or meditating in order to increase the relaxing effects of your practice. The essential oils listed below provide a natural remedy for stress and can be used to promote calmness and peace.


1. Jatamansi Oil

This calming and anxiety-relieving oil essential oil will especially benefit those who suffer from overthinking and it also supports deep, high quality sleep. Jatamansi is extracted from the spikenard root and it has a rich history of medicinal use in Ayurvedic medicine. It provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects while also offering stress relieving properties. One way to use Jatamansi oil is by placing a few drops on the crown of your head at night to promote deep, restorative sleep. Otherwise, use it as a massage oil, add it to a bath or even a warm compress if a specific part of your body is tense.


2. Lavender Oil

This oil is the most commonly used essential oil for stress relief due to its relaxing effects on the mind and the body. Lavender oil is also a very effective way to deal with sleep-related problems as it serves as a sleep-aid while enhancing the quality of your sleep. Often used in aromatherapy, lavender oil has been shown to react the same way as anti-anxiety medications. This essential oil can be added to your bath or even added to an aromatherapy diffuser to promote a deep sense of relaxation and stress relief.


3. Chamomile Oil

Chamomile is an essential oil that relieves stress by reducing common symptoms of anxiety, promoting relaxation, reducing inflammation in the body, and regulating your mood. Chamomile extract is often used in tea to combat stress and improve sleep quality. It’s important to keep in mind that chamomile extract can be ingested but chamomile oil cannot. That said, chamomile essential oil can be used by adding it to an aromatherapy diffuser or to your favorite body lotion to help you feel at ease. Aside from its stress-relieving properties, chamomile also relieves pain, helps with anxiety and depression, aids digestion, and improves sleep quality.


4. Ylang-Ylang Oil

This fragrant essential oil derives from the flowers of Cananga Odorata Genuina which is a plant native to India but it can be found in other countries in Asia such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and also Australia. Ylang-ylang provides many benefits for the cardiovascular and immune system as well as lowers blood pressure and helps with depression. Additionally, this essential oil is known to relieve feelings of anxiety and stress due to its calming effects. Use this oil in your bath, diffuser or directly on your skin with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil. Bonus: this floral-scented oil can also be used as a natural perfume!


5. Valerian Oil

Valerian is an earthy essential oil that eases anxiety, stress and restlessness by promoting a sense of peace and tranquility. Its calming abilities might be attributed to its mild sedative effect on the body which also aids with sleep quality. The best way to utilize Valerian is by adding a few drops to an aromatherapy diffuser before bed and allowing its scent to guide you into a deep sleep.


6. Jasmine Oil

This sweet-scented oil has been used for hundreds of years in Asia to naturally treat depression, anxiety, and even sleep problems. Jasmine oil is an essential oil that is extracted from the white flowers of the jasmine plant and it is known for its sweet fragrance. Apart from its beautiful scent, jasmine oil is also used to effectively reduce anxiety and stress, exhaustion and depression. Jasmine oil will also boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and provide an overall sense of relaxation. Try adding this oil to an aromatherapy diffuser, a bath or applying directly to the skin.


7. Bergamot Oil

This cold-pressed essential oil has a sweet, floral scent and it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for various purposes such as soothing irritated skin, ingested as a health tonic, and used as an antiseptic and analgesic. This essential oil is obtained from the peel of Citrus Bergamia, a fragrant citrus fruit. Bergamot oil can be added to a massage oil or body lotion, it can be added to an aromatherapy diffuser, and it can also applied directly to the skin. That being said, this oil is commonly used to effectivelyrelieve psychological stress and anxiety.

Common occurrences like arguments, traffic, financial struggles, deadlines, and responsibilities can all contribute to stress. Stress is experienced by everyone and when life gets overwhelming, it’s best to resort to a natural remedy for some relief. Aromatherapy is often used as a natural way to relieve feelings of stress without resorting to medication with inevitable side effects. Essential oils provide a sense of relaxation as well as better sleep quality which is needed after a long, stress-inducing day. Some essential oils are better than others at relieving stress such as Jatamansi, Lavender, Ylang-ylang, Jasmine, and others listed above. Be creative and embrace the various ways that these oils can be incorporated in your daily routine in order to keep you feeling calm, tranquil, and serene.






Stella Versteeg was exposed to yoga early in life from her father – traveling to India to practice yoga with her family. Living in ashrams and being surrounded by the beautiful and intricate Indian culture, from a young age, Stella was able appreciate and learn about the origin of yoga as well as meditation. Stella received her 200 HR yoga training from YogaRenew in 2018. She currently runs a blog, Ride Your Wave Yoga, which shares yoga tips, poses, nutrition, travel and mindfulness. Her goal is to spread honesty, love and awareness about a yogic lifestyle through her blog posts as well as create a supportive, inspired community. She aspires to share as much information as possible about the wonderful lifestyle that yoga has to offer and continuously evolve in her personal own practice.

How to Do Headstand (Sirsasana): 6 Tips to Master the Pose

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How to Do Headstand (Sirsasana): 6 Tips to Master the Pose

In case you haven’t noticed, headstands have been plastered all over social media lately, along with many other beautiful and intricate inversions. Being upside-down provides many benefits apart from looking graceful; the positioning of your heart above your head relieves stress, strengthens the core, increases blood circulation, gives a boost of energy, and helps to decrease leg swelling. If you are a beginner and new to inversions, attempting a headstand is the way to get started because there is more surface to balance on. From my experience and advice that I have received, here are some tips to help you navigate headstand and master this asana in no time!


1. Practice against a wall

As a beginner, with any inversion, the wall is a great place to start. Going upside down for the first time can be intimidating and since the most common concern is falling, using a wall can eliminate most of that fear. By practicing against a wall, you can slowly learn where your center of balance is which eventually will come naturally. Although the wall is a great form of assistance, try not to rely on it and slowly move away from it as you progress in your practice. For instance, begin in a tabletop position on the mat and lower yourself onto your forearms keeping them shoulder-distance apart. Interlace your fingers and create a cushion to support the crown of your head. Next, with your hands touching the wall, place your head onto your hands and start walking your toes closer to your torso while allowing your weight to be supported by your arms. Once your hips are above your head, try lifting one foot at a time off the mat and hugging it into your chest. When you feel comfortable and stable enough, try hugging both feet into your chest and with control, extending them up towards the sky. Practicing this while facing the wall will make you feel safer since you know it will catch you if you lose your balance.


