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10 Must Have Yoga Accessories

10 Must Have Yoga Accessories

From the outside, yoga seems like some impossible superhuman carnival trick. Once you dive into the yogic world, however, you begin to realize that anyone is capable of performing these feats of contortion. Yoga is about breathing. When you focus on your breath, everything else is just bending. Since it requires no equipment to participate, you can practice yoga anywhere and at any time. No matter where you’re at in your yoga practice, here are a few accessories that can enhance your experience.

1. Manduka Shade Eko Mat Lite – $40.80

Manduka Shade Yoga Mat - Lifehack

    I love Manduka yoga mats. Seriously. I even used their mats to remodel a van I was living in a few months ago. Shade is the coolest new color. Manduka Eko mats are fully recyclable, sturdy, durable, and have a great grip for hot and Bikram sessions. Manduka keeps their mats collectible by alternating colors like Converse Chucks. The Lite mat is a great intro mat for a beginner, but you’ll eventually wanna go pro.

    2. Gaiam Strength and Flexibility Kit – $14.99

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    Gaiam Strength and Flexibility Kit Lifehack

      Yoga tests the limits of your strength and flexibility. Unless you’re a devotee, there’s a good chance you’re not showing up 6 days a week every week without a break. Even if you are a full time yogi, every so often (such as during the full and new moon) you need to take a break to give your body a chance to rest. If you take time off for vacation, illness, or any other reason life throws at us, this kit from Gaiam will help you keep up your workout without yoga. Personally I recommend at least performing a set of sun salutations just to get your blood flowing every day.

      3. Shambala Rosewood Mala Beads – $19.95

      Mala Beads Lifehack

        Mala beads are a necessity for a rounded yoga practice. Aside from being a fashion statement to proudly show of your commitment to your yoga practice, the beads assist you in counting chants and meditations without breaking your stream of consciousness. You close your eyes, start at the big bead and work your way around the circle one bead at a time until you return to your starting point. I wear mine everywhere around my neck, and I’ve seen people (both men and women) successfully pull them off on their wrists and ankles. How you sport the beads is up to you, but get some now.

        4. The Power of Ashtanga Yoga by Kino MacGregor – $21.95 ($14.95 w/ Prime)

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        Kino Power of Ashtanga Yoga Lifehack

          I had a chance to meet Kino and speak with her on several occasions. When she offered me an advanced press copy of her new book, The Power of Ashtanga Yoga, I happily accepted. Kino is a legendary Ashtangi, and this book is the best yoga guide I’ve ever read. Whether you’re just starting your yoga journey or reading this in a personalized version of Vrschikasana, Power is a necessary book for your yoga library.

          5. Prana Malibu (Women) – $85 and Sutra (Men) Pants – $70

          Prana Yoga Bottoms Lifehack

            You want a comfortable pair of pants for yoga. Jeans won’t do, and sweats can overheat you very quickly. It feels like every woman is sporting spandex and men are wearing basketball clothes. Switch it up a bit with Prana’s ridiculously comfortable pants. The Sutra pants are my favorite pair of pants ever! I wear them pretty much everywhere. The Malibu for women give flexibility to wear to work with a frilly blouse or whatever you people do… ;)

            6. Gaiam Rattan Meditation Chair – $299.00

            Gaiam Meditation Chair Lifehack

              This piece of furniture is a bit pricey for yoga, but so much more than just a yoga accessory. This is a place in your home in which you can be completely comfortable, relaxed, and alert. This is your safe place. This is your wind down. If you’re looking to reap the full benefits of a yoga practice beyond just the workout, the Rattan Meditation Chair is a must have for relaxing like a yogi.
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              7. Tazo Organic Chai Tea – $6.95 per 2 oz bag

              Tazo Chai Tea Lifehack

                Chai tea is something you’ll eventually encounter on your yogic journey to spiritual oneness. Hydration is important in yoga, and tea is just as good as water at accomplishing this. Tazo makes an amazing fresh organic Chai blend. Add milk, honey, and a vanilla bean for an amazing vanilla chai latte. If you love any type of tea you’ll definitely want a decorative pot to brew it in. Use a different pot for green and black teas to produce the best flavor from your blends.

                8. Matisyahu – Spark Seeker – $5 Digital Download/$9.99 CD

                Matisyahu - spark seeker

                   

                  Over time, your yoga practice can start to feel stale. The same routine that brings tranquility and relaxation to your life can at times become a burden in your schedule. Music is a great way to revive your motivation and add some much needed spice to the mix. Soft acoustic music can assist in creating a meditative atmosphere, but I like something more upbeat. I lean towards hip-hop while many yogi’s I know like to play rock music. Matisyahu is a great choice for lovers of any genre. He blends reggae, rock, and hip-hop into an upbeat, evenly paced, and positive sonic experience. There’s no better feeling than pushing through your 10th downward dog of the day while Matisyahu encourages you to tap into your inner fire and fight like a warrior.

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                  9. Manduka Soothing Citrus Mat Renew Spray – $5

                  Manduka Mat Spray Lifehack

                    Keeping your mat clean is essential to a yoga practice. You sometimes have to practice in small and crowded rooms. If you want to stay hygienic (and you should), you need to clean your mat regularly. Manduka’s mat spray cleans your mat without robbing it of its stickiness. It comes in a variety of scents, but citrus is my favorite for getting rid of that new mat smell without compromising the mat’s integrity. Citrus also mixes well with the flowery smells that permeate many yoga studios.

                    10. Nag Champa Incense Sticks – $7.85 (100 Pack)

                    Nag Champa Incense Lifehack

                      Whether you’re working out, cooling down, or just meditating, incense transforms your mat and room into another dimension. Engaging your sense of smell helps bring you into the present moment, which is the main goal of a yoga practice. Nag Champa is my favorite utility incense, but add in your favorite scents, colors, and flavors to intensify your yogic experience. Incense turns a good practice into a transcendent one.

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                      Last Updated on December 9, 2019

                      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                      Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

                      Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

                      Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

                      1. Get Rationally Optimistic

                      Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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                      This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

                      In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

                      The result: no more mental stress.

                      2. Unplug

                      Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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                      How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

                      It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

                      Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

                      3. Easy on the Caffeine

                      Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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                      Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

                      4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

                      That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

                      How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

                      • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
                      • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
                      • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

                      While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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                      5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

                      This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

                      The result: mental stress will be gone!

                      So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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                      Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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