Do you know the difference between yoga mats that are available to you? If you have ever had a cheaper mat, or a loaner mat at most studios, you will find that the mat stretches as you put pressure on it in two different directions, for example Downward Dog or Warrior 2. Also, your feet and hands are more likely to slide. This makes a huge difference in the quality of your practice! If you are just beginning in your yoga practice, it is hard to spend $40-50 on a yoga mat, when you are not sure you will stick with it. However, not spending $40-50 on a good mat will quickly lead to your frustration with yoga and giving it up anyway. Since we go barefoot in class, and it is the only prop that you need to purchase, think of your mat as a good pair of tennis shoes. Would you spend only $10 on your tennis shoes, if you were about to start a new exercise program?
There are two yoga mats that are top of the line. Manduka and Jade Mats are the most sought out ones. The difference between the two comes down to how they are made. Manduka is made with a closed cell structure. This means that if you sweat all over it, the sweat wipes off and does not soak into your mat. This is a great selling point, as you are not carrying around a mat that smells like all of your yoga practices. Manduka's can also be easily hosed off in the shower to be cleaned. Just throw it over the shower, use a body puff with a little bit of dish soap and give it a good scrubbing. Rinse it off when you are done. Jade on the other hand has an open cell. It is like a sponge. It will soak up any sweat or liquids. What I have seen is that Manduka's can honestly last you a lifetime. I have had mine for 6 years, with a daily practice, and it still looks almost brand new. Jade mat's however will need to be replaced every few years.
As for different versions of the Manduka mats, I prefer my Pro-Lite mat over the Pro Black series. The Pro-Lite is lighter and easier to take with me to classes, but thick enough for padding under my knees. The Pro-Lite weighs 4lbs compared to the Pro weighing 7lbs.
If you are interested in a Manduka, you can check them out on my website. I love them so much, that I have some on hand for my students. http://www.yogainsanantonio.com/store.html
Let me lead you through a practice at home.
If you haven't seen it already, checkout the new San Antonio Yoga Hub
. It is a wonderful resource of all of the Yoga Events, Classes & Teachers in San Antonio! If you haven't been added to it yet, just use the Contact Form and let them know that you want to be on there too!
Our lives are always unpredictable and can sometimes be very hectic. However, I notice on a daily basis how this affect my students yoga practice. Typically when life gets crazy, the first thing that we let go of are the "extras" so that we can deal with whatever the biggest thing on our plate is. This is a good strategy, but really it comes down to whether or not you think that your yoga practice is an "extra". If it is, then it is seems easy to skip practice that day and instead deal with the stress in your life head-on. However, I would like you to consider if an hour of practice would instead help you face the challenges with a clearer mind?
Our yoga practice helps pull us through those hard times. We would not, hopefully, skip brushing our teeth or our hair - even during these stressful times. Why would be put yoga in a separate category? Isn't it just as important in your life as having clean teeth? What about a clean and calm mind? An open heart?
Our yoga practice is similar to building a brick wall. Each day that we come into practice, we put another brick on that wall, getting a closer glimpse of where we are headed and just how big this experience really can be. Yoga is like the other things in your life, in order to get there, you have to keep moving towards the goal and putting each brick down securely.
If you have ever been to a class taught by Lisa, you will most definitely be treated with an amazing cup of decaf chai tea after the class. It is always the perfect end to a wonderful yoga session. If you would like to make some at home, here is the recipe:
Yogi Chai Tea Recipe
4 quarts water
40 Cardamon pods cracked open
40 Black Peppercorns
6 Cinnamon Sticks
1 inch of fresh Ginger, sliced thin
1 Decaf Black Tea Bag
Add all ingredients into a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 2-3+ hours. This extra time cooking it makes it strong and delicious. Serve with almond milk and stevia.
This recipe is great if you are starting to feel like you are coming down with a cold. It is filled with great ingredients that are known for being antiviral. If you are starting to feel ill, make a batch on the stove. Then curl up in bed with a book and a big cup of tea. Keep filling your cup up as you finish each cup. You will quickly be back to feeling great!
If you give the recipe a try, let me know how you like it!
Parents can find it very challenging to get into a yoga class. Often a babysitter is needed, only one parent is able to attend or you have to take precious time away from your family. Wouldn't it be wonderful to get to spend some time in a yoga class with your child? To be able to do your practice and also watch them get all of the same benefits that you do?
