Travel Photography: Chamonix–Paris–Amsterdam

Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationAfter I finished with National Geographic Student Expeditions, my boyfriend flew over to Europe and we got to travel together! Our adventure began in the mountain village of Chamonix, France. Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationChamonix is located at the base of Mt. Blanc, basically on the border of France, Switzerland, and Italy. We were literally surrounded by mountains everywhere we looked. Chamonix is full of people looking for mountain adventure. It is also full of people who found mountain adventure, walking around with crutches and casts. And, it was the site of the first winter Olympics in 1924. They take their mountain sports very seriously. Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationThe best, coolest, queasiest thing we did in Chamonix was our trip up the Aiguille du Midi cable car up to see Mt. Blanc. You can travel from the base of the mountain to the top of the cable car route, at about 12,000′ in under 20 minutes. So, while we were feeling a little queasy, we were also freezing since the temperature dropped below freezing. Despite those not so awesome feelings, it was the coolest to be that high up in open air. I’ve definitely never experienced anything like that. Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European Vacation

There’s the town, way way way down there. Travel Photography, European Vacation

If you’re the kind of person who chooses to go mountaineering, (I am not that person) you simply climb down that little rickety ladder from the observation deck. Do you see it in the photo below? The ladder that looks like it’s slightly wider than a climbing rope? No thanks, I’ll stay on the deck. Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationAfter a few days in Chamonix, it was onto Paris via TGV. We loved staying near Rue Montorgueil and slowly making our way all around the city. And we walked, walked, walked, all over. Luckily, there’s enough pastry shops and gelato stands to keep the walking fueled during the hot summer days.  Travel Photography, European VacationThe tuileries, a beautiful spot to rest and stick your feet in the fountain.  Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationLouvre plaza in the evening…Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationWe made our way to the Eiffel Tower. Which was much bigger than I remembered. It’s taller than the Columbia Tower here in Seattle! It really is beautiful and impressive. Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationWho can see a roundabout like the Arc de Triomphe and not think of this scene? Travel Photography, European VacationLater, we hung out with the Impressionists (and the AC) in the Musee d’OrsayTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationWe loved starting our mornings at this cafe, with some coffee, a croissant, and some people watching. I love the side-by-side seating, it makes people watching so much easier. Travel Photography, European VacationParisian restaurants are obviously big on wine, but if anyone has successfully ordered a manhattan, would you si’l vous plait let me know how you did it?? One night while out to dinner, I thought to myself, I like beef tartare. I’m brave. I’ll order it. What came out on my plate was not what I was expecting. It was more of a raw hamburger meat situation with garnishes on the side, rather than something already mixed up with spices and sauces. I really gave it the ol’ college try, though. Lucky for me, the fries were crispy, salty perfection. Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationOn our final night in Paris we watched the people & twilight along the Seine. Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationThe next morning, we hopped on another train to Amsterdam. Land of clean streets and suspiciously nice people. It’s the kind of city where I could live forever. Travel Photography, European VacationOne of the very knowledgeable Dutch people we met and overloaded with questions, told us that buildings used to be taxed by their width. Which is why so many of the buildings are so narrow. Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationThis city has more bikes than cars, by far. Actually, it has more bikes than people. They estimate there are 881,000 bikes, and fewer than 800,00 people.  Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationI was obsessed with watching people cruise the canals. Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European Vacation

Travel Photography, European VacationTravel Photography, European VacationAnd then back to the states in the morning. The direct Amsterdam to Seattle flight is amazing and I would do it every month, if I could. I finally got around to watching the sixth sense on that flight. Real big twist at the end, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. Travel Photography, European Vacationadios & au revoir Europe,

xoxo

Kate

Day in the Life: Rosalie Pt. 2

I’ve been thinking about this day in the life photography project for about a year now. There are a lot of nieces & nephews in my family, and I love the idea of freezing time, of being able to remember what one particular spring day was like in 2016. I like photos of the every day, the rituals & routines of normal life. I love watching how other people move around their homes, how they raise their children, where they put their dirty socks. And I love the idea that “time stands still in moments that look most like ordinary life.” So this post is about one particular Monday,  my sweet, 2 year-old niece, and what her life was like during that day. Day in the Life, Seattle Photographer3:48// Wake up from napDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle Photographer