2. Don’t kick up

If you’ve noticed in my previous instructions on how to get into a headstand, there is no kicking involved. Many beginners kick up to get into this inversion but I recommended trying to achieve this asana with control and slower movement. As you might imagine, kicking up can also increase your chances of falling. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you rely too much on kicking up into this pose against the wall, once the wall is taken away, you will continue practicing with too much momentum and might end up hurting yourself. By slowly tucking your feet into your chest, your body is still relatively close to the mat so that falling wouldn’t be as harmful. Slowly pushing up into headstand also strengthens your core and engages your entire body which provides a full-body workout. The bottom line is, you try kicking up a few times, in the beginning, to see how it feels being upside down, but try not to make it a habit and learn how to lift your body with control and intention.


3. Push your shoulders away from your ears

The way that your shoulders and arms wrap around your head in this asana is intended to protect and head and neck while balancing upside down. The important thing to remember is to always push firmly into the mat with your forearms and hands so that your upper body doesn’t sink into your shoulders which can lead to injury. Many beginners tend to do this and bring their shoulders close to their ears but this does not provide a safe and solid foundation for headstand. Instead, remember to push your shoulders away from your ears and press into the mat with your forearms because your entire body is relying on this base. If you’re still not sure if your alignment is correct, ask a yoga instructor to correct you during a class or film yourself and use the footage to correct yourself.


4. Engage your core

Generally speaking, most yoga poses require and help to develop a strong core as well as prevent injury. It’s needless to say that in headstand, your core plays a very important role. If I were to practice a headstand right now, with my core engaged versus relaxed, there would be a significant difference in the duration and alignment of the pose. That said, headstands are a major core workout and you’ll have to rely on a strong core to maintain a straight and stable headstand. Practicing core strengthening workouts before even attempting this inversion will help you significantly. Try practicing Boat Pose, plank, and side plank regularly to tighten and strengthen your abdominal muscles.


5. Keep your arms shoulder-width apart

Coming back to establishing a strong foundation, your arms are a very important aspect of headstand. Before placing your arms onto the mat, make sure that they are shoulder-width apart. One way to ensure correct alignment is by extended your arms in front of you and grabbing opposite elbows with each hand. This is exactly the distance that your arms should be from each other when placed on the mat.


6. Exit the pose safely

Before even getting up into headstand, a key thing to remember is how to exit the asana safely and with control. Usually the best way to get out of a yoga pose is the same way you got into it; in this case, slowly bend your knees and bring them into your chest with your toes pointed and your core engaged. Allow one foot to touch the mat at a time until both feet are firmly planted on the mat. Next, gently walk your toes away from your torso and rest in Child’s Pose. Try to avoid kicking down from headstand and making any harsh movements which could lead to injury.

Headstands take time and lots of practice to master but hopefully, the tips above will prevent injury, help to avoid unwanted errors, and assist with your progress. Remember to prioritize safety and practice with intention.


Stella Versteeg was exposed to yoga early in life from her father – traveling to India to practice yoga with her family. Living in ashrams and being surrounded by the beautiful and intricate Indian culture, from a young age, Stella was able appreciate and learn about the origin of yoga as well as meditation. Stella received her 200 HR yoga training from YogaRenew in 2018. She currently runs a blog, Ride Your Wave Yoga, which shares yoga tips, poses, nutrition, travel and mindfulness. Her goal is to spread honesty, love and awareness about a yogic lifestyle through her blog posts as well as create a supportive, inspired community. She aspires to share as much information as possible about the wonderful lifestyle that yoga has to offer and continuously evolve in her personal own practice.

7 Reasons To Do Yoga Teacher Training

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Why do most people enroll in yoga teacher training? People who want to become yoga instructors, right? Well, that’s only one aspect of what teacher training has to offer. There are many benefits and outcomes of becoming certified such as discovering yourself on a deeper level, gaining confidence in your practice, learning how to prevent injuries, building friendships, learning how to meditate, learning about yoga theory, and advancing your own personal practice. Apart from having the tools to teach others, through yoga teacher training, you can also learn a lot about yourself and further advance in yoga. Let’s dive into these reasons of why you should complete yoga teacher training and how it can improve your personal practice.

1. Discover Yourself on a Deeper Level

Completing yoga teacher training truly transforms the way that you view yourself while enhancing your self-esteem, skills, and self-knowledge. Due to the challenges that you might face during teacher training, you will doubt yourself at times. Being surrounded by a supportive community and guidance, however, will encourage you to rise above any kind of self-doubt and become stronger from within. Believe it or not, yoga teacher training will transform you by providing inner strength, balance, self-compassion, and inner peace. Overall, through perseverance, self-discipline, and intention, you will get to know yourself on a much deeper level.

2. Gain Confidence in Your Practice

I think it’s needless to say that knowledge is positively associated with confidence, right? Think about it… the more you know about a topic or a field, the more confident you feel about it. Completing yoga teacher training offers a significant amount of knowledge about the origin, philosophy, theory, history and of course, practice of yoga that will you give you more confidence in your own practice. Perhaps you are practicing inversions or following a structured routine on a daily basis; yoga teacher training will enrich those aspects of your practice by adding knowledge about modifications, adjustments, ideas about new sequences, and information about each yoga pose. Through yoga teacher training, your confidence will grow while your practice advances and perhaps this will inspire you to teach and guide others in the future.

3. Learn How to Prevent Injuries

Injuries in yoga are more common than you think; beginners as well as intermediate and advanced yogis get injured while practicing and some of these injuries can be immediate or gradual and go unnoticed. By completing yoga teacher training, you can learn exactly how to prevent yoga injuries and decrease the chance of this happening in your own practice. Learning about injury is also very important if you are considering to teach classes because practicing an asana incorrectly can be dangerous. This becomes even more important regarding inversions because your weight needs to be distributed in a certain way otherwise injuries can occur. Therefore, apart from protecting others, this is also a safety measure for yourself in your practice.

4. Build Friendships with Likeminded Individuals

Most yoga teacher trainings allow you to meet other likeminded individuals who are interested in yoga, meditation, teaching, etc. who can inspire you, guide you, and support you through the training. Developing a social circle through training is wonderful because you won’t be experiencing the journey alone and you will hopefully maintain some long-lasting friendships. If you are completing yoga teacher training online, don’t worry, you can also build these friendships. With YogaRenew 200HR Teacher Training, you will have access to a Facebook group where you can post about your journey, ask questions. share thoughts and ideas, and listen to others. Regardless of whether you are attending in person or online, take advantage of the people completing this training with you.

