FeetUp! is more than an inversion tool (plus a coupon code)

I’ve had my eyes on the FeetUp Trainer for years. It was one of the first props I noticed when I started posting yoga poses on Instagram. As I made a promise to reignite my passion for yoga throughout 2020, I realized I had only been practicing yoga for my health and appearance in 2018 and eventually in 2019 only to lessen pain from a dramatic Lupus flare. I didn’t practice yoga to have fun anymore. My goals weren’t to try new poses and explore my body. Part of me didn’t want to practice at all.

I started 2020 with fun poses, I went through my old collect of Yoga Journal Magazine and ripped out all the sequence pages. I searched for creative flows on the internet and within a week I was inspired enough to use my YTT to have fun and create fun flows for myself. I eventually picked up my 2100 Asanas book and tried whatever poses happened to be opened on the page.

Then I received my FeetUp Trainer in mid January and my mind started swirling. I had all these tools to create some amazing yoga magic and the results were a wonderful mix between hysterical and astonishing. The whole family jumped in to play, another thing I realized I lost when I started YTT and my quest to be the perfect yogi with picture perfect health.

A few things about the FeetUp Trainer (use code feetup8393 for a discount!):

It is made with vegan leather and recycled padding. The frame is made out of beech wood and it comes with protective rubber feet. For every FeetUp Trainer sold a tree is planted with Trees for the Future. The focus on being ethical and eco-friendly.

The FeetUp Trainer comes in a relatively small box and I was really impressed that they didn’t overuse materials to ship, which furthered their importance and focus on being eco-friendly for me. It took me about ten minutes to put the entire product together and I only used what they supplied (no other tools were needed). The instructions include photos and are very clear and concise. It also come with a fun poster full of different ways to use the FeetUp Trainer!

A guide to the first inversion:

Start slowly. Use your prop against the wall. Find a comfortable grip, relax your neck in the cushion. Start with one foot off the ground at a time.

Once you’re comfortable, you can start to use your imagination and come up with creative ways to use your FeetUp Trainer!

My overall opinion about this tool for yoga: FeetUp Trainer has definitely lived up to my expections. The company has high business morals and a wonderful team! It is easy to put together, makes my shoulders feel great and adds accessibility to postures I can’t always perform. It also opens a wide range of new postures and brings a lot of fun back into the practice! I also find this to be the most fun way to do core work, which is often tedious and boring for me to practice.

Disclaimers: The FeetUp Trainer is an exercise prop that should be practiced with carefully. It is not recommended for children under 12 years old (always supervise your children) or for pets to play on. The maximum weight for health reasons while inverted is 250 pounds. It is not meant to be used by more than one person at a time. The FeetUp Trainer should only be used by those with the physical, mental/sensorial, experience and knowledge to practice safely. Do not use this tool while under the influence of any mind altering substances that impair judgement and motor coordination. Do not lean sideways as it is not built to be safe for side to side weight movement. Using this prop in other ways than described is at the users risk and FeetUp Trainer cannot be held responsible for any consequences of not following the manual. While this is not a paid sponsorship, I was given the FeetUp Trainer to try for free. The FeetUp Trainerin the photos has been refinished to match my home furniture by myself personally and was originally a natural beechwood color.

FeetUp Trainers come in either a dark wood or light wood option with a few different cushion colors! Check them out on their site by clicking here or the photo below (use code feetup8393 for a discount!):

A screenshot of the FeetUp website with 6 photos of their cushion/wood combinations
The FeetUp Trainer comes in a variety of styles. Prices shown are valid as of 02/01/2020 and may not be valid after that time.

Treat Yo Self to some Love this Valentine’s Day (and a giveaway!)

We live in a world where self-love is radical and unexpected because generations before us were taught to be selfless, devoted and needing of nothing. We are working on changing that because affection and love are essential to life and it all begins with ourselves and our own bodies. Our bodies are why we exist, they keep us functioning through work and enjoyment. With our body we can sing, laugh, play and create. The possibilities of what we can do are endless as long as we use our imagination. So why not take care of your body this year, take it out on a date and show it all the love it deserves! You are your best valentine.