4:26pm//pick up brothers from schoolDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerCousins come to school to playDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle Photographer5:18//playground chase with CadenDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle Photographer5:30//back home for snacksDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle Photographer6:24//Daddyo gets homeDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle Photographer6:48// dinner timeDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle PhotographerDay in the Life, Seattle Photographer

To see Part 1 of this series, check out this post

To book your own day in the life session, email me at katejmillerphotography{at}gmail.com

National Geographic Student Expeditions: Barcelona Photo Workshop

NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyAfter three weeks of teaching and travel, I am back home in Seattle sifting through all the photos and memories from my time with National Geographic Student Expeditions. This was my second year with Photo Workshop Barcelona and my 5th time teaching and trip guiding in Barcelona.  The photo above shows our 25 students this year, our pack of fearless photographers and adventurers. They were so much fun. From day 1, they were committed to experiencing all that Barcelona could offer.   NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyFirst, we started at Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia. Its lightness is hard to convey in photos, but it’s unlike any other cathedral I’ve visited. It stands 558′ tall in a city where buildings rarely rise above 9 stories. When you walk through surrounding neighborhoods, you can still see the cranes rising and working above the cathedral spires. And from the inside, there is amazing light all day long.

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After spending a few days in Barcelona acclimating to the jet lag and heat, we head to Figures & Cadaqués. NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyThe Dalí museum in Figueres is trippy and weird and exactly how Dalí would have wanted it.NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyAnd the small town of Figueres is beautiful. NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyFor me, nothing compares to Cadaqués. This town is the love of my life. NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyI was teaching a small group of students about manual exposure and other less interesting things when a group of boys from the town started jumping off the ledge and into the water. We absolutely had to stop our lesson and start photographing what was happening. I love this spontaneous shoot and how my students jumped right into the experience. NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyI was talking with these three boys and they told me,” puede llamanos Messi, Suarez, and Rinaldo (you can call us Messi, Rinaldo, Suarez.” Just three of the best soccer players in the world. Nbd. NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyBack in Barcelona, we did lots of shooting around the city. NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyDuring the weekend, something called the Sardana is performed in the cathedral square. It’s a beautiful Catalan tradition. Musicians are set up to play for hours, and people come to the plaza, meet their friends, and dance the very specific choreography together. NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyThen, we visited Girona, Besalú, and Banyoles. After arriving in Girona, we quickly learned that parts of season 6 of Game of Thrones was filmed in the town!NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyWe spent the afternoon in the medieval town of Besalu…NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyAnd ended our day in Banyoles, the hometown of our NatGeo photographer extraordinaire, Tino Soriano. NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel Photography

Meanwhile in Barcelona, we just couldn’t get enough of Gaudí. This is from the roof of La Pedrera.

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NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel Photography

“The Kiss” mural NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyOur final trip out of the city, to the mountains of Castellar de N’Hug. NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyNatGeo, Barcelona, Travel Photography

And then, finally, after 10 days of learning and shooting together, we open a pop-up gallery show on our last night together. NatGeo, Barcelona, Travel PhotographyThis whole trip was such a delight to lead. Big high fives and gold stars to my incredible co-leaders Gaston & Michelle and our assistant Judith! And most of all, our students who totally owned this trip and kicked ass.

xoxo,
Kate

Day in the Life: Rosalie Pt. 1

I’ve been thinking about this documentary photography project for about a year now. There are a lot of nieces & nephews in my family, and I love the idea of freezing time, of being able to remember what one particular spring day was like in 2016. I like photos of the every day, the rituals & routines of normal life. I love watching how other people move around their homes, how they raise their children, where they put their dirty socks. And I love the idea that “time stands still in moments that look most like ordinary life.” So this post is about one particular Monday,  my sweet, 2 year-old niece, and what her life was like during that day. Seattle family photographer 8:11//Wake up

Seattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographer8:28//Bath time

Seattle family photographer

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Seattle family photographer

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Seattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographer2:05//Reading Stories & naptimeSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographerSeattle family photographer

If you’re interested in booking your own documentary session, email me at katejmillerphotography{at}gmail.com

Stay tuned for part 2.

