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Let’s Stop Saying “Square the Hips”

We aren’t ever really “squaring the hips”. Your two hips are on either side of your pelvis, where the pelvis and upper leg bone (the femur) meet. On the mat, what we mean if we are using the words “square the hips”, is to “square the pelvis“. This more accurate phrase typically means bringing the […]

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New Podcast Interview: How Our Obsession with Alignment is Causing Anxiety

Cover image for The Mentor Sessions Podcast featuring Dr. Ariele Foster on How to Respond to Students Who Want "Correct" Alignment

My most recent blog post, How Our Obsession with Yoga Alignment Misses the Point, is the product of a massive paradigm shift that was at least a decade and a half in the making. Despite the indisputable fact that yoga helps many people, asana can cause harm, and is not universally “good”. Yet the idea […]

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What is (and is not) the “Core”

After recently hearing a yoga teacher insist that foot strengthening exercises were “core exercises”, it got us thinking: what exactly is the core? And how can we help the yoga community apply this term more precisely? “Core” is not a medical term, and does not have a universal, clear definition. It can (and will) be […]

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All the Tea About Tucking the Tailbone

Let’s talk about “tucking the tailbone”.  “Tuck your tailbone” is a cue that has circulated in yoga asana classes since forever. (I can confirm it was used in the 1990s.) The cue is intended to reduce the position of anterior pelvic tilt and / or lumbar lordosis. To put it another way, “tuck the tailbone” means […]

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There is no Universal Alignment in Yoga

blog header reading "there is no 'universal alignment' in asana"

Thoughts on Universal Alignment cues, Ableism, fitness and exclusion on the yoga mat. Something I cherish about being a physical therapist* is the opportunity I’ve had to work with patients of all ages (pediatrics to 99 year olds), and in all sorts of conditions (literally from a cardiac transplant ICU to sports medicine settings). Although […]

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Why You Cannot Square Your Hips in Warrior I or Warrior II

Older White Female Yoga Teacher in Warrior II

From my earliest days of practicing yoga, I heard teachers instructing “Square your hips” in Warrior I (virabhadrasana I) and Warrior II poses (virabhadrasana II). [Scroll to the video at the bottom of this page to see the essence of this blog post in video format]. I repeated this phrase in my own yoga teaching […]

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Sustainable Strength for Side Plank + 3 Myths About Side Plank Broken Down

Ariele Foster demonstrates side plank with legs stacked

A pose that comes up frequently in yoga classes, yet seems to be quite challenging – even defeating –  for many is side plank, vasisthasana. Many people simply don’t have the strength for side plank, and don’t know where to begin. This post will break down three myths about side plank, and offer you a […]

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Savasana Anatomy Do’s and Don’ts

Admittedly, this is a picky post. But people do the darndest things in savasana. (Skip straight to the video about this post here.) If you teach yoga for long enough, eventually you’ll see some interesting alternatives during this time for relaxation. There are gradients, of course: sometimes you see students (like Energizer bunnies) doing headstands […]

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How to Cue the Shoulderblades for Handstand, Down Dog, and more

how to move your shoulderblades in down dog, handstand and more

Three Fun Tips for Teaching Shoulderblade position in Down Dog, Handstand — and any time your arms are overhead. There’s an enduring myth out there in #yogaland (ok, many enduring falsehoods) that our necks will tense up if we shrug / lift up / elevate the shoulderblades toward our ears. False. Your shoulderblades were designed […]

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5 Actions to Get Your Foot Up Between Your Hands

stepping your foot between your hands in yoga, from downward facing dog or down dog

The Instagram is full of fluid movers, yogis who can gracefully place a foot between their hands in slow motion, usually on the way down from a single arm hand balancing feat with a glass of wine between their toes. Not a drop spilled. What is less common: actual instructions in yoga class on how […]

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