5. Learn How To Meditate

Meditation is sometimes separated from yoga as a different practice, however, I believe that a yoga practice isn’t reaching its full potential without including meditation. Considering that yoga is a practice for the mind and body, incorporating meditation allows you to focus solely on your movements and your breath which will amplify the calmness that you experience. Through yoga teacher training, you will learn various meditation techniques and breathing techniques that you can practice independently or with yoga. The physical, psychological, and mental benefits of meditation are multitudinous and there is a lot to learn.

6. Delve Into Yoga Theory

Many people jump right into their yoga practice and implement everything they know about the physical yoga poses and sequences without thinking much about the theory. Learning about the basic principles, origin, and meaning of yoga is a critical aspect of building your practice. Although asanas are the main focus of yoga in the West, there is so much more to this ancient practice. The history and philosophy of yoga are incredibly rich and this knowledge will add depth and intention to your practice. The great Pattabhi Jois once said, “Yoga is 1% theory and 99% practice”. Although rolling out your mat and practicing yoga is the main objective compared to theory, having context about where yoga comes from, what it truly means, and what the philosophy entails will definitely add another layer to your practice.

7. Advance Your Personal Practice

Throughout this post, I have been emphasizing the importance of yoga teacher training in your own personal practice. We all know that aspiring teachers complete training because they are planning to be responsible for an entire class but what about the rest of us who might not aspire to teach? Consuming the valuable body of knowledge that yoga teacher training offers not only prepares you to lead a class but it gives you confidence, skills, connections, and a deeper insight into your own practice. Having a yoga practice that is purely physical and is not supported by a deeper understanding of its origin, philosophy, history, and techniques is doing a disservice to you. If you are unsure about enrolling, I suggest going for it and seeing where this beautiful journey will take you.

Stella Versteeg was exposed to yoga early in life from her father – traveling to India to practice yoga with her family. Living in ashrams and being surrounded by the beautiful and intricate Indian culture, from a young age, Stella was able appreciate and learn about the origin of yoga as well as meditation. Stella received her 200 HR yoga training from YogaRenew in 2018. She currently runs a blog, Ride Your Wave Yoga, which shares yoga tips, poses, nutrition, travel and mindfulness. Her goal is to spread honesty, love and awareness about a yogic lifestyle through her blog posts as well as create a supportive, inspired community. She aspires to share as much information as possible about the wonderful lifestyle that yoga has to offer and continuously evolve in her personal own practice.

6 Ways That Mindfulness Reduces Stress

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Shifting into a conscious state of mind, focusing on the present moment, and increasing overall awareness is often referred to as mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness consistently has multiple benefits such as improved general health, pain relief, academic success, increased self-awareness, better attention span, increased sense of gratitude, and stress relief. Reducing stress is a common motivation to practice mindfulness, often through meditation, because it is truly effective at doing so. Stress is experienced by all of us, to some degree, and the good news is that there is a simple and holistic way to relieve it… through a daily practice mindfulness. Mindfulness can be practiced through meditation or simply through a more aware and conscious view of our experiences and feelings. There are many ways that mindfulness helps to reduce stress by making us feel calmer, allowing us to regulate our emotions, by reducing activity in the amygdala, and by teaching acceptance, awareness, and gratitude.


1. Developing a Calm Demeanor

It is not a surprise that practicing mindfulness makes us feel calmer; the question is how exactly? Mindfulness meditation reduces the production of a stress hormone called cortisol, resulting in relaxation. Most of us are continuously thinking about errands, social interactions, future plans, and responsibilities which can be anxiety-inducing and overwhelming. Thepresence of this ongoing, inner chatter hinders our ability to focus, be aware, and truly enjoy the present. Practicing mindfulness is a wonderful way to press pause, set everything aside, and re-connect with yourself. Setting aside even 5-10 minutes daily to breathe and meditate is incredibly beneficial for your physical, emotional, and mental well being. Ultimately, you feel calmer, more composed, and more focused.


2. Better Emotion Regulation

The ability to regulate one’s emotions is important because it can lead to mood improvement (ideal for those who experience many ups and downs) and long-term well being. Emotions directly affect our moods which is why it is important to develop another sense of awareness of ourselves through mindfulness. By practicing mindfulness, you can condition yourself to pay more attention to the different feelings and sensations that you experience on a daily basis. Overall, by being more aware of emotions, we are able to experience more compassion, empathy, and understanding while not allowing negative emotions to affect us as much. One incredible benefit that mindfulness meditation offers is resilience which is a buffer when dealing with emotional highs and lows. Set time aside, especially during moments of stress, and simply become aware of what you are feeling. Without trying to suppress anything, observe the effects of your emotions on your body and your mind with patience.


3. Acceptance

The practice of mindfulness has a beautiful way of teaching acceptance and essentially, how to be at peace with your surroundings without trying to alter them. Passing judgment is a common human tendency that is difficult to shake off however, mindfulness allows us to develop a neutral stance towards the feelings and thoughts that we experience. The ability to observe your thoughts passing by, one by one, without trying to alter or criticize anything can be achieved through mindfulness meditation. Accepting feelings of stress and allowing them to pass instead of fighting those feelings makes stress more bearable. The imperfections and difficult moments of life make the good moments even better which is why accepting adversity is so important in terms of combatting stress.


4. Less Activity in the Amygdala

To put simply, the amygdala refers to a set neurons in the brain which is responsible for the processing and regulation of emotions, memory, and survival instincts. This part of the brain is also stimulated when we experience stress and fear. Practicing mindfulness consistently can actually allow us to be more self-aware and concentrated while making better decisions to the decreased activity in the amygdala. Other benefits also include better problem solving skills while facilitating learning and of course, relieving overall feelings of tension and stress. Simply mindfulness habits such as becoming aware of how food tastes and eating slowly, breathing deeply, listening carefully, and focusing on how your body feels while working out can provide these benefits.

5. Increased Awareness

The concept of increasing your overall awareness has already been briefly mentioned but let’s dive deeper into this concept. Most of our actions tend to be automatic due to habit and routines such as eating, drinking, resting, walking, talking, etc. Basic human functions are often taken for granted and of course, this is normal. When we are exposed to something long enough to repeated stimuli, our response decreases just like how we notice the scent of a candle in a room but after a while, we do not notice it anymore. By increasing awareness through mindfulness, we are able to notice and uproot negative tendencies while choosing not to respond with stress or panic in difficult situations. With awareness comes appreciation of the wonderful things we experience daily along with a newfound sense of well-being. That being said, when mindfulness is implemented, awareness eliminates stress.

