Tips to choose the right yoga mat

Yoga_Feb23_AYoga is one of a number of fitness activities that don’t require much equipment. In fact, for most general yoga classes, all you really need is a towel to wipe your sweat and a mat to cushion parts of your body. A yoga mat is the core piece of equipment every yoga enthusiast needs so, if you plan on taking up yoga, why not invest in the best yoga mat for you? After all, it’s your choice of exercise equipment that can make the difference between a healthy result and injury.

Yoga can be performed barefoot on many different surfaces, including hardwood floors, carpet, tiles, or even grass. But for some people, pressing their knees, elbows and palms on hard ground to practise yoga moves can be painful. A good yoga mat provides a cushion to let you perform the poses more comfortably. Finding the right mat can be challenging because of the vast selection out there. So you should consider these tips before buying a yoga mat.


Selecting a yoga mat with suitable thickness can be quite tricky. You’ll want a mat thick enough to cushion your body, but at the same time not so foamy that you sink or feel unstable. A standard yoga mat is about an eighth of an inch thick, while the bulkier ones are up to a quarter inch. How do you know which is best for you? The things you need to consider are portability and the level of comfort you prefer while doing yoga. If you don’t mind carrying a little more weight for the sake of more cushioning, consider getting a yoga mat that’s about a quarter inch thick. But if you need to put the mat in a bag or suitcase, then go for a thinner foldable mat.


Most mats are made of PVC, which provides a smooth surface and has the highest sticky factor. So if you’re not very good at balancing or need extra help staying put in your poses, PVC mats might be your best bet. However, PVC is considered a toxic plastic that’s difficult to recycle. Environment-friendly textures like natural and recycled rubber, natural cotton or jute are more suitable if sustainability is important to you. Eco mats often have raised, tactile patterns to provide similar traction to that offered by PVC too.


The traction of yoga mats depends largely on the texture and material. You don’t want to slip off the mat when practising yoga, and that’s why stickiness matters. A ‘sticky’ mat keeps you from slipping, helps you maintain your balance and makes it easier for you to move from one pose to another. With a sticky mat, you can perform any style of yoga that requires holding a pose for longer periods of time.


You’ll find many yoga mats that are cheap, colorful and have a short life span. It pays to do some research and know your goals before making hasty decisions. You’ll want to determine your budget and purpose of practising yoga. As far as pricing goes, yoga mats start from about $10 and go up to $100 or more. If you want to make a commitment to yoga, and prioritize safety and comfort, then investing in a premium yoga mat can benefit you in the long run.

When it comes to buying a yoga mat, so much depends on personal preference and the style of yoga you’re practising. If you’re interested in taking up yoga classes, contact us to get started!

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

How to yoga yourself to a younger you

Yoga_Feb16_AMost of us wish we could stop, reverse or simply slow down the body’s natural aging process. And while the first two options might be difficult or even downright impossible, reducing the speed at which those wrinkles begin to appear is within our reach – and one way to achieve it is through regular yoga practice. Those stretches, combined with meditation and breathing exercises, can do wonders for both your physical and mental health. Read on to find out how to put yoga to use in maintaining your youthful glow.

Turn things upside down

One of the best ways to turn aging on its head is to do just that – literally turning yourself upside down. Poses like headstands and shoulder stands bring you into a position where your head is lower than your heart. This in turn reverses the flow of blood around the body and the pull of gravity against you. There can be positive effects for your cardiovascular and nervous systems, but the impact goes beyond physical health – your mental wellbeing can benefit from yoga inversions too, including helping to combat stress and anxiety.

Think yourself younger

As well as the positive effects of yoga on your physical health, practicing meditation can help you keep your mind young and active, enhancing your mental wellbeing. Whether you choose to go all out with a full-on meditation practice each day, or only have the time for a few moments of quiet, eyes-closed contemplation at your desk, it can increase blood flow to the brain, help improve your memory and attention span and even beat stress.

Deep breaths

Even if you don’t have the time or discipline to get into regular yoga or meditation practice, a few deep breaths can go a long way to keeping you young and healthy. Of course, the beauty of breathing is that you can do it anywhere – in fact, you don’t have a lot of choice about whether you do it or not, so you might as well put it to some added use. Oxygenation of your body’s cells, regulation of the heart rate and calming of the nervous system are all beneficial side effects of some slow, focused breaths. Breathing exercises can be even more effective when combined with yoga and meditation; deepening and enhancing your practice while giving you a sense of calmness and serenity.

It’s easy to build yoga, meditation and breathing practice into your efforts to keep your body and mind looking and feeling young and energetic – get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Exercise mindfully

200254941-001There are many daily tasks we do on automatic pilot, such as a daily commute to work. We don’t consciously focus on each mini-task but follow a learnt train of thought and behavioral patterns. This is really useful, although many people could benefit from being more mindful in their everyday lives. However, with fitness it can be beneficial to exercise mindfully and yoga really helps you focus in this way.

Mindfulness is meditative in many respects but it is not meditation. It is actually about bringing your attention, or your awareness, to the present moment. In other words, not fixating on the future or holding onto the past. Both of these are let go in pursuit of what is happening right this minute, right NOW!

Mindfulness is an intrinsic part of any yoga practice, with breathing exercises and poses aimed at creating this in-the-moment focus. Just as yoga can be a great complement to cardio workouts, mindfulness can also add a real plus point to your yoga practice, other sports and activities, and your life!

