Posts with the yoga practice tag:
Meowga! Why doing yoga with your cat will be good for you
Move over downward facing dogs. Cats have taken over yoga. Do you know the latest trend in yoga? Get your cat to your yoga mat and do some meowga. Carry the beautiful experience with you the entire day.
If you have a cat at home, you may have noticed how the curious little monster wants to join you on the yoga mat. Instead of getting annoyed at the situation, when you actually embrace it to start a whole new yoga trend, you are the guru of peace and happiness. And here’s why it is a whole lot of fun.
And here’s why it is a whole lot of fun.
As you can see, you don’t have to really do anything. The cat will do its job because its simply needs to scratch its back, wants your attention and is a curious little thing. This just makes it aperfect yoga companion, a stress buster like no other. You will smile as you plank, cuddle as you lie in child’s pose. You will just add a lot of happiness to your yoga sessions. Which is why yoga studios all over Canada are encouraging their members to get their cats to the studio once a week. They are even tying up with local shelters to get all their cats some meowga activity. Fun, eh? Here’s another reason why you should give this a shot. The sound of purr! “Soft kitty. Warm kitty. Little ball of fur! Happy kitty. Sleepy kitty. Purr Purr Purr.” Do you remember this cute lullaby from your childhood? You must have seen Penny sing it to Sheldon on Big Bang Theory quite often. The sound of purr is considered one of the most relaxing sounds in the world. Combine the purr with the powerful chanting of Ommm and you have yourself the ultimate peace concoction for your soul. Combining the cuteness of cats with anything is always a good idea. But combining it with yoga means that it is going to enhance the happy factor and hence, make your asanas more effective at nourishing you from within.
If you don’t agree with us, we’ll have a cat explain it to you.
Did we just hear an Awwwwwmmmm? Meowga is a whole lot of fun and a welcome change from the spin, flow, hot yoga loop that you already follow. Give it a shot and tell us how you liked it. We’d love to hear your Meowga stories and see your pictures or videos. Share your thoughts on Facebook and Instagram. #KeepMoving and namaste.
#yogaeverydamnday Taking on the 30 day yoga challenge
Since joining a yoga studio earlier this year I knew I wanted to join their next studio-wide 30 day challenge. I’d scanned back through their Instagram feed and found the posts about the challenge inspiring and I couldn’t wait to join that community and push myself to do #yogaeverydamnday.
I’d previously completed two 7 day challenges on my own as well a 15 in 30 challenge and I found them so motivating to keep going, even when I’d rather be sitting on my couch for an evening of netflix and takeout. I knew the 30 day challenge would be hard, and I had a busy month ahead so it was going to take some serious scheduling, time management and dedication. What I didn’t expect (or maybe just ignored) was how tired my muscles would be from back-to-back classes. I quickly learned it’s important to keep your body nourished as well as active!
How to survive a 30 day challenge
1. Eat healthy and take supplements where necessary
Being healthy isn’t just about physical activity. You can’t eat pizza and pasta and expect your body to get the nutrients it needs. Maintaining proper nutrition will help your body recover and help you get back on the mat faster. This wasn’t an area I excelled at during my challenge and I ended up getting sick 4 days before my challenge ended! I know I don’t get enough protein and amino acids in my semi-vegetarian diet so I’ll definitely be looking into supplements that will help my muscles recover. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!
2. Do your laundry… or go shopping 😉
Going to yoga every day means dressing for yoga every day. Having a few pairs of leggings, tops and bras to rotate through is essential — no one wants to wear the same pants to flow that they wore to hot the day before! Clothes that work well and fit correctly also really improve the experience. Since I was going every day I really started to notice which items I wanted to replace.
3. Make it as easy as possible
I quickly realized it would be a lot easier to fit yoga into my days if I didn’t have to worry about whether I had my mat with me so I gave myself the option of renting. I much prefer my own Manduka mat so I used it as much as possible but I knew it would take the stress off if I didn’t always have to pack my mat. If you’re planning your own challenge I’d definitely consider getting a lightweight, packable travel mat.