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The epitome of self love and self care is easily found in Ajna Wellbeing. I am not only in love with their products but the brand and everyone who makes up this wonderful company. They are committed to creating products that are healthy to use without anything toxic in them, this way we can feel good about using them and enjoy the amazing results of their products. They’re giving away one of their products this month on Instagram through the #crackyourheartsopen Valentine’s Day Challenge!

Ajna Wellbeing offers mindful tools that will help you live a happier, healthier life. I’ll tell you a little about my favorite products for the season of love so you can give yourself a little self-care and skip the hinting or hoping for a valentine.

  1. Ajna Wellbeing offers natural jute yoga mats that are not only healthy for Earth but free from toxic chemicals that most mats are riddled with and can affect our health. This mat is such a joy to use and is comfortable. You can easily use a yoga towel if practicing any hot yoga or extremely sweaty practice. The mat comes with a yoga strap that is super minimalistic and doubles as a strap for practice!
  2. With their mission to bring mindfulness to everyone, they also offer the most velvety meditation cushion. The Ajna Wellbeing Meditation Cushions has a carrying handle sewn in that has lasted over a year of use for me (with two small children who use all of my stuff). It also comes in a velvety bag that I use on the go and to protect my cushion when I can’t use it. The outer cover is machine washable, either way so you never have to worry about a dirty cushion. It’s filled with lavender and buckwheat which helps instill that calmness we seek when we practice our meditations.
  3. Their newest addition is their Yoga Bolster which is filled with recycled foam and boasts being sturdy enough to support your practice yet light enough to bring anywhere with you! It also has a convenient handle sewn in as well. This is the only product of theirs I haven’t tried personally but I have heard so many amazing things about it on Instagram.
  4. The Ajnamat which is hands down the best product I have ever been fortunate enough to get my hands on. Before Ajnamat there was only one health-friendly acupressure on the market and it was priced for only the wealthy class to afford. Ajnamat started their business to make eco-friendly and nontoxic products available to everyone and they’ve done just that with the best acupressure mat on the market. It is built to last and supports health and well-being. I use mine in the morning or when I’m feeling sluggish by standing on it with bare feet. Then I rest my bare back and shoulders on it at night before bed to release any tension and pressure that built up throughout the day. I’m learning to incorporate this mat into my practice by finding ways it will support tension release of muscles (especially in yin yoga). This product is perfect for anyone, you don’t need to be a yogi to enjoy the benefits of acupressure in your home.
  5. The Ajnamat Pillow is the perfect compliment to the Ajnamat and easily multiplies the benefits. Not only are they great to use together but the Ajnamat Pillows small size and puffed up height make it perfect to release the neck and scalp, the back of the legs or target certain areas of the back (like the lower back). It’s also light enough to bring traveling and use on flights or in long car rides. I love both my Eco Light set and Eco Luxe set. My Eco Lite pillow is filled with cotton like a regular pillow while the Eco Luxe pillow I have is filled with buckwheat.
  6. The acupressure sets offered are Eco Luxe and Eco Lite, Eco Lite was created for easier/light travel and slightly less pressure for anyone more sensitive or new to acupressure. They both have the same standards of quality, ensuring eco-friendly materials and a fully health-friendly product.

You have the opportunity to win an AJNA WELLBEING product!! Follow me on Instagram and join my challenge for a chance to win! Leave me a comment below if you’re deciding to join and let me know what you’re interested in winning!

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. I received products for free during an Instagram Yoga Challenge and absolutely love them. The products being free have no impact on my opinion or choice to create a blog post about them. I only write about what I love or what concerns me!

10 Reasons Cork is Good for Your Yoga Practice

I have tried many products and always come back to cork for yoga. I prefer a cork mat, blocks and anything else I can get my hands on. I love the feel of cork but there are so many more amazing benefits besides it’s durability. Some facts you may have not know…

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1. Cork forms antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic compounds that may reduce the risk of heart and degenerative diseases (Furthermore, waste from the cork industry gives rise to composites which are used in vaccine adjuvants to enhance immune system response).

