NamaSTAY Yoga Towel Review and Giveaway!

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I know when I practice yoga, whether hot or otherwise, I’m usually a sweaty disaster. It’s a good disaster, but sweaty nonetheless. Since slip-and-slide yoga mat syndrome is totally uncool, over the years I’ve added a variety of yoga towels to my collection to help with soaking up sweat, providing a solid practice surface, and keeping the nasties from festering on the mat.

Despite the functional necessity of a yoga towel during a sweaty practice, they also have a tendency to add another layer of distraction as they move around and scrunch up on the mat during practice. For those who wish their yoga towel would just stay in place, the patented NamaSTAY Yoga Towel just may be the answer you’re looking for. I’ve practiced on it regularly for the last few months and it’s become one of my go-to pieces of yoga gear.

The innovative NamaSTAY Yoga Towel goes beyond the traditional towel by adding sleeves at both ends of the towel that hug your yoga mat so that it stays flat and in place.  No more bunching and scrunching! The towel is made of light-weight, quick-drying, absorbent microfiber fabric. I’ll admit microfiber in general isn’t my favorite material since I have kind of dry hands, but once I put the NamaSTAY towel on my mat the microfiber material didn’t bother me at all.  The towel just stayed in place and soaked up all the sweat I could give it.

namastay 2013 Collection

The towel comes in a couple different sizes and six colors.  It’s designed to fit two sizes of mats – small (68″ X 24″) and medium (up to 72″ x 26″). The NamaSTAY website provides a helpful guide for determining the correct size for your yoga mat.  I have the medium size and it works great with the Manduka Black Mat Pro.  The towel is a little long, but the excess fabric easily folds under the end of the mat, and everything stays in place just as advertised.  Whether you’d like one for yourself or give as a gift to a friend, I’d recommend the NamaSTAY Yoga Towel as a great addition to anyone’s yoga gear collection.

GIVEAWAY TIME!

It’s always exciting to give away a great yoga product, so here’s your opportunity  to win your own NamaSTAY Yoga Towel!

Entering the contest is simple:

  1. Visit the NamaSTAY Yoga Towel site to find the color and size you prefer.
  2. Leave a comment on this post with the color and size you’d like, or leave a comment about another color you’d like to see someday.
  3. This isn’t a requirement (cause it’s nearly impossible to track fairly), but feel free to head on over and like NamaSTAY Yoga Towel’s Facebook page as well. They have some fun stuff posted.
  4. FYI – I plan to announce the winner this weekend, so hurry and enter!

My apologies to our vast worldwide audience…but the contest winner must reside in the continental U.S.

Finally, if you don’t want to wait for the contest results, feel free to use the discount code “CUPOFYOGA” to receive a 20% discount at www.namastaytowel.com.

Happy Holidays and Namaste!
Brian

UPDATE – 22 Dec 13:  Congratulations to Melissa for her random stroke of Christmas luck! I’m positive she will enjoy her new purple NamaSTAY Yoga Towel.  Thanks to everyone for your great comments and being part of the Daily Cup of Yoga community!!

The Vernice Vita Yoga Mat is Absolutely Amazing!

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After you’ve practiced yoga for a while it dawns on you that not all yoga mats are created equal. Most beginning yogis scoff at dropping a hundred-plus bucks on a yoga mat, but if you stick with the practice you’ll eventually begin to collect mats like they’re tupperware and you may end up with a closet dedicated just to all your yoga gear.  Now that’s a biographical statement…

Anyhow, I’ve had a ton of yoga mats sent my way over the years to try out, and yes, I have a closet full of yoga gear. I’m willing to give any mat a shot, but for the most part my go-to mats have been the Manduka Black Mat Pro and Lululemon’s “The Mat.” Those are great mats–I love them, I wash them like little babies, I spray yummy scented mat cleaner on them after I sweat all over them, I take them with me on vacation–basically they’re like family.

Well, I’ve recently added a new mat to the family–the Vernice Vita Cadillac Mat–and it’s far and away one of the coolest and most technologically advanced mats I’ve ever used. Now that’s saying something since yoga mats are basically large pieces of sticky rubber, but like I said, not all mats are created equal.  In fact, the Vernice Vita is a three-layer memory foam mat that provides an amazing layer of support and cushion unlike anything I’ve ever practiced on.