Why join a challenge
Sometimes you need to push yourself to do something you might not think you can do. After 30 days of yoga you’ll feel stronger, more confident and amazed that yes, you can find time. It’s also a great opportunity to try new classes and more advanced poses. And hey, it’s also a great excuse to buy new pants 😉
What I learned from my yoga challenge
What I learned from this challenge is that I can do #yogaeverydamnday, even if it’s just a little bit at home in the morning or evening. I also learned that sometimes, you need to give yourself a break. We all have busy lives and conflicting commitments and it’s okay to say, hey I can’t work out today, but I will get this and this done and that will make me feel good. Overall the challenge made me feel really good about myself. I felt stronger and even found classes easier when I used to struggle through them. I know my poses (and their names!) better and even know what to expect in the classes I usually go to. The 30 day challenge definitely made me feel less like a beginner and it made me excited to maintain a yoga routine!
*This post was shared by new yogi, Julie*
November Yoga Mantra. Be You.
5 Myths About Yoga Alignment
Every yoga teacher talks about alignment. We’ve all been there. But here are 5 popular myths that need some balancing.
Alignment is a term mostly used to define the practice of some hard-to-achieve yoga postures. Unfortunately, the way the term is used sometimes takes the positivity away from the whole act. Let’s try to bust these common misconceptions to bring back the joy in alignment and yoga.
MYTH #1: You were born with perfect alignment but with time you lost your natural balance and flexibility
That’s just wrong. Don’t be so hard on yourself. First of all, nobody was born with perfect alignment. One side is slightly bigger than the other. For most people, it is the right side. You have one dominant hand and leg. You can write better with the dominant hand, see better with the dominant eye and balance better with the dominant leg. Thus, you see, perfect yoga alignment gained naturally or genetically, is a myth.
What one can gain naturally is flexibility. There can be beginner yogis who will pull off a deep backend pose which even lifetime yogis cannot. But don’t judge yourself for this. Flexibility can also be achieved through practice. Our muscles are toned through lifestyle and postures to become less or more flexible. However, that does not mean that you can be as flexible as everyone else in the yoga class. You can only be more flexible that what you were before. When you feel like the black sheep who needs special instructions, you put pressure on yourself to master that pose. You stop using your body to get into a pose, but start using a pose to get into a body. That’s not yoga. Accept your own levels of flexibility and work on them, keeping nothing as a milestone but your body’s health and inner strength.
MYTH #2: You have got to master the perfect posture
When you try to sing your favourite song, it is not the same as Taylor Swift or Sam Smith singing it. And a 4-year-old girl will have her own rendition. But they are all signing the same song and just as melodious. Just like that, your asana is your own beautiful composition of what your yoga teacher has taught you. Yoga alignment possibly has nothing to do with it. Your yoga pose will be as beautiful as any other perfectly balanced and flexible yogi. Your bones will clash as you twist and bend. You might not be striking a pose for the cover of a yoga magazine, but as long as you are finding peace in it and strengthening your core, you are doing great yoga.
Chanting, visualization, or deep breathing and the shape of your bones, unfortunately, can affect how your yoga pose looks and feels, but not always alignment. So relax, just do your best and feel your best.
MYTH #3: Improper yoga alignment can lead to injuries
Going back to point number 1. We are not naturally aligned, remember? Improper yoga alignment is very natural. And anything that is natural, cannot lead to injuries. Because that is how nature designed it to be, and it is perfect just like that. Have you heard the words, ‘Wabi Sabi’ ever? They mean ‘beautifully imperfect’ in Japanese. And that is exactly what all of us are. Injuries take place in yoga class because people push themselves to achieve a pose, that their body is not yet comfortable in, or maybe never will be. But improper alignment is not the cause behind yoga injuries.
MYTH #4: Proper yoga alignment leads to the perfect flow of energy
Yoga practitioners often believe that a perfect pose creates magic and lights up your nervous systems. Energy then flows freely in your body. But actually, it’s the opposite that is true. When we stretch or twist or bend, we are creating an obstacle for blood circulation and using it is a training course for the body to tame itself to the hardship. If you stay in a pose for too long, no matter how perfect your yoga alignment is, some part of your body will become numb. And when you will release the pose, blood will circulate freely again, leading to the feeling of Prana gushing in every part of your body. This is what yoga wishes to teach. The art of keeping calm and balanced in a difficulty, the art of endurance.
Learning the subtle art of keeping calm and balanced even in the face of difficulty is a powerful lesson—and one with profound implications outside the yoga studio as well.