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2. It’s durable, unique and environmentally friendly. Plus, cork is a natural material, so it doesn’t off-gas like many other types of materials.IMG_20190403_090855_776

3. Light weight: Due to the fact that more than 50 % of the cell volume of a cork piece consists of air, cork is one of the lightest solid substances, with a specific gravity of .25.

4. A cubic inch of cork can withstand as great a pressure as 14,000 lbs. per square inch without breaking, and retains 90% of its original form after the pressure is released. Less or more normal pressure increase return to original form from 97% to 100%.

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5. Because heavy pressure does not break down or destroy the tiny air cells, but compresses the air within the cells, the cork begins to spring back when the pressure is removed. A roll or sheet of composition cork can be compressed in one direction without losing its dimensions in the other direction. This is of great importance for many applications of composition cork.

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6. While cork is not completely impervious to moisture penetration, its cellular structure gives it a high resistance to penetration by water which with the addition of the proper binder can be proofed.

7. Cork is a highly frictional material, both in its natural form as well as in cork composition. Even when wet or coated with oil or grease, cork retains this quality which surpasses that of leather, rubber, and many other products used for frictional or non-skid purposes.

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8.  Next to a vacuum, a “dead” air space minutely divides one of the most efficient non-conductors of heat. The cell construction of cork provides this property for which cork is so famous.9. Cork, with its 200 million air cells per cubic inch; of which 50% is air, essentially acts as an “air cushion”, absorbing vibrations and direct impacts.

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9. Cork is a tough, durable substance with remarkable capacity for retaining its initial properties wherever recommended. The high degree of stability under varying conditions is paramount to the continuing success and use of cork in the world today.

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10. 42 Birds makes eco-friendly yoga mats and accessories using cork from Spain and Portugal. The brand is driven by functionality, sustainability and natural beauty. They are looking to create the best performing yoga products that also look good in your home and in your practice. These products should be owned and enjoyed with the knowledge that they both come from and support nature’s eco system.

How to get your kids into yoga AND meditation in 3 simple tips.

People are often amazed that my children will practice yoga with me. They’re downright in disbelief when I tell them my kids also meditate with me. They follow up with how their own children just “never would do anything like that”.

I’m here to tell you that any child can practice yoga and meditate. It just has to be fun!

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Your child will practice what they see you practicing. If I don’t get on my mat my children rarely ask me to do yoga with them. Not only does this motivate my child to do a healthy mindful practice like yoga, but it gives me that extra oomph to get down on my mat and practice too so that they learn by my actions.

I invite my children to practice meditation with me (separately from my own meditation) and let them choose a fun crystal from my altar or explore sounds with our singing bowls. By showing them this area is filled with joy rather than something they should stay away from encourages them to meditate to bring themselves joy.

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Kids like to play games. My kids have a collection of yoga inspired books and games. We do these together as a family and the real object of the game is to focus on what you’re doing right in the moment. This is the basis of a meditation practice and an amazing skill for any person to learn. It leads to deeper satisfaction and overall happiness, as well as less anxiety and better coping skills during stress.

Consistency will build their own practice. Just like anything else, teaching your kids the practice of meditation and yoga will become a habit they can eventually do on their own. Make a point to practice for 5 minutes a day with them. Everyone has 5 minutes to spare and there are even apps for guided kids meditation that can become part of the bedtime routine.

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With kids, it’s that simple. They won’t jump in right away or even all the time but they will experience the benefits of the practice themselves and you’ll  be surprised how they go towards it when they need it most. I often stressed the benefits I noticed in my kids after they practiced to remind them why they continue to do it. My daughter struggled with negativity and falling asleep at night, she often complains of nervousness and fears. With her nightly meditation routine she rarely wakes up throughout the night and often falls asleep on 10 minutes or less. It has even inspired her to say one positive thing each morning when she wakes up and every night when she says goodnight. She just turned 7 years old and has been practicing meditation for about a year.

