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Do you stretch before and after a work out? Yoga is a great option for stretching the body’s muscles. Stretching also reduces soreness we experience after intense exercise. If yoga is your only form of exercise, doing these stretches before, or after, a yoga session is helpful as well.

Last time, we talked about Top 5 Yoga Poses: Strengthening your Core. You can check back and review those. For now, go over these five poses, which will help you stretch sore muscles. You can also do these five poses before and after you take a steam shower.

Cow Pose

This pose can be performed by itself or you can alternate it with Cat Pose. These poses are done almost exactly how they sound! During these stretches, the back is lowered into a cow position and arched up into a cat position.

To begin Cow Pose, place your body in a tabletop position on the yoga mat (like doing a push up on your knees). Your head should be in a neutral position. Look towards the ceiling and allow the stomach to gently lower towards the ground. Your back will arch like a cow’s. Exhale and return to starting position. Repeat this 15 times.

Cat Pose

For Cat Pose, think of this as the opposite of Cow Pose. Use the same starting position, exhale and allow your head to move towards your chest. Your back will arch up towards the ceiling as you stretch. Inhale and return to the starting position. Alternate these poses by doing Cat on the exhale and Cow on the inhale.

Warrior II

Warrior II is transitioned into after Warrior I. While in the lunging position of Warrior I, exhale and twist your back foot so it is at a ninety degree angle. The foot at the top of the mat points forwards. Twist your body so you are lunging forward with your hands outstretched. Hands are parallel to the floor and palms are down. The front knee should be bent over the foot, and you face forward. Hold this pose for at least one minute, inhale and repeat the pose on the other side of the body.

Pigeon Pose

Begin on the mat in the tabletop position. Place one knee at the top of the mat. Rotate your thigh and foot so that the foot at the top is in front of the other leg’s knee. Flex and align the body so the back leg is outstretched and straight across the mat. Lift the pelvis and keep the hips square. Feel free to use a yoga block or a yoga blanket if necessary. Inhale and lower the tailbone, exhale and place the hands at the top of the mat. Hold and then release and go into downward dog. Transition and repeat with the other side of the body.

Pelvic Tilt

The Pelvic Tilt Pose is completed while lying down on the yoga mat. It can also be done against a wall if you wish. While lying down on your back on the mat, bend the knees while keeping your feet on the mat. This is the starting position. Exhale and, without moving the buttocks and while keeping the hips on the mat, tilt the pelvis towards the face. This should straighten the back. As you inhale, return to the starting position and repeat.


Taking a steam shower deeply cleanses the skin by making the body sweat. This process removes toxins from the skin and cleans the pores. Your skin will look and feel better when you take a steam shower and when you exfoliate. During a steam shower is the perfect time to exfoliate your skin. Previously in this blog series, we wrote about 5 Exfoliating Facial Soaps. The following are five more exfoliating facial soaps that will get the job done.

Dr. Woods Facial Cleanser Black Soap Shea Butter

This exfoliating facial soap can be used daily. The eco-friendly formula contains black soap, vitamin E and organic shea butter. This will treat blemishes, remove dead skin and moisturize the face. Dr. Woods is committed to providing natural, sustainable products made in the United States. This soap does not contain paraben; it does contain anti-oxidants, gamma tocopherol and botanical extracts. This vegan formula also comes in a tea tree oil version.

Loreal Go 360 Clean Deep Facial Cleanser

This cleanser from Loreal is dermatologist tested. It removes makeup, waste and oil from the face without using oil in its formula. The formula is a combination of four different high-foam cleansers from Loreal. It also comes with a Scrublet for applying the soap and washing the face. This gel soap also comes in other versions, including break-out, deep facial cleanser for sensitive skin and deep facial cleanser for all skin types. This soap also unclogs and shrinks pores.

Olay Professional Pro-X Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser

This professional formula is anti-aging. It is a part of a four step treatment developed by Olay and ProX Global Derm Alliance (the other steps include eye restoration, wrinkle smoothing cream and deep wrinkle treatment). This tested formula contains glycerin and rejuvenates skin.

Baking Soda & Coconut Oil

Perhaps you prefer to make your own exfoliating facial soaps at home because you have sensitive skin or because you enjoy DIY projects. The other perk to DIY options is that they definitely lower the cost of skincare. This super simple recipe from Northwest Edible Life contains ¼ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of soft coconut oil. Erica, author of that blog, uses organic coconut oil. If your skin is sensitive, do not use this cleanser every day.


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DIY Homemade Exfoliate and Detox Skin Polish Recipe

This is another recipe from Rebecca of Soap Deli News. In Part One of this blog series, we listed her recipe for DIY Natural Lemongrass Exfoliating Foaming Facial Cleanser. This polish recipe will clear blemishes and make your skin brighter. The ingredients, including sugar, charcoal, coconut milk powder, etc, are mixed into a bowl. Before each use, mix a small amount of the polish with a liquid, such as milk or water. The great aspect of this recipe is its simplicity (once you have all of the ingredients).

Natural Beauty DIY - Homemade Exfoliate and Detox Face Polish Recipe for Normal, Combination and Oily Skin

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After washing your face and getting out of the steam shower, use a facial moisturizer to keep your face smooth and soft. Let us know which soaps you tried and which soaps you preferred.