Category Archives: Blog

Balance Series #7: Balancing your Bank

Is it even possible to balance your bank and workout plan?

Although I am more than capable of balancing a budget, James does all of the finances at our house. I figured there was no sense in both of us worrying over the same things.  So in the yogi spirit, I let it go. That is why I asked him to contribute his thoughts on this topic.


When it comes to spending money, I am somewhere in this range:

Bless Erin’s soul…

That said, Erin said the word “balance” about 1,000 times before she agreed to let me write this guest post so I’ll do my best to keep it centered.

 Option 1: Spend nothing.

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! I thought you said keep it centered… Ok, Ok, but I wanted to come right out of the gate with this one. Since the beginning of time people have been getting free workouts all over the place. In the (ancient) past, it was chopping wood and moving rocks, but today there is still plenty to do for free (almost free: unlike our ancestors, you have to wear clothes in public these days…).

There are parks all over the state that are free* to visit. Tribble Mill is within 2 miles of my house. I run or bike there several times weekly. Many of you live similarly close to parks like Tribble, Harbins, Bay Creek, etc. While you’re at it, if you’re going there to work out anyway, why drive? Get your workout on the way there and back, and you’ll save the vehicle expense!

Push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, lunges, planks, squats, running, stretching and all the variations of those things cost $0.

Ever watch the able-bodied guy/lady at the office (or the gym?!) take the elevator to the second floor? Stairs are also $0.

The last free one I’ll mention is a perquisite not available to everyone, but some offices and apartments have a gym – locker rooms and showers included. I know many people that pay for a gym membership when they have a totally free option right under their feet (literally).

Option 2: The Value Play

So you’ve convinced yourself not to workout like a caveman and you don’t have the free-at-work option. Fair enough, but you still don’t have to break the bank.

Want a cross-fit style workout? Google “how to build a crossfit box” – like magic… lots of good info. Check out Craigslist for the weights folks are trying to get rid of after realizing they didn’t really need 4,000 lbs of iron in their basement.

Not into cross-fit? Me neither. There are still plenty of options that are basically variations of my last paragraph so I won’t repeat them except to say this: be patient and look for the equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, etc. that are on sale (i.e. people have put it in their basement for 2 years before finally agreeing they’ll never really use it).

Option 3: The Gym

If you’re like many people I talk to, you’ve gotten this far and you’re saying, “I just don’t have the willpower… I need motivation… so I guess I’m stuck paying $x/month for a gym, and I just wasted a perfectly rainy, 75 degree December afternoon reading this.” Don’t give up so easily! Bear with me for a few more paragraphs.

Let’s talk about the easy one first: reciprocity. I know at least one person that has 5 gym memberships. That’s 5 (FIVE!?!) monthly payments for a gym. The reasoning is logical. He works all over Atlanta and never knows where he’ll be at the end of the day. However, the solution is likely sub-optimal. There are several gym chains with multiple geographic locations and full reciprocity. If you are paying for multiple gym memberships or paying visitor fees at other gyms, no judgment from me, just learn the word reciprocity.

Next, find a place close to where you live or work. Simple enough: a) gas money and b) you eventually won’t go if you have to drive out of your way.

The next one is also easy but requires you to be willing to be a little mobile, a little flexible and a little trusting. Most gyms offer deals to members who are willing to pay upfront. This is a little risky since you will likely lose your money (and your membership) if the gym goes bankrupt so you probably should avoid this method at the financially sketchy gyms. It also requires that you have the funds to pay upfront – putting it on your credit card and paying a minimum payment is not the way to take advantage of this deal. And finally, it requires you to be willing to walk away from a gym not offering a deal. I know many of you go to the gym for social hour** so you may be stuck. One last note on this – don’t do this in January. I’m not saying you’re a quitter, but statistically speaking you’re going to waste your money on 11 months of a membership when you quit going in late-January.