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My kids practiced yoga daily when they were infants and toddlers. Their practices have evolved into gymnastics and karate which they are devoted to and extremely ambitious in. They often point out to me how similar poses are in the three and they see yoga in everything that they do. They still practice random poses throughout the day but they no longer sit on their mats with me and practice like they used to. With it instilled in them, I know it is a practice they will always return to in times of need.

The more your children see you meditating and practicing yoga the more they will want to try. They might even practice in private after being exposed to it on a daily basis.

Check out BalaKids, a Shambhala imprint for a beautiful collection of yoga, meditation and mindfulness books to get your kids started on their journey or strengthen the practice they already have!

Primitive Tribal Craft Clothing

The beauty in this store is that the clothing do have a Primitive feeling to them!

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Their clothes are made from beautiful materials like organic cotton or linen. They strive to share clothing from communities all over the world. This helps keep their cultures alive and spread awareness about different cultures.

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The outfit I received is absolutely comfortable. It is humble in appearance but makes me feel at home. It is the closest thing I have to natural materials and feels as though someone handmade them, it is truly an honor to wear them!

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From the owners:

Eco ~ Tribal ~ Fairtrade ~ Creations ~

dedicated to bringing the awareness of conscious consumption, honoring and preserving the old traditional crafts and skills and supporting rural and tribal populations around the world.

I started this shop while traveling the world, encountering fascinating lands, people, communities and their arts and crafts, wanting to support them, keep a taste of that magic and share it with the whole world, And especially keeping alive these skills that are fading away in our modern world ~
I wished in my heart to find a way of supporting the preservation of these ancient crafts, bringing awareness to the modern world about it and helping these societies to sustain.

For us it’s not about clothing but being a channel for evolving deeper consciousness, growth, kindness and love to all beings and the planet ~

I believe that it’s time that we reunite as a tribe and create a more peaceful, connected and loving way of being ~

Our agenda is to help bring the positive change to the world. To support the movement of conscious awakening. To bring awareness to what we buy and from where we buy it. Choices which creates a big impact on the world’s economy every day.

We aim to support ecological, social and conscious projects around the world.
please feel free to reach out to us with any ideas, visions, or projects.

Our style of designs is inspired from the ancient world and the tribes mixed with a modern touch. The Vision is to go to the source of the most ethical, fair-trade, traditional, ecological and natural materials.. right from the seed ~

We are All Children of Mother Earth.
May All Beings Thrive in Freedom, Peace, and Abundance.

This message of unity and fairtrade is what makes this different from other brands. They aren’t just trying to sell clothing or make money but they’re sharing cultures, spreading awareness and buying from communities that need the business. Primitive Tribal Craft doesn’t mass produce or recreate what they find. They strive to honor the cultures that reflect the beauty of being human beings.

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Primitive Tribal Craft is a unique shop unlike anything else I’ve seen on Etsy. Fairtrade clothing are hard to find in good quality and not ripped off for mass production.

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I’d love to see these unique pieces become more popular as we move away from machine quality and back toward handmade quality. A machine can never create what a human being can!

The Original Headstander

If you’re on Instagram and follow any popular yogi you’ve seen Headstander props encouraging an inversion practice without the pressure on the cervical spine.

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I cut headstand out of my practice because of degenerative cartilage in my spine creating excruciating pain in my neck despite proper form. Over time I asked teachers for help in headstand and ended up mostly lifting my head off the ground, even a centimeter, using my forearms or hands to mimic a headstand.

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I found the ORIGINAL headstander created by EvolutionHealth. I loved the easy set up of the BodyLift and the comfort of the cushion. It takes up little space and has the instructions right on the back as well as pose ideas!

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I’ve been using this everyday to get at least 5 minutes inverted. The biggest reward I’ve seen is how relaxing the practice is with the BodyLift. There are so many times I use this as a restorative practice as well! I often focus on strengthening practice and flexibility and forget restoring my mind, body and soul. Why not practice just to feel good rather than gain a pose, get stronger, get more flexible.. etc. ?

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Thanks to this I do restorative just a little more each day.