The bottom layer is a skid proof EVA material that stabilizes the mat and prevents slipping/sliding on studio floors. The innovative middle layer is 1/2″ memory foam, and the top layer is a textured, water resistant neoprene that stabilizes hands and feet under the sweatiest of circumstances.

My main test for determining the amazing-ness of a yoga mat is whether I feel comfortable upside down in a sweaty wheel pose. That’s not a position I’m interested in having my hands slip out from underneath me, which happens with a lot of other yoga mats, but the Vernice Vita handled the test with flying colors.  Zero slip issues. Zero. It’s probably the combination of the great textured top layer and the hands settling into the memory foam–it just feels stable and comfortable.

I’ve practiced on the Vernice Vita mat every day for the last month and give it my whole-hearted recommendation. You won’t know how absolutely amazing this mat is until you practice on it–it’s hard to describe since it’s not your ordinary yoga mat–it’s way better! The only apparent cons are the fact that it is pretty thick and doesn’t roll up super-tight, so it’s not the most mobile of mats. It looks like you can get a special strap for it, which should make it easier to tote around, but I don’t have the strap and I haven’t tried to take it anywhere. It feels like it’s about the same weight as other premium yoga mats. With that said, for my daily home practice, this mat has been a breath of fresh air that I look forward to enjoying as much as absolutely possible.

UPDATE:

It’s your lucky day! Our friends at Vernice Vita have offered Daily Cup of Yoga readers a $10 discount on all of their yoga mats with offer code: DAILYCUPOFYOGA.  Just enter this code on the right side of the Store page. Namaste!

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Year of the Smoothie and a Blender Bottle Giveaway

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21 Sept 2013 – Update: Thanks to everyone for the awesome smoothie combinations!  Congratulations to our three randomly-selected lucky winners!  Penny won the grand prize (GoStak Starter Pak, Classic and Sport Mixer bottles) and Evan and Carrie both won GoStak Starter Paks!  Now it’s time to chill out and enjoy sipping those smoothies…

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There’s no better way to start off the day or finish a run or yoga session than with a deliciously yummy smoothie.  Personally, this past year has, quite literally, been the year of the smoothie for me and my family.  It’s a long story that I haven’t shared on Daily Cup of Yoga yet, but the short version is that last year we thought we were moving back to the U.S. from Japan for work, so we packed up all of our stuff, shipped it all away on a boat, and then ended up staying in Japan for another year…without any of our stuff!  Did I mention this was for a year?!?  Without any of our stuff?!?

I would like to say that living out of a suitcase for a year was totally zen, but for the most part it kinda just sucked!  However, there were some pretty amazing things that happened too because of the odd circumstance we found ourselves in.

First, without any of our cooking supplies, our diet changed dramatically.  We decided it was finally time to invest in a Vitamix.  Since this is not really a post about my adoration and love for my Vitamix, I’ll just leave it at this was a life-changing addition to our kitchen.  It opened my eyes to a world of food possibilities I didn’t have a clue even existed.

Second,  I discovered that a Blender Bottle was the best way to enjoy all the smoothies we were making.   Blender Bottle is a technology that is so simple it makes you wonder why someone didn’t invent it sooner and how you endured all those years of drinking chunky protein shakes.  With Blender Bottle, it’s chunky shakes no more!  And, it’s perfect for downing a delicious smoothie.  These days I don’t go too many places without a Blender Bottle in hand.

GIVEAWAY! Since it’s such an awesome, yet simple piece of technology, we’re excited to provide our amazing readers with three chances to win a Blender Bottle product!!

landing_gostak_1TWO WINNERS will walk away with a GoStak Starter Pak.  These are perfect for taking your snacks, protein, or vitamins, on the go.

ONE GRAND PRIZE WINNER will win a GoStak Starter Pak, a full-color Classic bottle, AND a SportMixer.  As Napoleon Dynamite would say, “Luckyyyy…!” 

How to win: Since we’re always looking for a new smoothie concoction, just leave a comment with the ingredients to a favorite smoothie OR leave a link in your comment to a smoothie recipe on another website (just one link though, otherwise it looks like spam).  That’s it!  We’ll pick three random winners at the end of the week.

I’m happy to say we’re now back in the States, we got our stuff back, and we’re still sippin’ smoothies every day!