Option 4: The Hybrid Model

This is the last one I’ll talk about today (Erin said keep it short, and it’s already long). I run. I don’t need a gym to run. But I would like to do something different every now and then. For me, I like stretching, balancing and strengthening on my off days from running. Lucky me, I have a free private yoga session on demand… mostly.

Maybe you are in a similar situation minus the yoga instructor spouse. Places like ProMotion offer incredibly well-priced, one-time sessions to be able to do things like this in small groups. I like that method because you can go one time and not have to pay a recurring monthly fee. Several gyms offer group classes in a wide variety of styles as part of their membership, and many gyms now offer low rates without locking you into long terms (e.g. Planet Fitness). All of these make the hybrid option possible – work out for free alone, but when you need that extra motivation, sign up for a one-time or one-month session.


Working out can be as free ($0) or expensive ($1,500/month!?) as you want it to be. Figure out what you can comfortably afford and let that be your guide. You don’t want to be stressing out every time you pay your gym fee or it negates the stress relief you get from working out. Whatever you choose to do, get moving!

*Technically parks are not free since you pay for them with taxes, but the incremental cost of going is $0 since you pay the same tax whether you go 0 times or 365 times.

**How many people have you seen standing on the treadmill talking to their neighbor… and forgetting to turn the thing on? I know you’ve seen it at least once. It’s ok – you don’t have to admit it if it was you.

P.S. In the spirit of saving money, if you’ve read this far, congratulations! Tell Erin you want the James discount to get 50% off your first private yoga session with Erin.

Balance Series #6: Eagle Pose


Do you like to play the games Solitaire or Twister? Find out how Eagle Pose combines these two vastly different games into one pose for everyone.


There are a few different ways to get into Eagle pose. Some people like to start moving their arms first, while others prefer to start with the legs. Most instructors have you start in Chair Pose .  Since, I have not featured that pose in a blog yet, I will do my best to take you through the pose as if you have never been in a yoga class before.

Start in a standing position with feet under hips. Slowly shift your weight onto one leg. Wrap the other leg around the standing leg. You can touch your toes to the mat or hook your foot around the opposite calf. Sit back with your hips, keeping your spine neutral. Breathe!!!

If you feel unstable, stand near a wall for support.

Begin to cross your arms with the bottom arm on the same side as the top leg. In other words, the elbow and knee of the same side could touch if you could get your knee high enough. It’s important to keep your back straight and your elbows level with your shoulders. Continue to wrap your arms so that your palms are touching (or the back of your hands if you can’t comfortably wrap farther). Lift up through your chest and arms while pushing your weight down through the standing foot. Contract your abdominal muscles for stability. Try to keep your shoulders and tailbone in neutral alignment.

If you have shoulder or knee concerns, use caution in this pose. It is ok to place your hands at heart center. As with any pose, it’s not supposed to be painful. Stop if anything doesn’t feel right.


  • Loosens and strengthens ankles and hips
  • Loosens wrists and shoulders
  • Releases tightness between shoulder blades and across sacrum
  • Cultivates confidence
  • Strengthens legs
  • Helps to improve concentration and balance


So how does this pose combine the 2 games?  Getting into Eagle Pose for the first few times may feel like you are playing a solitary game of Twister. You twist and stretch and wrap your limbs around each other until you can barely tell right from left and up from down. To help you find your balance you can reflect on how this pose got its name. Garuda, though often translated as “Eagle” or “King of the Bird,” is actually a mythical bird that can ride the wind all day without tiring. See how far you can fly without tiring!

Comments are welcome.

Balance Series #5: Balancing Your Menu

Can I eat chocolate? That is the question on every woman’s mind. Since I do not shop for groceries (my husband does) and I do not have any type of nutrition training, I interviewed Practitioner and Holistic Health Coach Sonya Cousino  and Nutritional Coach Zakia Maylor to help shed some light on this topic (and a few others).

Sonya received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she was trained in more than one hundred dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods.  Zakia has a B.S. in Human Services and has certifications in Holistic and Sports nutrition. You can find Sonya and Zakia, along with me and other wonderful people, at The Wellness Studio.

