My Favorite Yoga App

Have you guys tried the Cody app?

It's hands-down my favorite yoga and fitness app. They offer some incredible at-home workouts with fantastic yoga teachers.

My two favorite yoga routines:

  • Ultimate Yoga Shred with Sadie Nardini. This 14-day plan features HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for optimal cardio, fat burning, and lean muscle building.

  • Bodystrong with Ashley Galvin. This 30-day set of videos is designed to tone and strengthen the whole body using challenging asana series, multiple reps, and workouts targeting major areas like the core, legs, arms, and booty.

I have a lot of gratitude for both Sadie and Ashley for sharing these kick-ass yoga classes, and a big thanks to the team at Cody for continually offering high-quality videos. Namaste.

The Yoga Collective (and a Giveaway for Online Yoga Videos)

Photos courtesy of Elizabeth and The Yoga Collective.

Do you practice yoga at home?

Developing a personal practice is a wonderful way to deepen your experience of yoga. And, since most of us have busy schedules that don't always allow for classes at the studio, practicing at home is a great way to get more consistent on your mat.

Note: see below for a chance to win access to an amazing library of yoga videos online at The Yoga Collective!

One great resource for yoga classes at home is The Yoga Collective. Their video library features a variety of yoga styles, levels of experience, and lengths of time. What I love is that you can search the website based on what you're looking for... so if you want a gentle yin practice that's only 30 minutes long and is great for beginners, it's easy to find that video.

I shared access to The Yoga Collective's online yoga classes with Elizabeth from the Sponsored Yogis team. Here were her reflections on using the site.

Being a stay at home mom with 2 children, active within my community, sports, husband, family, and garden I don't always get the opportunity to get to a yoga studio and find my balance. Most days I'm lucky if I brushed my teeth! 

I LOVE that I can go to while my baby girl sleeps or in between school/dinner/baseball and sneak in 30 minutes here or there. Sometimes it's less than 10 minutes, and I am so grateful for those few minutes regardless of how long my practice is.

The website is so convenient and the classes are great! So many varieties and the instructors are great. I can just hit play and close my eyes and envision I am in the studio.

One suggestion I'd like to make is I'd like to see longer morning classes and I'd really like to see a before bedtime class.

I am soo grateful for this website and I highly recommend it to all my friends. Thank you so much for taking the time to film the videos and share the love!

Online Yoga Videos GIVEAWAY!

The Yoga Collective is offering one lucky reader from Alive in the Fire access to their yoga videos online for a free year-long membership! That's a lot of yoga, my friends! :)

To win, please visit The Yoga Collective and leave a comment below with details about a class you'd like to try. You can also share a story about why you love practicing yoga at home, or what you'd hope to gain by having a membership to the site.

For additional entries in the giveaway, follow The Yoga Collective on Instagram and Twitter, and be sure to mention that you've added them when you post your comment below.

Good luck! A winner will be chosen before June 1. 

A big thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her post, and to the team at Yoga Collective for their generous giveaway. Namaste.

Yoga at Home with Rachel Brathen

When you practice yoga, it should feel good.

Sometimes the poses are a little uncomfortable, but they should not be painful. Additionally, the practice itself should not be punishing. Yoga is meant to nourish the body, mind and spirit. On and off the mat, our goal is to practice ahimsa, which is nonviolence. Do no harm.

Have you ever been in a studio class where you felt like the pace was moving too fast, or the sequencing was too hard or confusing? Maybe you went to beginner’s or all-levels class, but felt like the teacher was teaching an ‘advanced’ class. We’ve all been there!

Photo via Rachel Brathen on Instagram.

Today I want to share Rachel Brathen’s amazing yoga videos. Rachel is a world-famous teacher whose approach incorporates ease and grace into the practice. Her knowledge of anatomy finds its way into her cueing, but she manages to keep it simple. I highly recommend these videos for beginners, and also for advanced yogis who are looking to get back to the basics.

She mixes it up and teaches a little differently than most teachers I know, and I love that. If you’re feeling stuck in your practice, or want to try something new—something that feels really good in your body—check these out.

You can find the videos online over at Gaiam. They're a great deal -- I recommend the $40 'Ultimate Collection' which includes 10 different yoga practices!

Photo via Rachel Brathen on Instagram. 
Adopt an attitude of sukha, or ease. Pause to feel the sweetness in the poses. Rest when you need rest.

Let your practice nourish you.

