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How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat - 5 Things to Look For

How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat - 5 Things to Look For

Though it may be tempting to borrow any old mat at your local group fitness studio, it makes sense to invest in a quality mat that's suited to your needs and circumstances. You'll keep your body flu-free and receive adequate support for your pesky joints. Not sure how to choose the right yoga mat? Here are five factors to consider:

How to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Practice

How to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Practice

When stepping onto my yoga mat, I remind myself that this is a sacred place. One's mat is where all else ceases to exist. I begin my yoga practice by taking a deep inhale, as I do so, I focus on the air rushing into my lunges, I breathe in positive energy. On my exhale, I blow the air out through my lips and exhale all negative energy out of my body. I like to think of myself as a blank slate when I start my practice. Each day is a new beginning and a new way to mold yourself into the person you aim to be, I begin each day with an open mind and a grateful heart.

3 Steps to a Headstand

3 Steps to a Headstand

There is no shortcut when it comes to more advanced inversions. But, there is one simple rule: practice. You've probably heard that same advice many times and got tired of it. It's simpler said than done. The truth is that dedicated practice does come with results, both big and small. Practice these 3 steps to a headstand daily or at least few times a week to see results. Assistance from a certified yoga teacher is recommended if you have neck injuries or if you don’t want to try it alone.

Relax Anywhere With This 5 Minute Yoga Routine

Relax Anywhere With This 5 Minute Yoga Routine

Whether you're sitting behind your office desk or laying on your yoga mat, this yoga routine will help you to relax anywhere in 5 minutes. Reserve time for yourself. Relax and zone out of your hectic day for a blip of time. It doesn’t matter where you are. You could be heading back home from the gym. Do this routine in your dressing room. If you can't fall asleep because your thoughts are overwhelming you, try this breath-focused routine for a calmer mind. At the end of this 'Relax Anywhere' routine, we will explore a yogic breathing technique called Alternate Nostril Breathing. I will briefly guide you through it here so that you can watch the demonstration before trying it yourself.

Absolute Beginner Yoga Workout

Absolute Beginner Yoga Workout


To begin a yoga practice you need to stop competing with yourself and others. Yoga is a lot more than Downward Dog poses. The pose is actually quite challenging, and holding it for several breaths at ease is difficult, even for the most flexible. Before you can advance much further with yoga, you need to build the foundation of your practice by engaging your breathing with your movement and the moment. These are the key points of this Absolute Super Beginner yoga practice video where we will begin building the base. These moves are also good reminders for others who are more advanced with their practice. It's important to slow down and not go through the flow as if you're on auto-pilot.

This practice will give you the first insight of acknowledging different body parts during the practice. You'll engage in the moment. Breathing deeply actually requires a little bit of work in the abdominals. On the other hand, balancing poses are actually more work for the mind than for your body.

Since yoga is a lot more than making your heels touch the mat in Downward Dog, I left that pose out of this 30-minute routine on purpose.

Explore who you are and feel better by breathing deeper.

This is a post by PumpUp member Marinka Essel. Follow her on PumpUp @rinkae and on Instagram (rinkae_)

Yoga in Bed : Morning and Night Routines

Yoga in Bed : Morning and Night Routines

Sometimes you just can’t resist hitting the snooze button in the morning. To break free from this habit and put an end to the excuse that you're 'too busy' for exercise, get a workout done in your bed.  You won't need to rush out the door any more. Yoga in bed will save your life.

Here is a quick yoga routine that anyone can do to become energized and motivated enough to wake up and exercise. You will have time for your gym session, your morning run, or however you prefer to work out in the morning. This yoga in bed routine will give you a tiny boost to help you kill the snooze. The poses included in this video will get your blood circulation going, wake up your digestion system, and stimulate your mind. Even if you do end up sleeping so late that you just can’t find the time to squeeze in that morning run, this 5 minute yoga in bed routine is something you can do before you head out of the door.
Yoga in Bed - Night time Yoga routine // Klaaqu for the PumpUp Blog

What if your body is too tired after a long day? Sometimes, you just can't sleep because your day has been too stressful. Here is another routine that you can do in your bed as well. Do this yoga in bed routine at night, wash off your makeup, and brush your teeth. Follow these calming poses and hold them for a little bit longer than you would in the morning. Help your brain relax, fall asleep faster, and get a higher quality of sleep.
These yoga in bed routines from PumpUp member @rinkae will energize your morning, or bring peace to your mind at night. Follow her on Instagram @rinkae_ and check out her YouTube channel.

