7 Things You Shouldn't Do for Proper Yoga Mat Care

Our yoga mats are familiar places to us yogis, often feeling like second homes to us despite being nothing other than a small, rectangular piece of material. Our mats may come to represent a place of growth, a place of connectedness, and a place of inner peace in our minds every time we roll them out across the floor to begin our practice.

Knowing how to take good care of our yoga mats is essential to avoid transferring any harmful bacteria to our skin and to extend their lifespans so we can roll them out and practice on them again and again. It’s easier than we think to mistakenly clean them improperly or neglect them in ways that end up ruining them for good.

Those of us who've already invested in high-quality yoga mats know they’re not cheap to replace. Here are just a few key things to remember to never do.

1. Don’t put your mat in the washing machine.

Unless you 100% absolutely know according to the manufacturer that your mat is washing machine safe, don’t consider it. Depending on what type of material your mat is made of, throwing it in the wash (especially with soap) can instantly ruin it.

2. Don’t use just any soap to clean your mat.

You may be tempted to use a few drops of dishwashing soap to wipe down your mat, but you’ll learn quickly that this is a good way to make it extra slippery. If you don’t properly rinse off all the soap, a soapy residue could be left on it as it dries, leaving you to slip and slide around during your practice.

3. Don’t soak your mat.

When a deeper cleaning is in order, you may think that submerging your mat in some warm water in the bathtub and leaving it to soak will help lift out some of the dirt and grime. Soaking it, however, may cause your mat to absorb more the water, which could warp the material or cause it to take a super long time to dry out completely.

4. Don’t forget to clean the other side of your mat.

Even if you do a great job of regularly cleaning the main side of your mat that you practice on, make sure you get the other side as well. Constantly rolling it out on several different flat surfaces is bound to make it dirty.

5. Don’t leave your mat rolled up after coming back from class.

Whether you gave your mat a wipe down or not right after class before rolling it up and heading home, make sure you remember to roll it right back out again to let it dry out properly. Leaving it rolled up makes for a moist, dark environment that bacteria just love to thrive in.

6. Don’t leave your mat inside your car on a hot day.

The scorching hot temperatures that car interiors tend to reach can be hot enough to melt the stickiness of your mat. So if you’re heading to yoga class after work in the summer, make sure you bring your mat inside with you instead of leaving it in the car all day.

7. Don’t leave your mat to dry out in the sun.

Some yoga mats come with warnings about keeping them out of direct sunlight due to the damaging effects it can have on the materials. If you’re going to even consider allowing your mat to dry outside, or inside in a very sunny room, make sure it’s in a very well shaded area.

This helpful list should help keep your mat in great shape for a long time. Check out our previous article on how frequently you should clean your mat, what you should use to clean it, and how to keep it cleaner for longer.

Image (edited) via Gabriel Garcia Marengo

5 Tips for Beating Common Meditation Challenges

5 Tips for Beating Common Meditation Challenges

For those of us who decide to commit to a regular meditation habit, it can be a truly life-changing process if we don’t let some of the most common pitfalls get in the way of being consistent. Meditation is meant to be simple, but it doesn’t come without certain frustrating aspects of it.

Distractions happen during meditation, and that’s okay, because meditation is not a road that leads us to to some destination. What we really must do is learn to embrace the process — challenges and all.

Here are just some of the most common challenges/distractions you can expect to experience when you meditate — especially if you're a beginner!

1. Drowsiness.

In a meditative state, the idea is to be completely alert. However, closing your eyes and sitting still while doing absolutely nothing can certainly be interpreted by the mind and body as an invitation to go to sleep. You may find yourself starting to drift off, dream a little, and even nod your head from side to side.

Tip: Pick a time to meditate when you know you’re most alert. Avoid meditating after eating a meal since digestion uses more energy and can enhance drowsiness. You can also choose to meditate with your eyes open.

2. Songs, words, or images that play on repeat in your head.

If you were listening to music before you sat down to meditate, don’t be surprised if one of the songs you just heard plays on a seemingly endless loop as you become aware of your mind’s activity. It’s essentially the same as getting a song stuck in your head, but during meditation, it might feel several times more intense as the mind uses it to distract you with something that's still fresh in your mind. This may also apply to TV shows, online videos, news broadcasts, and other things you watch before meditation.

