Yoga Revival – Week 13: Yoga Elation and the Mysore Practice Rug

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I’ve discovered yoga practice can lead to feelings of elation. Endorphins are released, circulation palpably increases, and a peaceful synchronization occurs between mind and body. The cylinders are primed to fire at peak capacity.

I experienced some of this yoga elation the other day after finally dragging myself up and out for a morning hot Hatha Yoga class at YogaBliss on Mercer Island, lead by a seasoned instructor named Jonathan Bowra. His strength, lightheartedness, and insights helped push me through 90 minutes of mostly core movements, giving way to slippery sun salutations.

On the way out of my house, I grabbed my Manduka Pro yoga mat – considered by many the best of all mats. Its density provides a bouncing sensation that makes me feel like I have the strength of 10 Grinches when I practice on it. But in my hurry to get to class on time (nothing like a hurried yogi) I forgot to grab my rug – which is what I needed most – to lay on my mat and absorb all that sweat. And so I worked my core muscles hard to hold those sweat drenched downward dogs and triangles, but my feet did slip a few times, once in a way that felt dangerously close to causing a significant leg injury.

I’ve found the best surface for sweaty yoga is a thin or dense mat with a practice rug over it. So next time I won’t forget because the exhilaration of a hot yoga class is well worth it, and should be done in the safest way – on a non-slip surface.

For the rest of the day I felt heavily anchored to the ground, yet with energy surging upwards in kind of a perfect balance. Calmly elated simply to be!

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Posted under Barefoot Yoga News, Eco-Friendly Yoga Products, Health and Fitness, Mysore Practice Rugs, Styles of Yoga, Yoga Mats, Yoga Studios, Yoga Supplies, Yoga Teachers

This post was written by David on October 2, 2015

6 Ways to Take Your Yoga Practice to the Next Level

Once you’ve discovered the wonders of yoga and found your style, your studio and your gear, it can be easy to take your practice for granted. It’s also easy to make excuses and miss a class, or fall into routines that don’t allow for growth. Here are some suggestions for taking your practice to the next level and getting the most out of your yoga:

1. Set a Goal for Yourself

If you’re having an “off” day, you might tell yourself that missing just one class won’t hurt. We’ve all done it! Sometimes it’s important to listen to your body and take it easy, but more often than not, you’ll feel much better if you push past the doubts and go to that class! To really boost your practice, try setting a goal to commit yourself to daily practice for a set period of time. Lots of studios offer 30-day challenges, and there are also tons of challenges on Instagram, Facebook and other social media. If you’d rather do it on your own, you can simply set a starting date and commit to practicing for at least a short period of time each day. Even 15 minutes of yoga every day will get you in the habit, and remind you of why you started practicing in the first place!

2. Try Something New

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If you’ve perfected every pose in your current class, consider branching out and trying a new style of yoga. Got your Iyengar practice down? Try some gentle Restorative yoga or dynamic Vinyasa. Gone to the same studio or instructor for years? See what a different class has to offer! If you find that the new style isn’t for you, you can keep searching or return to what you like best, but you’re sure to gain some new knowledge along the way.

3. Go on a Retreat

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For those with the time and money, a yoga festival or retreat can immerse you fully into your yoga practice. There are opportunities to gather and learn with other yogis almost everywhere, whether it’s a 2-week trip to Costa Rica or a weekend-long event in your home town. There are retreats geared to almost every level and ability, so you don’t have to feel intimidated! Practicing away from your daily distractions can help you really concentrate, gain perspective, and make some new friends in the process.

4. Live Your Yoga

Yoga doesn’t have to be all about asanas. Karma yoga, or the yoga of action, is an important way to bring the mindfulness of yoga into your daily life, and even improve other people’s lives in the process. Find a cause in your community that really speaks to you – yoga related or not – and see how you can help. Volunteering at a food bank or animal shelter, helping with a charitable fundraiser, or just taking a pot of soup to a sick friend can develop your spirituality, compassion and mindfulness.

