I’ve been using themes in my personal yoga practice and the classes I teach for about 10 years, and writing this book lets me share them with you! Centering your yoga session around a word, phrase, or idea flavors your time on the mat, giving it focus and intention. It allows you to explore your poses from different perspectives and encourages a more meaningful yoga practice.
In 108 Themes for Your Yoga Practice, now available on Amazon, we explore 108 different themes you can choose to incorporate into your yoga sessions. Each theme includes some of my thoughts on what it means to practice it on and off the mat, a yoga pose or breathing technique that embodies the theme in some way, and an affirmation to use throughout the practice or during meditation.
There are five poses/breathing techniques mentioned in 108 Themes for Your Yoga Practice that could not be pictured or that might require some additional explanation. You can find that here:
Breath of Joy
Stand tall in tadasana.
Take a short, quick inhale as you bring your arms up, crossing them slightly above your head.
Take another quick inhale to sweep the arms open wide.
Take a third quick inhale to cross the arms again, as in the first breath.
Bend slightly at the knees as you fold forward, swinging your arms down beside you on a strong exhale.
Anuloma Viloma (alternate nostril breathing)
Sit in easy pose, left hand on your left knee.
Bring the right middle and index fingers toward your palm.
Exhale fully, then place your right thumb against your right nostril, inhaling through the left nostril.
Close your left nostril with your right ring finger, exhaling through the right nostril.
Inhale through the right nostril. Close your right nostril with the right thumb, then exhale through the left nostril.
Repeat several times, finishing on a complete exhale through the left nostril, then moving your hand away and taking several breaths through both nostrils.
Bhramaree Breathing (bumblebee breathing)
Lie in savasana or sit in easy pose.
Close your ears with your fingers.
As you exhale, making a humming sound.
Repeat for several breaths.
You can also use this breath during your asanas (without closing your ears).
Suriya Namaskarasana (sun salutations)
There are many variations on the sun salutations. This is the classic version I usually do and teach.
Begin in tadasana.
Inhale both arms up above the head.
Exhale to dive forward into forward fold.
Inhale step the right leg back to high lunge, hands on the floor.
Hold the breath just long enough to step the left leg back to meet the right in plank pose.
Inhale upward dog.
Exhale downward dog.
Inhale step the right foot forward to high lunge, hands on the floor.
Exhale step the left foot forward to meet the right, forward fold.
Inhale to stand, both arms above the head.
Exhale arms to your side.
Repeat, starting with the left leg.
Dirga (3-part yogic breath)
Imagine your breathing space divided into three parts: your belly, your rib cage, and your upper chest. You can place your hands on these body parts to help you feel the movement of your breath.
Breathing slowly and continuously, inhale by filling your belly, then your rib cage, then your chest.
Exhale by emptying the chest, then the rib cage, then the belly, keeping the breath slow and smooth.