What’s Your Yoga Style? (Totally Updated with Yoga Links Galore!)

This little chart from Alison Hinks just might lead you to the yoga promised land. 

To help in navigating the maze, here are links to the “official” websites for each style as well as a few helpful books or DVDs.

Viniyoga
Integrative Yoga Therapy
Phoenix Rising
Kundalini
ISHTA
Anusara
Iyengar
Svaroopa
Ananda/Kriya
Transcendental Meditation
Sivananda
Power Yoga
Bikram
Baptiste
Barkan
Jimamukti
Ashtanga
Forrest Yoga

How to Use, Cleanse, and Store Mala Beads

A few pointers from Diana at Tiny Devotions on how to use, cleanse, and store mala beads:

On the Spirit Voyage blog, which has a trove of meditation mantras, I discovered some interesting information about accupressure points on the fingers that can be targeted with a mala.  Might give it a try.

There are accupressure points on each of the fingers that work on different parts of the psyche and the brain.  When the beads press the meridian points in the finger, you can work on a specific result. The meridian point you are trying to activate is located on the side of each finger, in the center point between the tip of the finger and the upper knuckle.
The properties of the meridian points for each finger are as follows:
  • Index Finger (Jupiter Finger): Wisdom. Knowledge. Prosperity
  • Middle Finger (Saturn Finger): Patience.
  • Ring Finger (Sun Finger): Health. Vitality. Strengthen the Nervous System.
  • Little Finger (Mercury Finger): Communication. Intelligence.

DIY Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat Cleaning Solution

Helpful post at Eco Yogini with eco-friendly solutions for freshening up a dirty yoga mat. She shares a vinegar water spray recipe for daily use. Here it is:

In an old spray bottle…combine

  • You could also add some lavendar or other essential oil that makes you happy.1 part vinegar,
  • 3 parts water, and
  • 10 drops of tea tree essential oil.

Pretty simple.

 

43 Creative Ways to Reuse or Recycle Your Old Yoga Mat

Let’s face it, even if your favorite yoga mat is bulletproof and will never ever wear out, there’s still a decent chance that you have a collection of yoga mats laying around the house, most likely never to be used for their intended purpose ever again.  Eventually, one day you may decide to tidy up the place and gaze in astonishment at all your mats. First, you’ll wonder where the heck they all came from.  And second, you’ll wonder what the heck to do with them since you really don’t need old, worn-out mats filling up the corners of every room in your house, do you?

Well, it certainly looks yogic to have a mat in every corner, but then you think to yourself there must be something practical I could do with all these extra pieces of large, spongy, colorful, plastic rectangles.   The simple answer:

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

After a little personal introspection and Internet research, I compiled this list of 43 creative ways to reuse, recycle, and extend your old yoga mats’ non-yoga related usefulness.  Sound fun?  Get your scissors ready.  Off you go:

My Personal Top 10 Reuse/Recycle Options:

  1. Turn your mat into a bleacher cushion.  Great for those hard bleachers when watching sporting events.  Here’s how:  Step 1) Cut the mat into equal pieces to make one top and bottom (the size of a newspaper laid flat); Step 2) Punch holes about every 2 inches with a paper hole punch all the way around (both top and bottom); Step 3) Take a couple of days worth of newspapers and lay them between the top and bottom (or if you have another old mat to sacrifice, chop it up and use it as the cushioning); Step 4) Use yarn, ribbon, rawhide, etc. to lace the holes and tie off.  Oh yeah, pretty sweet, huh?  To re-stuff, untie and add new newspaper.  Easy to store, lightweight, washable, reusable, and comfortable
  2. Leave the beach towel home and bring your old yoga mat to the beach instead (caution! may induce spontaneous yoga poses on the beach :)
  3. Save your floors and roll out the old mats for the kids to do messy craft projects on
  4. Along the same lines as number 1, fold mat in four, place in a pillow cover, and you have a cheap and comfy meditation cushion
  5. Donate your old mat to a mat recycling program such as Recycle Your Mat, an eco-conscious organization whose goal is to re-purpose or recycle the world’s unwanted yoga mats.  Apparently Manduka offers 20% discount on your next mat purchase if you go this route!  Jade Yoga also offers a 3R Program where yoga students can drop off their used up and unwanted mats to participating studios who, with Jade’s help will find local resources to reuse or donate the mats.  I’m sure there’s more recycling programs like these, so feel free to comment if you know of other programs that deserve a mention
  6. Enjoy yoga in the wild! Use old mats as a “Guerrilla Yoga” mat alternative (okay, I just mean plain old outside yoga, but Guerrilla Yoga sounds so much more primitive).  Most, if not all, “eco” mats are susceptible to damage by the elements and using them for outside practice is not the best idea.   Now you don’t have to jack up your good mat doing it
  7. How could the computer geek inside me resist a nice, thick, cushiony yoga mouse pad for surfing the Internet
  8. I really hate rattling stereo speakers.  Place cut out yoga mat squares under those noisy stereo speakers to reduce vibration rattle
  9. Do you absolutely love the feel of yoga mat on your feet?  Why not cut out yoga mat insoles for all your shoes.  Now you’re a true yogi!  Oh, wait, no your not unless you’ve tried number 10…
  10. True yogis don’t wear shoes, right?  Why not make a pair of flip-flops out of your yoga mat?!?  Click the link and/or watch the video below for everything you need to know.  You’re going to need these for going to the beach (see #2 above)