As Rachel says, Let yourself have slow days. Adapt your practice to how you’re feeling right now. But no matter where you find yourself, keep practicing.

Photo via Rachel Brathen on Instagram.
Rachel is an amazing yogini and resource on all things yoga. If you’re looking for more inspiration, try her blog, new book, Happiness Tour, and awesome Instagram feed.

If you'd like to watch the videos on YouTube, here are the links:
Rachel Brathen Yoga: Find Your Purpose 
Rachel Brathen Yoga: Release & Let Go

Eco-Friendly Yoga Wear

Photo via Balini Sportswear on Kickstarter.

As a yoga blogger, I'm always grateful to connect with other yogis who share an entrepreneurial spirit, and a giving heart.

Ada from Balini Sports is one such yogini. When she emailed me about her yoga wear company, I was immediately impressed by her passion for yoga and her generosity in sending me some sports bras to try out. It's a gift to be able to connect with people like Ada, and that's why today I'd love for you to check out her Kickstarter video. She's raising money so that she can continue to grow her business and generate awareness around the importance of creating environmentally friendly yoga wear.

Photos via Balini Sportswear.

The Balini Sports collection of yoga wear is incredibly comfortable, functional, and stylish, and made by a team who truly care about what they're doing. Ada is truly a gem, and I couldn't be happier for her and the incredible impact she's making in the yoga wear community. I hope you'll support her Kickstarter and check out the awesome clothes, too! Thanks, Ada, for all you do. Namaste.

PS The video features some incredible underwater yoga photography... and if you're into hot yoga, these clothes are perfect for you!

All Bodies are Beautiful

Video via Kickstarter.

I love this project, and I can so relate to what Taryn, the creator says:

"Women and girls are constantly held back and lead to believe they’re not as good as they should be. Why? Because every day we feel we’re being judged on our appearance and how far away it is from an unachievable ideal.

Lose weight, reduce wrinkles, fight cellulite; we’re constantly told to fight a battle to be someone other than who we are."

With Embrace, Taryn seeks to explore body image and encourage people around the world to shift their thinking. What a beautiful story, and a beautiful goal!

In yoga, we seek to embody our bodies -- to connect with our own physicality, to nurture, to release, and ultimately to love our bodies.

I encourage you to check out the Body Image Movement, and I hope you'll truly hear me when I say: you are beautiful.


AcroYoga at 11,000 Feet (A Video from Wanderlust)

This video is breathtaking! These two have such a gorgeous practice... they really seem to embody the beauty and grace of being in flow. They are alive with breath, in tune with the body's connection to nature, and so at peace with their yoga.

A smile with eyes closed...  the slow, sweet movement of hands in prayer from the third eye to the heart center... the effortlessness of finding balance in each pose. Definitely inspiring!

Watching this really makes me want to be at Wanderlust again, and to try some acro yoga! (Have you guys tried it?!)

I feel very grateful that I've been able to practice in nature this weekend. Tahoe is such an be able to stand on a mountain and listen to the wind in the trees, and feel the sun on my face... it's such a different experience when you take your yoga outside.

Feeling so full of love and gratitude! Hope you're having a beautiful day. XO

Here are a few other inspiring yoga videos: some yoga on the beach and Brihony Smyth doing her sultry flow.

Why Do You Love Yoga?

Video via Lululemon on YouTube.

I love this video from Lululemon featuring Wanderlust yogis speaking about their love of yoga.

How has the practice changed you?

How does yoga wake you up? Help you fight through challenges? Bring you home? 

It is through the challenge that we discover a new space or a new pathway to change. I come right back to myself.

PS Read this for more inspiration on how yoga is a true love story, one that sometimes requires walking through darkness before you can find new consciousness.

Insanely Cool Yoga Video

I watched this yoga video and immediately wanted to watch it again. And again.

Not only is Phillip Askew's control of asana downright impressive, but the sense that comes through in watching his flow is that he has a sincere dedication to his practice.

He is a devoted yogi.

How many hours has he spent holding a headstand? How long before he could do Hanumanasana? The point is that he's lost track of the time it took, but he knows the patience required to reach that place in the journey.

I love the humble moments in the film, too: at eighteen seconds, when he sits quietly on the bridge, and at four minutes, when he thoughtfully places each ankle behind his head before a well-deserved savasana.

At no moment in watching his practice do I get the sense that Phillip is trying to impress others by practicing yoga in public places. He is simply exhibiting his truest self: the one that moves effortlessly between the poses, the one that honors his own body and spirit on a regular basis.

