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Get Your Morning Yoga On

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Adopt Eight Yogic Steps for Mindful Mavens

As a yoga teacher and practitioner for over a decade, I love to refer back to the basic tenets of yoga, outlined by the sage Patanjali in the Indian sacred text the Yoga Sutras, to guide my spiritual side. My favorite version of the Sutras is the first translation by a woman, Nischala Joy Devi, called The Secret Power of Yoga. It’s a great read if you’d like to learn more about these ancient teachings from a fellow femme’s perspective.

We all need some sort of road map to help us stay the course and make minor adjustments along the way. The following steps, outlined in the Sutras as the eight limbs of yoga, are great everyday guidelines for mindful bliss.

Yamas. These five guidelines give insights into how to act toward others, and they promote nonviolence, truthfulness, moderation, greedlessness, and not stealing. An example of nonviolence is to make lifestyle choices that lessen your carbon footprint, such as riding your bike to work, eating fruits and vegetables in season, carrying a reusable bag, and turning off the water while brushing your teeth.

Niyamas. These five guidelines focus on how you treat yourself, and they promote purity, contentment, austerity, self-study, and letting go. An example of self-study involves focusing within to recognize patterns, review expectations, and practice acceptance of what is. By doing so, you become able to better understand who you are and why you react the way you do, and to accept situations beyond your control. Let go of that dirty word should.

Asanas (poses). Practicing poses, such as down dog, cobra, and lion’s pose, is what, in the West, we commonly refer to as yoga. The physical practice of yoga is a great way to still the mind and awaken the body. Use your body as a catalyst for change by observing all the sensations that transpire in challenging poses or challenging situations in life. Our bodies hold keys for amazing transformations.

Pranayama (breath work). Breath control is a powerful tool for use during our daily lives. Notice how your breath becomes shallow when you’re on deadline or waiting in a long line. Take deep, full breaths to induce a calming effect and cleanse and balance your nervous system. Take ten deep, full breaths before heading in for your annual review, and notice the powerful effect. My three favorite prana practices are unveiled in the upcoming section on breath.

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Read more: Exercises, Fitness, General Health, Guidance, Health, Mental Wellness, Spirit, Yoga, , , , , , ,

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Kimberly Wilson

Kimberly Wilson is a yogini, writer, entrepreneur, and eco-fashion designer currently obsessed with Paris, potbelly pigs, and all things sparkly. She is the Creative Director and Founder of Tranquil Space – named among the top 25 yoga studios in the world by Travel + Leisure, penned Hip Tranquil Chick and Tranquilista, and holds a Master’s in Women's Studies. Indulge in musings on tranquilology through her blog and podcast, Tranquility du Jour. Learn more at


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9:02AM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

Thank you - I'm going to keep hold of this. I've been thinking about learning yoga.

5:31PM PDT on May 17, 2011

Very helpful. Thank you!

6:28PM PST on Nov 23, 2010

I have noticed that if you do yoga regularly in the morning you will find it easier to wake up. So this is a good tip for people having trouble getting out of bed in the mornings.

10:24AM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

thanks for the morning tips!

3:37PM PDT on Sep 10, 2010

good ideas

6:06AM PDT on Sep 9, 2010,85616,4672584.html
click here to help people from all over the world!

8:56AM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

Whenever I do yoga in the morning it really does make you feel 'loosened' and mentally alert for the rest of the day

4:16PM PDT on Jul 12, 2010

Do yoga first thing in the morning? Do anything physical first thing in the morning? No way! As it is, I'm lucky if I wake up coordinated enough to make it to the bathroom without falling over my own feet... and getting my legs into the proper pant legs is a *major* accomplishment! I've been this way my whole life. Even as a toddler, I wanted to sleep in!

7:23PM PDT on Jul 5, 2010


7:06PM PDT on Jun 24, 2010

I have lived with anxiety and depression for most of my life and have looked to my doctors who have inevitably put me on one med after another. I hated the way I felt and looked for alternative methods to ease my "pain". I started doing yoga each morning this year and have found I am much less anxious. I love the feeling each morning of breathing. It's now summer and my kids and I do yoga together. Thank you for giving me some more ideas to help start our days out right and hopefully teaching my kids some life long ways to deal with stress.

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