MYTH #5: Some universal principles of alignment work for everyone
How many of you have heard a yoga teacher say, ‘Don’t let your front knee travel in front of your toes in lunging poses or you’ll hurt your knee!’. We’re guessing, all of you. But what about asanas like skanasana or a yoga squat? Doesn’t the knee travel in front of your toes in these. And there is another ‘universal’ rule. ‘Keep your elbows close to your body in chaturanga dandasana or it could hurt your shoulders!’ But for some people, the elbows-in position can actually be more damaging than the elbows-out position. It’s just a matter of how your shoulder joint is built.
If you’d ask 3 yoga teachers about the techniques or steps to a perfect triangle pose, you’ll learn three different methods altogether. There is no universal rule that bodies follow. Yoga is the beautiful art that makes your soul and your body communicate with each other. Chances are, each body has something different and unique to say. And the diversity is what makes yoga a developing science and not a hard-coded guide.
In truth, the human body itself is the most effective yoga teacher in the yoga room—and the best yoga teachers themselves understand that. Their teaching is as much inside-out as it is outside-in. The best yoga teachers hence, are often not the ones who can make the perfect yoga pose and impose the need of yoga alignment. But the best yoga teachers are the ones who understand and appreciate every yoga seeker. And definitely the one’s who wear the best yoga pants. 😉
Anti Aging Yoga Poses: How To Stay Young And Healthy With Yoga
It’s easy to believe that yoga keeps our body strong and healthy. We are living the benefits of yoga every day. One asana at a time. The anti aging yoga poses are some of the first ones that yoga teachers often teach beginners. You are probably already practicing them. But the benefits of yoga extend beyond our body, to our mind and soul.
A recent U.S. based study proves that yoga can help improve memory and the ability to focus, which people often lose as they age. In the experiment, over a period of 12 weeks, one group of adults with mild cognitive impairment were asked to do a series of proven memory-enhancing brain-training exercises, while another group was asked to practice Kundalini yoga and meditation. It was found that both the groups showed the same signs of development, but the group of yogis should a better ability to stay focused, de-stressed and sharp. Isn’t that amazing? So yoga not only keeps our body young, it even works its magic inwards.
What makes yoga anti-aging?
It’s easy to make a list of the benefits of yoga. Nobody will know them better than us yogis who practice yoga every day. A lot of people start doing yoga to stay fit and slim. But the world over, and especially in the east, where yoga originated, the reasons to practice yoga are often health related. Cancer patients, thyroid patients, diabetics, people with vascular diseases, depression, anxiety, the list of people who look towards yoga as the answer to their troubles is long. Making one look younger or live longer, is simply the “by-product” of all these other benefits. Those rhythmic inhales and exhales and those calm mantras that we chant while practicing yoga go deep inside. They purify us from inside, making us stronger, healthier and as a result, immune to common illnesses and troubles.
Which yoga poses are anti-aging?
1. Equal standing
This pose helps you develop awareness of postural tendencies. Imagine that a string is pulling you up from the crown of your head. Notice if you’re slouching and stand up straighter, without over engaging any muscles.
2. Tree pose
Tree pose is a simple balancing posture that helps you keep your body strong enough to hold your weight as you age. Make sure you practice the tree pose on both your legs. It is important to maintain blood circulation equally in both.
Strong thigh muscles will help protect the knees from pain and injury. Knee-injury is one of the most common signs of growing old. Healthy thighs will protect your knees and support your active lifestyle for a longer period than usual.
4. Downward dog
A classic and well-known yoga pose, downward dog improves upper-body strength, promotes a healthy spine and stretches the back body. It keeps fat from accumulating on common spots like the tummy, arms and chin. Keeping these areas firm is step 1 towards looking young and feeling healthy.
5. Sun Salutations with rhythmic breathing
Sun salutations have a long list of benefits. They keep your body in shape and work differently for everyone. If your body type is lean, they will help you stay lean. If your body type is curvy, they will help you stay curvy. At the same time, they will keep wrinkles away. When you inhale and exhale as you make those poses, your lungs purify and pump clean blood. This keeps your skin healthy and glowing. Sun salutations performed in the morning at sunrise have an even greater impact on keeping you looking 5 years younger.
What habits can be added to our lifestyle, to make our yoga more effective?
If its anti-aging benefits are the chief reason behind your yoga sessions, then you will be glad to know that you can couple your yoga asanas with some healthy habits to increase its impact.