Tip: Try to avoid listening to music (especially super catchy music) or watching anything super stimulating at least an hour or so before meditating.

3. Thoughts about what you have to do after meditating.

You likely have things to take care of after you’re done meditating, and your mind is very good at keeping that running list in your awareness. Whether it’s something as simple as what you’re going to eat for lunch or something as complicated as all the little, tiny tasks you have to complete for a work project, your mind will try to throw those things right out there into your awareness when you’re trying to meditate.

Tip: Well before you meditate, take a detailed to-do list do a little mindful ritual of mentally letting go of all those things you have to do.

4. Twitches, itches, cramps, and general uncomfortableness.

As you increase your awareness through meditation, you naturally get much more in touch with your physical body, and bodily sensations you weren’t so aware of in your regular, everyday state could start to distract you. An itch on your nose or a leg that falls asleep will be hard (maybe even unbearable) to resist itching or moving.

Tip: Prepare to get as comfortable as possible before you sit down to meditate, and use what you felt in your last session to plan for better comfort during the next one.

5. A very strong desire to check the time.

If you’re meditating by sitting quietly with your eyes closed, you may notice your mind becoming absolutely obsessed with trying to figure out how much time has already passed and how much time is left. These types of thoughts may be triggered by some of the distractions mentioned above. After all, it would be nice to know the time so you could finally scratch your leg or get back to answering emails.

Tip: Start with short meditation sessions and work your way up. Use a timer and keep it away from you so you can’t grab it or glance over at it.

The above challenges are all a part of meditation. Don't let them discourage you. While you may feel like you're going backwards instead of forwards, bear in mind that there's really nowhere to go — you're just here, experiencing what there is to experience — even if that does include the pull of distraction!

Image (edited) via Sonia Belviso

6 Mindfulness Tips for Overcoming Fear

6 Mindfulness Tips for Overcoming Fear

Getting out of our comfort zones isn’t easy to do, but those of us who know that growth is on the other side of it tend to push ourselves through fear anyway. That’s certainly one way to do it — but how do we rid ourselves of fear altogether so we don’t have to constantly be pushing against our own resistance?

Knowing that we have nothing to be afraid of on a conscious level doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to dace when our subconscious minds still deeply feel that fear, causing us to experience a wide range of emotions that trigger both negative thoughts and physical reactions too (like sweaty palms, stuttering, etc.).

By practicing mindfulness, however, we can make room for using our conscious minds to eventually penetrate our subconscious minds in ways that melt those stubborn feelings of fear away. Here’s how.

Allow yourself to feel your emotions.

Rather than trying to suppress what you’re feeling so you can simply push through what you need to do and then breathe a sigh of relief when it’s all over, make time well before you need to do whatever you need to so you can be in solitude, tune into yourself and allow your emotions to just be felt. If you can, try to put descriptive adjectives to your emotions of you can and even identify which body parts feel it.

Notice assumptions you’re making.

Once you’ve tuned into your emotions, start tuning into your thoughts as well — the images that seem to automatically play out in your mind and the stories you’re telling to yourself. Take some time to question each one of them. Are they absolutely true, or is your mind creating these images and stories? If your mind is creating them and thus making potentially false assumptions about the present or future, don’t try to change them — simply become aware of the reality that they only exist in your mind and don’t necessarily reflect truth.

Identify and accept what you’re fearful of.

As you become mindful of your thoughts and emotions, you should be able to identify how certain emotions trigger certain thoughts, and vice versa. This is how the cycle of fear works and explains how it can get worse when you’re unconscious of it happening. The only way to stop it from cycling over and over again is to either distract yourself, or more ideally — realize its happening and keep watching it until your awareness causes it to weaken.

Be kind to yourself.

When we become fully aware of everything we’re feeling and everything we’re thinking, we may be easily sucked back into our unconscious habits where self-judgment and self-criticism occur. If this is the case, just notice it, accept it, and shift your self-talk to something more compassionate. Rather than punishing yourself or even simply feeling sorry for yourself, treat yourself kindly, just like you would if you were offering friendly support to somebody else.