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Besides the fact that it’s more affordable than other headstanders, it’s also the original! I absolutely love encouraging a company that creates innovative tools to further my practice!

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About Evolution Health: “With the aid of the modern BodyLift yoga headstand prop, you can now experience the lofty benefits of the famous Yoga Headstand for yourself. But now you can do it without using your head! That’s because the BodyLift requires no special strength, balance or agility. Your shoulders rest on the foam cushion. Your head dangles off the floor. Your neck stretches naturally to relieve tension and headaches.

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The unique sensation of suddenly and gracefully overturning gravity’s depressing force on your entire body, while using your BodyLift, defies all earthly description. It must be experienced.”

The BodyLift is so easy to use that after a couple days my children could easily lift up into inversions as well! My kids love being able to go upside down easily and comfortably. The put the BodyLift up against a wall and I practice a couple poses next to them as the practice.

I definitely recommend the BodyLift for anyone looking for a safe inversion practice! The cushion is comfy. It can be even safer up against a wall. It is stable and helps engage the core. Just make sure not to get lazy in the back and keep it engaged as you go up!

Check it out here: http://www.evolutionhealth.com/bodylift.html

Ever wondered WTF mandalas are all about, and how to make them??

I have been collecting projects with the intent of doing my own mandala artwork on them.

I’ve been holding onto a wooden yoga wheel for almost two years with the image in my head of a hand burned mandala decorating the inside. Or maybe a colorful mandala made with skinny sharpies.

Well, I’ve tried practicing on paper to make a stencil for these items (cork mats, cork blocks, wooden wheels). It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s frustrating.

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Shambhala Publications has a mandala book that is so informational I actually understand what mandalas are! Get this, it’s also a coloring book with different types of mandalas and their description.

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The history of numbers and geometry is so fascinating! Reading that absolutely helped me with my fascination toward mandalas. It reaffirms how special all this geometry is that we recreate from nature all over the world.

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What I love most about this book is that it isn’t just a coloring book. There are pages of mandalas to color but they also have a description of each one with a little background. Personally, I photocopy the mandala I feel like coloring to keep my book intact, because I’m silly like that!

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It also teaches you how to draw a mandala, which is a big part of the book. I’ve tried to draw mandalas before reading this book and never got it before. This teaches where and why you’re drawing certain shapes or lines and how to create different mandalas.

Overall, this is a fascinating book! So much more than I expected and so much more valuable than all those coloring books out there today. It’s a lot of fun to learn about the thing you want to create and adds dimension to your project!

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I recommend this to anyone! Enjoy it!

From Amazon: “Unlock the mystery and magic of sacred geometry to create mandalas using ancient design principles.

Pythagoras believed that mathematical truths shift the psyche closer to divine perfection. The Fibonacci sequence has been found to exist in patterns throughout nature. C. G. Jung thought that contemplating the mandala could unveil the unconscious. The designs here draw on the vast history and knowledge once thought esoteric, now available as tools for cultivating spiritual and psychological well-being. Create your own mandala based on geometry, numbers, and signs, or color a mandala as a meditative process to tap into your creativity and intuition.  However you use this guide, geometry can be a pathway to grasping who you are, where you belong, and what you are to do. Discover how this timeless practice can help you on your journey of self-realization!

About the Author

SUSANNE F. FINCHER, MA, is a Jungian-oriented psychotherapist, a licensed professional counselor, a board-certified art therapist, and an internationally known expert on using mandala making for self-exploration. She is also the author of  Creating Mandalas and the Coloring Mandalas series.”

 

The Wild Guru, pants that make you feel free!

Yoga pants are one of the most celebrated pants in the world. They come in all different forms and styles, from compression leggings that might suffocate you to the widest pant leg that looks like a train on a wedding dress.

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My favorite are the ones right in the middle. As my daily practice evolved so has my style in yoga wear.

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I’ve gotten past the need to wear tight pants for practice and have loved the freedom of flowy open pants that make my yoga practice feel like a dance.

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My absolute favorite are The Wild Guru. They can be worn so many different ways! From romper, to flowy pants, sun cover ups, capris and more. I absolutely adore wearing them as pants out and then tying them up for yoga practice.