6. Increased Sense of Gratitude

It’s easy to overlook the beautiful scenery that we see every day and it’s easy to take things for granted. It’s also easy to forget the blessings that exist in our lives because we are used to them being there. Gratitude is an incredibly powerful feeling that can overpower stress. With a mindfulness practice, you become aware of absolutely everything, internally and externally. Then, you go on to accept everything that you are experiencing as part of your journey. After awareness and acceptance, comes gratitude for everything, physical and nonphysical, that surrounds you. It’s difficult to feel stressed and tense when the feeling of gratitude overwhelms you; although your adversity is valid and should not be suppressed, focusing on the good things and people in your life makes difficulties seem manageable and temporary.

Practicing mindfulness, either through meditation or other habits, on a daily basis can provide incredible benefits for your mind and body regarding stress relief. By accepting, becoming more aware, feeling grateful, and embracing a calm demeanor through mindfulness, stress can be reduced.



Stella Versteeg was exposed to yoga early in life from her father – traveling to India to practice yoga with her family. Living in ashrams and being surrounded by the beautiful and intricate Indian culture, from a young age, Stella was able appreciate and learn about the origin of yoga as well as meditation. Stella received her 200 HR yoga training from YogaRenew in 2018. She currently runs a blog, Ride Your Wave Yoga, which shares yoga tips, poses, nutrition, travel and mindfulness. Her goal is to spread honesty, love and awareness about a yogic lifestyle through her blog posts as well as create a supportive, inspired community. She aspires to share as much information as possible about the wonderful lifestyle that yoga has to offer and continuously evolve in her personal own practice.


5 Daily Mindfulness Practices

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Mindfulness is a term that is often brought up but… what does it really mean? Mindfulness refers to a state of awareness of the present moment and it arises from paying close attention to current experiences without judgement. Practicing mindfulness can of course be done with meditation which is the ultimate way to slow down, become aware, regulate emotions and thoughts, and relieve stress. Mindfulness, however, does not necessarily require a meditation practice which is good news if you have a busy schedule and do not have time to set aside to meditate. Let’s explore some simple yet effective ways that you can practice mindfulness on a daily basis.

1. Being Mindful During Conversations

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and while they are speaking, finding your thoughts drifting elsewhere? How about glancing at your phone while talking to someone or even worse, scrolling through social media or texting during a conversation? Sometimes it’s not a matter of disrespect and maybe instead it’s due to the fact that our minds are racing, we’re distracted, and not aware of the present moment. If you find yourself distracted and distant in conversations, practice mindfulness by maintaining eye contact and turning off your phone or keep it far away from you. Additionally, when the other person is speaking, listen to their tone of voice and the context of the conversation carefully and reply accordingly. This might seem like an unnecessary step but often times, people aren’t truly listening and instead they are constructing what they are planning on saying next. Truly listening, with judgment, and adding value with your response instead of a random statement is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness.

2. Being Mindful During Exercise/Yoga

This same concept applies to exercising and doing yoga; is your mind elsewhere during this time? Practicing a mind-body connection during a work out actually makes the exercises more effective. For instance, while you are lifting weights, if you focus on how your muscles feel as well as your breathing instead of a random thought, you will be able to lift more weights. Bringing your awareness to your body during strenuous activities allows your body to perform at its best by engaging your muscles to their fullest ability. If you find this difficult, try working out without headphones and simply focusing on deep inhales and exhales while exercising and bringing your attention to how your body feels. Practicing mindfulness on the mat might seem intuitive but you might be thinking about an array of different things while doing yoga without even noticing it. Shifting your attention to your breath and the alignment of your body during yoga allows you to receive the full benefits while immersing yourself in the present moment and connecting with yourself on a spiritual level.

3. Being Mindful While Eating

How long does it take you on average to eat a meal; 30 minutes, 1 hour? Many of us are eager to sit down and eat when we’re hungry and often times, we don’t even chew our food appropriately let alone consciously enjoy every bite. By eating slowly and chewing thorouhgly, we are able to enjoy the flavors of our food far more than when we rush to empty our plate. One way to practice this is by eating 3-5 small meals throughout the day so that you have an appetite before eating, but you are not starving and you can control the speed at which you are consuming the meal. Apart from how fast we eat, mindful eating also has to do with what we eat. Cooking is a wonderful way to incorporate mindfulness into our lives because we are aware of each and every ingredient that is going into our body. Being vegetarian or vegan is also something to potentially consider in the context of mindful eating because of multiple health benefits and the effects on animal welfare and the environment.

4. Being Mindful While Breathing

Practicing mindful breathing is simple in theory but not that simple in practice. Breathing is an ongoing and automatic function of the body that we usually don’t put too much thought into. By bringing our awareness to every inhale and exhale, our breathing becomes more conscious rather than passive. The idea is to simply observe the breath without necessarily altering it. By shifting attention to the breath, especially during stressful or overwhelming moments, you will feel more relaxed, collected, and calm. Another way to practice mindfulness while breathing is by taking a deep inhale, holding your breath for a few seconds and then releasing any tension through a deep exhale. Repeat this as many times as needed in order to relieve stress. The beauty of mindful breathing is that it turns a reflexive behavior that we take for granted into a conscious act.

5. Being Mindful of Daily Experiences

Routines lead to habits which lead to a decreased response to stimuli in our daily lives. To put simply, when we do the same thing day after day, we sometimes forget to fully enjoy every aspect of it and actions become automatic. There are some simple changes that you can incorporate into your routine that will allow you to become aware of and appreciate everything you experience. When you make a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, feel the warmth of your mug on your hands and enjoy every warm, delicious sip that you take. While taking a shower or bath, observe the way that your body feels and how wonderful it is to feel warm and clean. Overall, learning to pay attention to the little things in our daily lives allows us to enjoy them so much more.

Increased awareness can be applied to each and every thing that we do that we normally take for granted such as driving, walking, eating, drinking, resting, breathing, talking, and exercising. Practicing mindfulness heightens our senses and enriches our experiences while teaching us that nothing should be overlooked or taken for granted.


Stella Versteeg was exposed to yoga early in life from her father – traveling to India to practice yoga with her family. Living in ashrams and being surrounded by the beautiful and intricate Indian culture, from a young age, Stella was able appreciate and learn about the origin of yoga as well as meditation. Stella received her 200 HR yoga training from YogaRenew in 2018. She currently runs a blog, Ride Your Wave Yoga, which shares yoga tips, poses, nutrition, travel and mindfulness. Her goal is to spread honesty, love and awareness about a yogic lifestyle through her blog posts as well as create a supportive, inspired community. She aspires to share as much information as possible about the wonderful lifestyle that yoga has to offer and continuously evolve in her personal own practice.