Click through the jump to see the rest of the list… [Read more…]

Time for Yoga…

Have a hard time fitting yoga into your day?  Consider this simple thought:

“Instead of finding time to practice Yoga, practice Yoga all the time.” ~ Bob Weisenberg



Sticky Yoga Mats Avoid Sticky Recession

Although lots of people have cut back on luxury item purchases recently, apparently luxury yoga mat sales have never been stronger.  A Time magazine article reports that Manduka, the undisputed Porsche/Ferrari/Cadillac/[insert your favorite luxury car] of yoga mats, has seen its sales rise 55% in the first quarter of 2009.  A slightly odd trend when apparently moola is in short supply.

So, how do you explain the numbers?  One smart sounding marketing professor explained, “With hedonic consumption, at some point you’re going to feel quite a bit of guilt,” but “[i]f the luxury item has some kind of functional value, you’re not going to feel that guilt.”  I certainly can’t disagree with that assessment, especially when yoga makes you feel so good.  I also think the rise in sales simply has to do with the ever-growing number of people trying out yoga, wearing out their first yoga mat, and then deciding to upgrade.  Honestly, is there ever a bad time to buy a yoga mat?

I definitely love my Black Mat Pro (I mean everyone’s buying one so I had to get one too).  I just wish it wasn’t so heavy or I would have lugged it out to the lovely desert.  Currently I’m searching for anything that resembles a mat, luxury or otherwise.  I certainly wouldn’t mind the Manduka Prolite, but I have to draw the luxury line somewhere, so basically I’m considering using an old pink blanket a previous occupant left in my room as a yoga mat.  You do what you have to do.

And if you really want to splurge, why not just get the package deal?

38 Ways Yoga Keeps You Fit

If you are looking for some motivation to practice yoga more often, check out these 38 Ways Yoga Keeps You Fit. They are sure to inspire you to get on the mat more regularly. Here’s a sampling from the article at Yoga Journal:

11
Yoga lowers cortisol levels. If that doesn’t sound like much, consider this. Normally, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to an acute crisis, which temporarily boosts immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high even after the crisis, they can compromise the immune system. Temporary boosts of cortisol help with long-term memory, but chronically high levels undermine memory and may lead to permanent changes in the brain. Additionally, excessive cortisol has been linked with major depression, osteoporosis (it extracts calcium and other minerals from bones and interferes with the laying down of new bone), high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. In rats, high cortisol levels lead to what researchers call “food-seeking behavior”
(the kind that drives you to eat when you’re upset, angry, or stressed). The body takes those extra calories and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain and the risk of diabetes and heart attack.

16
Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system.
The latter is calming and restorative; it lowers breathing and heart rates, decreases blood pressure, and increases blood flow to the intestines and reproductive organs—comprising what Herbert Benson, M.D., calls the relaxation response.

26
Yoga can ease your pain. According to several studies, asana, meditation, or a combination of the two, reduced pain in people with arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other chronic conditions. When you relieve your pain, your mood improves, you’re more inclined to be active, and you don’t need as much medication.

So, there’s three good reasons, now go check out the other (38-3:) = 35!

Photo: Ric Poli on Flickr

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