Visualize what you want as if it’s happening.

Once you’ve mastered the art of mindfulness, self-acceptance, and of course self-compassion, you’ll have everything you need to slowly begin consciously shifting your thoughts toward what you want to have as if you already have it, what you want to be as if you already are it, or what you want to happen as if it’s already happening. You’re not denying your fears or any negative aspects that may actually be real — you’re simply shifting your perspective.

Get curious about what’s to come.

Thinking positively and visualizing what you want puts you in line with abundance, and the last thing to do, believe it or not, is to surrender the rest to faith. Open yourself up to curiosity and to the learning process by going after what you want from a positive and optimistic state. Trust that in time, and in accordance with this inward work you will continue to do, the universe will bring you exactly what you want.

Follow these tips as often and as thoroughly as possible whenever you start feel fearful. This type of work has the power to slowly reprogram our subconscious minds in ways that rid ourselves of deep fears that stem from childhood and other past experiences that may have caused us emotional trauma.

3 Ways to Modify and Maintain Your Practice on Bad Days

3 Ways to Modify and Maintain Your Practice on Bad Days

We all have bad days where our plans need to be adjusted or postponed in order to deal with whatever’s going on. It’s nice to look forward to attending a 90-minute yoga class at a specific time that has been planned since last week, but when life unexpectedly gets in the way, we sometimes have to sacrifice parts of our practice to prioritize our other needs.

That doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our practice altogether. Though we may fall ill, experience something emotionally upsetting, feel physically exhausted, or be required to take care of something that leaves us with little time to practice, there's always a way to modify our practice so that we can still make it a daily ritual.

Just because we can’t roll our mats out and move through a series of poses for 30, 60, or 90 minutes every day doesn’t mean we can’t still practice daily. Any one of the following still counts as daily practice.

Simply Meditate

Remember that moving our bodies is just one small part of yoga. In yoga, mind, body, and spirit are unified in a way that brings us closer to experiencing oneness with the Universe.

Meditation, then, is an important part of a yoga practice because it involves increasing awareness and surrendering to reality. Though it’s often more uncomfortable to do on bad days, meditation is often most beneficial when we’re feeling very emotional or when we find that our minds are racing with thoughts.

Just Do One Pose

Who says we have to move through long sequences of poses to make our practice count? Even if we just have two minutes, we all have the freedom to choose one pose that best soothes our minds and bodies so that we can get back to a more balanced state.

If anxiety is the problem, child’s pose may be the best pose of choice. If it’s an upset stomach, perhaps bound angle pose could help. On bad days especially, it’s the quality of the pose you choose to do — not the quantity, that really matters.

Connect to Nature

There’s nothing quite like stepping into nature and feeling the neurotic tendencies of the ego start to weaken almost instantly. When a full mat practice is out of the question, getting outside is a great way to ground ourselves and connect to everything around us.

Best of all, there’s no need to get out to a heavily wooded area to do it. Simply stepping outside the door to feel the breeze, gaze at the sky, or even notice and appreciate one of the few trees in any urban area can be enough.

Tip: Notice Attachments to Practicing

Above all, it’s important for us to recognize whether we may be attached to a certain way of practicing. Though yoga is all about embracing what is, ironically, we can get a little obsessive about making sure we carve out the right amount of time every day to fit a certain type of practice in.

We can all benefit from noticing our attachment and letting it go. Not every day is going to go perfectly according to plan, and that’s okay, because that’s life.

Let us detach from our rigid ways, embrace uncertainty, and flow along with whatever comes our way.

4 Inspiring Reasons to Embrace Slow Progress

4 Inspiring Reasons to Embrace Slow Progress

We all have deep desires to achieve — to strive for meaning. Whether we have personal goals we make for ourselves or altruistic goals that benefit others, most of us come to realize that the bigger the goal, the more challenging and longer it takes to reach it.

Excruciatingly slow progress can cause almost anyone to lose motivation. This may feel especially true as the excitement of the New Year wears off and the dreary winter days tend make every day feel sort of mundane and uneventful as we try to work toward what we set out to do on the 1st.