The Parent Child Class at San Antonio Yoga
is a chance to connect with your child in a way that is unlike any other time you will ever spend together. You will move, breath and connect together, creating sacred memories. Through your example, children will learn why yoga is essential in our lives and they will start to feel the amazing effects of it as well. Their confidence will soar, their stress will lessen and they will be better able to face the challenges in their lives with faith and understanding. Children will be given the space to comfortably explore their bodies with movement and without any judgement, while parents will be able to be an observer to their transformation, without the need to correct or parent. This one hour class will be a chance for both parents and children to just enjoy each other and be present in the moment.
To learn more about all of the benefits of yoga for children, please see our Children's Yoga Page
.Lisa has advanced training in the use of yoga as therapy for children with ADHD, ADD, Autism, Anxiety, Sensory Processing Disorder, Visual Impairment, Dyslexia and other challenges that many children face. If your child has any such challenges, please let Lisa know. She will be able to use therapy in the Parent & Child Yoga Class, or in a private yoga class, to help address these challenges.
Yes, you read that right. Happiness is a choice! It is a choice that you face each moment of every day. Ultimately you get to choose whether you want to face whatever is going on in the moment with happiness and patience or anger and victimization.
We are faced with many challenges on a daily basis. Our kids fight, our boss is over demanding, we get cut off while driving in our car, the line at the grocery store is too long, the doctor is running an hour behind schedule... All of these are the typical things we face on a day-to-day basis. But each time we face one, we have the choice on how we want to react.
Let me give you an example. You are cut off by someone while driving. Maybe your normal knee-jerk reaction is to get angry, say a few not-so-nice things and then grumble about how inconsiderate and rude that driver was for the rest of the way to your destination. Maybe instead we should consider what might be going on in the life of the other driver. Did they have a family member just call them from the Emergency Room? Or a sick child at home? Or a sick pet they are rushing to the vet? Also, it would be worth considering how their action is really a gift to you. Maybe by cutting you off, they slowed you down or brought you more present to your driving. Maybe this prevented you from getting a ticket or, worse, into an accident. Next time this happens, it would be the perfect opportunity to send them a blessing hoping that all is well for them and then thank them for making your travels more safe.
Each challenge we face in our lives is an opportunity to grow and learn. We can choose to see the world as half empty or we can choose to see the things in our lives as lessons that are taking us exactly where we need to go. The people who get through a "crisis" the best are those that are able to step back and see that it is a gift that leads them to an even better place on the other side of it. Life is similar to one large staircase. For each step up that we take, there needs to be something that we have learned that has helped change us and move us there. Be thankful for each challenge that got you up to the next level of understanding.
So, if each moment you have the ability and the right to choose happiness or sadness.... which will you choose? This isn't a matter of deciding you will never be sad again, this is a matter of watching moment to moment how you choose to step on to the path you are taking.
Yoga is the practice of learning how to face life. It is said that we think the same thoughts over and over and over again, similar to how a broken record would sound. What if these thought patterns are negative? It is interesting, in life, how we often treat ourselves worse then anyone else. At times, the self talk that runs in our heads would be considered verbal abuse...if it were directed to anyone else. We would never permit a friend or co-worker to say, to us, some of the things we say to ourselves. Luckily no one else can hear the things we tell ourselves.
A practice that I have challenged my yoga students with is to find self love. During their asanas I have asked them to stop each time they get into Mountain or Child's Pose and to think of a new thing that they LOVE about themselves. I ask them to place it in their heart and hold it there. By the end of the practice they begin to realize that they have been their worst critic and they also start to have to work hard to find those things that they love about themselves. Those things that give them pride and worth.
Self love is one of the most important parts of life. With it, we can finally let go of a lot of past hurts that were based on this fundamental need for love. This about your relationship with your parents, friends or spouses. What hurt feelings do you harbor that if you really drilled down to the really issue, it was simply about you not feeling loved? If we are able to love ourselves, we can let go of the need for others to love and approve of us. By filling ourselves up with love first, we can go out into the world and truly give love to others, without the need to be loved by anyone else. This is unconditional love. Loving yourself and then giving love is saying that you love someone just because you do... and not because they must love you in return.
The ramblings of the mind are no different then a 3 year old with their antics. How would your life change if you could laugh at these thoughts? Are you these thoughts? Are you your mind? No, not anymore then you are your stomach or your foot. With that understanding, it is easier to see the ramblings of the mind and just laugh at it's antics. The mind is no different then the lungs. It is simply doing it's intended function...to think. It is important to keep an eye on the mind though and make sure that it is used as a tool to help you figure out solutions, but not to determine your path.
So, I challenge you. We go through Mountain & Child's Pose many times in our yoga practices. Each time you do, find something you love about yourself and hold it in your heart. Hopefully by the end of your practice, your heart will swell and the love will fill your whole body.