What to Wear for Your Family Shoot

This is a question I get a lot before family shoots. The days of white shirts with jeans or khakis are out. Just for emphasis, this is my family circa 2002…

IMG_2342Thankfully family portraits are not so matchy-matchy and perfectly posed these days! So, what should you wear? You want to look like yourselves, just more put-together and maybe a little more dressed up. Today, I have 4 color palettes and lots of examples to use as inspiration while styling your family shoot!

But first, let’s remember what not to wear. The Miller family really wanted to be in a Gap ad…IMG_2343

1. The PNW Palette

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 11.48.27 AMfamilyphotography_seattlephotographer_seattle_editorialphotographer-6familyphotography_seattlephotographer_seattle_editorialphotographer-7familyphotography_seattlephotographer_seattle_editorialphotographer-8I call this the PNW palette because the deep tones really pop against a grey, overcast background. Plus, I think a chambray shirt is the ultimate Seattle shirt. I love how the Katts dressed for their January family session at Carkeek Park. Their kids had a great mix of pattern and texture, a great combo for a winter photo shoot!

2. The Golden Tones PaletteScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 11.56.01 AM

familyphotography_seattlephotographer_seattle_editorialphotographer-5This fall inspired palette packs a punch. It layers yellow gold and burnt orange with the more neutral greys and blues. Since blue and orange are complementary colors, variations on these shades really pull a look together. The Tigert Family looked smashing on the beach for their Carkeek Park family shoot.

3. Blondies

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The Biederman Family mixed checked and stripe patterns with white accents to create an awesome contrast. I love their blue/green palette for their May family shoot at Greenlake. If you’re scared to mix patterns and prints, this is the way to do it!

4. The Boys & Girls PaletteScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.37.46 PMfamilyphotography_seattlephotographer_seattle_editorialphotographer-3familyphotography_seattlephotographer_seattle_editorialphotographer-2

The soft pastels of this palette are beautiful for upcoming Spring shoots! I love the soft colors and the mix of textures for the Gates Family shoot. I’m especially loving blush tones! They complement lots of different skin tones and hair colors.

4. The Holiday PalettesScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 11.41.07 AMfamilyphotography_seattlephotographer_seattle_editorialphotographer-9

The Retka Family combined sweaters in deep primary colors (blue, yellow, red) with a beautiful hunter green for their winter family shoot at Volunteer Park. I love this palette for Christmas cards and winter shoots. Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.40.42 PMfamilyphotography_seattlephotographer_seattle_editorialphotographer-4This last palette is another beautiful mix of color and pattern for a holiday card or winter shoot. I love the buffalo plaid and knit sweater. The Grimm family really nailed their winter palette!

 

If you’d like to see more, check out my Pinterest board for more inspiration. Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 2.43.57 PM

For family shoot inquiries and booking, email katejmillerphotography@gmail.com for more information!

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

The wedding photographer/client relationship is a long one. You want to make sure it’s built to last. This is a person, or a team, you’ll partner with during one of the more stressful/happy/overwhelming/ecstatic parts of your life! Make sure this person is a solid and reliable presence in your planning.

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Remember, this is a big investment. These photographs will be the biggest memento of your wedding day. They will be passed down through your family and to friends. Sure, they’re for instagram and facebook and thank you cards. But, they’re also heirlooms. Do your research and make sure you choose not only a photographer who does great work, but also someone you like and can afford.weddingphotography_howtochooseaweddingphotographer_seattle_seattlewedding_couples-1694

When you choose a wedding photographer, you’re starting a relationship.  You’ll negotiate contracts, have an engagement shoot, organize wedding day details, spend the majority of your wedding day with them and design albums together. Don’t choose someone you’re constantly annoyed and/or dissatisfied with. It’s too long, and too important, of a relationship.