But slow progress is far more beneficial than instant results in a multitude of ways. Though it may be difficult to feel it right now despite knowing it on an intellectual level, if we keep reminding ourselves of why it's better to go slow, our subconscious minds will begin to embrace this truth and make it a part of our reality.

Slow Progress Means Presence

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast — you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” — Eddie Cantor

We can’t be fully here in this moment when we’re constantly obsessing over the progress we wish we could’ve made by now and possibly dabbling in negative self-talk for not getting there yet. We are all where we are supposed to be right now, and slowing things down to focus on the present allows us to ground ourselves back where we belong.

Slow and Steady Makes Habits Stick

“Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Long-term goal achievement is often the result of many, many days of doing the same thing over and over while becoming incrementally better at it. If we were rewarded with the achievement of our goal too soon, we likely wouldn’t know how to sustain it or even top that goal because we wouldn’t have developed the habits we need to ultimately keep it going.

Going Slow Offers Greater Opportunity for Growth

“Progress of the best kind, is comparatively slow. Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step.” — Samuel Smiles

The reason why slow progress is often the best progress is because it puts the focus on learning. As we embrace learning by taking things slow, we improve our chances of being able to handle potential obstacles and setbacks, which in turn helps us grow to become more resilient.

Greater Awareness Comes from Taking Things Slow

“Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not.” — Ieyasu Tokugawa

Though obstacles and setbacks are pretty much guaranteed in almost anyone’s journey toward a long-term goal, going slowly at least allows us to minimize them by giving us the time we need to expand our awareness and understand what’s really going on. If we rush through things too fast, we may end up missing something important that could cost us.

There’s no shame in progressing toward your big goals slowly. Embrace the journey, because you will undoubtedly gain invaluable inner strength by pressing on.

Creative Things to Use As Yoga Prop Substitutes

Creative Things to Use As Yoga Prop Substitutes

Most yoga studios provide everything that their yogis need, but of course it’s another story when we decide to practice anywhere else. When it comes to doing yoga at home, sometimes we find ourselves in lack of the props we need to make the most of our practice.

If you’re a yogi who practices at home or while traveling, you can always modify your practice so that extra props aren’t needed, but this may not be necessary if you get a little creative. Here are some ways you can improvise by taking common household items and turning them into functional yoga props!

Yoga Blocks

Yoga blocks are typically around 9 inches in length, 5 inches in width, and 3 inches in height, but it’s not a requirement to get the dimensions exactly precise. A good place to start looking for substitutes is on your bookshelves and in your closet.

A stack of books wrapped in a towel may do just fine, or you could grab a shoebox and fill it up with items to make it solid. Just be sure you won’t mind if the pages of those books get a bit frayed or the items in your box get slightly crushed!

Yoga Straps

Yoga straps are wonderful for working on going deeper into your stretches, but not everyone has one lying around at home. Try looking for substitutes again in your closet and anywhere else you keep supplies.

You can easily use a belt, a men's tie, or a piece of rope as a yoga strap. Just be sure to check that the fabric or material that it’s made of is strong enough to hold your stretch.

Yoga Bolsters

A bolster is really just a long pillow with more stuffing than most pillows for greater support. Head to your bedroom or linen closet for substitutes for this one.

Grab a bunch of bed pillows or a stack of towels and optionally tie them up with some rope to keep them together, or use them just as they are stacked on top of each other. Bolsters are often used to support parts of the body in restorative poses, so if you can stack some soft stuff up, you’re pretty much good to go!

Yoga Blankets

In all seriousness, nobody really needs a yoga-specific blanket. All you really need is any type of blanket that you’re okay with potentially getting a bit sweaty.

Yoga blankets are often rolled up to support parts of the body, used to slide the knees or feet across hard flooring, or used to keep warm during savasana. You could even use a regular towel or a bed sheet.

Yoga Mats

If there’s one thing most yogis have, it’s usually a mat. There are, however, times when we forget where we put our mats, or we wash our mats and need to leave them out to dry, or sometimes we even leave our mats in the car on a hot day and ruin their stickiness.

