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.
For years I have thought this addiction was not such a bad thing…in the scheme of things…well it’s at best educational. This week, however, I have started to rethink this. I am reading two books on dieting that totally contradict each other and well it has almost made me want to give up on my educational habit and maybe just start reading Harlequin Romance novels… well maybe not…
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.
The benefits of meditation are many-fold, providing a way to get in touch with what’s going on in our lives as well as our bodies. The use of biofeedback has shown the medical community how the mind can control our physical reactions to pain and other stimuli. Yoga, through the practice of the asanas (poses) and pranayama (controlled breathing), offer its students a window into their interior thoughts and well-being by way of meditation.
Learning how to meditate may be just the coping mechanism you need in a stress-filled life without having to resort to prescription medications or destructive practices, such as drinking or over-eating. Meditation doesn’t involve special workout wear, a specific place or time; it just involves your active participation in a mindful practice that can offer a myriad of benefits, including better mental focus and clarity, decreased heart rate and blood pressure, and spiritual growth.
On the eightfold branches of Classical yoga, meditation, or dhyana, is the penultimate step to achieve samadhi, or self-realization. The practice of yoga ultimately allows the student to access the atman, or self, and in that manner come to know the brahman, or absolute reality. The word “yoga” literally means “union” in Sanskrit, and its practice joins the individual with the universal. By knowing yourself, you understand how the world relates to you, and meditation mediates this interaction.
is a natural pain and stress management technique developed by Mikao Usui and based on the principles of Buddhism and Shintoism. Reiki, from the Japanese words “rei” (spirit) and “ki” (energy), accesses the universal life force through the practitioner, who channels healing energy through the patient by the laying on of hands. The Shinto religion believes that energy (kami) flows from both animate and inanimate objects while the Buddhist tenets that Usui followed involved chakras, or energy sites, in the body that can be activated by practice, just as in yoga.
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.