5. Hit the Books

The practice of yoga has a rich history that’s available right at your fingertips. From ancient texts like the Bhagavad Gita to writings of modern yogis like Judith Lasater, there’s a wealth of information and inspiration to be found by reading up on the many and varied teachings of yoga.

6. Gear Up!

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Your yoga mat and props have seen you through countless classes, and you may want to stick with what’s working, but sometimes a new piece of yoga gear can enhance your practice, too! For example, using a yoga rug instead of (or in addition to) your mat can ground you, and help you to stop relying on your yoga mat to hold your poses. Using a block or strap can get you into poses that weren’t possible before, and help you work towards new levels of flexibility and precision.

Visit www.barefootyoga.com for all of the supplies you’ll need to enhance your yoga practice!

Posted under Health and Fitness, Styles of Yoga, Yoga Events, Yoga News, Yoga Supplies

This post was written by Lauren on September 25, 2015

5 Tips for a Healthy Fall

The scarves are on, the air is crisp, and fall is nearly here! Below, we’ve added our favorite tips to feel your best this season – and all year round!

1. Do some Yoga!

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How could this not be at the top of our list?! Yoga is a wonderful way to stay fit, and keep your body and mind healthy. Make time for practicing regularly – whether it be once a day or a few times a week.

And, if you feel that you’re getting stuck in a rut with your routine, switch it up! Try a new class or style of yoga, a new type of exercise, or gather up your closest pals for a fun and easy way to get motivated.

As the days get shorter and darker, yoga and other forms of exercise can be especially beneficial for a healthy rush of endorphins and staying in shape over the holiday season. Try getting outdoors for a bonus kick of vitamin D!

 

2. Make time for your friends and family

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As the weather gets chillier and the sun sets earlier, it can be particularly easy to blow off plans at the last minute. Who wants to venture out into the world when you can stay cozy indoors?! While this can be an easy route to go, resist! Bundle up in a warm jacket and go see your friends and family! They are important, you love them, go and see them. No excuses.

 

3. Practice mindful eating

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Candy corn, anyone? (Or, perhaps a bit more realistically, sugar packed pumpkin spice latte, anyone?)

Sweet and salty foods are delicious any time of the year – but what’s important is practicing moderation. The colder months, particularly fall and holiday times, are not only filled with more unhealthy foods than usual, but are also a time of higher stress levels for many. Whether the cause is going back to school, organizing the office Halloween party, or cooking Thanksgiving dinner, stressful eating is never the answer.

Instead of nervously munching on some chewy candy or crunchy chips, try excusing yourself for a quick 5-minute meditation or walk outside. You’ll feel the benefits instantly.

Another tip? Try to surround yourself with healthy food that feels good in your body. This makes it easier to stay healthy and feel good.

 

4. Help out those around you

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Giving back is an important thing to do, whether in big or small ways. Make a goal to give back regularly, not just during the fall and holiday season.

A few easy ways to get started? Try donating school supplies to your child’s school, offering to help your friend move, giving away some of your old yoga supplies, or even simply acknowledging something you value in another with a compliment.

 

5. Take care of yourself

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Another thing that’s always smart to do!

Try creating a fall “first aid kit”. This can include all your essentials, such as a cozy pair of socks, some tea bags, a comfy wrap, a good book, and an eye pillow – or any of your other favorite things to create the ultimate relaxation kit!

As the weather gets cooler, also try cleaning up and revamping your home. This is a great activity for spring cleaning as well. Reorganize your house, put away the summer clothes, throw an extra blanket on the bed, and refresh your home for the new season!

For all of your fall yoga clothing and prop needs, visit us today at BarefootYoga.com!

Posted under Eco-Friendly Yoga Products, Food and Cooking, Health and Fitness, Meditation, Yoga Supplies

This post was written by Carolina on September 18, 2015