Demystifying Mula Bandha

July 21, 2014

 

Mula Bandha

Mula in Sanskrit means ‘root’, ‘base’, ‘foundation’, ‘beginning’, ‘origin.’ Bandha means ‘catching hold of’, ‘fetter’, ‘bondage.’ Mula Bandha, or root lock, is one of four bandhas mentioned in the Hatha Yoga Pradiprika and the Gheranda Samhita. The root refers to the pelvic floor or more precisely, the perineum. It is not the muscle that is the sphincter or those you use to hold your bladder. It is in between these two muscles.

Mula bandha allows us to lock the prana or life-giving breath in our body and move it up our central system. Mastering the locks allows us to the master of our practice in our physical body as well as our inner mind. Mula bandha aids is holding poses for long periods of time, transitioning to new asanas, steady concentration, controlled breath and a calm and clear mind.You are advised to hold mula bandha throughout your practice and that might be challenging at first but with practice, it will get easier.

To activate Mula Bandha, exhale and engage the pelvic floor. You might contract the muscles around the anus and genitals at first, but try to isolate the muscles between those 2 areas. You want to draw up the perineum and to the back of your spine. Do not hold your breath.

Engaging Mula Bandha forces your energy to flow up and not down and out. This gives you a ‘light’ feeling, making your limbs limber and thus lighter on your mat. This also helps you from fatiguing during long holds on poses. Mula Bandha stimulates the pelvic area, genitalia, the endocrine and excretory systems and relieves depression and constipation.

For yoga supplies to help with your practice, visit www.barefootyoga.com!


Top 5 Tips for Your First Yoga Class

July 17, 2014

Excited for that first class but don’t know quite what to expect when it comes to etiquette? Check out our list of do’s and don’ts below to get in the know!

Yoga Class

1. Try to get there about 10-15 minutes early (and don’t be late if you can help it!), and once you’re there, stay for the whole time. It’s disruptive to others to get up and go before you’ve gotten your Savasana in.

Cake

2. Don’t eat for 2-3 hours before class! This is an important one, even more so than the old “wait an hour after eating to go swimming”. If you eat too soon or too much before class, it’s possible you’ll experience nausea, cramps, or even vomiting (especially in a pose like prayer twist!)

Intention

3. Create an intention. Creating an intention before class and holding it during can help keep you centered and focused. Your intention can be anything from aiming to be more compassionate or kind to simply intending to be in the moment and not let your mind wander to what the next days holds. After class, reflect on both what you learned and how you feel. Awareness and reflection is key, in both expanding your practice and your mind.

Class Props

4. Treat studio props with care and respect. After class, pick up and neatly put them away for the next yogi to use.

Savasana Cat

5. Be kind and gentle to yourself; don’t push it. Listen to what your body tells you and don’t strive for that perfect warrior pose if you’re body says no. It’s also helpful to let your teacher know about any injuries so they can help you find what works for you.

Need to stock up on some props before that first class? Come visit us at BarefootYoga.com to find everything you need!


Grace’s Pick of the Week:
Surf Nomad Pants by OMgirl

July 9, 2014

OMgirl’s beloved Surf Nomad is back for the summer! Made with a lightweight skirt, its wide leg pants are a breezy fit for those chilly nights. This customer favorite offers great mobility for yoga, walks on the beach or lounging at home.

Surf Nomad - Fin Surf Nomad - Tropical Teal

For more easy, breezy yoga clothing for summer, visit www.barefootyoga.com!


5 Yoga Questions You Never Knew the Answer to – Until Now!

July 8, 2014

Thought you knew it all about yoga? Think again! Take a look at the list below to find out five things that may surprise you!

1. What is the ultimate “goal” of yoga?

Chitta Vritti Nirodhah

The ultimate goal of yoga is simple but powerful: Chitta Vritti Nirodhah – Cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. This Sutra conveys the essence of the science of yoga, which is: “if you can control the fluctuations of the mind you will experience yoga”.

2. Wait one minute! What’s a Sutra?

Sanskrit verse from Bhagavad Gita

The word sutra is the Sanskrit term for a rule or saying in Sanskrit literature, and translates literally to what sews or threads things together. A comparable way to relate it to our own modern day American culture is thinking of commonly used, sensible sayings such as “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Granted, the Citta Vritti Nirodhah sutra is a bit more refined than that.

3. Who is Patajnali? I’ve heard that name mentioned a few times since beginning my practice, but I don’t know who they are!

Patanjali

Patanjali is an Indian sage known by many as ‘the father of Yoga’. He is the creator of The Yoga Sutras, a collection of 196 sutras created around 400 CE from original and ancient texts that make up the foundation of Ashtanga Yoga that we know today.

4. As a yogi, I’ve heard the phrase “eight limbs” referred to many a time, in everything from studio names to casual conversation. What does “eight limbs” refer to?

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Eight limbs refers to the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, referenced in Patajnali’s Yoga Sutras. The word “Ashtanga” translates literally to mean “eight limbs”, their names being: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.

5. One last thing: a couple people have told me they choose to not practice yoga on New or Full moons. Why is that?

Phases of the Moon

Good question! Some yogis prefer not to practice during a new or full moon because of the change in the tides. This change can directly affect the water in your body (as it does with the tides), and changes in the Moon can affect your emotional body. Because of the various effects of both Full (bringing things to their full state) and New (renewing, revision of thought) moons, some prefer to refrain from their practice on these days.

