Are You Ready to Start a Personal Yoga Practice?

As a yoga teacher, I know that a personal practice is the ultimate way to magnify all of the benefits that yoga has to offer. I also know that building and sustaining a home practice can be difficult and challenging – just like developing healthy eating habits can be. In my classes and through this blog, I have tried to design small yoga “bites” that are easy for students to digest and incorporate into their daily lives. But a blog is not the greatest reference for organizing content since it is written in a designated time with posts that are disassociated from other posts.

Looking back, I wished that I had a home practice resource for myself – one that would slowly and steadily introduce new concepts to build a personal yoga practice that was fulfilling and consistent. Since I was pretty positive that others would also appreciate a tool to develop their own regular yoga routine, I set a goal to generate a home practice book. The content was pretty much already available since I had been blogging frequently over the past three years. I had already written a great deal about my experiences, teachings and research on topics such as postures, breathing, philosophy and many other yoga related subjects.

My idea was to arrange the book into 52 chapters – one per week for a year. In this way, a new task could be presented and practiced for a full week to build a steady, life-long commitment. The concept of gradually setting up a practice plan with small, enjoyable doses of yoga was the key to my objective.

I also wanted the book to represent the complete system of yoga. So I built the content based on all eight limbs of yoga: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. But I also thought that the book should address some of the more subtle aspects of yoga including the chakra system.

The book needed to include the foundational elements one needs to develop a home practice, the supporting features (the 8 limbs) for practicing yoga and some ways to invigorate or strengthen the practice once it was built. I saw it as being ideal for students who are beginners yet also great incentive for those more advanced practitioners who have always wanted to formulate a true home practice. I also viewed the text as an excellent tool for teachers who were looking to generate new life into their classes.

After many months of planning and developing, I am happy to report that the book is ready! Or, at least the kindle version is. I chose to do it all myself so that I could control the daily tasks of creating, formatting and marketing the product and it took a while to produce. To be honest, the writing aspect was the most fun for me. I had that accomplished nearly a full year before I started exploring and implementing the book’s layout and construction. I hope you will click on the link below to check it out!

Yoga Posts: Building a Steady Yoga Practice One Week at a Time is now available for free on amazon kindle for a limited time. We anticipate that the paperback version will be available early next month.

Namasté, Kim

My Latest Essential Oil Discovery: Frankincense

I periodically reevaluate my inventory of essential oils and select one to research and investigate. I love making new discoveries and learning how to incorporate the oils into my health regime.

Since there is little to no large scale scientific research involving essential oils, I think that it is very important for us, as users, to share our discoveries. For example, one of my first explorations was with the oil blend Peace & Calming. I tried it, thanks to my acupuncturist, when I had a bout with a facial nerve disorder. My journey with that particular oil was the reason that I started using aromatherapy for health purposes. Click here to see the original post.

Recently, I have delved into the world of Frankincense. This week I’d like to share my experience and tell you what Frankincense has done for me over the past month.

Continue reading “My Latest Essential Oil Discovery: Frankincense”

Reactivating Your Yoga Poses

Moving through my thirty some years of personal yoga practice, I have definitely fallen into ruts and habits from time to time. It usually takes a good workshop to redirect my ways. A workshop is also a good vehicle to reenergize my practice and my teachings. Last week, I shared a portion of my newest discoveries. I hope that it was a spark to rekindle your yoga flame.

Today, I am continuing with the idea of stability and fluidity by focusing on the posture Parighasana or gateway pose. This sequence includes some of the key takeaway points I learned in my online Yoga Journal Master Class with Carrie Owerko. If you are looking for a fresh take on traditional postures, this is a worthwhile class.

I created my own warmup and added transitional poses to construct this unique sequence.

Continue reading “Reactivating Your Yoga Poses”

Increase Your Mobility Through Stability with Yoga

Happy to be back writing Yoga Posts! While I was gone, among other things, I took a Continuing Education class based on the Iyengar style of yoga. It felt good to revisit the principles of alignment. I was reminded how important it is to study the core elements from time to time; especially when your practice is more advanced. In moving back to the essence of Iyengar, I have refreshed my way of practicing yoga.

So this week, I would like to share what I have been learning. The first concept I focused on was how to generate mobility through stability. While I know that grounding is important to keep a pose steady, through this training, I’ve discovered that establishing an effective base can actually improve your pose.