8 Beach Yoga Poses

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8 Yoga Poses for the Beach

Needless to say, the restorative and relaxing effects of yoga compliment the scenic and serene atmosphere of the beach. Working in Catalina Island during the summer inspired me to embark on my yoga practice while expanding my knowledge about the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of yoga. You can always use a towel or yoga mat to support your postures or simply embrace the imperfect, sandy foundation beneath you. Sand can be especially beneficial for practicing challenging and balancing poses because it provides a soft cushion for your body if you happen to fall out of a pose. The beauty of sand is that it conforms to your body; you can create small mounds to support your knees or flatten it out entirely to support your forearms during inversions. Let’s not forget the fresh, salty breeze and the sound of ocean waves complimenting your beautiful flow. I’m eager to share some excellent asanas for your next seaside practice which will make you fall in love with yoga all over again.

1. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)


This pose is very popular in yoga sequences, especially in vinyasa yoga. The benefits of Downward Facing Dog include stretching the hamstrings, calves, shoulders and hands while strengthening the legs and arms. It also makes your feel energized and helps calm the brain which makes it an ideal pose to relieve stress. This classic yoga pose can be practiced pretty much anywhere however, practicing it on the sand can allow your body to sink even deeper into it. Begin in tabletop position with your knees stacked directly under your hips and your wrists stacked under your shoulders. Exhale while tucking your toes and lifting your knees off the sand. Spread your fingers and press your hands down in front of you while straightening your back as much as possible. Gently bend your knees, one at a time, working your way into your own version of Downward Facing Dog. Bring your gaze towards your feet while aligning your hand with your spine creating a straight line. Take a few deep breaths and when you’re ready to exit the pose, gently lower your knees back onto the sand into tabletop position and release into Child’s Pose.

2. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)


I don’t know about you but something about being by the ocean provides peacefulness and balance to my body and soul; why not practice a pose that embodies that? Benefits of this pose include stretching the thighs, core and shoulders while strengthening the spine, thighs and calves. Tree Pose is a great way to ground yourself and focus on your breathing while improving your balance. Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana); inhale while lifting your arms towards the sky and exhale, bringing your hands by your heart. Choose a focal point to provide balance and slowly lift your right foot off the sand and place it on your left ankle. Taking your time, lift your right foot further until it reaches the side of your left knee. Take a few deep breaths here and whenever you’re ready. return to Mountain Pose; repeat this pose on the opposite side.

3. Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)


This might seem like an odd pose to practice on the beach but the combination of an inverted posture and a serene, ocean atmosphere will undoubtedly relax you to the core. Be cautious when practicing a shoulder stand because it is definitely e a more advanced pose. The benefits of this pose include relieving stress and depression, strengthening the glutes, arms, core, legs and arms as well as improving digestion. To get into this pose, start by laying down on your mat (or the sand) and bring your knees towards your face. Bring your hands to your hips to support your lower body and lift your hips and legs towards the sky while trying to keep them straight. Take a few deep breaths; to exit the pose, slowly lower your hips and legs to the ground. You can also choose to stay in a shoulder stand in order to transition to the next posture. The best part? Even if you happen to lose your balance during this asana, the sand provides a soft cushion to avoid injuries.

4. Plow Pose (Halasana)


This pose is excellent at reducing back pain and stress, calming the mind and stretching the spine and shoulders. To get into this pose, simply begin in a shoulder stand and slowly bring your extended legs back towards your head until your toes touch the mat behind your head. Remember to bring your chin away from your sternum and keep your hands on your lower back for additional support or release them onto the mat and stretch them behind you. This pose can be held for a few minutes; when you feel ready to exit, bring your hands to your lower back again and exhale while slowly lowering your legs down towards. This a a great pose for the beach because it encourages deep relaxation and stress relief.

5. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)


Take a deep breath and say goodbye to any tension. Being by laying on your stomach with your arms extend by your sides with your palms up. Take a deep exhale and reach for your heels with your hands while bending your knees. Hold onto your feet while trying to lift your thighs slightly off the mat and gaze forward. Keep i mind that it might be harder to breathe in this posture but make sure to keep breathing steadily. Stay in this pose for about 30 seconds and release your legs and arms towards the mat while taking a deep exhale. The benefits of this pose include improving your posture, strengthening the back muscles and stretching your thighs, core, chest, throat and hips.

6. Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)


This pose is wonderful at lengthening the hip flexors, preparing the body for backbend poses as well as opening the hip joint and reducing stress and anxiety. Begin in seated position with your feet tucked under your glutes. Extend your right leg back on the mat while keeping your left leg bent in front of you. Take a deep inhale and as you exhale, release your body onto your front leg and extend your arms on the mat in front of you. Try to bring your forehand to touch the mat and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths, allowing your body to sink even deeper into the pose with every exhale. To exit the asana, slowly walk your hands back up towards your torso and return to seated position.

7. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)


Now, let’s take a moment to sit still and breathe. Sit comfortably with your legs crossed, your spine straight and your hands in your lap. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths, trying to hold your inhale for a few seconds before exhaling. Try to eliminate any stressful or negative thoughts while bringing your entire focus o your breath. While continuing to breathe deeply, bring your attention to the sound of the ocean waves crashing endlessly against the shore, one by one. Inhale the fresh, salty breeze and feel your body sinking heavily into the sand.Let go of any fear or stress about what will happen tomorrow or the day after because all that is guaranteed is this moment, sitting cross legged on the sand in front of the vast ocean that covers our beautiful planet. In this moment, you are blessed and all you can do is immerse yourself in gratitude. You can attempt the Ujjayi breath which is often referred to as the “oceanic breath” and it is used to synchronize your breathing with the asana. This wonderful technique will enhance your yoga practice as well as increase the oxygen in your blood, relieve tension, detoxify your body and mind as well as help to increase your mind-body awareness. The Ujjayi breath consists of breathing through your nose, inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly through your nose. To practice, open your mouth and exhale making a “ha” sound. Noe, try this with your mouth closed but maintain the intensity of your exhalations. Every time your exhale, it should sound like ocean waves and this technique is ideal to practice while you’re in easy pose, during hatha yoga or simply when you’re stressed or frustrated.

8. Corpse Pose (Savansana)


This posture will help you relax even more after getting out of Easy pose. Lay down on your mat or the sand with your legs extended in front of you and your arms by your sides with your palms facing up towards the sky. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath once again but this time, don’t force deep inhalations or exhalations; instead, breathe naturally and simply bring your attention to your breathe. Allow the soothing sounds around you to increase your sense of mindfulness and purpose. The benefits of this asana are endless, a few of which are body awareness, stress reduction, better sleep quality and deep mind relaxation. This asana can be held for anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour and it might just end up in a wonderful nap in the sun.