Q #1: Can I eat chocolate?

Sonya: Chocolate is a wonderful thing. It is my “go to drug of choice” to change my mood. Eating a bit can be just what a person needs, especially the quality dark chocolate. We are meant to eat sugar. Yes, I said we are supposed to eat sugar. I have a workshop titled, “Eat Sugar! Making Healthy Choices.” In this workshop we learn why we cannot, and should not, try to fight our cravings for sugar and how to satisfy the cravings with healthy sugars throughout the day. We also learn that what you eat for breakfast can send those cravings on a roller coaster for the day and how our lifestyles and hormone fluctuations can promote cravings for unhealthy sugars. ALL of these situations that cause unhealthy sugar cravings can be avoided with planning and knowledge.

Zakia: Yes, I believe in moderation. In particular dark chocolate is a healthier choice than milk chocolate. A quality dark chocolate with a higher cocoa content between 70-85% contains iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. It has a bitter taste, but you can train your taste buds to appreciate the richness and flavorful dark treat. Although it has less sugar content, it can be higher in calories and should be consumed in moderation. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, polyphenols and flavanols, which are the healthy substances that make blueberries and acai berries a “super fruit.”  It has been said to increase energy from its healthy fat content, increase blood flow and lower blood pressure. It also may lower the risk of heart disease and improve brain function. If you want to add this delicious treat into your diet, a good balance would be 100 calories of quality grade 70% or better of cocoa content.

Q #2: What is the ONE thing people do wrong in their diet?

Sonya: Many people do not understand what foods are “healthy” for their body. I am asked quite frequently, “Is this food (strawberries for example) good for me?” For many people the answer would be a simple “yes.” However, I happen to break out in hives when I eat too many strawberries.  My answer to that question is, “When you eat a particular food, wait 30 minutes to three hours and see how you feel. If you feel good, physically and emotionally, then that is probably a good food for you.”  Be mindful of what you eat and how it makes you feel.

Zakia: Choosing the wrong diet. The diet you chose should be realistic and tailored to your current lifestyle. If you are on a diet that requires a lot of homemade cooking but you don’t have the time to cook multiple meals a day, that particular diet may not work for you.

Q #3: If you could only change one thing in a person’s diets, what would it be?

Sonya: Processed foods. If food has a shelf life, it is full of preservatives so it does not spoil. This includes your boxed breakfast cereals, boxed foods in general, frozen dinners, and even any “whole grain” bread found on the shelves. This food clogs up our kidneys and livers because our bodies cannot process the processed food. This causes inflammation and all sorts of diseases like high blood pressure, asthma and arthritis to name a few. Bottom line: If mother nature cannot break it down, why should we expect our bodies to be able to break it down?

Zakia: To try to incorporate the 80/20 rule. 80% of your diet consists of eating natural wholefoods with limited amounts of natural sweeteners and the other 20% of your diet includes indulging in healthy snacks to satisfy craving so that you do not feel deprived.

Q#4: In view of Balance, what is the one thing that we should spend the extra cash on?

Sonya: Buy organic when possible, but I do understand that is not always in our budget. However, do not eat peanuts, soy or corn unless they are organic. These crops are so genetically modified that our bodies cannot process them, having the same effects mentioned above about processed foods.

Zakia: The one thing I would spend extra money on is quality natural poultry and other meats, preferably organic or cage free, grass fed animals.

Q#5: What do you, as a holistic health coach, want people to know?

Sonya: I wish people understood that EVERYTHING they put in their mouth fuels their body as it forms cells, tissues, organs, systems and even bones within the next six months. That is why illnesses can be reversed and avoided at times just by changing our diet. Choose your food accordingly.

Zakia: There is not a one size fits all diet, and many diets can be combined and/or adjusted to suit your goals and lifestyle. It’s also important to take other factors into a diet program when trying to either regain health or lose weight. Some of those include food intolerances, hormones, age, weight loss resistance and more. This is why working with a skilled nutritionist may help alleviate some of the guess work when embarking on a new diet and lifestyle change.