When you want to get your practice in but are without a mat, try taking your practice to carpeted flooring or use a rug that has non-slip padding. You may be able to get away with practicing on a towel or blanket as a substitute for a mat, but carpets and padded rugs are ideal for being easier to grip and to avoid sliding around.

These yoga prop substitutes may work just as well as the real thing. Enjoy your practice!

Image (edited) via Rob Bertholf

Practical Ways to Beat Common Yoga Obstacles

Practical Ways to Beat Common Yoga Obstacles

When it comes to developing and progressing in our practice, we’re basically guaranteed to have to deal with some pretty big obstacles. After all, yoga is about continuous growth — not the pursuit of perfection.

If you’re finding yourself struggling to maintain your practice, or if you simply just need a little something extra to restore your passion after falling into a bit of a rut, consider some of the following common yoga obstacles and what you can do to blast right past them so you can continue on improving as you enjoy the journey.

Unaffordable Classes

Nothing really compares to practicing alongside other yogis with a teacher leading the class, and even though classes are relatively inexpensive, they don’t always fit in everybody’s budget. But that doesn’t mean practicing is out of the question.

If you have internet access, you can find endless amounts of free yoga resources including video tutorials, video workouts, articles, photos, and even online communities. You can get a complete practice in just by searching for videos on YouTube, or connect with real yogis (including teachers) by following and interacting with them on Instagram. And of course if you don't have internet access, you can always pick up a few yoga DVDs for pretty cheap from almost anywhere!

Lack of Time

A typical yoga class may be 75 or 90 minutes long, but that doesn’t mean you have to be willing to carve out that much time on a daily basis to focus on your practice. Even if you have as little as 10 or 15 minutes, you can still make your practice a daily habit.

Whether you choose to do just a few morning sun salutations to build heat, a quick seated sequence at your desk after sitting all day, or a long restorative pose to calm your mind and body at the end of the day — it all counts. Focus on your intentions rather than how much time you have.

Minimal Strength or Flexibility

Not everyone has the strength or flexibility to be able to perform every pose perfectly, and for many, even common ones — like upward facing dog, plank, or chaturanga — can be a struggle to do. And that’s perfectly okay.

Wherever you are in your practice, there are always ways to modify poses so that they’re easier on your joints and muscles. Try cobra pose instead of upward dog, or go to your knees for plank and chaturanga. Pushing past what your body is capable of doing could cause pain or injury, in which case, you’ll need to read over the next section!

Pain or Injury

Depending on the type and severity of pain or injury you may be suffering from, you may be able to modify your practice so that it works other parts of your body that are are in good shape to work, or so that it supports healing and relaxation for the body part that needs time to recover.

After getting the A-OK from your doctor to keep up with a modified practice, you can do your own research or ask your yoga teacher about some proper modifications designed to help you avoid aggravating your pain or injury. Even if that means shifting your practice to a restorative one for the time being, it’s worth it if it relaxes you and supports recovery.

No Progress

Finally, perhaps one of the ultimate most common obstacle to yoga is the lack of motivation that sets in from becoming frustrated by little to no progress. Whether you want to be able to perform a perfect handstand flawlessly the first time, or just sink a little lower in your warrior poses without feeling like dying, it can be really demotivating to feel like you’re getting nowhere.

The solution? Keep going. As long as you’re being consistent, tailoring your practice to your needs, and working on maintaining proper form and alignment without getting caught up in wanting to progress quickly, you will make progress in time. It may not show at all on a day-to-day basis, but give it a few weeks, months, or even years or consistent practice and you’ll get there.

7 of the Most Common Meditation Myths

7 of the Most Common Meditation Myths

Meditation has become an increasingly popular practice for many people living in today’s modern world. Stress and anxiety have never been more prevalent than they are nowadays, and meditation offers a simple, natural solution to boost mental health.

Beginner meditators often have a lot of questions and even doubts about the practice. Now that more people in modern society are meditating, it’s easier than ever for rumors and false beliefs to spread that turn people off from trying it.

Here are just seven of some of the most common myths about meditation people tend to fall for as they find themselves exposed to or interested in the practice.