Thanks for reading!  We hope you enjoyed and learned from the facts above. For all your yoga needs, come visit us today at BarefootYoga.com!


Lauren’s Pick of the Week:
Mexican Yoga Blankets

July 2, 2014

Our Deluxe Mexican Yoga Blankets are made from a blend of recycled cotton and acrylic yarns, for a thick blanket that’s luxuriously soft. The blankets are available in a rainbow of beautiful colors, in three different styles: Solid, Thunderbird and Striped.

Mexican Blanket - Solid

A Mexican Blanket may be one of the most versatile yoga props – you can fold them to use in place of a bolster, roll them up for a bit of extra support in restorative practice, or drape one across yourself for warmth during Savasana. To learn more about our Mexican Yoga Blankets and other essential props, visit www.barefootyoga.com!

Barefoot Yoga Mexican Blanket


5 Mats for 5 Practices: Finding What Works for You

July 1, 2014

Need help figuring out what the ideal mat is for your ideal practice? Look no further than our list below!

1. Travel Yoga

Travel Yoga

Now that’s what we call dedication – and also what we would call a situation ideal for a travel mat!

Need a mat you can bring with you no matter where life takes you? Then a Travel Mat may be exactly what you’re looking for! Its thin, lightweight design makes it the perfect mat to fold up into the front pocket of your suitcase or backpack.

However, many yogis find a travel mat too thin to provide substantial support on its own, which explains its popularity on top of more padded surfaces (such as a hotel room floor or on a grassy lawn). If you’re looking for a mat that’s still extremely easy to transport but has a little more heft, check out our new Hybrid Eco-Lite Mat! It’s likely to become your new favorite mat whether you’re Bali bound or relaxing at home.

2. Restorative or Prenatal Yoga

Restorative Yoga

In need of a bolster, soothing eye pillow, or blanket to complete your comfort? We’ve got you covered!

If you’re practicing a more gentle form of yoga, such as restorative, gentle, or prenatal yoga, some extra support and cushion is going to come in handy. We recommend a ¼” Hybrid Eco Mat to facilitate in comfort, style, and function!

3. Bikram/Hot/Power Yoga

Hot Yoga

When practicing Bikram, hot, or power yoga, we find that the best mat is going to be one on the thinner side with superior traction to keep from slipping (especially with Bikram or hot yoga!). Check out our new Hybrid Eco-Lite Mat or Performance Grip Mat to get the grounding and traction you need.

4. Hatha Yoga

Pattabhi Jois

World renowned teacher and Ashtanga yoga pioneer Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Hatha yoga covers a broad aspect of yoga, and is basically the incorporation of postures and breathwork into your practice and includes popular styles such as Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga.

If you’re just starting out and aren’t quite sure if or what specific yoga style speaks to you, we recommend starting with a good quality mat. Especially one that will provide great traction and cushion while giving a beginner yogi the chance to explore what their personal practice and prop style is. We recommend going with a 1/8” mat like our 1/8” Hybrid Eco Mat or a Natural Jute & PER Mat.

5. Aerial Yoga

Aerial Yoga

Even aerial yogis need to come down for a landing! When they do, a mat that provides a sturdy, grounded surface is ideal. Try out a 1/8” or thinner mat, like our 1/8” Hybrid Eco Mat, Hybrid Eco-Lite Mat, or, for a more textured traction check out our Natural Jute & PER Mat.

Want to keep exploring what props work for you? Come visit us at BarefootYoga.com to expand your practice today!


Grace’s Pick of the Week:
Meadow Top by prAna

June 27, 2014

Get into sivasana with the Meadow Top. It has a banded hemline that keeps your top in place while you do your inversions. The relaxed fit and draped bodice allow for freedom of movement. It comes with a shelf bra for support and fabulous prints and colors for inspiration.

Meadow TopMeadow Top

For more great new prAna yoga clothing, visit www.barefootyoga.com!


Yoga Studio of the Month:
Yoga Yoga

June 26, 2014

The name ‘Yoga Yoga’ came about from teaching two forms of yoga at the same time in a newly leased studio for owners Mehtab and his wife. This was in the year 1997, after sporadic practice before that of almost 20 years. A life crisis motivated them to delve into their beloved Kundalini practice and discover their passion for Ashtanga and Hatha yoga.

Yoga YogaToday, they welcome their students to 4 studios in Texas to continue on their journey of self-discovery. They aspire to ‘make it for more people, for all people, to do yoga’. Their experiences with different forms of yoga gave them an appreciation of the benefits and beauty of each type of practice, and the people they attract. They embrace and strive for diversity in their teaching forms, focusing on their students. Teachers are encouraged to teach from their hearts and connect with their students in the spirit of yoga.

Yoga Yoga believes in yoga of action, elevating oneself so one may elevate others. They are active in the Austin community with free yoga classes for non-profit organizations, helping families in need and fund-raising for cancer, AIDS and other research. Their teachers volunteer their time to train and pass on the tradition of teaching to aspiring candidates.

Yoga Yoga offers Kundalini, Hatha, Flow-Based Hatha, Family, Relaxation, post and pre-natal, private and business classes. You can also enjoy their spa services at their Westlake branch.

Yoga Yoga has been Barefoot Yoga’s loyal client since 2003. We applaud and encourage them for spreading yoga. See our mats, rugs, blankets, bags, eye pillows and zafus in use at their studios.