More Info

Sonya has a Healthy Habits class to support you with your health goal. Schedule your complimentary 30 minute chat to see if the program is right for you.

Zakia offers nutritional coaching for special diets, weight loss resistance and detox/cleansing programs. She customizes fresh pressed juices by 2PURE. She offers 1, 3 and 5 day juice cleansing programs.


Well, there you have it! Now I’m off to eat some chocolate… in moderation of course. Balancing your diet has all kinds of benefits. It can help you lose weight, feel more energetic and spend less money.

Comment below! I would love to hear any questions or tips you may have on balancing your menu. I will also have Sonya and Zakia respond to your comments below if you have specific questions for them.

A big thanks to Sonya and Zakia for sharing their expertise with me (and you)!

*Note – All the opinions expressed in the Q&A are those of Sonya Cousino and Zakia Maylor. I encourage you to set up a time to speak with them if you have more questions about what you read. More information can also be found at their websites.

Balance Series #4: Warrior III


Why start with 3? Doesn’t 1 and 2 come first? In a linear world, yes. But don’t fret if you can’t find Warrior I or II on my blog because they aren’t there (yet)! But in the context of the balance series, Warrior III is a pose that brings the strength and heat-building elements of a Warrior pose into the practice of balance.


Start in Mountain pose, then place your arms in a comfortable position. Examples of arm positions include: prayer, straight above your head or out toward your sides. Simultaneously extend one leg backwards as you hinge from your hips. Lower your torso until you are parallel to the floor. You may need to bend the standing leg to help with balance. Also, you may want to change your arm position. Just keep in mind that changing the arm position can change your center of mass, and your weight will shift slightly as you move. Keep your lower back level. It is about length, not height, so try to keep your hips from rotating out. Imagine extending and lengthening in opposite directions from your navel. As you slow your breathing, picture your body becoming longer and lighter.


Who doesn’t want a longer, lighter body? Here are some other benefits.

  • Strengthens the neck, shoulders, calves, hamstring and back muscles
  • Stretches the muscles along the spine, the flexor muscles, calves, hamstrings and groin muscles
  • Corrects posture
  • Improves respiration
  • Improves focus and concentration


Balance is not necessarily doing things in a set order, and it’s alright to mix things up. Believe it or not, many times you can get to 3 without passing through 1 and 2. Yoga (and life) is about being aware of your needs and adapting to them. Own it!

When have you jumbled things up and ended up better off? Let me know in the comments!

Other Articles


Balance Series #3: Balancing Your Workout

Balancing Workouts

There are quite a few people who help me find balance in my life. I have a wonderful husband and an amazing family, but you have already read about how great they are. If you haven’t, check out my previous blog posts. This post is going to focus on balance in my workout routine and some pretty amazing people in our community. As I began to make time for exercise in my daily routine, I found that I needed to mix up my workouts. According to Web MD your exercise plan should include aerobic exercise, stretching, and strength training.

What Works for Me*

Of course yoga is my exercise of choice for stretching and stress relief. However, to make sure I get balance in my routine (cardio and strength training), I rely on BodyPlex. This works for me because I need a place that has child care and because they provide a diverse group of classes that are led by very capable instructors. My favorite cardio is Body Jam with Kelly Webb. The energy of the class is great for me, and dance is a wonderful form of expression. Kelly also manages a FaceBook Page and website, RUKillerFit?, with Farredeh Baughcum (another amazing BodyPlex instructor).

I do not like weights at all. It’s just a personal preference. I hear many positive comments about Body Pump, but I prefer using my own body weight to tone my muscles. For that reason, I like TRX with Becky Layson to get my weekly strength training. Becky is a personal trainer and a friend of mine. She knows when to push me and when to back off. She is wonderful at making sure I have proper form for safety and get maximum results.

What About You…?

Almost any workout plan will work if you stick with it, and that is the hard part. It is paramount that you have a support system. Whether it is a friend that meets you at the park, a neighbor that walks the subdivision with you, a gym or a studio that offers balance such as The Wellness Studio at Promotion, here are some things to consider when you start balancing your health and your everyday life.