What are you waiting for? Head to the beach and take some time to indulge in these asanas; you deserve that time to gain perspective and awareness. Take the time to leave any stress that you might be experiencing behind and relax yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. The past has already happened and the future is uncertain so all that really matters is this present moment, right here, right now. Submerge yourself in an abundance of spiritual awareness, gratitude and bliss.

Let’s ride your wave, together.

Namaste.



Stella Versteeg was exposed to yoga early in life from her father – traveling to India to practice yoga with her family. Living in ashrams and being surrounded by the beautiful and intricate Indian culture, from a young age, Stella was able appreciate and learn about the origin of yoga as well as meditation. Stella received her 200 HR yoga training from YogaRenew in 2018. She currently runs a blog, Ride Your Wave Yoga, which shares yoga tips, poses, nutrition, travel and mindfulness. Her goal is to spread honesty, love and awareness about a yogic lifestyle through her blog posts as well as create a supportive, inspired community. She aspires to share as much information as possible about the wonderful lifestyle that yoga has to offer and continuously evolve in her personal own practice.

5 Yoga Poses For Inner Strength

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Confidence and inner strength are such powerful tools in achieving productivity, success, and happiness. Yoga is a wonderful way to develop and nurture your sense of inner strength. because it is not just a physically strengthening and revitalizing practice but it’s also a sign of positivity, love, and self-care towards yourself. Taking the time from your busy routine to still your mind and breath as well as focus on your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being builds your sense of self-worth. As you progress in your practice, you will learn that yoga is physically challenging and the stronger you get on the outside, the stronger you will feel on the inside. Being able to persist in your practice with patience, understanding and forgiveness will nurture your sense of inner strength over time. Take time to practice this yoga sequence to eliminate feelings of self-doubt and reveal your inner peace and strength!


1. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

The image of a warrior is illustrated by strength, courage, persistence, and confidence which is exactly what the Warrior asanas exude. The rich symbolism of the Warrior asanas refers to the underlying story of the Hindu warrior, Virabhadra. Warrior I is a beautiful posture that will empower you and activate your inner warrior by improving your strength and flexibility. Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and gently step your feet a few feet apart from each other. Reach both of your arms up towards the sky with your palms touching while bringing your gaze up towards your hands. Next, slightly turn your left foot to the right so that your toes are pointing to the left of your body. Gently rotate your torso to the right and bend your right knee while making sure that your knee does not pass your toes. Hold this asana for 30 seconds-1 minute while focusing on your breath and channeling feelings of confidence and strength. Slowly release back to Tadasana and repeat this posture on the other side.

2. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

Transitioning into Warrior II will combine balance with core strength as well as ultimate focus. After Warrior I, return to Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and bring your left foot a few feet back on the mat while bending your right knee into a lunge without your knees passing your toes. Extend both of your arms by your sides so that they are parallel to the mat aligning straight with your legs and bring your gaze forward. Make sure that your torso is twisted to your left and draw your shoulder blades down your back. Take several deep breaths here while pressing down with your feet and engaging your core. This asana is beneficial for your entire body because it strengthens your shoulders, arms, and legs as well as improves your balance and stability. Warrior II will improve your ability to concentrate and focus with more clarity while building your physical and spiritual strength.

3. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)


Return once again to Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and take a moment to bring your focus back to your breath. Warrior III requires significant balance and focus which are best achieved when your mind is not wandering. The benefits of this empowering asana include improved coordination, stability, and balance, strengthening of the legs and core as well as a deep stretch of the upper body. Take a deep inhale, reach your arms up towards the sky and on your exhale, slowly lift your left leg off the mat while lowering your torso forward. Allow your arms to lead your torso until it is parallel with the mat and so that your body creates a “T” shape. Flex your left foot and press firmly with your right foot, spreading your toes if that helps to maintain your balance. Hold this asana for several breaths while focusing on finding your center of gravity. To ease out of this asana, slowly return to Mountain Pose and bring your hands to your heart in prayer position.

4. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

The grounding essence of standing asanas foster feelings of confidence and strength. This particular asana relies on balance, stability, and firmness while encouraging a confident demeanor. Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), another simple yet empowering asana and as you inhale, reach your arms above your head with your palms touching each other. At the same time, ground your left foot and slowly lift your right foot so that it is hugging your left ankle. As you find your center of gravity, steadily slide your right foot up your left leg until it reaches your shin or the side of your knee. As you exhale, focus on your balance and imagine your body grounded into the mat like a tree deeply rooted in the soil. Stand tall and proud in this asana as you embrace your inner and outer strength. Hold this asana for several breaths and return to Mountain Pose.


5. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)


This asana is often called the “seat of power”, “fierce pose” or “lightning bolt pose” which all embody the asana’s empowering and strengthening properties. Chair Pose involves strength and perseverance because your body will immediately feel challenged when entering this asana. Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet hip-width apart. As you inhale, reach your arms up towards the sky while slowly bending your knees and squatting down as if you are sitting in a chair. Press firmly through your heels and try to bring your focus to how your body is feeling; if your thighs are aching, try to meditate on this sensation. Find your balance here and remember not to resist this asana even if your body wants to ease out of it right away. After several breaths, return to Mountain Pose and bring your focus back to your breath. If you wish, reach your toes with your arms and twist from side to side in a Forward Fold to relax your arms and stretch your hamstrings. Persisting through Chair Pose provides all of the physical benefits of this asana such as strengthening the legs and back, stretching the chest and shoulders as well as a stronger sense of self and confidence.

These empowering asanas incorporate strength, balance, and confidence to eliminate feelings of self-doubt and promote a sense of self-worth. Everyone experiences moments of uncertainty however, your yoga practice can be a powerful tool in changing the way you see yourself and accumulating inner strength. Next time you feel overwhelmed, grant yourself permission to take time out of your day and find your inner strength on the mat.

Stella Versteeg was exposed to yoga early in life from her father – traveling to India to practice yoga with her family. Living in ashrams and being surrounded by the beautiful and intricate Indian culture, from a young age, Stella was able appreciate and learn about the origin of yoga as well as meditation. Stella received her 200 HR yoga training from YogaRenew in 2018. She currently runs a blog, Ride Your Wave Yoga, which shares yoga tips, poses, nutrition, travel and mindfulness. Her goal is to spread honesty, love and awareness about a yogic lifestyle through her blog posts as well as create a supportive, inspired community. She aspires to share as much information as possible about the wonderful lifestyle that yoga has to offer and continuously evolve in her personal own practice.

