What’s the best way to break in a new yoga mat?

Practice on it every day…

Practice On...

From left to right, here’s what I’m practicing on lately:
  1. Aurorae Classic Yoga Mat – 6mm, 3lbs, 24″ x 72″
  2. Jade Yoga Harmony Professional Yoga Mat – 5mm, 4.5lbs, 24″ x 68″
  3. Hugger Mugger Tapas Original Yoga Mat – 3mm, 2.5lbs, 24″ x 68″
  4. Magic Carpet Sapphire Deco Yoga Mat – 6mm, 3.5lbs, 24″ x 70″
  5. Manduka Black Mat Pro Standard – 6mm, 7lbs, 26″ x 71″

A photo posted by Brian (@dailycupofyoga) on


It’s a rough life trying to give each of these yoga mats all the time and attention they deserve, but they’re certainly motivating my 30 day yoga practice challenge for May (going strong so far:). I’ve been a longtime fan of pretty much all Manduka yoga mats–definitely my comfort zone–but I’m also usually happily surprised when I step onto different surfaces. These were all different and unique in their own ways.

Of this group, the Jade Harmony definitely has my attention and will spend a lot of time in future mat rotations. I’ve never tried a Jade mat, but I can totally see why so many yogis recommend it. Besides the great traction, it’s heavy enough that it lays out nice and flat on the ground without sliding or moving around. It just feels solid, but as you can see from the picture, it also rolls up pretty tightly and seems like it would be ideal for carrying to class. Since I spend most of my time on the mat at home, I’m less concerned about portability so the wider Harmony XW or the thicker (and heavier) Jade Fusion look really nice for a home practice too. For now, I’m more than happy with the sweet ride of the regular Harmony mat.

Yoga Mats...lots of them...If you’re in the market for a new mat, you can find these, and practically every other piece of yoga gear imaginable (with a low price guarantee), at YogaOutlet.com. Besides finding great yoga deals, you also help support Daily Cup of Yoga–we get a small cut of any purchases you make through our site–many thanks and Namaste!

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

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 it since it’s not your ordinary yoga mat. 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 apparently makes it easier to tote around, but I don’t have the strap and I haven’t tried to take it anywhere. 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.

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Crowdfunding Meditation Across the World: See & Do Together Could Use a Little Spare Change

saagara--meditate with the world--see and do together

How cool would it be to meditate with millions of people across the world at the same time?  It would be totally awesome!

Well, we’re big fans of the mindfulness-based tech company, Saagara, which recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to aid in the development of a new meditation app that will hopefully stretch the limits of global meditation.  The new campaign platform, See & Do Together, will work in tandem with their upcoming app, Universal Meditation, to allow users to engage in group meditation without actually sharing a physical space. Saagara hopes to use this platform to attain one of their ultimate goals: one million people meditating in unison regardless of location.

Saagara’s goal is to raise $150,000 to fund the completion of this project and I’m sure they’d be happy for any spare change you can grub out of the couch to help the cause of bringing millions together in meditation.

Here’s a little video about the project:

If nothing else, you should check out the See & Do Together Facebook page for some inspiring meditation quotes and graphics.  These are a few of my favorites.

saagara--group meditation

saagara--look inside

saagara--still the mind

saagara--thoreau

saagara--conquer the mind

If you’re interested in donating, I also found this video that lays out the awards for the different donation levels.

Have a great weekend and namaste!

Lululemon’s Yoga for (SeaWheeze) Runners = Match Made in Heaven

I’ve always been a big believer that…

yoga + running = a match made in heaven.

This smooth 30 minute yoga practice, led by official lululemon SeaWheeze ambassador Kerri Kelly, is perfect for runners who need to get a little bendy after pounding the pavement.

mzl.uzxncxao.320x480-75I won’t be able to run SeaWheeze this year, but I was really impressed by lulu’s new SeaWheeze half-marathon training app for iOS. The SeaWheeze app [iTunes link] is

one part pocket sized personal trainer, one part DJ and one part Vancouver city guide. Beginner and intermediate training programs include cross training, yoga and running options designed to help you reach your running goals, regardless if you’re training for SeaWheeze or another half marathon. The app lets you track your training, share your progress and listen to incredible music to keep you motivated.

I don’t really need the Vancouver city guide (right now), but I can definitely use the personal training and DJ features. It would be an especially awesome tool if they eventually allowed users to select their own training start dates so it can be effectively used for other races. But, for what it is–the SeaWheeze Half-Marathon app–it does a pretty amazing job. Check out all the details on lululemon’s blog.

Happy running and stretchy yoga goodness, friends:)

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?…

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Well, 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!