And for a little advice to start the week off on the right foot:

 

DCOY Giveaway: The Yoga Mat Tie–A Simple, Yet Brilliant Solution to Sloppy Yoga Mats

The simplicity of yoga is one of its most beautiful and appealing aspects. Not a lot of equipment required, right?…

retreat-1Well, a yoga mat isn’t necessarily even an absolute necessity, but I think most of us would admit yoga isn’t nearly as pleasant without a little sticky mat under our feet and hands. Everything else is pretty much gravy in my book…and boy do I love gravy :) The picture above…definitely me.

So yeah, despite having a ton of yoga gear, a constant pet-peeve of mine has always been when I finish my yoga practice, roll up my mat, and put it in the closet somehow it always seems to find a way to unroll itself. Luckily, the “Yoga Mat Tie” provides a simple, yet brilliant solution to one of these tough to deal with first-world yoga conundrums–the sloppy yoga mat… I’ve been using Yoga Mat Ties for a couple of months and they’re awesome!

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For our giveaway this week we’re excited to partner with the nice folks out of Boulder, Colorado, who handmake each and every Yoga Mat Tie.

To enter:
1. Head on over to Twitter and follow @TheYogaMatTie (you’re probably already following us), AND
2. Leave a comment about your yoga accessory philosophy.

I’m already a self-confessed gravy/gear man, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on bolsters, blocks, blankets, and belts. Regardless of whether you’re a gear junkie or not, once you try the Yoga Mat Tie I think you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

We’ll pick a winner at random this weekend. Good luck and namaste!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Sarah (comment link), the lucky winner of a Yoga Mat Tie. Many thanks to everyone for your awesome comments and playing along!

Review: SIGG Active Top Water Bottle

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SIGG Active Top Water Bottle5/5 stars.

Most yogis tend to find themselves on a never ending quest to find an environmentally-friendly water bottle that’s stylish, easy to use, doesn’t leak all over, and is simple to clean.  It’s tough to find that whole combination in a single water bottle, but I think I’ve finally found it in the SIGG Active Top water bottle.  I’ve used it everyday for the past few weeks and it surpasses all expectations.

The Active Top bottle comes equipped with a rotary slide valve control system, implemented for the first time on a SIGG bottle, which combines an easy to use Open, Close, Air and Clean functions that help dictate what mode you want to be in.  If you’ve ever tried putting a fizzy drink in a water bottle you know you’re asking for trouble, but with the Active Top bottle the rotary slide valve system opens a small aperture to release pressure from drinks, avoiding disasters all over your lap, or my personal favorite, all over the inside of my backpack.  By turning the valve to the “Air” mode for a nano-second and then to “Open,” you have seamless suction and flow even with carbonated or effervescent beverages.

And since the bottle has an internal straw system, you can sip away all day without even picking up the bottle. What I especially love about the bottle though is that it’s super simple to take apart and clean. I don’t know about you, but I get a bit worried when I can’t clean all the parts of my water bottle, or I’ve taken it apart and can’t figure out how to put all of the little pieces back together.  The Active Top bottle, however, has few components making it quick and easy to dismantle and reassemble.  In the convenient “Clean” mode, the top pops right off ensuring safe and hygienic cleaning.  In the “Close” position, the bottle is virtually leakproof–never had a problem unless I had a fizzy drink and forget to turn the lid to Close before throwing it in my backpack. It’s hard to blame user error on the water bottle, so I won’t knock it for one minor incident…

I take the the Active Top with me everywhere now–it’s extremely light weight, durable and completely BPA and phthalate free.  Plus, it’s completely recyclable at the end of it’s long life due to its aluminum composition.  If you’re on the lookout for a new water bottle you won’t go wrong with the SIGG Active Top, which is available for retail in most Whole Foods locations, on SIGG’s website, or at Amazon.com.  Priced between $22.99 and $28.99 in a variety of sizes, you can learn more about the Active Top in the video below and at http://newactivetop.sigg.com/.

 

For the love of lululemon…

…in case you were wondering what to do with all your lululemon bags…

If anyone’s listening from lululemon, I’m incredibly frustrated that you don’t deliver to overseas military addresses. What’s up with that? Would it really be so hard to use the U.S. postal system?
We need our lulu too!

[UPDATE #1: I'd love to say lululemon fixed the shipping issue immediately--they did not--but I can say they did contact me immediately to let me know my concern was passed along to the shipping team. Hopefully I'll have a happy update #2 in the near future!]