  • Location – keep it close to home or work (so you will go), and keep it somewhere you can enjoy. The park is great much of the year, and since moving here I have been surprised to find there are amazing parks all over the place – you’ll start noticing them when you start looking for them.
  • Your interests – Make it fun. If it doesn’t interest you, what’s the point? One of the biggest mistakes I see is people doing a routine they hate just because they see other people doing it. I tried running – it lasted about 2 months before I quit. If I forced running to be my daily workout, I would sit on the couch and eat chocolate all day instead.
  • Amenities that suit your particular situation – Do you need childcare, nutritionist, certified instructors, physical therapist, an area to stretch, a pool, sauna, shower, court for basketball or racquetball, alone time? Just make sure to balance these things against the cost – if it’s a stretch financially, you won’t be able to keep it going.
  • Cost – Let’s keep it real. This guy built/bought his own home gym for less than what some of us spend on a gym membership in a couple of months. Regardless of whether you think that’s normal or extreme, working out can be virtually free when you take advantage of nature (the park) or the spare room in your basement. Even many of the amenities I listed in the bullet point above can be found around town for free, nearly free or as part of a normal gym membership. There’s no need to throw down large sums of money on fancy workout stuff.
  • Balance of options – cardio, strength, flexibility, mental stress relief, nutrition advice

I didn’t mention time, but time is a major reason people give for not staying fit. Example: “I’m just so busy with the kids’ stuff that I am exhausted and don’t have time to go to the gym!” I hear you loud and clear! But before we get too satisfied with our rationalizations, check out the article in my blog Balance Series #1 about time management. Making time for yourself today can give you a longer, healthier life to spend with your family, and that makes it all worth it!

What am I missing? Tell me in the comments.

Other Articles

Peanut butter runner

Fitness training: Elements of a well-rounded routine

*Full disclosure: I am an instructor at Bodyplex and The Wellness Studio at ProMotion so that’s what I know. I get no direct benefit from recommending anyone or anything mentioned in this (or any other) article. Anything mentioned here is because I have found it useful in my life and think you might as well. The key takeaway: find what you enjoy, mix it up a little bit and use that to balance your routine and your life.

Balance Series #2: Tree Pose


What do you visualize when you think of a tree? Tall, strong, beautiful, rooted, gently swaying in the wind. Tree pose is the perfect pose to begin with because it is appropriate for any level yoga student. So this week’s post is centered on helping us find balance in our bodies through tree pose and extending it to our everyday lives. With regular practice you can improve focus, coordination and the ability to remain balanced, calm and centered even in the midst of whatever storm life may be sending your way.


From Mountain Pose (see, those foundational poses are important), bring your hands intentionally to heart center or prayer position. Start shifting your weight to balance on one leg. Bring your opposite foot to your standing ankle, calf or thigh. An important point here, only go as high as you feel comfortable.

Caution: do not stop on your knee. This will put too much pressure on the knee. Also, only bring your foot to the thigh if you can get it there without any help from the arms.  Do not force the foot to the thigh and break that nice long neutral spinal alignment. Height of the foot up the opposite leg will come with time and practice… or it won’t… but it is better to have proper spinal alignment than to try to look cool.

In keeping with that nice long neutral spine, your hips should stay level. This is particularly challenging to me. I have to constantly remind myself to keep my hip from jutting out.

From here your hand position can vary depending on what tree you are that day. You could bring your arms overhead like a tall pine. You could have cactus hands. You could bring your arms down by your side with palms facing forward (opening across your shoulders and chest). I call the last one the “weeping willow.” Or simply leave the hands at heart center. In the picture, I have my hands in prayer position. It looks like I’m leaning a little bit in the picture, but I’m standing on a pretty steep incline in my backyard – I would recommend you work on a flat surface.


As you try to hold the pose, slow your breath down, find a focal point and visualize yourself as a tree. You are tall, strong, beautiful, rooted, gently swaying in wind.


