October 2, 2014
September 23, 2014
Our teacher for the month of September is Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, founder of Golden Bridge Yoga.
Gurmukh first began practicing in 1970 after meeting Kundalini master Yogi Bhajan and receiving her name, which means, “one who helps people across the world ocean.” After studying with Yogi Bhajan, she started teaching, and after the birth of her daughter in 1982, Gurmukh used her knowledge of Kundalini to launch a childbirth education program called “The Khalsa Way.” Now, with her husband Gurushabd Singh Khalsa, she travels the world bringing her amazing instruction to numerous students.
In 2002, Gurmukh founded Golden Bridge Yoga in Los Angeles, and they later expanded with centers in Santa Monica and New York City. Golden Bridge Yoga promotes Gurmukh’s vision of developing a yogic community and inspiring students. They have been a valued wholesale customer of Barefoot Yoga since 2003 and offer many of our products, including yoga mats, silk eye pillows, zafus and practice rugs.
September 19, 2014
OMgirl’s Hatha Leggings are a wardrobe staple that looks great with a tank or tee in the yoga studio, or paired with a comfy sweater for a casual weekend look. With no fuss or frills, these leggings are made of a blend of organic cotton and Lycra, with a roll-down waist for comfort and style. They come in Solid colors, as well as eye-catching Pixel Art and Urban Jungle patterns.
For more yoga clothing essentials that are fashionable and functional, visit www.barefootyoga.com!
September 16, 2014
This month we’re highlighting one of our favorite long-time customers, Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco. When we were starting out more than 15 years ago, Barefoot Yoga was also based out of San Francisco, and we began selling our yoga mat bags at Rainbow Grocery in the early days. We’re happy to say that we’ve been working with them ever since!
Rainbow Grocery is a worker-owned cooperative that focuses on health, sustainability, and fair labor practices. They first operated in the 1970s as a bulk food-buying program for a local ashram. After establishing themselves as a non-profit organization, the co-op expanded their product selection beyond food, and became a sort of general store for the health and eco conscious consumer. Over time they’ve blossomed into a renowned Bay-area store with a great selection of vegetarian foods, bath and body products, housewares and gifts. They set themselves apart from chain health food stores by remaining authentic to their founders’ vision of locally sourced foods, community outreach, and providing a living wage to their worker-owners.
September 16, 2014
Want to Brush up on Your Yoga Knowledge? 5 Questions & Answers about Yoga You Always Wanted to Know Below!
1. I’ve heard quite a few yogis identify as vegetarian or vegan, and I’m wondering if there’s a specific reason why?
While we can’t speak for everyone, the answer is generally that when it comes to yogis, there are a couple of yogi-specific reasons. One is a reason similar to why many vegetarians and vegans don’t eat meat, which is non-violence, referred to as “Ahimsa” in the yoga world. Another main reason is because meat doesn’t contain “Pranic Value”, otherwise known as life force. One goal of yoga is to increase your Prana (life force) in not only your practice, but in all aspects of your life, which for some yogis means they would rather pass on that roast chicken or hamburger.
2. I’m new to yoga, and in class I’ve heard the word “nadi” referred to a couple of times. I’m not sure what it means, and I’m interested to find out!
Nadi refers to an “energy channel”, of which there are (as recorded in many Tantric texts) 72,000 in the body. The main three utilized in yoga are: Susumna (the spinal column), as well as Ida and Pingala (both of which criss cross up the spine). The point they all converge is referred to as the “Ajna Chakra”, which is located between the eyebrows. Want to find out more about the Ajna Chakra? Check out Q&A number 5 below!
3. Sometimes when I’m in class my yoga teacher will adjust my posture during a position. While helpful, sometimes I feel like I was already doing the posture correctly and didn’t need any adjustment or help holding it. Are there really benefits to yoga teachers doing this?
While you may feel like you were doing the pose correctly, your teacher is able to accurately view how the posture is held while you’re doing it and knows the correct way to hold and practice it, which in turn is going to be the most beneficial for you.
When your teacher helps you through a pose the correct way, your muscles’ memory will adjust and help to create and keep that memory of an accurately done pose during future use, further increasing your abilities and skills in yoga.
4. Savasana is often a calming and positive way to end a class for me, but sometimes it’s difficult to just lie there and relax! I’d like to know if there’s a back story to Savasana, and how it came into being.
As many people and all yogis know, Savasana, also referred to as “Corpse Pose”, is done at the end of class as a way to relax and find your center. What some yogis are surprised by though is that it’s sometimes a very difficult pose for people to perform. It requires a high level of calmness and surrender (similar to mediation), which can be difficult to be comfortable in with the busy nature of our daily lives. It’s worth it to try and get comfortable though, because not only can Savasana be relaxing, it also creates an “anabolic state”, which is a physiological reaction that causes the body to heal and grow new tissue – perfect for the end of not only a yoga class, but also other forms of exercise such as a jog or bike ride.
