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Fashion Don’ts for Yoga Leggings

Fashion Don’ts for Yoga Leggings

Seasoned yogis and beginners alike are flocking to the store displays filled with the always-stylish yoga leggings. They can seem so simple and essential to a routine yoga practice, with plenty of Pinterest ideas for formulating the right outfit. However, you may also stumble across an equal number of yoga legging fashion faux pas.

Are you worried that your yoga leggings may not be as fashionable as you once thought? You can start to rest easier once you know some of the common fashion don’ts that should apply to everyone who wears these staple items.

Don’t Buy Thin Leggings

This is perhaps the most common mistake that yogis make when they purchase their first pair of yoga leggings. It’s tempting to purchase the cheapest pair or the one with the softest fabric. After all, black leggings should all look and fit the same, right?

Unfortunately, many yogis find out the hard way that cheap leggings don’t necessarily mean good quality. They often feature thinner fabric which is almost see-through once the pants stretch over your skin. You won’t even want to know what it looks like when you bend over in a pair of these super-thin pants.

Don’t Buy Leggings That Match Your Skin Tone

Have you ever seen someone wearing skin-tone-colored leggings and done a double take? At first glance, it appears that they may not even be wearing pants at all. Not many people could pull off this pants-less style, regardless of what else they happen to be wearing. The exact shade will vary based on the person, but you should try to avoid anything one to two shades lighter or darker than your actual skin color.

If you’re not sure whether something will match your skin tone, it’s okay to opt for easy neutral colors like black and grey. These colors are great with almost any outfit and it helps you to avoid this major fashion faux pas.

Don’t Buy Leggings That Are Too Tight

Yoga leggings are supposed to be comfortable, which is why they’re so often used in a steady yoga practice. They are often made of spandex material that hugs tight to your body even when you move and bend. If you purchase yoga leggings that are too small, this spandex may actually restrict your movement and prevent you from breathing easily.

The other downside to purchasing yoga leggings that are too tight is that they will reveal all of the areas you may prefer to keep concealed. You won’t want to show off your lumps and bumps to everyone you meet. Purchase a pair that fits you just right because you won’t want baggy leggings or tight ones.

Purchasing the right pair of yoga leggings can be more challenging than many yogis anticipate. You should keep all of these top tips in mind before you go shopping. It may just save you the embarrassment of a major fashion mistake in front of all your classmates and friends. Moreover, you’ll be far more stylish if you can avoid some of these common errors.

3 Major Benefits of the Standing Forward Fold

3 Major Benefits of the Standing Forward Fold

Yogis, particularly beginners, are often eager to rush into more advanced poses as their bodies will allow. The basics building blocks of the yoga practice are frequently forgotten in the rush for more complex and extravagant asanas. Sometimes it takes a little reminder to move back to the basics with some of the most common yoga poses.

There’s something deeply satisfying about letting your body relax and hang in the standing forward fold. Whether it’s a part of your sun salutations and warmup for more rigorous poses or a cool-down posture, this basic pose offers a host of benefits. Rewind your practice just a little bit today and explore some of the advantages of this simple posture.

Check In With the Back of the Body

If you’re looking for one simple pose that allows you to check in with all of the muscles along the back of the body, the standing forward fold is for you. You can feel this stretch all the way from the crown of the head to the heels. The leg muscles become more elastic as you spend more time moving deeper into this humble posture and allowing gravity to do the work.

If you aren’t sure how you feel on a particular day, the standing forward fold offers a great opportunity to check in.

Calm Your Nervous System

It doesn’t take a science degree to know that your nervous system is crucial to your daily functioning. The nervous system transports billions of messages throughout the body each day using the nerves along the spinal cord as a primary means of transportation. When you bend deep into a forward fold, the space between each vertebra extends and opens up. Communication can flow more smoothly throughout the body with this extra space.

It’s also said that a standing forward fold can help to calm the system, lowering your tendency to jump into fight or flight mode. If you tend to be a more anxious person and have quick reactions, the standing forward fold can give you a little more space to refresh yourself quickly.

Gain a New Perspective

It’s not uncommon to find inversions as part of a regular yoga practice. However, not all yogis have the balance or the body type to move into more advanced poses like the headstand. The standing forward fold offers a gentle and easily accessible posture that elevates the heart above the head.

You can gain the perspective of seeing things from a different angle while getting an energy boost from the blood rush to the brain. This new perspective and common side effect of the pose can help to lessen significant symptoms stemming from anxiety and depression. Next time you find yourself worried about something, dip into a quick standing forward fold for just a few minutes to see how you feel.

You’ll want to take some time today to explore the depth that this basic yoga pose can truly offer you.

Hot Yoga, a Fresh Take on an Ancient Practice

Hot Yoga, a Fresh Take on an Ancient Practice

Hot yoga is relatively new take on the long practiced art of yoga. It is yoga performed in a studio that is heated and kept at a high humidity. The typical hot yoga studio will be set to 98 F and 40% humidity to really stimulate the body. It is extremely common for hot yoga classes to run Bikram yoga, a 26 pose set of yoga movements; however many studios have their own versions, and it can also vary from teacher to teacher. Hot yoga is a different experience from regular yoga, so special preparation is recommended. This different experience also offers new benefits that regular yoga does not embrace as much.