Have you ever been walking on uneven ground and turned an ankle or just plain fell on your face? I’m guessing the answer is a reluctant, “yes… yes, I have.” If I’m right about that, then striking a tree pose will help you build and activate those muscles.

Some other benefits of Tree Pose:

  • Stretches the thighs, groins, torso, and shoulders
  • Builds strength in the ankles and calves, which promotes balance
  • Tones the abdominal muscles
  • According to some websites, it can also help to remedy flat feet by working those foot muscles while you are trying to balance

Tree pose is great for athletes. Not only does it promote balance (much needed in any sport), it teaches you to visualize your goal. You see it. You do it. You own it.


Start slowly from the ground up. Stability can change daily. Consider all of the factors that contribute to balance such as hydration, alcohol consumption, sinus issues, inner ear issues and current medications, to name a few. Balance is also different from the right side of the body to the left side of the body, so you may be better at this pose on one leg than the other. That’s alright. Just keep practicing. Yoga is about self awareness. It is important to honor that. Accept where you are right now, not where you were ten years ago or where you think you should be.

Here is an article with a fun fact about balance.

As you practice Tree Pose you will gain balance in all areas of your life, not just on your mat, which will directly translate into fewer embarrassing (and potentially dangerous) moments when you take a dive because you lost your balance. You will learn how to slow your breathing, focus and remain calm and centered. Now that is transformation!

Other Articles

This is an exercise from DirtyYoga for men to help with balance. I love that this is out there.

Best yoga poses to improve balance

I would love for you to leave a message or send a picture of your tree. I made it easier for you to leave comments by removing the email requirement, so comment away!

Balance Series #1

New Balance Series Starting

The next few blog posts will be a series on balance. Life is a series of choices, and we all must learn how to balance. Do I eat out tonight or cook dinner at home? Do I go to the gym or watch reruns on the couch with a big bowl of candy? Do I knock out another TRX class or do yoga? Do I pay off the mortgage, invest the money or buy a new car?

The series will consist of balancing poses in yoga complemented by a consideration of balance in your workout routines, balance within your body and balance of the everyday stresses of life. If you have anything specific that you would like discussed, email me or comment below and I will try to include it.

Balancing Life

Let’s jump right in there! I will be the first to admit that I need help at times with balance in my everyday life. If you’ve been in my home, sadly, you know the room in the featured picture was not staged. Some days I am functioning on an hour by hour basis – scratch that, minute by minute. Between my faith, my three small children, my family and friends, the house and my new yoga opportunities, I have very little, if any, energy left for Erin. There have been occasions in the past where I lost who I was. I was stuck in survival mode. Anyone who is a caregiver has been in survival mode. You can read my story in the previous post Why Yoga.

Let’s Get Specific

What we are really talking about is prioritization, time management and, generally speaking, just trying to make it all happen. There is never enough time or energy to get everything done in one day. Here are a few things that have helped me.

Full disclosure: I get no direct benefit from any people or products that I mention in these posts. They have been useful to me, and I think they may be useful to you. If nothing else, they’ll give you some ideas for your journey.

Time management

What…is…that? It is important to track where you spend your time and how much time you spend on each task. This will help you prioritize.  If you allow others to usurp your time, they will. Here is the key, YOU! That is right. It is a choice. If it is important to you, you will make the time. The reason it is a cliche is because it’s true. One goal should be to make time for you. You will be stronger and happier for it. I think this article provides some perspective on how busy we really are. These ladies run companies and still intentionally make time for the important things.

To help me with managing my time, I have an Erin Condren LifePlanner. You can buy a calendar at the dollar store or make one on your computer. EVERY event for ANYONE in my household goes into that one book. As caregivers we not only manage ourselves but others as well. It is important to stay organized and keep everyone in the household on the same wavelength. Plus, with a calendar, when your significant other wants to argue with you about when something was scheduled, you can pull out the official record, point to the entry and smile on the inside as you realize you just decisively won an argument (just remember – no judging, even when it’s that tempting).


