Yoga Revival – Week 5: Fighting Gravity

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I am now more than a month into my Yoga Revival. It began with a free outdoor class on the Solstice, which was the first international yoga day as declared by the United Nations last December. My goal was to have a ‘regular yoga practice” – and so far I do! Woo-hoo!!

“Talk to me in a year,” immediately pops into my head. “It’s only been a month.” In my adult life I’ve had periods of serious dedication to yoga – but moreover, I’ve been rather a dabbler. Particularly over the past 8 years since becoming a father.

Many people have been surprised. They assumed since I’m part owner of a yoga supply company that I must do yoga regularly. I did at times in my life. And, I suppose in my mind I have told myself that I am practicing yoga daily. Generally I do – even if just for a tiny piece of the day while waiting for the microwave, or the water to boil. And there are times when I am waiting in line for something, and feel a little impatience starting to grow, and turn inward, and listen to my breath, while staring at a little speck on the wall (“drishti” definition here. Source: Drishti Yoga Journal article)

On a particularly turbulent coast to coast plane ride the other day a thick line of people formed in front of me when the air smoothed out and seatbelt sign finally went off. It was a big claustrophobic crowd in the aisles, then a dad and his toddler cut the line, and we were all trying not to look at each other, and it felt like the oxygen might be running low in that tight little space. I logged about 10 minutes of meditation, and almost took a picture of my drishti point, or some sort of selfie, but I feared someone might wrestle me down in the aisle because of suspicious activity. People were probably already a bit suspicious by the way I was smiling about this.

I believe these are valid, very useful moments of yoga practice. There are 8 limbs to Yoga after all, lest we forget. Here is a good description of them by Yoga Journal:  http://www.yogajournal.com/article/beginners/the-eight-limbs/

Reading over this reinforces something I know and love about yoga. It is BIG. And it is comprehensive. It is spiritual. I’ll never forget when my East coast Catholic mother was visiting in San Francisco in the late 90’s, and she was flipping through the Yoga Sutras sitting on the couch. I thought she might be just judging that here was further evidence of my deepening plunge in hippy oblivion. But much to my surprise, she was pleased by the similarities in the messages of the Yoga Sutras to what she had learned in church all those years. Her acceptance made me so happy.

For my purposes now – I am NOT looking at the BIGNESS of yoga. When I set out for a Yoga Revival in June, I intentionally set my sights on small (half hour) increments of yoga per day. When I first started practicing yoga regularly in the early 1990’s I was recovering from having a disk (hastily) removed from my lower back (L4-L5).  My yoga teacher friend visited and showed me a SHORT yoga routine that took roughly a half hour, stretching and strengthening muscles all around my back, without straining it. She made some crude stick drawings to ensure I remembered the poses.  A week into this, I felt the results, and kept doing it, and the results got better and better.

The briefness of this practice (25-45 minutes) helped me to DO IT DAILY back then. But even so, when I eventually felt like I’d never had a back problem – I quit doing yoga so regularly. I have discovered through my conversations with injury prone friends and physical therapists that most people stop doing their rehab exercises once they feel better – even though these are often meant to go on and on to help prevent further injury. So my conclusion is it’s our nature to take the easy way out, and so – for now at least – I need to “fight gravity” – to keep this yoga practice “regular.”

One of the best examples of fighting gravity is when my alarm goes off in the morning. Seattle’s cool nights make for some sweet sleep – so given the choice between staying in my warm comfy bed and getting into downward dog – I’m going to need some motivation to beat gravity.

Today gravity and the snooze button won for an hour, but I finally staggered to the mat, and salvaged a good 40 minute practice before work. Which means no full belly meditation tonight. And also, I have felt a balance and peacefulness from it, which might be the motivation I need to make tomorrow’s fight against gravity a bit easier.

 

Posted under Health and Fitness, Meditation, Styles of Yoga, Yoga Supplies

This post was written by David on July 29, 2015

6 Simple Ways to Give Your Old Yoga Mat a New Life

You’ve bought a brand new yoga mat, and now it’s time to retire the old and trusty mat that’s gotten you through years of practice. You probably don’t want to just toss your old yoga mat in the landfill, so what’s an eco-conscious yogi to do? Here are some suggestions from both Barefoot Yoga staff and customers on how to give your old mat a second life:

1. A quick-cleaning play mat

If your kids are working on messy projects with markers, clay or other things that might leave your table sticky and stained, try rolling out the yoga mat instead of newspaper. A closed cell mat will wipe down easily with household cleaner, and can be used over and over during play time!