How to Prepare for Hot Yoga

The first thing that you really need to ensure is that you have had enough water beforehand. Not just a couple of glasses of water right before either. The amount of sweat that leaves your body is staggering, so chug back the water all day prior to a hot yoga class. As you become more familiar with how your body handles the class, you might be able to take in less water before. However, it is recommended that you err on the side of caution for your first several sessions. Proper hydration is good for overall health as well, so just look at it as an extra bonus.

It is also important that you bring clothes you are comfortable in drenching in sweat. Cotton is discouraged as it holds sweat next to you, while wicking materials, like Lycra, are going to feel a lot better during a hot yoga session. It is important to remember that you and everyone else is sweating buckets, there is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is just part of the process.

Benefits of Hot Yoga

With how uncomfortable exercise in a hot room can be, there are some great benefits from it. The heat and humidity are going to seem to suck the sweat right out of you. All of this flow of water cleans out your pores and filters many toxins out of your body, which is the primary benefit touted by hot yoga enthusiasts. Your muscles are also going to be suppler in this hot environment, letting your poses go deeper, and stretches are going to be more effective as well. A word of caution here, because of this extra stretch it is easier to go passed your muscles natural elasticity causing injury. Pay close attention to your body during hot yoga, because the signs of overstretching are going to be much more subtle.

Hot yoga is an interesting take on a traditional form of activity. In preparation, be sure to drink a lot of water to fully hydrate your body, because you are going to sweat fiercely. Remember that all that sweat serves a purpose, to clean out your body of impurities. The heat is also going to loosen your muscles, which provides you a greater ability to stretch; just be sure to remember that your muscles still have limits, although it is easier to push their capabilities.

Finding Stillness in Downward Dog

Finding Stillness in Downward Dog

We’ve been here time and time again; pedaling it out – wagging our tails – passing through salutations. It’s easy to find a movement, even the tiniest bit, when in downward dog, but slowing it down and finding the complete stillness brings a different kind of challenge. Down dog, arguably one of the most common yoga postures, is known by yogis and non-yogis alike. We frequently settle here during the warm-up and revisit this pose over and over during our yoga flow. Though we aren’t always aware of this, downward dog is in fact integrated into the flow as a resting posture. So how are we actually supposed to set ourselves up comfortably enough to find stillness? We’re going to break it down piece by piece.

The easiest way to do this is to start from the ground and work our way up.

  1. Begin by checking the distance between your hands and feet. Too far and you’ll find yourself working extra hard in the core to keep in line.
  2. Conversely, if you’re too close, you will feel a much more aggressive stretch of the posterior chain (shoulder joints, back extensors, hamstrings, and calves).
  3. To find the optimal spacing, bring yourself into a high plank; wrists are directly under the shoulders and legs are propped out at their natural and comfortable distance.
  4. From this position, simply lift the hips up and back.
  5. Your foundational distance is set.

FYI: it’s hard to stay still in an aggressive stretch for too long.

With your hand and feet placement set, your next goal is to find an even weight distribution through all four limbs. This balance is crucial to finding stillness instead of constantly shifting from one direction to the next.

  1. Let’s work from our palms to our pelvis first.
  2. Rooting through the palms, find yourself grounding down at the finger knuckles, not the heels of your hands. Ever encountered wrist pain? This trick will protect those little wrists.
  3. Hands rooted, your next move is to find an external rotation of the upper arms; this means moving the crease of your elbows, so it faces forward.
  4. Find your shoulder blades pulling down your back, giving you all sorts of space around your neck.
  5. Draw your navel into your spine while creating the length of the spine and strength throughout your entire abdominal cavity at the same time.
  6. And we have made it to your pelvis, the fulcrum of your down dog.

We’ve worked through the upper half of our body—let’s move to the lower half.

  1. Our heels are always trying to root to the floor, but depending on your ankle mobility it may not happen.
  2. Ensure that even if your heels don’t touch, you are still driving your weight through the heels versus the balls of the feet.
  3. Your heels should be dropping straight down so that if you look back at your feet, they’re hidden.
  4. Activate your quads by spiraling your thigh bones towards each other.
  5. Let the front side of your legs do more work, while the back sides stretch out.
  6. Making it to the pelvis from the lower half up, you want to find an anterior tilt.
  7. By tilting the tailbone, it lengthens the hamstrings and calves.
  8. Tailbone pointing to the sky, you should feel a synergistic balance between your upper and lower body.

Check out this amazing video to see how these moves are demonstrated by a certified teacher.

Finding the perfect stillness comes after you’ve shaken out all the stale bits and settled into this perfect posture. Spread your fingers and toes wide as you press through all four limbs, lift the pelvis high, and let the opposite halves your body stretch away.