My husband and I plan “business/family meetings” on a regular basis to ensure we share the same goals. These can be short (on the order of a few sentences) or longer (up to an hour). We also try to help each other meet personal goals. One of my goals is to update my website and keep it fresh. Without nagging, my husband is consistent in asking if I made my latest self-imposed deadline with the website. That support system is necessary. It holds me accountable and also provides encouragement when I fall short.

It is also important to have an individual or group with which you can celebrate the victories in life, no matter how big or small. Here are a few of my support groups: Snellville Church of Christ  and my fellow Christians, friends and family (including my employers and colleagues). I am blessed to work with peaceful, happy people. The instructors at the Wellness Studio are truly a positive influence on my life. Part of yoga is letting go of judgement and competition. In that spirit, the ladies there are my cheerleaders rather than my competitors, and that makes a world of difference in the workplace.

Bottom Line

Build your life around the important things. And make no mistake, you are important! Start small, but aim big. It doesn’t happen overnight, but I know you can get there. Life can be an amazing journey. Make yours a good one.

Use the comment section to tell me how you put balance in your everyday life… and please tell me I’m not the only one with a room that children destroy!

Foundational Pose #5: Knees to Chest


Like Down Dog, Mountain, Staff Pose,  and Child’s Pose , Knees to Chest is another foundational pose that is used to easily transition to other poses. This pose is typically used in a supine (lying down)  warm up and toward the end of a yoga session.  This pose utilizes gravity to stretch your glutes and lower back. There are a few options of Knees to Chest for you depending on what sensation you are looking for. Most options are restful, relaxing and a way to become more aware of your body. Knees to Chest is the “go-to” pose anytime you need to take a moment and breathe toward the end of your yoga practice, especially following back bends. This allows you to release your lower back and neutralize your spine.

As always, no pose should hurt – if it hurts, or just doesn’t feel right for any reason, stop!

Enough already… How?

Start in a supine position with your back on the floor, bring your knees into your chest. Hold the back of your thighs. Keep drawing your knees into your chest while keeping your tailbone on the floor.


  1. Use a towel or a strap to reach around your thighs if there is limited hip flexion.
  2. Alternating knees into the chest one at a time for abdominal work. This is also a great way to gently warm the body up before exercise.
  3. If you have lower back discomfort or limited movement gently try this pose with one leg only. If you can do this without pain for several days in a row, advance to lifting both legs (if you can’t do it without pain, don’t do it).
  4. If you have trouble getting that lift in the lower pelvis, you might consider placing a small towel or folded blanket under your sacrum to get you started in the right direction.
  5. For a gentle back massage, rock side to side. This is especially nice if you’ve been targeting those back and core muscles throughout your workout.

You want to avoid grabbing your shins or the tops of your knees. This could place added pressure on the knee. Also remember to keep your tailbone and shoulders on the floor. Your lower back should follow its natural curve and lift slightly off the floor.


Benefits of Knee to Chest

The following are some benefits of the Knee to Chest if done on a regular basis:


Similar to what I said about Child’s pose, because this pose is typically only done at the beginning or end of class it can get neglected. But honestly, who doesn’t want a free back massage?

Leave a comment below or email me if you’d like to join the conversation.

Other Links

Knees to Chest Exercise


Yoga Anywhere

Introduction: Yoga Anywhere

I recently went on a family vacation on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. We had a blast! While on vacation I had the opportunity to practice yoga on the ship and at Serenity Bay, an adult only private beach owned by Disney. The purpose of this blog is not to make you jealous by showing you pictures of the Bahamas but to talk about a lifestyle. Being fit is a lifestyle. Just like any other commitment you make in life, you have to decide everyday whether to stick with it or not – to burn the extra cupcake with exercise or let it go to your hips. Eventually you will want only half of a cupcake or no cupcake at all because you realize that you have to run 3 miles to burn 1 cupcake – not to mention cupcakes aren’t the greatest fuel for a 3 mile run. I’m not suggesting you don’t indulge every now and then (full disclosure: I overate on the cruise). However, I am suggesting you try to stick to your fitness goals while on vacation or anywhere else that you may be out of your routine. Newton described it best with his First Law of Motion (paraphrased), bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest! So get moving and don’t stay at rest!