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community on International Yoga Day

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community on International Yoga Day


Yoga is a practice that celebrates focus, stability, self-awareness, and strength (among other things). These yoga photos from the PumpUp community will inspire you to try something new.

Wheel Pose

Wheel pose // Inspirational yoga photos from the PumpUp Blog

Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @roxanneidk

Most people employed in office jobs (and even students!) find themselves slouching over a desk or couch for most of the day. Wheel pose is a practical pose, and it's here to help. Root your weight in your shoulders and your arms to make your wheel pose stronger. Ground your feet into the floor and use your legs to lift your torso up higher towards the ceiling. The wheel pose, or chakrasana, helps to correct your posture if you are sedentary for most of the day. It opens up your back and chest and draws deep, intense consciousness to you breath.

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // The PumpUp Blog

Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @hezza_96

For another variation on the wheel pose, keep your forearms grounded on the floor as you perform a backbend. Lift one leg off the ground and raise it straight up and overhead. Keep the other foot raised off the ground, with the balls of your feet planted on the floor. Maintain your balance throughout the entire pose. "Stretching is just my favourite thing to do," said PumpUp member hezza_96. "It relaxes me when I'm stressed. My lower back is getting stronger and more flexible and I'm really proud of how my backbends are improving."

Tree pose

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Blog

Photo courtesy of PumpUp member emmalienchen

You can look like a certified boss when you do the tree pose. It’s a perfect way to improve single-legged stability while you tackle various chores throughout the day. You’ll engage your core, strengthen your legs, and make yourself a lot less prone to injury. Try doing the tree pose while you’re brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, or waiting in line for the bus. Begin in a standing position, rooting both feet into the ground. Slowly lift one leg up and plant your foot along your inner thigh. Focus your gaze on one point in the room to help maintain balance. Bring your arms straight up over head. For an extra stretch, close your palms together and press them behind your back.


Seated Twists

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Blog

Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @kabuki

Don't eat away your sorrows. Instead, perform seated twists to wring out your worries and relieve tension in your shoulders. Sit upright with both legs straight out in front of you. Cross one leg over the other, bending your knee so that your foot rests near your inner thigh. Turn your gaze away from the straight leg and either place your hand on the outside of your bended knee, or interlace your hands behind you. Tuck your knee into your elbow as you do so and take deep breaths.


Lord of the Dance Pose (Needle)

Inspiring Yoga photos from the PumpUp community
Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @veganballerina
This pose is as beautiful as it is beneficial for your body. Not only will you improve your stability, but you'll also strengthen your legs, ankles, thighs, shoulders, and your chest.  Ground your feet firmly into the floor and make sure that you open your hips with a few other preparatory poses before you attempt this. Lift one leg off the ground and grasp your foot with your hand, bringing it as far towards your head as you can. Bend your upper body towards your legs for a deeper chest and shoulder stretch.


Forearm handstand

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // The PumpUp Blog
Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @emschaeffer
The forearm handstand is quite a feat to achieve without the wall. Practice with a partner to become comfortable with this challenging pose. It will test the limits of your upper body strength, stability, and more. Inversions are a great way to relieve headaches and improve your focus. The key is to plant your forearms firmly towards the ground. Face a wall and practice touching your feet up and overhead. Become comfortable with holding this pose for a few seconds, then try for longer.


Lotus pose

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // PumpUp Blog

Photo courtesy of PumpUp member rinkae

The lotus pose is perfect for long periods of seated meditation. You'll improve your concentration as you gently close your eyes, crossing your legs and keeping your back straight. Focus your attention on your breath. Clear your thoughts and be mindful of the present. If you need to clear your mind after a long and busy day, the lotus pose is for you. For a more advanced variation, bring your crossed legs up towards your chest and wrap your elbows underneath your feet. Bring the legs tighter towards your chest to deepen the stretch.