 

2. A comfy surface for pets

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If you’re taking your furry friend for a ride in the car, laying a yoga mat out over the car seat can save your upholstery. Mats also work well as cushioning inside crates and pet carriers, and many animal shelters will welcome donations of gently used yoga mats to line their kennels.

 

3. Protection under house plants

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If you want the beauty of nature indoors without water and dirt on household surfaces, try cutting out circles of mat to sit underneath your plants. Many mats cut easily with a strong pair of scissors, and you can use a utility knife on thicker mats.

 

4. A cushion for outdoor fun

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Your well-worn yoga mat can double as a camping mat underneath your sleeping bag. Say goodbye to rocks and sticks digging into your back and enjoy sleeping comfortably in the great outdoors! You can also cut a smaller square of mat to create a portable and lightweight cushion for picnicking in the park or sitting on the bleachers at little league games.

 

5. Perfect packing material

If you’re planning a big move and need durable packing material, forget the styrofoam peanuts and try wrapping pieces of yoga mat around your fragile items. This works especially well with thicker and spongier mats.

 

6. An easy floor saver

Line the bottom of your closet with a piece of yoga mat to protect the hardwood or carpet from muddy shoes. You can also put trimmed pieces of mat under trash cans, pet food bowls, or any number of areas where a spill or stain is likely.

 

If you’re ready to retire (and repurpose!) your yoga mat, and you’re looking for a durable and high-quality replacement, visit us at www.barefootyoga.com!

 

Posted under Eco-Friendly Yoga Products, Health and Fitness, Yoga Mats, Yoga Supplies

This post was written by Lauren on July 20, 2015

Barefoot Yoga Favorites: Summer Looks We Love!

With all the awesome clothes and beautiful props we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by everyday, we couldn’t help but spend some time thinking of our perfect summertime look from top to bottom– whether it’s for going to class and just hanging out with friends!

The Look: On the Way to Class

If you’re heading out to class, you want to feel comfy, grounded and ready for any pose! (And, it doesn’t hurt to feel put together enough to stop by the grocery store on the way home, either!)

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OMgirl Vitality Racer paired with the Alignment Bra and Hatha Capri

The Vitality Racer offers a relaxed and easy-to-wear racerback style, and we adore it paired with the simple yet eye catching design of the Alignment Bra. Add the supremely comfy Hatha Capri for a look that’s just breezy enough to keep you cool during hotter summer temperatures while providing enough coverage and flexibility for any class! (Going to a hot yoga class? Toss the tank into your mat bag and just go with the bra to keep extra cool!)

And, if you’re like us and find the ease of a yoga mat bag hard to beat, we love the look above paired with the bright, sunny colors of the Mysore Pattern Mat Bag.

Wondering what’s in our yoga mat bag on the way to class? Try an Original Eco Mat, strap, and eye pillow!

 

The Look: Day to Night

This is our current fav for a casual, comfortable look that works for grabbing a coffee and some local produce at the farmers market before having your closest pals over for a home cooked meal.

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OMgirl Goddess Tank paired with the Asana Bra and Fresh Skirt in Paradise Palm

We couldn’t help but fall in love with the breezy, tropical feel of this patterned skirt, especially when combined with the flattering, form fitting look of the Goddess Tank. Try wearing it over the classic Asana Bra for optimal coverage and support (we found the tank a bit sheer to wear all on its own!).

Then, when it rolls around to dinnertime we love using the Mandala Embroidered Zafu for a comfortable and intimate way to dine with friends. This is especially convenient if you’re having a larger number of people over, or if you’re a city dweller whose coffee table doubles as a dining one!

Want to take a look online to put together your own favorite ensembles? Come visit us at barefootyoga.com! We’ve got you covered – no matter the sporty, cute, or casual style you’re looking for!

 

Posted under Eco-Friendly Yoga Products, Food and Cooking, Health and Fitness, Meditation, Yoga Clothing, Yoga Gift Ideas, Yoga Mats, Yoga Supplies

This post was written by Carolina on July 16, 2015