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Elena Brower


9 Yoga Poses to Connect the Body and Mind

Posted: 11/15/11 07:00 AM ET

Body vs. Being

In our quest for fitness, the ideal is to feel fit both in our bodies and in our emotional lives. In yoga, my mission is to bring you an experience of both your strong physical body and your clear emotional body.

The relevance of this mission: we all need to address both our how we live in our bodies and how we live in our households. The big secret to both: approach not just your muscular fitness, but the wellness of your entire being.


Resonance occurs when a system is able to store and easily transfer energy between two or more different storage modes (such as with a pendulum, able to transfer between kinetic energy and potential energy). When you align your physical body in yoga, you're raising your resonance because you're more able to shift "modes," or move from place to place elegantly poised for any transition and the possible emotional challenges that may arise. In other words, physical exercise really does help you keep your cool, no matter what.

As we refine our resonance of our entire being via the practice, we become more easeful, more spacious, more open in moments of discomfort or transition. That inner openness yields more patience; that patience helps in every context.

The movements in this simple sequence will enhance your immune system, strengthen and awaken your muscles, and pave the path for your most refined listening in any moment of your day. Breathe and stand well, and please take time to return to your listening after each movement to feel the effects on your entire being.

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  • Poses 1 And 2: Arms High To Arms Wide

    From standing with feet parallel, inhale your arms high overhead. With eyes soft, exhale your arms out wide to shoulder height. Repeat this 9 times. Breathe under your arms, into all sides of your heart and let your breathing tell you when to move. Feel your body absorbing that motion.

  • Poses 3 And 4: Side Stretches

    Feet parallel, use your right hand to hold your left wrist and stretch to your right. Breathe 9 full breaths here, filling your entire body, from feet to fingertips. Let your eyes and neck relax. Then do the other side. Feel the sides of your body nourished and expansive.

  • Poses 5 And 6: Open Heart; Moving Within

    Inhale to open your arms wide and slightly higher than your head, welcoming, opening; then exhale to turn within, arms still straight to prayer hands way out in front of you. Repeat the inhale and exhale 9 times. Feel the vast space of your heart here for a moment.

  • Poses 7 And 8: Stretch Long To Forward Bend

    Interlace your hands above your head, turn your hands inside out and inhale to stretch from your feet all the way up to your hands. While suspending that inhalation, open your hands out to the sides and interlace them back behind you with palms facing each other, exhale and fold down over your straight legs with hands over your head to open your heart. Inhale hands out to the sides to interlace and turn inside out high above, hold that breath and open your arms to re-interlace behind you, exhale into the fold. Repeat 3-9 times.

  • Pose 9: Healing Hands To Body

    Place your left hand on your heart, your right hand on your belly. You've just revitalized your immune system, energized your circulation and digestion, and re-calibrated your nervous system. Feel the openings in your body, the quiet patience inside. This quick boost for your immunity is a very real step in the direction of healing.


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