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The colors and patterns are amazing and they’re very affordable! The comfort of these pants is unbeatable. I could wear them all day for anything!

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The days I practiced in these it was over 90 degrees Farenheit and I was super comfortable. They’re so easy to make perfect for your specific shape. There is a front tie and back tie that allow all the different ways to wear and make them perfect for any size!

These have made a huge splash on my Instagram. I was curious how they would look in photos and they came out even more stunning than I could have wished!

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Check out their website here: www.thewildguru.com

Forget everything you think you know about Cotton Yoga Mats

I’m always on the hunt for a perfect yoga mat. I have done a few post comparing different materials in the past. I’ve used rubber mats, cork, acupressure yoga mats, polyurethane mats and more from every major brand out there.

And then this came.

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An organic COTTON yoga mat from Sol Living. I had seen someone use one in the studio before but I always wrote them off thinking it wouldn’t suit my practice. I can’t believe how wrong I was! This has quickly become my favorite mat above the rest.

It is soft and comfy. Exactly what you would expect from a Cotton Yoga Rug, but the bottom is grippy toward the ground and doesn’t slip while in use.

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Even while my palms got sweaty I didn’t slip off the top. I actually enjoyed this cotton mat more than a super grippy rubber or polyurethane mat which I tend to “stick” to and cannot deepen into a pose without difficulty. While this does take more strength use than relying on the grip and resting in your joints, it actually promotes proper asana practice rather than let you use your joints instead of muscle (causing joint damage over the years).

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I love how eco-friendly this mat is. A mat pretty much can’t can any more eco-friendly and health friendly than organic cotton. When you battle as many autoimmune disorders as I do, it can be difficult not to be afraid of each item you use, especially other mats that may contain chemicals or unnatural items.

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I haven’t had slipping issues even with arm balances. Big pro is how comfortable and lightweight the cotton mat is! It cushions my achy joints without being heavy or ultra thick. The only concern I have with this mat is that it is spot clean only, which I’m terrible with. I’ll probably throw it in the wash on handwash delicates cycle and let it air dry. I’ll update how that goes 😜

From the owners:

You shape the practice that shapes our products

Sol Living is founded on the belief that we can make a difference in the lives of yogis, both on and off the mat. Our sole mission is to provide you with technologically superior, yet environmentally thoughtful products that work not just as a prop, but as an extension of your mind, body, and practice. Inspired and shaped by each member of the yoga community, our mats and accessories are engineered to boost balance, improve performance, and enhance the overall yoga experience, no matter what your style or personal preferences are.

All our efforts at Sol Living is dedicated to promoting yoga as a way of life. From the conception of our ideas to the sourcing of our raw materials, we always aim for products that you can connect to, live with, and love for as long as possible. We don’t mind taking the longer route, if that’s what it takes to find lasting solutions to your special needs.

Our yoga mats and accessories are a step ahead of everyone else, simply because we take things personally: we keep your personal needs top of mind and found solutions based on that.

The result? Yoga products that you can claim as solely your own. No more slippery surfaces or distracting odor that disrupt your practice; only effective, eco-friendly products that represent the five natural, balancing elements of yoga.

earth for eco-friendliness, air for odor control and breathability, water for sweat absorbance, space for the perfect roominess, and fire for sturdiness in grip. By pairing your needs with the planet’s, we’ve come up with non-slip mats that are made from materials you won’t ever mind practicing on: organic premium cotton (top surface) and natural rubber tree (bottom surface). Learn more about our products here.

Staying true to our roots, staying true to yoga

Our story is one that is rooted in the desire to make every second of practice the best it can be, through products inspired by the people that keep yoga alive: the yogi community. Years of experience taught us that in a sea of commercialized, mass- produced brands, a yoga line that truly understands us is hard to come by. Sol Living is created to change exactly that.

Why Us

Soulfully created for you

We at Sol Living value you as much as we value yoga. Our products are treated as something personal, as a part of life and as a way of life. That’s why we are serious about finding a much better alternative for commercialized products existing in the market that slip, slide, smell and disrupt your whole practice.