How to make yoga more effective?
1. Drink 4 cups of hot water every day
2. Eat a bowl of fresh veggies at least once a day
3. Start your day with two glasses of water
4. Have an apple for breakfast instead of coffee or tea
5. Practice Pranayama breathing exercises daily for a minimum period of 15 minutes
Add these simple tricks to the anti-aging yoga poses and you have for yourself a true mantra for longevity and youthfulness. The benefits will start showing immediately for most, and gradually for others. But irrespectively, don’t give up. Adopt these as your regular lifestyle and keep living every day, healthier and happier. You know what else can make you happier, our yoga pants! The perfect leggings for a healthy yogi who has set out to find the secret to staying young and healthy are right here. Take a look.
How To Stay Regular With Yoga In Colder Seasons
Keeping ourselves motivated to do yoga in the colder seasons! We cranked up our yoga routines to the fullest in the summers. And now as it gets colder by the day, we are finding it difficult to catch up with our routine. The extra 5 minutes of sleep in the morning feel like heaven. And the dark evenings just don’t feel like a great time to do yoga. Is there really a solution? In the middle of deadlines, chores around the house, Christmas parties, Yoga is just getting difficult to maintain. Well, we’ve got you a solution. And it comes in 5 easy steps.
1. Have a weekly plan.
On every Sunday sit and plan your yoga for the week ahead. Give yourself new challenges every day and a fresh routine too. Jot down your favourite asanas and spread them throughout the week. When you hit the rack, you know you have to wake up to a goal and you’ll feel excited to do those asanas that you’ve planned for the coming morning.
2. Get a playlist and freshen it every few days
Your playlist should include the music you love. It needn’t be any meditating trance just because you are doing yoga. It is perfectly fine to do yoga to EDM. Any beat that makes you happy inside is good for your yoga session. So make a playlist of your favourite songs and keep adding more to it every week or so. Music will add to your motivation.
3. Sleep hydrated
We all know it is important to have an early dinner to stay fit and wake up energized and wonderful. But did you know it is also important to wake up hydrated? This means drink enough water and avoid alcohol to close to sleeping time. If you are hydrated, your body will support you when the alarm rings.
4. Pump up the alarm
Set a motivating track as your alarm. Skip the usual phone ringtones that simply depress you, and pick new tracks every week. These can be your own recorded voice message too! Whatever makes you want to sit up and get to your wonderful yoga workout session works.
5. Sleep in your yoga clothes
This is really an extreme. You’ll probably want to do this when you see nothing else working out. And you should also drop this as soon as the problem is solved. Because we’d want you to keep your yoga wear fresh and associated only with yoga. But if the task of changing clothes and getting ready for yoga is simply making you lazier, then just skip it. Wear your yoga clothes and go to bed. This way when you wake up you know all you gotta do is head to the studio or the yoga mat.
These 5 steps will help you keep your yoga routine working even on cold winter days. Once you push yourself a little, your body will get accustomed to it and you won’t need to train it any longer.
By the way, the biggest motivation to do yoga every day and to follow your yoga routine in the fall is to show off your awesome yoga pants! And if you lovely ones like these then nothing can come in your way. Do share your stories and feedback with us on Facebook and Instagram.
The Prakriti Yoga Retreat, from Judy Swens and Nicole Fowler
Prakriti = Nature
Prakriti is Sanskrit for nature, and is defined as any unconscious matter. When we look at a maple tree in the fall with the leaves changing colours we know this is nature unfolding as the seasons change. But how are humans equal yet different from nature?
Indeed Nature is a confusing thing to define. Mackinnon, author of The Once And Future World: Nature as it Was, as it Is, as it Could Be makes a great point about this very question. He states:
“The question of whether humans are a part of nature or stand apart from it has probably been debated since the day of the first campfire. In one sense, the answer is obvious enough: whether you believe human beings are the result of a lengthy process of evolution or a sudden act of divine grace, there is no question that we are flesh-and-blood animals, carbon-based life forms spun from the same celestial dust as the rest of creation. At the same time, we have always sought to define ourselves as separate from all other species, whether through our capacity for self-awareness and rational thought or the presumed existence of the human soul.”
