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The Very Best Yoga Gifts: Thoughtful, Simple, and Loving

No one needs another mug. I promise you. Did you catch that, Andrea? We are yoga lovers. It’s never boring for us. There’s no cajoling or coaxing us into rolling out our mats to practice. We’re psyched to spend a Saturday night going to a sound bath class or doing yoga with a DJ in […]

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Is There a Specific Yoga Diet? Yes but Mostly No

Timing is everything, they say. And I absolutely believe that cliché. It was when I was in the process of moving back to Atlanta from Columbus, Ohio that I met my life partner. And when I first moved to Columbus, I walked into a yoga studio to apply to teach there. The owner was reading Yoga Journal and was on the page of my DVD review. Timing, y’all. It really does matter so very much. Let’s talk about the yoga diet We all know the stereotype of the vegan yogi who basically lives on what they can pick from their garden. They can essentially subsist on greens, good vibes, and downward facing dog pose. This is bullshit, for the most part. There are a whole lotta yogis who eat everything and anything. I even know an avid hunter who practices five days a week and just completed his 200-hour yoga teacher training. Many people who have tried to become either vegetarians or vegans report that they became sick as a result. There are also loads of happy, healthy folks who do not eat any animal products. And there’s a ton of people, like me, who are pescatarians (they only consume fish). […]

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Is The Equation of Giving and Receiving In Balance?

I bet you’re a giver. Most yoga lovers I know really excel at the giving part. They use almost every ounce of energy they have in that direction. Why is it so much easier to give than to let ourselves to receive? Energy is currency. Giving and receiving need to balance one another out Part of self-care is knowing when we have depleted our energy. We have to replenish the well constantly. Making thoughtful choices about how much of ourselves we give to others is a crucial part of making sure we protect and nurture our ability to be of service. If we think of energy as currency, noting when our bank account is insufficient of funds is an important thing to understand. And when it’s in abundance, that’s when we can indulge being the most generous version of ourselves. How and when to set boundaries Giving and receiving will probably never be quite in perfect balance. But getting as close to an evenness as we can needs to be a priority. When your yoga teacher is quiet after teaching a class, it’s likely because s/he has extended themselves as much as they could and it’s time to conserve energy. […]

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Self-Care Via the Practice of Yoga Nidra

Yoga nidra may feel strange the first time you try it, but the echoes continue long after the physical practice ceases. If you’ve never practiced yoga nidra, you’re in for a real treat. It’s believed that practicing this form of meditation for 45 minutes is equitable to 3 hours of sleep. The benefits will reverberate throughout the rest of your waking hours making stress more manageable and focus more obtainable. Once you invite yoga nidra into your life, you’ll probably wonder how you ever functioned without it. An explanation of yoga nidra and how to practice it Yoga nidra translates to “yogic sleep”. It very well may replace that nap craving you typically find yourself having. It’s a guided meditation that relaxes your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and allows your brain to go from the active beta state and transverse over to the more restful alpha sleep state. If you can relax enough, your brain may be capable of going to an even further state of restoration. And when things are really working, your brain is able to move all the way to the delta state of deep, restorative relaxation where the benefits of truly restful sleep start to kick in. Sounds […]

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Why The Practice of Jnana Yoga Is a Necessity for A Happy Life

Have you ever heard of Jnana Yoga? Me either. Or at least I hadn’t until recently. A student asked about how to best practice Jnana yoga, and I had to admit I didn’t know what it was. Once I did a little research, I got excited about exploring this practice. The yoga world is vast, and just when you think you’ve tapped into every piece of yoga philosophy there is, a whole different zip code shows up on the map. Jnana translates to ‘wisdom’ or ‘knowledge’. It’s one of the four main paths of yoga and highly regarded as the most challenging to practice. Why is self-inquiry so tough? Why are we afraid of the truth and the pursuit of liberation from our untrue thoughts? Jnana yoga throws down the gauntlet of Svadhyaya To get on the other side of our egos, we have to be willing to invest fully in Svadhyaya, or “self-study”. While it’s true that most people like to talk about themselves, it is decidedly untrue that we like to explore our inner workings and implore honesty to rise to the surface and show us who we really are. How can we embark on this daunting path? Questions. […]

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Yoga Symbols and Why They Compel Us So Very Much