That being said, the search is overwhelming!! There are so many talented people to choose from, so many different styles of photography. I’ve put together a short guide to choosing the right person to photograph your wedding. As I was putting this post together, I realized the qualities you should look for in a wedding photographer are roughly the same as the qualities you need for a successful relationship, and if you’re getting married, you already know what that’s all about. So here we go…

1. Choose someone whose work you respect.

You want to be impressed by this person’s work. If you find yourself looking at his/her website and repeatedly saying, I could take that with my iPhone, this is not the person for you. Look for interesting angles, beautiful light, fleeting expressions, and intimate moments. You want to feel something special when you look at the work!weddingphotography_howtochooseaweddingphotographer_seattle_seattlewedding_couples-9821

2. Find someone you like to hang out with.

On your wedding day, you will spend a lotttt of time with your photographer. Probably more than your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family. Your photographer will be right there with you during all the important, intimate moments of your wedding day. If this is a person that makes you feel awkward, please don’t choose this photographer. If you don’t feel comfortable, it will show in your photos. Choose someone who is there to capture your moments in the best way possible, and who does this in a kind way. Choose someone who makes you smile and lightens the mood. weddingphotography_howtochooseaweddingphotographer_seattle_seattlewedding_couples-4742

3. Be upfront about your budget and your needs.

If you find someone whose work you connect with, but they are out of your budget, start a conversation. Don’t dismiss the option just because you think you can’t afford it. When you look at his/her packages, see if there’s anything you can do without. Maybe you don’t really want a 10×12 album and a canvas. Maybe you’re willing to get prints yourself, or order them after you’ve financially recovered :) Maybe you can work out 6.5 hours of shooting instead of 8. If you’re willing to compromise and be upfront, most likely your photographer will be too. I always use my packages as starting points, and I’m always willing to move things around to accommodate.weddingphotography_howtochooseaweddingphotographer_seattle_seattlewedding_couples-4759

4. Choose someone who is organized and can stick to a schedule.

This is a hard one for a lot of creatives. We get lost in the land of beautiful light and beautiful people. If your photographer knows this is a problem for herself, then make sure she works with someone who can keep her on track. This might be a second shooter or an assistant, but there needs to be someone who can stay organized. The wedding day is a lot of organized chaos and the photographer is not only responsible for getting all the good shots, but also for making sure the day runs smoothly. I spent many a wedding season as a second shooter, and I got very good at the organizing/co-ordinating parts of the day.weddingphotography_howtochooseaweddingphotographer_seattle_seattlewedding_couples-3216

If you think we might get along and you respect my work, let’s chat. I’m currently taking bookings for 2016 and early 2017. Email katejmillerphotography@gmail.com

The Schafers: Family Session

schafer_family_seattle_familyphotography_beachphotography-2555Yeahhhh that photo pretty much says everything you need to know about this family session. This little family has a lot of love between the three of them.

schafer_family_seattle_familyphotographer_beachphotography-2487We headed out to the beach early one morning, and that little baby couldn’t have been happier or more awake! He knew it was his time to shine…

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This one might just be my favorite image of our shoot.

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New Year, New Yoga Flows

seattle yoga photographyIf starting a yoga flow routine is part of your new year’s resolution, or if you’re just looking for some new moves, you’re at the right post. These beginner-intermediate yoga flows are a great place to start. And, you can do all of these in the comfort of your own bedroom, living room, basement, wherever you choose! The poses will do all the good yoga stuff…relieve tension and stress, build strength, and challenge your body with something new! (Check out how yoga benefits your body and mind here) I recommend going through this sequence slowly, holding each pose for 3-5 breaths, then repeating it and speeding it up to match one breath to one movement.

Corepower yoga instructor Elisa was my fabulously flexible model and will show us what to do…

Begin in a right leg runner’s lunge and set your left knee down on your mat. On an inhale, reach both arms overhead.

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As you bring your arms down, join your palms together and twist to the right.

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Return to center and repeat this flow on the left side. 

Next, begin in downward dog, and raise your right leg and shift forward to high plank. Bring your right knee to meet your left elbow. Return to downward dog with leg raise and repeat.

 

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Return to downward dog and repeat on left side. 

Now, from a standing lunge, clasp your hands behind your back as your chest and shoulders open up.
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On an exhale, raise your arms as you lower your chest.