7 Yoga Poses For Letting Go

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In order to evolve as humans, we must be able to let things go. Whether you are dealing with stress, anger, sadness or any other kind of distress, now is the time to relieve yourself of those negative emotions that are weighing you down. Holding grudges and accumulating feelings of resentment stunts your spiritual growth and ends up being detrimental to your well-being and your practice.

A new year is coming and there is no room to dwell in the past because there is so much pure and positive energy that you can open your heart and soul to. Let’s take a moment and honor change, regrowth, and the present moment. Yoga is a wonderful way to shift your focus from anything painful that might be occupying your mind to something free and wholesome. The yoga poses below can be practiced in order to form a sequence or individually if you need a moment to recollect your thoughts and take a deep breath to release any lingering bitterness.


1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

The word “balasana” comes from the Sanskrit words “bala” which means child and “asana” which means pose. This beautiful and humbling asana is often practiced at the beginning and end of sequences. Child’s Pose is also a wonderful way to rest between challenging asanas and the benefits are numerous. Practice this asana to relax your muscles, stretch your hips, ankles and thighs, release tension in your back and shoulders as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Begin in tabletop position with your wrists stacked under your shoulders and your knees stacked under your hips. Gently shift your weight to your hips and sit back onto your heels trying to bring your big toes to touch each other. Take a deep breath and lower your torso towards the mat extending your arms in front of you or letting them rest by your sides reaching for your heels. Bring your forehead to the mat and with every deep exhale, reach even further with your finger tips if they are extended in front of you and ground yourself through your sit bones. This resting asana is a gentle and humbling act of surrender. Everything will flow in the way it’s supposed to so take a deep breath and let go.

2. Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)

This chest-opening and soothing asana is perfect for releasing built-up tension in your shoulders and neck as well as stretching your spine, back and shoulders. Begin in tabletop position yet again, with your wrists stacked under your shoulders and your knees stacked under your hips. Slowly walk your fingertips in front of you as your torso drops closer towards the mat and shift your upper weight onto your forearms releasing your forehead on the mat. With every deep exhale, visualize and feel your chest sinking closerand closer to the mat. Your back should be straight and your glutes lifted towards the sky while your upper body melts into the mat (there’s a reason why this pose is also referred to as Melting Heart Pose). Make sure that your knees are hip distance apart and your arms are extended and engaged. Spread your fingers to improve your balance in this pose and continue breathing deeply and slowly for 1 minute or as long as you feel will benefit you. This asana will genuinely calm your mind and allow you to immerse yourself in the present moment while focusing on your breathing.

3. Thread the Needle Pose (Parsva Balasana)


Before exiting Puppy Pose, let’s transition to this next asana which will stretch your shoulders, arms, chest and back while releasing tension between your shoulder blades. This asana can be a bit tricky to get into so let’s begin in Puppy Pose. Take a deep inhale and shift your weight to your left arm while gently lifting your right arm off the mat and reaching towards the sky. Exhale and “thread” or slide your right arm underneath your left arm with your palm facing up and rest your cheek on the mat while bringing your gaze to your right hand. Hold this posture for anywhere from 15-30 seconds while maintaining deep and
steady breathing. Once you are ready to switch to the other side, slowly retract your arm from underneath your torso and bring it back in front of you returning to Puppy Pose; repeat on the other side. Once you are ready to complete exit Puppy Pose, slowly walk your hands back up towards you and lift your hips into tabletop position. This is one of my favorite yoga poses to practice when I need to unwind because it releases tension and stress in my shoulders while offering a gentle twist to my spine.

4. Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)

This asana is a perfect way to release stiffness and tension, especially in your hips. This effective hip-opener will allow your hip flexors to lengthen while preparing your body for seated poses and more advanced poses such as backbends. One common reason for tension in your hips is stress and frequent sitting along with a lack of movement and deep sstretching. Muscular tension as well as emotional tension are often trapped in this part of the body. Pigeon Pose is meant to stretch your hip rotators allowing that built-up to be released while giving you the chance to confront your upsetting emotions and finally set them free. Begin in tabletop position yet again with the correct alignment and slowly bring your right knee forward close to your right hand. Straighten your left leg allowing it to rest on the mat and shift your weight onto your right thigh bringing your forehead to the mat. Allow your arms to extend in front of you while you sink deeper and deeper into this asana with every deep exhale. When you are ready, return to tabletop position and repeat this pose on the opposite side. Embrace the feeling of release; let go of each negative emotion as it surfaces.

5. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjariasana-Bitilasana)


These two asanas go hand in hand; Cat Pose is excellent for stretching your spine and shoulders as well as strengthening your core while Cow Pose deeply stretches your shoulders, lower back, chest and spine while strengthening your spine and core. Begin in tabletop position with your wrists stacked under your shoulders and your knees stacked under your hips and as you take a deep inhale, arch your spine allowing your belly to drop towards the mat and bring your gaze forward in Cow Pose. As you exhale, round your spine pulling your belly into your spine and bring your gaze down towards the mat in Cat Pose. Alternate between the two asanas controlling your breathing, inhaling and exhaling deeply and with intention. With every inhale, think of anything that might be emotionally weighing you down or holding you back, collecting every bit of negativity into that breath. Now, exhale releasing all of that energy and allowing it to escape your being since it no longer has a purpose in your life. Allow yourself to entirely let go.

6. Easy Pose/Pranayama

Sometimes, this simple asana is all you need. Easy Pose is the perfect position to meditate in as it lengthens your spine and allows energy to flow through your body freely. It also provides various benefits such as strengthening the back and stretching the ankles, knees, and thighs and improving posture. Begin in seated position with your sit bones grounded into the mat. Visualize roots attached to your hips running deep into the earth like a tree and with every breath, sense yourself feeling more and more grounded. Try to keep your spine as straight as possible and cross your legs tucking your feet underneath your knees. Gently place your hands in your lap or on your knees and close your eyes, bringing your entire focus to your breath. Nothing else matters except this present moment, right here, right now. Let go of any doubts or reservations as everything in this beautiful cosmos has a purpose.

7. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

This deeply relaxing asana provides a multitude of benefits: it calms your nervous system with energizing your mind and soothing your body. Savasana is often practiced at the end of a yoga practice because it allows your body to rest and immerse itself in the benefits of that practice. To enter this pose, begin by laying on your mat with your legs extended in front of you and bring your arms to your sides with your palms facing up. Feel yourself surrendering and letting go of all that tension that no longer serves you. Imagine your body sinking through your mat into the ground and to the center of this beautiful planet. Re-center and feel the benefits of all the asanas that you have previously completed and with each exhalation, feel the weight of your body sinking into the mat. Roll your shoulders back and release any tension in your face, completely letting go of any lingering feelings of stress that might be occupying you. Shift your focus to your breath as you inhale deeply and exhale any remaining negative energy that you might be experiencing. Allow the feeling of gratitude to flow through your entire body like an ocean wave, in through your head and out through your fingertips and toes. Thank yourself for taking the time today to do something for your well being and sense of peace. Stay in this asana for 5-15 minutes or as long as you need in order to feel completely relaxed while receiving all of the wonderful benefits of Savasana. Surrender to the ground underneath your mat. Let go.




My name is Stella Versteeg and my travels, diverse ethnic background, and passion to teach as well as learn have allowed me to generate a creative and expressive outlet. What I love about my blog, Ride Your Wave Yoga, is the ability to share all things from yoga, nutrition, lifestyle, meditation to travel. Thanks to YogaRenew Teacher Training, I am a certified 200HR yoga instructor and a lifelong student who loves to write and inspire while creating a community through my blog. My goal is to spread honesty, love and awareness about a yogic lifestyle through my blog posts as well as create a supportive, inspired community. Living in Los Angeles can be hectic and fast-paced but there’s nothing that yoga can’t fix. Come along and let’s ride your wave, together!

4 Ways To Meditate As A Beginner

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4 Ways To Meditate As A Beginner Yoga

Close your eyes; inhale and take a deep exhale. Wonderful; now watch your endless thoughts, important and unimportant, pass before your eyes without letting them control you. Focus only on your deep breathing and stay absolutely still. Difficult, right? Naturally, your mind will become distracted and your thoughts will stray. Meditation is a practice that incorporates mindfulness and awareness of a particular focal point, such as the breath, to transition into a calm state of mind. Although it might be challenging at first, meditation becomes easier and easier with practice and there are a few ways that can make the beginning of your practice easier. Let’s get right into it!


1. Reserve A Quiet Space For Your Practice

As a beginner practicing meditation, distractions can definitely get in the way. Your goal should be to settle down somewhere with the least amount of external interference. Find a space in your house with the least amount of distractions and if you live with other people, let them know when you will be practicing to avoid other sudden interruptions. I suggest decorating your meditation area with candles, a meditation cushion, perhaps a yoga mat and whatever else you may need to feel comfortable and relaxed. It might be helpful to avoid your bedroom, office or anywhere that may trigger sleepiness or stress. Try to find a brand new space, even if it’s just a different part of a room, to set up your meditation haven.


2. Listen To Guided Audios

Sitting in complete silence at first can be… unsettling. We are always surrounded by auditory and visual stimulations which can make it difficult to accept the simplicity of silence. Think about how much you multitask; do you play games on your phone or text while watching a TV show? Do you doodle on a notepad while talking on the phone? Do you browse through your emails while listening to your favorite podcast? Our minds are conditioned to receive multiple stimulations at once which makes it very challenging to focus on just one thing at a time, thus, leading to challenges when trying to slow down and meditate. To alleviate your struggles, try exploring the wonderful world of guided audios which can be found on Spotify, YouTube and many other places online for free. Many guided meditation audios consist of a calming voice walking you through the process of slowing down your thoughts, witnessing your thoughts passing by passively, focusing entirely on your breath as well as feeling reassured. Music and nature sounds are also often used in these audios to further induce feelings of relaxation. If you have difficulty immersing yourself in silence, guided audios might be for you.

3. Use Aromatherapy

Using aromatherapy during meditation can also help to induce relaxation, stimulate the senses and create a soothing space for your practice. There are several ways that you can incorporate calming scents into your meditation practice; essential oil diffusers, direct essential oil application, scented candles and incense. Essential oil diffusers are wonderful because you can combine multiple scents at once if desired such as calming lavender oil and lemongrass. Another thing I love about diffusers is that they can be timed to consistently release a fragrant mist for as long as you wish. For an even more intense scent, you can also apply essential oils directly to your skin for more potent inhalation. Essential oils can be applied on the palms on your hands and any areas that you would apply perfume such as your wrists and your neck. Scented candles are also lovely during meditation not only due to the pleasantly aromatic nature but also due to the candle-lit, soothing ambience that they create. Incense is also more than just an accessory to meditation; incense often triggers a sense of serenity and connection with oneself. Incense has been used for hundreds of years, especially in Buddhism, and although spiritual leaders have known the benefits of it for years, science is finally catching up and actively supporting those claims. Incense can promote anti-depressive behavior, relieve stress, increase focus, boost the immune system and increase creativity.


4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Practicing is key. At the end of the day, meditation is called a practice for a reason. Consistency and patience will give you the best results so stay focused and be patient with yourself through this process. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, begin by practicing for 10 minutes daily and work your way up to 15 minutes, 20 minutes, etc. If you begin attempting an hour of meditation in the very beginning, you may become frustrated and give up so it’s important to start with baby steps . Another useful tip is scheduling your meditation sessions at specific times of day to train your body to let go and relax during those times. For instance, meditate consistently in the mornings when you wake up or in the evenings depending on your schedule and when you feel like you need to recharge because essentially, you’re recharging your batteries by meditating.

Now that you have the tools to begin your meditation practice, you ultimately have the freedom to decide what kind of practice you are going to build regarding consistency, times of day, duration, presence or absence of props and scents, the use of aromatherapy, etc. It’s important to remember that this is for you. Through your practice, you are able to finally escape the chaos of your routine, your responsibilities and other factors causing your stress. This is your time to grant yourself permission to set time aside to recollect your thoughts, focus on your breath, feel rejuvenated and reconnect with your spirituality. Once meditation becomes second nature, and I promise you it will, you will be able to transition into a calming, meditative state whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed, for instance, before an exam or an important meeting. Try to be understanding of your progress in your meditation practice, as fast or slow as it may be, and enjoy every moment of it.



My name is Stella Versteeg and my travels, diverse ethnic background, and passion to teach as well as learn have allowed me to generate a creative and expressive outlet. What I love about my blog, Ride Your Wave Yoga, is the ability to share all things from yoga, nutrition, lifestyle, meditation to travel. Thanks to YogaRenew Teacher Training, I am a certified 200HR yoga instructor and a lifelong student who loves to write and inspire while creating a community through my blog. My goal is to spread honesty, love and awareness about a yogic lifestyle through my blog posts as well as create a supportive, inspired community. Living in Los Angeles can be hectic and fast-paced but there’s nothing that yoga can’t fix. Come along and let’s ride your wave, together!