Did I Find Yoga or Did Yoga Find Me?

I find yoga pretty much wherever I go now. The good thing is that I don’t need anything but willpower to practice. There is no need for a machine or some crazy device that costs a fortune. Yoga is not only creating long lean gorgeous muscles. It also gives a peace of mind and a sense of serenity. It is not just yoga that can keep you in shape and well-balanced, although, it is my preference. For example, my husband is a runner. He ran (and won) the Castaway Cay 5k while on the vacation. The point is, whatever keeps you moving, keep at it! It beats the alternative of sitting around and eating all day and feeling miserable afterward. Whatever your form of exercise is, stay true to it. You will not regret it!


Here are some pictures of me doing yoga in the Bahamas.







  1. I would love to post some pictures of you doing yoga anywhere. Try to make me, and anyone else reading this blog, jealous!
  2. For all of you math and science advocates out there, let me know how many of these questions from the link below that you answered correctly

NASA: Questions

For a simpler version about the Laws of Motion check out

Newton’s Three Laws of Motion

Foundational Pose #4: Child’s Pose


Like Down Dog, Mountain, and Staff Pose, Child’s Pose is another foundational pose that is used to easily transition to other poses. This pose is great with props such as bolsters, blocks and blankets or as a standalone pose.

The name is derived from the fact that the form emulates an unborn child’s natural position in the womb.

There are many options of Child’s Pose for you depending on what sensation you are looking for. All are restful, relaxing and a way to become more aware of your body. Child’s Pose is the “go-to pose” anytime you need to take a moment and breathe during your yoga practice, especially following a particularly intense sequence.

As always, no pose should hurt – if it hurts, or just doesn’t feel right for any reason, stop!

Enough already… How?

From all fours (neutral horse) with your toes pointed straight behind you (it’s ok if you want to bring your big toes together), sink your hips back toward your heels. Lower your body toward your thighs. Bring your arms alongside your body. Your forehead is on the mat.


For Extended Child’s Pose reach your arms out in front of your body.

extended childs pose

Another option is to rest your forehead on stacked fists or a block. For clarity, in the picture below I have my head up so you can more clearly see the stacking of my fists. To complete the pose, your forehead would actually be resting on your fists rather than in the air like mine is in the picture. If you use a block, your hands would be positioned like either of the first two pictures above and your head would simply rest on the block. Whether on your fists or a block, this option is great for leveling the heart with the head and can take pressure off the sinuses.

stacked fist

Wide Knee Child’s pose is great for anyone who is expecting or anyone who wants a great hip opener. This option allows more room for your midsection.

wide kneejpg

One of my favorite options is Restorative Child’s Pose. This is done with a bolster or blocks and blankets. It restores your body with a restful position (and you may need somebody to wake you up).


But… Why?

This list isn’t exhaustive, but Child’s pose is great because it:

  • Restores balance to the body and rests the mind
  • Offers a wonderful opportunity for us to explore our breath. As you inhale, feel the back of the torso widen and soften outwards – all the way down the spine to the sacrum.
  • Gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles. For a deeper hip stretch, widen the legs so your knees touch the mat, big toes together.
  • Can be a good stretch for the shoulders, if the arms are stretched out in front the body, palms facing down.
  • Can be a good back and neck pain reliever; at the same time, the head and torso are supported.


Because this pose is typically only done at the beginning or end of class it can get neglected and overlooked. But, trust me, you can audibly hear sighs of relief when the instructor says, “Let’s head back to child’s pose” after a really challenging flow series. After reading about all of the active foundational poses, this one should seem fun to try.

I would love to hear about your favorite option in child’s pose. Leave a comment below or email me.

Other Links


5 Health Benefits of Child’s Pose