I created the following sequence for my personal practice and class sessions by choosing a group of poses for the upper body – specifically the neck, shoulders and main torso.

Centering and Warming Postures:

  • Seated Melting Meditation is a great way to bring awareness to the upper back body. Sit comfortably and visualize yourself melting from the base of your skull to your hips.
  • Experiment with this Myofascial Neck Release to relax the deep tissues of the neck. Briefly stretch your right ear towards your shoulder then return your head to center. Massage your left ear cartilage and the area around the ear. Then, repeat the stretch to feel the effects of the massage.
  • Try this mini vinyasa flow that moves from a Kneeling Urdhva Hastasana to Anahatasana to build stability for the upper body. You can also add a kneeling open twist with your arms extending forward and backward.

Focus Poses:

  • Practice Standing Marichyasana and Revolved Side Angle by using a chair facing the wall. This is the heart of the Iyengar workshop I took with Carrie Owerko. It is an awesome method for focusing on what needs to be grounded or stabilized for the openings to occur. We placed our hands on the wall to activate the shoulders and used a yoga strap to anchor the hips (by connecting a large loop from the back foot to the front hip).

It is amazing how effective this was for myself and for my students. We could truly create space to move more deeply into these poses.


  • Then, I chose to isolate the upper body with Warrior I variations. First, flowing from a cactus arm position to a shoulder hug and then by pushing and pulling the arms away from and into the body. In the end, the traditional pose felt easier and more stable.

Poses to Wind Down:

  • The sequence winds down and resolves with Constructive Rest Pose. Simply lie on your back, bend the knees and place your feet mat width apart. Allow your knees to rest together to neutralize the pelvis.
  • End with a version of Supported Savasana. In the example below, the spine is lifted with a bolster to open the shoulders and a blanket wrap anchors the ankles and feet in Buddha Konasana.

This is a practice I will revisit often. Its lesson is invaluable as it affects us both physically, mentally and spiritually. It is particularly important to keep in mind when we are transitioning or facing new challenges in life.

Through preparation, we can provide ourselves with a stable base so that we are better equipped to move into action. A pretty important concept for those of us who like to step out onto the ledge from time to time.

Photos by Yoga Journal & YogaU

Use Restorative Yoga to Release and Rebalance

Typically the final resting posture is the most relaxing part of a yoga session. In Savasana or corpse pose, yoga students learn to focus on their breath and completely release any effort of body and mind. The reward is a sense of peace and equanimity that can lead to a reduction in stress and an easing of ailments caused by anxiety or tension.

There are many yoga pose variations that can elicit a Savasana-like awareness and promote relaxation. For this post, I will give you the techniques for the restorative pose called Supta Baddha Konasana or Supported Bound Angle Pose. Continue reading “Use Restorative Yoga to Release and Rebalance”

Tips for a Safer Yoga Practice: Mastering Chaturanga Dandasana

If you are a practicing yogi, you know what a sun salutation is – a set of postures linked together in a particular sequence. Although there are slight variations, most sun salutations include plank, chaturanga dandasana, upward facing dog and downward facing dog. Chaturanga dandasana (or 4-limb staff pose) is that tricky transitional pose that occurs between plank and upward facing dog. It takes awareness, alignment and strength to avoid injuring the shoulder joint. The question is, should everyone be using it?

Well, how else can you get to the floor? Sure, you can start in 1/2 plank or ardha phalakasana to make the transition easier. However, it still takes good alignment and overall strength to get safely to the floor. It also requires full body awareness – and that is the key.

Here are some steps to start building the full body awareness you need to master the elusive chaturanga dandasana: Continue reading “Tips for a Safer Yoga Practice: Mastering Chaturanga Dandasana”

Live Younger with a Mindfulness Practice

You may have heard that being more mindful makes you a better person. And, it’s proven scientifically that this is the case. Creating a consistent mindfulness practice will grant you a healthier and more productive life. But what exactly is mindfulness?

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” It is the practice of focusing fully on the here and now. In my experience, in order to incorporate present moment awareness into your life, you need to do so gradually. Here is my step-by-step guide to help you move towards mindfulness. Continue reading “Live Younger with a Mindfulness Practice”