Now consider the Sanskrit word Purusa, which means consciousness or spirit. It is Purusa which is infused within Prakriti that gives Nature its animated spirit. As emobodied beings, humans need to understand Prakriti to fully gain awareness of the ‘self’. Prakriti constitutes the three Gunas as listed below:
- Tamas – passivity, inertia, heaviness, and dullness of existence. This is the cause of hunger, thirst, grief, fear, and confusion.
- Rajas – activity, excitement, and passion. The results are lust, greed, and all desires – good and bad.
- Sattva – wholesomeness, harmony, lucidity, and beauty. The result peace and goodness.
These Gunas are considered to be what affects the combination of electrons, protons, and neutrons (all matter) forming our universe. These are also not limited to our bodies or the ecosystem of planet Earth — they include our thoughts, our personalities, experiences, as well as any desires and manifestations.
The Prakriti Yoga Retreat was created out of the belief that everything is connected and when we yogis connect with our mind, body, and soul in a natural setting, we gain more clarity. This allows for a more clear vision of who we are and what we truly desire to accomplish. Nicole Fowler and I wish to use Yoga as a platform to begin generating an awareness of Prakriti. We will be offering daily morning meditation, and up to three yoga classes in the styles of hatha, vinyasa, and yin. There will be time to reflect and enjoy the pristine beach out front of the eco-friendly Pranamar Villas. This area known as the Nicoya Peninsula was chosen as it offers the perfect oasis for an amazing adventure into Nature itself.
For a limited time enjoy 10% off the retreat price starting at $1200.00 USD. This includes yoga, all meals, accommodation, and taxes. Note, airfare is separate. All details are online at www.prakritiyogaretreat.com
Keep moving, be… connected.
YogaHive.ca Brand Ambassador Judy Swens is an accomplished yoga teacher based out of Vancouver and the beautiful Sunshine Coast. She is a co-creator of Prakriti Yoga Retreat and the Sunshine Coast Yoga Festival and you can also find Judy on theNamaste TV series, season 3 and 4. Judy believes in the power of yoga to allow us to live in the moment, and transform our perspective.
Spin + Yoga for Greater Balance
In recent years, we’ve seen more and more yogis in class sitting upright — on stationary bicycles. Many studios across Canada have offered spin for some time now (including the popular YYoga chain of studios) and yoga instructors are also moving towards also teaching spin classes, including the one and only Will Blunderfield (more on that below).
Why is spin so great? And why should yogis adopt spinning? (And what does a bicycle that can’t get you to and from class have to do with the 5000 year old practice of yoga?)
All great questions.
Spin is good for your body because it is one of the most cardio-vascular intense workouts that fitness exports can recommend you perform on a consistent basis. If you keep up with your instructor, it’s typical for your body to burn 500 calories an hour in the average spin class. That’s a significant level of activity, for a class that the majority of us can quickly fit into our morning.
However, the real benefits of this workout become apparently when you mix spinning with yoga. More cardio rocks, but even a low-impact activity like spin is repetitive for your body and causes your muscles to become fatigued and occasionally over-used. Yoga is ideal to stretch and naturally develop your muscles, and as you can likely already guess, fills the gap between working out and burning fat, and truly increasing strength and flexibility.
Spin is also fun! Classes typically follow a steady and engaging rhythm and tend to go by much faster than you would initially think. The bikes aren’t what you may think either — newer studios have modern machines that support movement in different directions, including the ability to lean from side to side to stimulate turning. In a neat row of stationary bikes, much of the sense of community that draws us to yoga is also present.
For our friends in beautiful Vancouver, Eastwood Sanctuary is a new spin studio that is drawing from yoga culture in a way that we can’t get enough of. At Eastwood, even shorter classes are available (45 minutes), in candle-lit rooms that feel more like a spa than a fitness centre.
Additionally, Spin Society is another new studio opening this Fall, just outside of Yaletown. What’s exciting about this studio is the lead instructor behind it — none other than singer-song writer and yoga teacher Will Blunderfield.
We’re happy to say that our favourite brands have adopted the trend as well — Check out these spin capris from Onzie. These are similar to Onzie’s famous yoga capris and yoga pants, but have mesh around the back of the knees, specifically to make spinning and running more comfortable.
Perhaps you love the amazing benefits of yoga as much as we do, but recognize the need to do more cardio and improve your stamina. Yoga + Spin is the winning combination.
Keep moving, be… one with the cadence.
