To begin, sit on the ground and cross your legs in front of you so your shins or ankles overlap. If this is uncomfortable, place a folded blanket or firm cushion under your sit bones. Sit up tall and close your eyes.

Next, do a body scan starting from your toes. Notice what you feel at each point in your body. Are your toes clenched? What about your knees are they high in the air or close to the ground? Are they tense or resting comfortably? How about your hips? What do you feel there?

Now continue moving up your body to your torso and your spine, then your shoulders, neck, head, and face. Observe where you feel at ease and where you’re uncomfortable. Take note of these things and make little adjustments as needed.

If you take a moment out of your day to sit in Sukhasana and observe your body, you’ll come in tune with its needs and discover a new way to focus your mind.



Yoga is most useful when you can translate the attention you bring to the poses to all parts of your life. One of the greatest lessons from the mat is to become aware of how you react to things. In the middle of a pose, those reactions come from physical sensations. You may discover a pose that feels really good for your body. This is a way to learn what your body needs and where to focus in your practice. Or you may find yourself in a pose that feels extremely challenging. Take note of your reactions. Settle into them as you hold the poses. This type of attention will help in your everyday life as triumphs or disappointments arise. Notice your reactions throughout the day. Can you sit with something uncomfortable, as you do on the mat, before you react? What does this feel like? What happens next?

Over time this will become second nature. By observing yourself, you’ll be able to make mindful choices for your well-being regardless of the situation.


The breath is what unites our mind to our body and life force. During practice, the breath helps warm up, nourish, and cleanse the body. It also quiets the mind by giving it something to focus on. When you work through the poses, you link the breath to your movements. For every move, you either inhale or exhale. This connection between the breath and the movement of the body is called vinyasa .

The breathing practices of yoga are called pranayama . Prana means “life force” and ayama means, “to extend or control.” Ancient yogis believed we are born with a certain number of breaths, so slowing down the breath extends life.

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