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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 November 9, 2020

                      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                      Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

                      Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

                      Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

                      If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

                      Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

                      1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

                      Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

                      Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

                      Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

                      2. No Motivation

                      Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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                      This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

                      If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

                      3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

                      Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

                      A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

                      A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

                      The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

                      4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

                      One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

                      We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

                      Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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                      You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

                      5. Upward Comparisons

                      Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

                      The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

                      These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

                      Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

                      6. No Alternative

                      This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

                      Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

                      Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

                      Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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                      7. Stress

                      As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

                      When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

                      We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

                      If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

                      8. Sense of Failure

                      People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

                      Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

                      Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

                      If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

                      9. The Need to Be All-New

                      People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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                      These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

                      10. Force of Habit

                      Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

                      Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

                      These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

                      Final Thoughts

                      These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

                      There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

                      More on Breaking Bad Habits

                      Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
                      [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
                      [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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