Yoga for Athletes
Wait.. What do we mean by ‘yoga for athletes’? Although it may seem strange to read that title (after all, yogis ARE athletes), there still somewhat of a disconnect between the practice of yoga and traditional training programs that are used by athletes in a wider variety of sports. From athletes that train and compete in running, cycling, swimming, and even boxing — there are numerous and invaluable benefits from including yoga as part of a regular training program.
Again, although you won’t need to tell a seasoned yogi, but the reality is that yoga builds physical strength in a unique way. If yoga isn’t part of your workout schedule yet, you may be focused on building strength through other approaches — perhaps through weight training? Although weight training and weight lifting is effective at engaging your muscles, putting your body through repetitive and stressful sequences also tends to cause muscular injury — this is why most trainers recommend putting caps on your workouts. Yoga is advantageous because it builds lean, flexible muscles. How is this different? Although yoga develops muscles more slowly, through the varied and dynamic poses taught by yoga, muscles are built to support a larger variety of movement more easily. This means yogis build muscles that are more flexible in more positions, have higher stamina and recover from injury more quickly — all desirable traits for any serious athlete.
Of course yoga also improves balance and control (key to many sports like wresting, and skiing or snowboarding). By moving through a variety of positions and holding poses as long as possible, balance is improved in a natural way. Even if balance is something an athlete already has, it’s important to remember that yoga is also as progressive a challenge as any. No one is a perfect yogi, and you can always push yourself further in yoga — whether it be through a new position or a variant on an existing position, or by providing extra challenge using yoga blocks. While we’re talking about holding poses, it’s also valuable to remember that understanding how your breathing impacts your fitness through yoga can go a long way (figuratively and literally) in other sports as well. Efficient breathing allows you to utilize your respiratory system to maximize your oxygen and reduce fatigue (increasing endurance).
The meditative qualities associated with yoga are also extremely beneficial. Particularly for team sports, where pressure can come from all angles, mental clarity and control that can only truly be realized through an understanding of your own mind through meditation can give athletes an edge and ensure they perform at the highest level possible. One of the reasons we find yoga so beneficial (and addictive) is that it forces us to isolate ourselves with our bodies and constantly understand where our energy is directed. Yoga classes are great for this — having an instructor talk you through poses and encourage doing so with a clear mind often leads to yogis focusing on their practice in ways that they didn’t know were possible previously. On the most professional level, sports like cycling are often called mental pursuits, as the separating factor between the good and the great athletes often come down to a defined ability to focus on a clear goal and coordinate with your body to achieve it.
Flexibility, balance and mental clarity — all benefits your body can realize through yoga. The bottom line? Yoga provides stretching and movement you don’t get in any other sport, and the benefits of yoga can help push you forward in every aspect of your physical activity.
Keep moving, Be.. A Yogi!
What to eat before your next Yoga class
Hungry for nutrition enlightenment, or well, just hungry? Whether or not you should eat before your morning yoga class is a question that tends to divide the opinions of yogis. Many say that you shouldn’t eat two hours before a class (disqualifying early risers who love doing their yoga first thing), however others suggest there is value to getting a bit of nutrition before you hit the mat, as long as the food you’re putting in your body supports your practice. Here are five simple and ready to eat snacks that make our list of go-to foods, and are worth considering if you’re looking for some sustenance before your next yoga class.
We mention bananas first in case you’re rushing off to a class right now and only have time to read the first suggestions — bananas have been called natural PowerBars, and for good reason! As a primary source of energy for your body, bananas are full of easily-digestible healthy carbohydrates and potassium — just one banana before a workout can function to provide fuel for your body, and helps maintain muscle function. That’s really all you need to know.
A handful or two of raw (unsalted, unflavoured) almonds is one of the easiest and most beneficial snacks to eat before any workout, however this snack is especially great for yogis because they can keep your metabolism rate high, and require absolutely no preparation. Almonds are considered the most beneficial nut by experts as they have the highest level of protein and the lowest amount of fat, allowing you to get the most from your morning yoga session without bogging you down.
Apple (plus nut butter)
What’s the saying? An apple a day, something something good health!? Apples are great for many reasons — primarily because they contain a higher level of fructose than glucose for sustained energy that won’t prevent burning of fat. But, for a more energetic option in the morning, combine an apple with two tablespoons of your favourite nut butter. Peanut butter is the classic and probably already in your fridge, but others nut butters such as cashew butter or almond butter (read above) actually contain more protein and healthy fat to keep you from feeling hungry, and provide the energy you need to get through any asana.
