Yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar is credited with popularizing yoga in the West, and even today in his 90s, he continues to practice yoga. He’s also credited with introducing the use of yoga props. Although modern students may not consider yoga towels and yoga mats props, per se, but rather necessities, these, as well as other tools, such as yoga blocks and yoga straps, are part of many yoga studios today. Iyengar believes that using props promotes proper alignment and body mechanics when performing the asanas (poses).
When the beginning yoga or ayurvedic student asks the question, “How do ayurveda and yoga work together?” the answer may be as simple as considering how the two modalities complement and function seamlessly together. The principles of ayurveda incorporate the three doshas (or energies) that constitute the world around us, as well as our body types. By discovering which dosha governs your constitutional make-up, you can find a complementary form of yoga to harness that energy most effectively for an enhanced sense of well-being and then discover how both ayurveda and yoga work best together. Read the rest of this entry
Walking into the studio with your comfy clothes on and your gym bag slung over your shoulder may be like entering an oasis, away from the day-to-day stresses of reality; but once you drive out of the parking lot afterward, your once-cleared mind fills up again with what to make for dinner, who to pick up from what after-school event and that schedule change you need to make at the office. A yoga retreat allows you to focus on your yoga practice in a nurturing, stress-free environment, generally away from those distractions that take us out of ourselves. A yoga retreat can also be a vacation getaway with a little yoga thrown in so consider what you ultimately want to take away with you, as well as your budget constraints. Read the rest of this entry
Running is one of the most inexpensive and easiest ways to stay in shape, theoretically, but it can also be one of the most destructive when it comes to the toll it can take on the muscles and joints. Many beginning runners start off with a good pair of running shoes, a training log and high hopes, but over the course of a month may find themselves with aches and pains they never thought possible. Slow and steady wins the race, but this concept can be lost on the novice runner who, like the hare in Aesop’s fable, may take off fast then get sidelined by injuries, only to be beaten by the more conservative tortoise. Read the rest of this entry
The Manduka eKO Yoga Mat is the heaviest mat I have ever owned but also the most luxurious for the level of cushion it provides. It has a lovely texture and unrolled perfectly flat from the very first time I used it. The lime green is beautiful and I didnt notice any offensive smell as others have commented on ecological yoga mats.
I purchased my first yoga towel a couple of years ago after growing weary of the beach towel I had been toting around to classes. I am a simple yogi and try not to buy into the latest trends in fear of becoming (gasp!) … mainstream. The allure of the slip-resistant nubs on the Yogitoes Towel proved too much for me and I’ve used it ever since. That is until I experienced the Manduka eQua Yoga Towel.
So this week I decided to move one of my yoga mats right next to my bed so that it is the first thing I touch when getting out of bed in the morning and the last feeling I have before I retire for the night.
This change has inspired me to do several sun salutations right when I wake up or before bed when time permits and even if I don’t have the time to practice yoga upon waking or before sleeping, I stop on my yoga mat and center myself. I pause for a moment or two and think about all that I have to be grateful for in my life and I’m now in the habit of taking a few deep breaths just before I take that final leap into bed and remind myself who I am and what I stand for.
Many cultures, especially Hindu, regard the sun as the giver of life and a spiritual center. Honoring this spiritual force, many yogis start and end their day with sun salutation poses. I am one such yogi.
However, as with all facets of my personal yoga and meditation practice, I have customized this ritual to meet my own needs and desires. For me it’s not so much about honoring the sun as a spiritual guide, but honoring myself and my intentions for my day and for my life.
On the eightfold path of Classical yoga, the asanas, or positions, are one of the physical ways, along with pranayama, or regulated breathing, to attain samadhi, or self-enlightenment. Yoga asanas can be performed standing up, seated or lying down; they can be structured in terms of how they’re performed and in which order, such as in Bikram yoga, or free-flowing and at the whim of the yoga instructor. However, yoga asanas are all designed to ultimately challenge the student’s flexibility and motor control.
The surya namaskar, or sun salutation, series of yoga asanas is ideal for the beginning student.