Wide side lunge

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // The PumpUp Blog
Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @vidy
Tight hips are a common problem for runners. Open them up with a deep, standing side lunge. Begin in a wide legged stance and plant your feet firmly on the floor. Point one foot towards the side and shift your weight towards the other foot into a deep lunge, keeping your body upright. Bring your hands to the ground and fold your body forward for a deeper stretch. This lunge is perfect for building up to more advanced poses.


Reverse warrior pose

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // The PumpUp Blog
Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @ramo568
Reach for the stars with the reverse warrior pose and you'll get a great stretch in your obliques and hips. Have one leg form a ninety degree angle with the floor and reach the other foot back, keeping it as straight as possible. Reach both arms straight out towards the side and hold the pose for a few breaths. Next, inhale and reach one arm up towards the ceiling, extending the other arm down towards the floor. Look up towards the ceiling and sink your hips, grounding your weight through your feet. Hold for a few breaths.


Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // PumpUp Blog
Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @issa_
Loved these inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp community on the first-ever International Day of Yoga? There are more to be discovered! Tag your yoga photos with #TeamPumpUp on the PumpUp app and Instagram so that we can see and share them! 

Why this PumpUp member's backbend is more impressive than you think

Why this PumpUp member's backbend is more impressive than you think


As a stroke survivor and single mother who has struggled daily with a plethora of health ailments, @healthy_beatnik's progress is admirable in every single way. "Every day is a new journey and a new beginning to better your mind and body," she said. Just this past week, @healthy_beatnik was able to improve her form with the crow pose— something that she coined as 'Success Saturday'. Holding these poses takes a lot of patience and strength. She's also been practicing a full backbend and chest opener called the wheel pose. "A couple of months ago, I couldn't bend this way at all, let alone lift myself," she insisted. "Progress is progress, no matter how small or slow it may seem." This is a huge accomplishment for @healthy_beatnik, who was diagnosed with a spine condition called scoliosis. "Regardless of how my illnesses may leave me discouraged, I am always reminded daily by my strength and that even the smallest things count," she mused. As she develops flexibility in her back, @healthy_beatnik begins to take slow, steady, and calculated steps to fight hard against chronic illnesses.


@healthy_beatnik frequently shares her progress and daily meals with the PumpUp community. "I just want to say thank you to all of my followers and 'Pump-uppers'," she confirmed. "[They] are all doing so amazing; taking [their] health into [their] own hands. [They] truly motivate and inspire me every day."

Keep her pumped! Whether you're improving your backbend or increasing your race speed, share the stories behind the progress you make and any setbacks that come your way with the #ShowMeTheMay hashtag on PumpUp.


5 poses to supercharge your run: yoga for runners

5 poses to supercharge your run: yoga for runners


Why yoga might make the difference for your run

You're running. You feel the wind ripping through your hair, adrenaline pumping through your body, then suddenly: a cramp. Tight hamstrings. Sore feet. Your knees. If running pains deter you from being able to thoroughly enjoy outdoor or indoor jogs, do yoga for runners!

We particularly like the way that Daily Yoga structures their Yoga for Runners sessions by making a distinction between pre and post-run stretches. Their pre-run yoga routine focuses on body balance, muscle strength, and joint flexibility and makes use of simple stretches to condition the body for long-distance runs. Their post-run training restores, elongates, and loosens any tension built up in your muscles. Mobile communities like PumpUp and Daily Yoga provide the guidance and structured routines that a personal trainer would give you, but within the comfort of your home.

Our favourite pre-run yoga moves

daily yoga for runners forward fold


Standing forward fold with hands on hips

daily yoga for runners wide legged forward bend


Wide-legged forward bend with hands on hips


daily yoga for runners triangle pose

Triangle pose (right and left)

daily yoga for runners pigeon pose


One legged pigeon pose (right and left)

daily yoga for runners warrior 2


Warrior Pose II (right and left)

For more instructions on how to do these poses, check out Daily Yoga's Yoga for runners series and share about your routine on PumpUp! How do you warm up and cool down before and after your runs? Let us know in the comments below!