What’s the first thing you think when you see someone wearing a t-shirt featuring an OM? “That human digs yoga.” “They are probably an open-minded sort.” “I’m going to ask her where she practices yoga.” “Am I OMing correctly?” Essentially, yoga symbols have meaning to us because we feel a deep and profound love for yoga and want to express it Symbols have always been a potent way to announce devotion, support, and reverence. They tell the world an important piece of our identity and values. Religious people often wear a piece of jewelry announcing their membership, such as a cross or Star of David. The yin/yang symbol holds strong meaning in Taoism and represents the pursuit of balance and wholeness. It also stands for the beginning point for change. In Native American culture, the bull skull is symbolic of offering protection from the natural elements. It also stands for strength, courage, and leadership. Yoga symbols have grown wildly popular. If you actively observe this, you’ll find them everywhere from jewelry, clothing, tattoos, pillows, paintings and sculptures, hell, even nail polish decals. The Om is probably the most recognizable and popular. I decided to count the number of Om yoga symbols I […]

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2 Highly Effective Breath Practices to Minimize Stress & Anxiety

It really is all about the breath Every time I think otherwise, I’m again proven wrong. And I enjoy being wrong about this. It’s comforting to be reminded and really accept that the breath is paramount and everything else has the job of supplementing the effectiveness of breath. Don’t believe me? Think of the hardest pose you can effectively (most of the time) execute. Okay, now go practice it with a determined commitment to your breath. How did it go? Pretty damn well, I’m betting. Sit with that. Breath practices and movement equal excellent outcomes. Next, try the posture while holding your breath. What’s the verdict? Did you kind of want to pass out a little from the awfulness of it? Yeah, been there. Been there too many times. And I know I’ll be there again. I can’t quite seem to remember to prioritize breath practices each and every single time. If we know a specific resource makes all the difference, why would we ever decide not to utilize it? There are quite a few theories on why breath practices are not as much of a priority as they should be: We are habitual folks. All of us. We get […]

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3 Mind Blowing Kundalini Yoga Benefits: Scratching the Surface of this Miraculous Practice

I was a skeptic. I’d heard all about how magical and transformative Kundalini yoga is, but somehow never felt compelled to give it a go. Since I’m a writer and believe in writing from experience, I decided to finally take a Kundalini class. It knocked me sideways and shocked my system. I have never left a yoga class or any other experience with such a lightness and giddy sense I’d stumbled into something that would irrevocably change my whole perspective on how I cope with and experience life. Kundalini yoga really is that deep And now I get why people often have trouble explaining Kundalini yoga. How do you find the words to label something that touches you on levels you’ve never quite located before? I’m very new at this, so perhaps the effects don’t land quite so intensely after a while. Although, talking to others after class leads me to believe I’m not alone in my excitement. They too are thrilled they’ve found this practice and want to share it with as many other people as they can compel to try it. Kundalini yoga basics First, a brief primer about Kundalini, or ‘The Yoga of Awareness’. There are no […]

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Sitting Poses Give You A Lotta Bang for Your Buck in a Yoga Practice

Tis true, sitting poses are the most versatile Nobody needs to get up in arms defending standing poses, arm balances, balance postures, and inversions. I didn’t say they were the best. I said they are the most adaptable and accessible. I’m also not arguing about if they should be called seated or sitting poses. They are the same and it’s a preference. When I broke my leg in an ATV accident 4 years ago, sitting poses were my very best friend and savior from insanity. Sounds dramatic, but when you teach yoga for a living and practice daily, having options are vital when you can’t walk or stand without crutches. That’s when I first discovered Here’s a short list of the many ways sitting poses can offer a well-rounded practice: You can work hard or hardly. I absolutely love that it’s a choice in sitting poses. And no one knows except for you how much you are choosing to chill or that you’re busting ass. That’s pretty delicious. If you have a foot, ankle, tibia, fibula, or knee injury, you can still do sitting poses. You can work your core and allow the injury to heal. You can engage your quadriceps […]

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Which of The Most Popular Types of Yoga Is the Best Fit For You?

There are so many types of yoga, it can feel beyond overwhelming You gotta love how many interpretations there are and all of the various ways we can enjoy and explore yoga. I was really blown away as a new student when I began to delve into just how many schools, styles, and types of yoga there were to choose from. I took the trial and error approach before landing on Vinyasa as my jam. Luckily we don’t have to choose just one style. But most of us determine a preference and pursue it with fervent ardor. Below is a list of the most popular types of yoga and the pertinent deets you need to know.   7 types of yoga commonly loved and practiced Ashtanga Yoga Ashtanga technically falls under the umbrella of Vinyasa, but it’s a set series of postures broken down into primary series, second series, and four advanced series. A set series means you’ll do the sequence in the same order every single time.  Ashtanga centers around the sun salutations and it’s a rigorous physical practice. Ashtanga-lovers are often equated to the Type-A personality as lovers of discipline, hard work, and perfectionism.  The further a practitioner gets into […]

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