Clarkia Thijsse is a yoga teacher and artist who discovered her yoga path while going through some life-changing events in her 50s. She was struggling through health issues, death of a parent, the breakup of a marriage with two children in college and two still at home. Right in the middle of it all – Ashtanga, Anusara, Iyengar, Bikram and Vinyasa practices served as a beautiful transition to healing. After completing multiple 200 hour trainings and workshops, she has taught in several Yoga Studios in California, as well as for a non-profit in the Netherlands, Tanzania, and Hawaii. Now at 63, Clarkia believes with a yoga practice fear becomes joy, impossible becomes possible, doubt becomes gratitude and youthfulness knows no age. 

1. Sphinx Pose or Salamba Bhujanghasana in Sanskrit

A few of the benefits:
  • Stretches the chest, lungs, abs and shoulders
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Soothes the nervous system

How to get into the pose:

  1. Start the pose by laying on your tummy with forehead touching the ground, elbows underneath the shoulders or slightly more forward.
  2. Gently lift the chest while keeping the chin to the chest, rounding the upper back.
  3. Spread the fingers wide, press hands gently into the ground and also from the forearm to the elbows.
  4. Scoop your tummy and press the hip bones gently down.
  5. Find a deep slow breath and slowly lift the crown of the head and chin forward while keeping space between the shoulders and ears.
  6. Take the gaze up or forward and feel your back muscles strengthening.
  7. Stay in the pose for 5 breaths while turning the chin back down on the exhales and lifting the chest and crown back up on the inhales.
  8. Release out of the pose slowly.



A few of the benefits:
  • Strengthens the core and upper body without straining the wrists
  • Improves balance
  • Improves shoulders stability

How to get into the pose:

    1. Come into a forearm plank with the crown of the head reaching forward, face facing the ground.
    2. Align the elbows underneath the shoulders and hands forward in line with the elbows.
    3. Reach the heals up and back; creating length in your plank.
    4. Actively engage the core and rotate one hand to the opposite elbow, pressing through the palm and turn your body sideways.
    5. Be sure the elbow is in line with the shoulder and use the whole forearm and hand for support as you keep the core and legs engaged and feet stacked on top of each other.
    6. Place a block in between your thighs engaging the inner legs and find your breath – warming up your belly and chest and back.
    7. Hold for 5 slow deep breaths or longer if possible.
    8. Come out of the pose by turning back to forearm plank and push back into child's pose!


3. Revolved Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold or Parivrrta Prasarita Padottananasana in Sanskrit

A few of the benefits:

  • Improves digestions
  • Twists help to release stress in the body and mind
  • Stretches the legs, lower back, hips, shoulders and arms
  • Helps to clear brain fog

How to get into the pose:

  1. Place a block in front of you and come into a wide legged standing position with the feet slightly turned inward.
  2. From the ground up engage the toes, lift the arches of your feet and press the heels down. Lift your knee caps and engage upper leg muscles into the hip crease.
  3. Curl the tail bone under and lengthen the spine to the crown of the head.
  4. Breathe in and lift the arms sideways to shoulder height, relaxing the shoulders away from the ears.
  5. Engage the core, breath in and slowly fold forward from the hip crease with a straight back. (If necessary bend your knees and reach the hands to the block placing it right underneath the center of your chest).
  6. On an inhale slowly lift one arm sideways and up to the sky. Let your eyes follow the top hand and open the chest.
  7. Breathe and open while reaching the tailbone away from the crown of the head. Keep the hips square.
  8. Stay in the pose for 5 breaths with the gaze lifted. Find space between shoulders and ears.
  9. Proceed on the other side.
  10. To come out of the pose, return back to center, take the arms sideways and lift halfway up, core engaged and spine lengthening back to standing.


Pro tip: Remember to aways feel your breath, exhaling while folding down and inhaling with lifting –– inhaling while lengthening and exhaling while twisting!