A Trip Down lululemon Lane

Believe it or not, I went to an actual lululemon store for the very first time yesterday. As the kind sales-folks at the Seattle Pacific Place store can attest, I probably tried on every piece of guys clothes they had in the store..twice. It was a little embarrassing and  I’m not sure I’ve ever spent that much time in a dressing room, but I had a lot of time to burn, and I sure as heck wasn’t walking out of there with clothes that didn’t fit perfectly. Trust me though, time to burn in a lululemon store can be a dangerous thing. It’s not hard to find clothes that fit perfectly…

A few impressions after my first visit:

First impression–the place was busy, packed with men and women, young and old, rifling through clothes racks and stacks of yoga pants. Maybe it was a normal Saturday afternoon in downtown Seattle or maybe Seattle-ites just love posh fitness gear.

Second impression–shopping at lululemon can be a real psychological experiment…at least it was for me. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you kinda need to know what your shopping priorities are, otherwise you may end up eating ramen for the rest of the month. I walked out with six items and I’m sure the price I paid for the men’s Presta pants has some symbolical yogic meaning… Not sure why, but the price tag for nearly everything ends with an eight.

Third impression–as I walked around the store I kicked myself for not buying lululemon stock when the thought first crossed my mind a few months ago… Since late December 2011, I’ve watched lululemon’s stock rise from $46 to an all-time high of $72 on March 8, 2012. Not too shabby for a yoga/running clothes company. That’s what I call “run-da-li-ni rising!”

To be honest, until recently I hadn’t given much thought to yoga clothes. Running clothes–yes; yoga clothes–not so much. The beauty of practicing yoga at home is that even underwear seems to work just fine, or at least it did until I got my hands on a few lululemon samples. Of course you can also practice yoga in Levi’s, but until you discover the sweet bliss of four-way stretch and luon fabric you don’t know what you’re missing out on.

I won’t exaggerate and say I could never live without lululemon, but I will say that until a few weeks ago I wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing a pair of capri-style yoga pants out in public…and let’s just say a couple days ago I proudly stood in line at the ATM (on a military base no less) for twenty minutes in a pair of lululemon down dawg 3/4 length pants (aka “manpris“).

Final impression–when can I go back?!?

10 Simple Questions to Ask Before Buying a Yoga Mat

Looking for a new yoga mat?

Here are 10 short and simple questions to ask yourself…

  1. How much do I want to spend?
  2. Do I really need a new yoga mat?
  3. How thick of a mat do I want?
  4. Do I really need a new yoga mat?
  5. How much do I sweat?
  6. Do I really need a new yoga mat?
  7. Will I have to carry it a lot?
  8. Do I really need a new yoga mat?
  9. How important are health and environmental concerns to me?
  10. Do I really need a new yoga mat?

I love yoga mats…so I ask these questions a lot…

[UPDATE 3 Feb 12: Just added a new mat to the collection--Lululemon's "The Mat"--lovin' it!...
...I told you I have a problem:)]

Manduka Introduces the John Friend Collection

My favorite yoga gear company, Manduka, recently partnered with yoga teacher and founder of Anusara Yoga, John Friend, to create its first ever-cobranded line of yoga gear.  Since I think this is a great step forward in providing high-quality, innovative yoga gear, I wanted to share a few highlights from the recent press release to give you a flavor of this new collection:

Going outside the 24″ industry standard width for yoga mats, the John Friend Collection by Manduka will launch initially with two extra wide mats including the 29-inch wide eKO Superlite and 30-inch wide PROlite.  This is the first time the yoga community will have access to such a high quality blend of innovative technology and the veteran experience of John Friend in a mat, providing superior comfort and sufficient space to align the body and explore yoga postures.  The added space allows for a deeper expression of movement and a better connection between body, mat and heart.
Manduka’s take:
“Our partnership with renowned yoga teacher John Friend allows us to provide the most innovative and ecologically responsible yoga gear in a new way ,” said Sky Meltzer, CEO of Manduka.  “Together we’ve aligned to create a collection that pushes industry standards, pouring over four decades of expertise into designs that will inspire yoga practitioners worldwide.”
John Friend’s take:
“For years I’ve been committed to the teaching that yoga comes from the heart—that it is a practice accessible to all and brings out your inner joy and divine energy,” said John Friend, Founder of Anusara yoga.  “Manduka is a company that embodies the same principles while providing high quality products to enhance your practice.  I am honored to collaborate with such an authentic company to bring an amazing new line of gear to the yoga community, deepening the connection between heart and mat, and inspiring students of any level to enjoy more energetic freedom during their practice.”

Click the banner below to check out the new collection!

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