5. I’m a bit familiar with the term “chakra”, but still somewhat unclear about what a chakra actually is and how many there are. Can you help me out?
In Hinduism and many yogic traditions, energy centers, or chakras, are points in our spiritual or subtle (i.e. non-physical) body that are energy points for the corresponding area. Our naddis (referred to earlier in this post) are thought of as the kind of “road” through which this energy travels by, with the chakras serving as a meeting point of that concentrated energy. To find out more specific information about each of the eight chakras, take a look at the information in the picture above!
Want the perfect props to go with your practice? Come visit us at BarefootYoga.com today!
September 11, 2014
Stress is an integral part of our lives, whether at home or at work. Stress is a reaction to our environment, when we are overwhelmed or feel incapable about handling a situation. A little stress is a good motivational to get something done or solve a problem. Constant and prolonged stress causes anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, eating disorders not to mention the more serious symptoms like hypertension. Here are some poses to help relief that stress when you need it:
Child’s Pose – This child-like pose is very relaxing as it gently stretches the back. This is the go-to pose when you need relief in the middle of your practice or the middle of the day. This restorative pose is a also beneficial to the nervous and lymphatic systems.
Supported Bridge Pose – The gentle support offers relief from headaches, back aches, insomnia and supposedly aids high blood pressure as well.
Standing Forward Bend – This pose allows the reversal of blood flow and it’s a great stretch for the hamstrings, thighs and hips. Holding this pose with bent knees offers relief from fatigue and mild depression.
August 19, 2014
Sure, we all try to bring yoga into our everyday lives anyway! But with the hustle and bustle of school, work, and family, sometimes it’s helpful to have a calming yogic aspect not just in our practices, but in the practice of the foods we eat, drink and smell.
Check out the recommendations below to add that extra dose of tranquility to your life!
1. Sniff and Eat: Green Apple
The smell of green apples (actual green apples, not an artificial scent!) can offer headache relief, and is an easy way to de-stress and alleviate any head pain you may encounter during your day.
2. Drink: Tea
Need to focus up? Try drinking some caffeinated green, oolong, or black tea to keep your mind sharp! Researchers at the Journal of Nutrition have found evidence that an amino acid called “theanine” paired with caffeine may be the culprit in strengthening focus and alertness.
3. Sniff, Eat, and Drink: Lavender
The smell of lavender has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety and induce a calming, soothing effect when inhaled. Why not try some foods with lavender too (again, real lavender, not an artificial scent)? We vote for lavender iced tea or trying a lavender cupcake. Plus, if you smell the genuine lavender scent of what you’re eating or drinking, you’ll still reap the relaxing rewards.
4. Sniff and Drink: Peppermint
Do you tend to overeat when life throws a curveball your way? If so, try inhaling the scent of peppermint or brewing a cup of peppermint tea (and no, this doesn’t include peppermint candy!) During one study, researchers found that those who inhaled peppermint had significantly fewer food cravings and were less likely to overeat.
5. Eat: Whole Grain Carbohydrates
Have a case of the blues? Try incorporating more complex, whole grain carbohydrates into your diet! Researchers have found that those who regularly eat more whole grains are likely to be happier due to a serotonin release your brain triggers when processing complex carbs such as oatmeal and whole wheat bread.
If this list has got you thinking about adding even more zen into your life, check out our variety of relaxing products – lavender scented eye pillow anyone? – today at BarefootYoga.com!
August 15, 2014
Mindful eating can help us focus on staying healthy, relieve stress and get rid of any hang-ups we may have about eating. You do not have to deprive yourself of your favorite food. You do have to take one bite, and notice its texture, smell and flavor. Think about what you are feeling at that moment. Meditate on the purpose and give in to the experience.
Mindful eating is based on ancient Buddhist teachings that strive to expand the consciousness by meditating while eating. It focuses on awareness, not only of the food, but also of oneself. It is not what you eat, but what you are thinking while eating. Pausing to savor the morsel in your mouth will become second-nature, and with your senses fulfilled, you may decide that you do not need the next bite.
It might be difficult at first as we are a society of instant gratification, so be encouraged with every small step taken. Practice mindful eating one meal a week or do something simple like unplugging from your phone at your next dinner. Try eating in silence or enhancing the area where you eat. Take note of the fresh blooms outside your window at your breakfast table. We may surprise ourselves how eating mindfully could change our perspective on eating and our body image.