Less of a snack and more of a hydration element, Coconut water works for a number of reasons and can be enjoyed before, after or even during your yoga class. Especially for Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga, which have your body sweating and depletiong itself of electrolytes, coconut water helps keep you hydrated and replenishes your body naturally. If it’s not so much a hunger issue that’s brought you here, coconut water could be your go-to for quick nourishment before (and after) every class.
Your reward for reading all of our suggestions? Dark chocolate is actually one of them. If you ever feel like you’re suffering the exhausting effects of a low blood sugar level, dark chocolate (in moderation) is one of the healthiest ways to rapidly bring blood to your brain and help you focus on your yoga. Dark chocolate also has the added benefit of increasing the amount of antioxidants in the body. Keep in mind this refers to chocolate made with pure cocoa (containing at least 70%), not the sugary goodness you may normally find next to the checkout.
Let us know what your favourite yoga snacks are in the comments below and on our Facebook and Twitter pages — We love to hear from you! And remember to keep your soul nourished through your yoga, and your body, too.
Keep moving, be… nourished.
5 Alternative and Unusual Forms of Yoga
Looking to try something new? Far from traditional Yoga’s ancient roots and mainstream modern adaptations, many alternative forms of yoga have become established in recent years. Here are some of the interesting types of yoga you can find across North America today:
Also called Anti-Gravity Yoga, Ariel Yoga is one of the most widely-practiced forms mentioned here and involves traditional yoga poses combined with Pilates and gymnastics, all while being suspended above the ground through the use of different hammocks. Classes are usually small to ensure each participant has sufficient space to swing and move, and also adequate support from the instructor. In what can look like a Cirque-du-soleil performance, Ariel Yoga allows blood to flow in new ways and removes some resistance found when practising on the ground, allowing more advanced poses to be performed with relative ease.
Dog Yoga (Doga)
Doga is a form of yoga that, as the name suggests, is practiced by owners along-side their dogs. While sounding strange at first, it’s important to understand that the idea behind this style of yoga is less to have canines perform yoga, and more to help increase the connection between the pet and the owner. Classes move through traditional poses, with each dog owner working with their dog to move their bodies, stretching and massaging them, and even occasionally using fido as yoga props in some poses. Fans of this form of yoga say it strengthens bonds with their dogs, and improves their health as well.
Taking elements from various party scenes and electronic music gatherings, Yoga Raves focus on stimulus from music and lights in a club-like environment. Classes often take place in the morning, with non-alcoholic beverages being served. Pupils often start in slow stretches with more instruction and quickly evolve into a more freestyle dance party. The growing trend of Yoga Raves has been described as a healthy alternative to clubbing, and a high-energy way to start the day.
Focused on a lighter approach yoga, and often self-described as “wacky” or “silly”, Karaoke Yoga, as it sounds, involves singing as a group while performing yoga poses. Originating from Los Angles, Karaoke Yoga is said to connect groups in new ways through singing. Classes pride themselves on not taking the activity too seriously, and although the music can vary, most commonly, sweaty renditions of Top-40 and classic pop songs are performed.
Based on the beneif that in order to support you, your feet should be one of the strongest and most flexible parts of your body, Yamuna Zake’s New York-based Stilleto Yoga class may represent one of the most recent new and trending forms of yoga. As the name suggests, poses are primarily focused on building strength and flexibility through the feet, the practice claiming to improve balance and make walking in high-heeled shoes easy. Although somewhat controversial, advocates claim the benefits are worthwhile, and that other forms of exercise are less focused on the health and flexibility of your feet.
Are these forms of yoga legitimate, or are they just trendy fads? Do ‘real’ yogis practice? These alternative methods very clearly aren’t for everyone and most are even promoted as being very niche, but the principles and ideals of Yoga are often represented regardless. Many of these classes introduce those who may not practice traditionally, which we always think is great as well. Every form of yoga can bring us together and offer a unique sense of community — depending on the instructor and the students on a individual level, there may be just as much to gain from practising well outside of the traditional, and outside of our immediate comfort zone as well.
Keep moving, Be versatile