The benefits of mindful exercise include:

Transformative – The clarity and ‘head-space’ that mindfulness creates can give you the room you need to really change aspects of your life, whether fitness related or not. Focusing on the present can change your future!

Great stress-reliever – When you work out and take a yoga session, you come with thoughts and feelings from the day which even if not negative can be anxiety-ridden. The focus on the present moment dissolves worries, concerns and over-thinking issues surrounding your world, which really helps to reduce stress levels!

Allows you to reach further – The focus of mindfulness acts as a sharpening tool in many respects and this can help push you as you are not overly-focusing on how far you have to go but whether you are going to go further right now.

Keeps motivation levels buoyant – When you are not weighed down by doubts about past behavior or worries about the future, you feel lighter about life and this has a knock-on effect of boosting your enthusiasm for what you are doing right this second. Not held back by past failures and tough future challenges, you may find you go further.

Inspires greater inner-connectedness – Yoga and mindless are about overall wellbeing, for the body and the mind, working together. This stability and balance promotes a feeling of being in-touch with yourself where you can listen to your body. When you exercise, being able to take this holistic approach can help immensely in achieving your goals.

Enhances focus on proper form – As you move, mindfulness brings a really in-focus attention to how your body is moving and whether this is correct. In yoga, as with other styles of exercise, proper form is not only essential for effective goal-reaching but also to guard against potential injury.

Enables more immediate feedback and monitoring – Greater awareness means better internal communication. This is really useful with yoga and all other types of exercise, as you are then able to understand how you are progressing and whether you need any help or to change direction.

Energizes you – Being mindful has a liberating effect. Even a yoga session or exercising mindfully can leave you feeling lighter and less weighed down by other influences. Basically you can get into the fitness zone! This really lets the energy flow and enables you to get into a rhythm you feel comfortable with.

Bring your attention to your present situation. Focus on your fitness levels and then get in touch to enhance your mindful approach to exercise and life!

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

5 yoga trends to look out for in 2015

Yoga_Jan30_AA new year is the perfect opportunity to try new things – including in the exercise sphere. Whether you already practise yoga but are looking for something new and different to spice it up, or you need a change to your routine and fancy something a bit different from running and lifting weights, trying out yoga with a twist could be just what your health and fitness regime needs. Take a look at these five yoga trends that are on the up as we enter 2015.

Live music yoga

Exercise should be fun, right? Though the appeal of peaceful stretches and meditative breathing exercises may have been what attracted you to yoga in the first place, there’s no harm in mixing things up. That’s just what live music yoga does – think your usual practice with a burst of hip hop, or even just a modern twist on traditional Sanskrit mantras. By changing things around and treating your yoga session almost as though it were a fun night out with your friends, rather than ‘just’ yoga or merely another fitness session, you’ll keep yourself interested and looking forward to each class even more than you already do.

Leading the pack with this trend in 2014 was Wanderlust 108, a ‘mindful triathlon’ in New York. The race itself was followed by yoga and meditation, both accompanied by live music – and this year we can expect live music yoga to crop up in even more studios. It is recognized as helping set the mood for your stretches and keep the pace during your workout while ensuring you achieve a deeper spiritual experience.

Yoga for kids

Who said yoga was only for adults? Children can make great junior yogis, and derive real benefit from regular practice, it is even said to boost academic performance. The basic principle that yoga is for everyone, and that not one of us isn’t good enough to give it a try, is as important for children as it is for their parents. Yoga can be a real confidence booster for kids, helping them to gain self-acceptance and preventing them from suffering with esteem issues. It can also keep them grounded and offer some calm when the pressures of childhood and adolescence make it feel like they are being pulled in a hundred different directions. Most of all, yoga is fun and offers the perfect opportunity for kids to be kids and have some good old-fashioned play time.

Meditation apps

Mobile apps are there to make our lives easier and, while from time to time it can feel like they are more of a distraction than anything else, they can be beneficial in the yoga and meditation arena. In much the same way as the long-standing relaxation web site can help us to remember to take a break from our busy lifestyles, so apps on your phone can help you maintain a healthy life balance.

Apps like Headspace serve as a daily reminder to take out time for a daily meditation practice, while others such as Moves can also keep track of your daily movements and encourage you to get up and about rather than sitting down the whole time. Both these apps and others complement your yoga practice and allow you to make everyday technology a force for positive change in your life in 2015.

Yoga in the office

All of us who work in an office spend far too much of our time sitting around – for as much as 13 hours every day in some cases. Add to that the portion of your life that you spend sleeping, and you’re left with a sedentary lifestyle that could exacerbate existing medical conditions and which daily exercise can’t counteract alone. One solution is office yoga, and it’s a concept that a growing number of companies are buying into.

Studies have shown that bringing yoga and meditation into the workplace is a great way to encourage a healthier and more productive workforce. As well as the physical benefits, yoga offers greater focus and clarity, and helps to beat stress and anxiety. But even if your company doesn’t yet have an active program of yoga or other fitness activities, you can make 2015 the year you become more active at work, by taking regular walks, checking your posture and doing exercises and stretches at your desk.

Restorative yoga

Yoga can have a bit of a reputation for being little more than laying around doing nothing. In reality we know there’s more to it than that, and some practice can be rigorous and physically challenging. But the rise of self-care in fact means more focus on a therapeutic approach to yoga, with more time spent in restful poses and with the help of eye pillows, blankets and blocks. It’s the perfect opportunity for mental and physical repair – which we all need in this day and age of constant connectivity.

If you’re determined to make yoga a part of your lifestyle this year, contact us to try a class.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.