Shaped by every yogi’s needs and enhanced by nature’s natural solutions, we’ve created organic cotton yoga mats that are moisture-absorbing, odor-eliminating, anti-sliding and best of all,earth loving.

It feels good to the touch because of the soft, superior quality cotton, and it allows you to move without worries because of the natural latex behind that gives you a one-of- a-kind, solid grip. We promise to keep innovating yoga products that are soulfully created for you. Shop yoga mats and more.

Check them out here:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/solliving/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iSolLiving

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Envelor

Handmade Props that are Super Serene

I love props. Yoga props can help make a practice safer or even evolve your practice further. No matter what your level of experience is with yoga, a strap can provide useful help on support, alignment, and posture.

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When I started yoga, like many beginners, I wanted to get away from props. I thought they meant I wasn’t getting the full benefits of the pose. I thought props meant I was “less than” in the yoga world. What I realized is that my ego is what made me less of a Yogi and not my use of props. I read a beautiful statement from Yoga International that put yoga props in perspective for me, especially when I started practicing Iyengar.

“Props help practitioners of all levels gain the sensitivity of a pose while receiving the benefits over time without overextending themselves. They allow students to practice asanas (postures) and pranayama (breath control) with greater effectiveness, ease, and stability.” – Yoga International

Thankfully, I am lucky enough to have props available for me to use and can now use them as tools to better align my asana and relax into a pose.

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I’ve just recently started using straps, thanks to Love My Mat and their handmade strap that is long, comfortable and has a belt loop one end and a sewn loop on the other, which is perfect to slip your foot in and is extra comfortable. I’ve reviewed straps before, comparing and contrasting other brands and this is by far the best yoga strap I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning.

I also adore using their eye pillows for Savasana and resting poses. These eye pillows are so dreamy they can rest even the most tense mind. But why use an eye pillow? I bet you don’t realize how much tension and stress originates in our eyeballs.

“Light pressure on the eyeballs lowers heart rate, sometimes by quite a bit, by eliciting what’s called the oculocardiac reflex. It also stimulates the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve has an extensive resume: It regulates heart rate and digestion, and it’s the primary medium through which our belly brain regulates mood. It’s the main communicator to our rest-and-digest system, which helps us to relax more deeply. It also elicits our tend-and-befriend system, enabling us to reach out and connect with others. This is a critical factor in long-term stress resilience and, research shows, in happiness.” The Yoga Journal

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What about your sense of smell? I often find that if I spray my mat before I practice, my experience can be quite difference. This spray cleans your mat and the air but I typically rely on a mat spray when I’m not feeling well or up to practicing and the result is a happy, energized flow and joy from practicing.

“Depending on the oil [used] and its properties (and any past experiences you’ve had with the smell), the result is usually an emotional response and/or a memory. In most cases (since essential oils usually smell pleasant) this triggers the brain to release neurotransmitters, such as serotonin or dopamine.

Getting the brain to release these neurotransmitters is the primary effect of aromatherapy, helping keep our bodies in a healthy and happy state.” – DoYouYoga

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I call these Love My Mat props the Essentials Kit because it’s absolutely perfect for every yogi at any level with any particular needs. They even sell them with a Mat Bag as a Beginners Kit!

All the props are made from reclaimed fabric, they are sustainably made and eco-friendly but even more, the quality is outstanding and will last for what I believe, many years to come! The range of products they make is outstanding: yoga mat bags, eye pillows, meditation cushions, knee pillows, yoga bolsters, yoga mat straps and yoga practice straps, zabutons, sandbags, essential oils and more.

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The team behind Love My Mat:

“We’re a mother-daughter team who love yoga, recycling and sewing. We’ve married our passions to create an entire line of eco-conscious yoga & meditation supplies including bolsters, yoga mat bags, yoga straps, meditation cushions, yoga mat cleaner, eye pillows & much, much more! If you’re looking for more, check out website for a complete listing of available products www.lovemymat.com

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