Thank you, Phillip and the filmmakers, for sharing this beautiful example of what yoga really is. Namaste.

Why We Breathe: A Yoga Documentary

I recently learned about an inspiring yoga documentary called Why We Breathe on Hearts Expanding, a yoga blog I love and follow regularly.

The film features the question: why do you do yoga? The filmmakers interviewed a variety of well-known, experienced yogis and teachers to learn why they practice, what keeps them going, and why they love yoga.

The documentary features contributions from Dice Iida-KleinBriohny SmythKathryn BudigTiffany CruikshankJohn YaxChris Yax, and Angela Tara Hsu.

You can find out more about the project on their website or on their Facebook page.

Have you seen any other cool yoga films lately?

Yoga is Simple (A Video Post)

Weekend Flow from KC and Sara on Vimeo.

I love the way this video shows off the beauty of simple moments in yoga. 

The ease with which you roll out a mat. The careful, slow stretches that start your practice, following the breath. 

The small steps used to readjust alignment in Downward Dog.

The way the fingers grasp in gyan mudra, an effortless touch. The way the eyes look back as you arch into cobra pose. The way the toes flex at the height of Bird of Paradise or in an arm balance.

The upturning of a hand in savasana. The outward breath. The letting go.

Ultimate Yogis & a 108-Day Challenge

Are you looking to pump up your yoga routine?

The Ultimate Yogi is a 108-day program designed to transform your body, inside and out. It involves a series of DVDs for daily yoga practice, daily meditation  food program, and a yoga hardCORE workout to tone and tighten abs.

If you want to try it out, you can save 15% on the program until November 30th by using the coupon code aliveinthefire15 at checkout. 

The kick-ass personal-trainer style of teaching and the grueling workouts remind me a lot of Mr. Yoga, and the inversion class I took with him.

The Ultimate Yogi program seems well-rounded, and I like that the coursework moves from a more physical practice toward spiritual focus. The topics on the DVDs include: crosstrain, cardio, strength, flexibility, balance, detox, vitality, hardcore, yin, gentle, meditation and pranayama, and a cycle of 36, 72, and 108 sun salutations. Comprehensive, I'd say!

I'd love to try this program, or maybe even give it as a gift to a family member for Christmas. It would be a great fitness program to undertake in the winter, when you feel too lazy to leave home for the studio.

I'm going to have the chance to review it soon, so I'll definitely keep you posted on what I think!

Real Men Do Yoga: Primal Yoga Flow

I love the wild flow in this Equinox video. This guy's dance-like movement reminds me of capoeira. My favorite parts are when he flips his downward dog effortlessly, and that insane vaulted leap off the log.

Talk about using your own body to tone in a way that's both manly and graceful!

PS For another kick-ass video by the same group, check out this one of Briohny Smyth.

Yoga Flash Mobs

Photo by Something for Kate on Flickr.

Have you ever participated in a flash mob?

I keep reading about ones where people gather in mass to do yoga or meditation as a way of promoting peace. I'd love to get involved in one, or maybe even organize one.

Photo by emjc on Flickr.

I love the way yoga brings people together to change the world for the better.

Practicing in public generates so much positive energy, don't you think?

Samsara (And Other Artistic Inspiration)

Photos via the film website for Samsara, Pinterest, and my phone.

Have you guys heard of the new documentary Samsara? It looks gorgeous.

The title itself is the Sanskrit word for "the ever turning wheel of life." The filmmakers worked on the movie for five years, taking footage in 25 countries. Talk about a whirlwind adventure in producing art! :)

The premise and look and feel remind me a lot of The Fall, which I adored. So artful, thought-provoking, and poignant. 

I've been very inspired by various films, writers, and photographers in recent weeks: Frida (the film and her paintings), Pablo Neruda (his love poetry takes my breath away), and Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Ansel Adams (black and white photos put me in a trance).


What are your favorite films? Have you seen any good yoga documentaries lately? I'd love to hear! Namaste.

Partner Acro Yoga: An Intimate Dance (with Briohny Smyth)

Photo and video by Equinox; found on YogaPeach.

You may remember a certain sexy yoga video by Briohny Smyth from a while ago where she practices a fierce flow in her underwear.

Briohny recently released a new video that's even more stunning and intimate.

Here, she practices with her husband, Dice Iida-Klein, an equally strong yogi whose movements seem so well-balanced to her.

Isn't theirs a gorgeous, breathtaking dance?


Pure light.

(And that ending!) :)