1. Meditation is for religious or spiritual people.

There are countless ways to meditate, and while the practice itself is rooted in ancient Buddhism and Hinduism, there’s a big difference between what meditation is and what religion is. Meditation is really all about reaching higher levels of awareness beyond the constant chatter of thought that goes on in our minds. Some people may use it to connect to their gods or other spiritual figures, but many use it to simply get back in touch with the vast reality of the here and now.

2. You have to sit quietly with your eyes closed to meditate.

Meditation is much more versatile than many people might think. You can do a walking meditation, you can practice mindfulness meditation while you do the dishes, or you can meditate while sitting in a normal seated position on a park bench with your eyes open. There are no extreme or strict rules that govern exactly how must one meditate for it to be considered meditation.

3. If your mind isn’t quiet, you’re not doing it right.

It’s normal for beginners to feel frustrated by how easy to is to constantly get swept up in thought as they meditate. But frustration only leads to more thought, and the vicious cycle only continues from there. The aim of meditation is not to put a halt to thought. Instead, it’s about finding that peaceful place that exists somewhere beyond thought. Those thoughts may still be going a million miles per hour, but meditation helps us avoid getting sucked deeply into them.

4. It takes a long time to experience the benefits.

While it certainly can take years of daily, disciplined practice to unlock access to those very high states of consciousness, there are some benefits to meditation people can experience even after just one session. You don’t have to be an experienced meditator to get the anti-depressant effects, stress relieving effects, a more expanded state of awareness, and freedom from fear.

5. Meditation should feel calming and blissful.

Meditation is often talked about as a relaxing, calm state of being. But many first-time meditators find it more torturous than enjoyable. Unpleasant thoughts and feelings may arise in the excruciatingly boring silence and stillness, which can be enough to turn anyone off from the practice. When meditation feels the hardest, however, that’s when you really need it the most.

6. Meditation numbs the mind from thought.

Some people argue that meditation is a form of escapism, as if it's something we turn to when we want to run away from the reality of our problems and responsibilities. In truth, meditation is all about going deeper to the core of the self — the eternal spirit — which lies beyond our problems, responsibilities, and all the thoughts that are triggered in our minds because of them.

7. Meditation is a form of self-improvement.

This one is a doozy. Many people seek a meditation practice to “fix” some part of themselves — whether it’s excess stress, anxiety, insomnia, fear, or something else. But meditation really isn't about self-improvement at all. What it does is it actually does is allow us to free ourselves from the constant state of “doing’ as we strive for more and more. Instead, we can embrace everything we are right now. Meditation is not a means to an end — it’s the practice of surrender.

If you're just getting started, try mindfulness meditation or a body scan meditation.

3 Daily Nourishing Tips for Dry Winter Skin

3 Daily Nourishing Tips for Dry Winter Skin

It doesn’t take much to notice how dry the air gets in the winter. Even people who are completely out of touch with nature or their own bodies can’t miss that tight feeling after washing their face, flakes of skin that appear after toweling off from a shower, or heels that are super dry and cracked!

In the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, which states that everything in life is composed of three principles of nature, or “doshas,” vata dosha is the one that can be typically pushed out of balance in late fall and winter. Vata is comprised of space and air — characterized by dryness, coolness, lightness, and movement.

No wonder our skin takes such a toll this time of year. To help keep vata balanced, it’s recommended in Ayurvedic medicine to pay special attention to our skin by nourishing it with what the dry, cool air tends to remove.

Be Gentle With Your Face

The face is usually the one part of the body that gets exposed most to the winter air, and it may be one of the driest, most sensitive parts of the whole body. During this time of year, ditch the harsh exfoliators and cleansers in favor of natural oils like sesame oil, castor oil, olive oil, or coconut oil.

Oil cleansing is a popular, natural alternative to harsher facial cleansing that can help remove makeup and dirt while simultaneously balancing the natural oils of your skin. All you need to do is massage a small amount into dry skin first using gentle, circular motions for about a 1 to 3 minutes. Soak a clean washcloth in hot water, ring it out, apply it your face until it cools, and then gently wipe away excess oil with the cloth.