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Return to standing lunge and repeat on the left side. 

From a standing position, raise your arms overhead and sit back in a deep squat.

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On an inhale, rise up and raise your right leg. As you exhale, bring your right ankle on top of your left thigh and sink into the stretch.
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Unwind your stretch, return to standing, then lift your right leg behind you bringing your arms back and lifting your chest.

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Return to the chair squat and repeat on your left side. 

Finally, from downward dog, raise your right leg. As you bend your leg, flip your down dog by  rotating your hips to the right and setting your foot on the ground. Raise your right arm for a deep side stretch.

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Thanks for trying out these yoga flows for the new year! If you’re interested in a vinyasa flow class, check out Elisa’s c2 6:00am class.

xoxo

Kate

Want more yoga? Check out these Morning yoga flows

Lifestyle Photography: The Gates’ Make Pancakes

seattle family photographyIt was exactly what Sunday mornings are supposed to be. It was slow, quiet, and full of cozy kids in their pjs. Angie & Joel started making pancakes for their small army of 6 kids and I got to see a little bit of what a Sunday morning with the Gates family is like. Let me tell you, it’s a lot of fun. There’s no shortage of entertainment or photo opportunities with these kids.

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“What people aren’t craving is perfection, or shockingly high standards. People aren’t longing to be impressed. They‘re longing to feel like they’re home” seattle lifestyle photographyseattle lifestyle photographyseattle lifestyle photographyseattle family photography

I love lifestyle photography family shoots because everyone can relax and just be themselves. I love watching moments unfold between moms, dads, brothers, and sisters. Thanks to the fabulous Gates family for having me and, more importantly, for the dairy free pancakes :).  seattle family photographyxoxo

Kate

Morning Yoga: 4 Stretches to Get You Going

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If you’re anything like me, getting out of bed in the morning is my least favorite part of the day. I’m stiff, sleepy, and sore when I wake up. I set a few alarms in the hope that I’ll be so annoyed with them going off I’ll have to wake up and get out of bed. It’s bad people. I’m not a morning person. I go out for a run most mornings, and I like to use that time to wake up and focus myself for the day ahead. I asked Jessica from Corepower Yoga to show me a few morning yoga poses that will warm up the body, improve circulation, and shake away the sleepies. She showed me 4 easy poses that anyone can do after getting out of bed.

Pose #1: Cat/Cow Flow (Bitilasana & Marjaryasana)

morning stretches yoga morning yoga stretchesStart in table top position (knees bent, arms straight, back flat). Now as you slowly breathe in, look up and arch your back. As you exhale, touch your chin to your chest, round your shoulders and back, and push into your palms for an extra shoulder stretch. Repeat these two movements 3 times to warm up your spine and shoulders.

Pose #2: Half Moon (Ardha-Chandrasana)
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Stand up nice and straight with your feet together. Bring your arms above your head and clasp your fingers together. Take a deep inhale and stretch up, and as your exhale, bend over to your left side. Hold the stretch for 3 breaths then return to the center. With your arms still overhead, look up, inhale and tip your shoulders back giving your back a long arch. Return to center and repeat on right side.

Pose #3: Gate Pose (Parighasana)

 

 morning yoga stretchesBegin by sitting with your legs bent underneath you and your right palm on the ground. As you inhale, slowly rise up and extend your left arm and leg out, while supporting yourself with your right arm and knee. Exhale and feel a long stretch from the tip of your toe to your fingertips. Stay here for 3 breaths and repeat on the other side.

Pose #4: Cat/Cow Lunge Flow
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Begin standing with your feet together. Slowly step your left foot back so you are in a low lunge. Drop your left knee to the ground as you look up and create an arch in your back. As you exhale, slowly straighten your legs and bring your forehead as close to your shin as possible. Repeat this flow for 3 more breaths then switch sides.

Thanks to Jessica for the pose suggestions! Jessica teaches a variety of classes at Corepower Yoga. Yoga Journal has a fabulous index where you can find the pose you need for your body, check it out here. And, if you’d like to keep doing morning yoga to wake you up, check out this video.

 xoxo

Kate

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