Don’t Lather Up — Moisturize!

Hot showers and harsh indoor heating can have a drying effect on the skin apart from the winter weather, so a daily moisturizing regimen can help restore the skin all over your body to a healthy, glowing, balanced state. A well-known Ayurvedic recommendation during vata season is to massage the skin with sesame oil before showering or bathing.

When you do shower or bathe, make sure that the water is warm — not hot — to avoid over drying. You don’t necessarily need to lather up with soap all over your body every single day unless it’s to remove visible dirt, and even then, it’s always best to go with a natural, mild soap as opposed to harsher varieties that strip the natural oils away.

Pamper Your Feet

During the winter months, our feet typically spend more time packed tight in thick socks and heavy footwear designed to keep them dry and protected form the elements. That doesn’t keep them from becoming extra dry and cracked, unfortunately.

Soak your feet in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes with Epsom salts added to help soothe any aches or pains, and add your favorite essential oil if you'd like. Lavender, peppermint, or tea tree are all great choices.

Once soaked, scrub and smooth out dry skin with a pumice stone before drying them off with a towel and immediately moisturizing them with a natural oil like sesame or olive. You can put thick socks on made of breathable material to help the moisturizing process.

5 Everyday Places You Can Sneak in More Yoga

5 Everyday Places You Can Sneak in More Yoga

When it comes to multitasking, we’re all better off leaving our brains to focus on just one thing at a time. But when it comes to combining some relatively easy physical aspect with something mental, multitasking can actually be twice as productive!

We do it all the time in our everyday lives already. We walk around while we talk on the phone, we listen to music while we workout, and we eat while we browse our smartphones.

Why not do it with yoga too? If you can’t put 100% of your focus on your practice, at least try to implement parts of it into your daily life as you focus on other things.

Here are a few common yoga-friendly places where almost everyone spends at least a little time every day.

In front of the TV.

Sitting on the couch for prolonged periods doesn’t do anybody much of a favor, and even if you’re a bit pooped after a long day, it’s still worth getting up and even on the floor to stretch it out while you relax and watch TV. Hey, it might just save your posture from all that slouching!

Some poses to try:

  • Easy Pose
  • Seated Bound Angle Pose
  • Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend
  • Cow Face Pose
  • Reclined Spinal Twist

On your commute.

It may be a little tricky do some light yoga while on your commute, especially if you’re a passenger in a crowded public transit environment, but there are ways to practice a few subtle poses that can be modified for seated positions so it doesn’t look too weird. If you’re driving a car, it would be best to skip the yoga (for safety reasons of course) and instead simply practice mindfulness.

Some poses to try:

  • Seated Pigeon Pose (Ankle to Knee)
  • Seated Prayer Twist
  • Side Stretch
  • Seated Cat/Cow
  • Shoulder Rolls

At the office.

Another place we often spend too much time sitting while we use all of our mental power is at work (for those of us who have desk jobs). Even if you work in an open office environment around lots of coworkers, consider modifying some of your favorite gentle stretch poses so they can be done right from your desk chair.

Some poses to try:

  • Seated Pigeon Pose (ankle to knee)
  • Seated Twist
  • Seated Scale Pose
  • Seated Cow Face Pose (just the arms)
  • Seated Crescent Moon Pose

In the bath.

One of the best ways to relax is to take a bath, and since your muscles will be warmed up anyway from the water, why not take it as an opportunity for getting some extra stretching done? Here area few more reasons to consider doing some restorative yoga poses in the bath.

Some poses to try:

  • Fire Log Pose
  • Bound Ankle Pose
  • Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
  • Seated Forward Bend
  • Cow Face Pose

In your bed.

Finally, whether you’re just waking up or settling down for the night, a few good yoga poses can help you feel more energized so you can take on the day or relaxed and ready for sleep. Other than of course savasana, try poses that gently stretch tense parts of your body and help calm your mind.

Some poses to try:

  • Reclining Bound Angle Pose
  • Happy Baby Pose
  • Supine Spinal Twist
  • Legs Up the Wall
  • Seated Forward Bend (with or without pillows for support)

Image (edited) via Bell and Jeff