You can also sit on a block to elevate your pelvis in meditation postures. This keeps your spine upright and hips more relaxed.
A yoga strap is great for people with little flexibility, as it increases a student’s range of motion. Straps are useful for students of any level, however. They aid in posture, alignment, and flexibility.
You can use any non-stretchy fabric or rope as a strap, such as neckties. Sometimes new yoga mats come with looped straps to carry the mats around conveniently. You can even use that strap in your practice.
If you sweat a lot, you may be interested in a non-skid yoga towel the size of your mat, which you can wash between uses. They’re commonly used in hot yoga classes.
A towel can also prolong the life of your mat by providing a barrier from rubs and nicks.
A folded towel can also take the place of a folded blanket for cushion under the knees or wrists. Some like to cover themselves with a towel or blanket during long, restorative poses for comfort.
Bolsters are firm, long pillows commonly used in restorative and, sometimes, prenatal classes. Bolsters aids the body in opening up and relaxing.
A rolled blanket can be used similarly to a bolster.
A folded blanket can be used for cushion under the knees, wrists, lower back, and hips. Some like to cover themselves with a blanket or towel during long resting poses.
You can also sit on a folded blanket to elevate your pelvis in meditation postures.
7. Eye Pillow
Eye pillows are kind of like eye masks people use for sleeping. Eye pillows are small, cloth bags filled with natural fillings to have a small weight to them.
They are used at the end of class for Savasana and block out light. Eye pillows create a gentle weight on the eyes, aiding in relaxation. They can also be scented for aromatherapy benefits as well.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope this list helped you gain a better understanding of yoga props and even inspired you to try some of them in your practice!
A yoga practice teaches us how to be calmer and more centered amidst chaos. It is an escape from daily stressors.
4. Mental & Spiritual Wеllnеѕѕ
You gain a calmer state of mind and an increased ability to be in the present moment.
Some may go on to attain a higher state of consciousness in their practice, even if only for a fleeting moment. This opens up opportunities for spiritual growth.
Then, all of this will likely lead to better sleep quality and more mindful eating habits, which benefits the health for obvious reasons.
But wait, there’s more!
If you practice regularly at a studio, being a part of a community, a natural human need, has its own benefits too. A community opens doors to new, meaningful connections and provides us with a sense of safety and security.
5. Improved Relationships
This one’s short and to-the-point:
If yoga chills you out and makes you feel better physically, mentally, and/or spiritually, your relationships naturally benefit: You will be more present, more secure, more loving.
If you’re reading this post, you may be brand new to the world of yoga and want to begin a physical practice.
If you want to try a yoga class or video, please give it a chance. Actually, please give it several chances, with different instructors and different styles. You’ll find your own sweet spot, I am sure of it!
Many people think they need to be skinny and flexible to do yoga. WRONG.
If you have physical limitations, you can still practice the postures of yoga, or variations of them.
There are classes dedicated to teaching students with limitations and disabilities. There are beginner-friendly modifications for any pose.
Virtually anyone can practice yoga.
And maybe one day you’ll be able to do that asana in its “fullest expression”…or maybe you won’t: Everyone’s anatomy and history is different, and that’s perfectly divine.
Yoga is called a “practice” for a reason.
Yoga is not about showing off. It’s about showing up.
It’s about connecting with yourself and with Source energy: with Love.
What matters in a yoga class is that: 1) You always stay within your physical limitations and 2) You strive to continuously be mindful of your breath.
It can really be that simple.
A huge thank you to India for creating this practice and keeping it alive for thousands of years, despite many tribulations.
And thank you for reading.
With love & gratitude,
✨ Comment below: How has yoga improved your body, mind, and/or spirit?
If you’re reading this, you probably struggle with “self-love” or, more directly, low self-esteem.
Maybe you make negative judgments about yourself. Maybe you sabotage your successes with bad decisions. Maybe you need everyone to like you. Maybe you allow others to treat you like sh*t. There are many signs of low self-esteem.
I get it: This is something I have been all too familiar with in my life too.
Negative messages, however indirect, from family, friends, and society as a whole shame us into believing the worst lie of all: that we aren’t good enough just the way we already are.
The truth is: You ARE good enough just the way you already are.
Your brain has been wired to think otherwise, and it isn’t your fault.
You can rewire your brain to ditch the self-judgments and to remember what a stunning, unique, strong, talented person you are.
🤍 9 ways you can cultivate self-love starting today:
Practice self-love when it comes to your basic needs. This one is so simple and yet so overlooked. Drink enough water, get enough sleep, choose cosmetics with clean ingredients, ditch unhealthy eating habits, move your body, etc. You can even take some of these basic needs to the next level if you can spoil yourself (just a little bit). For example: Use a lux water bottle that makes you feel fancy. Or make your bed irresistible with high-quality sheets so that you will go to bed sooner instead of staying up too late playing video games… You get the idea.
Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not them and they are not you! You are your own person with vastly different genes, experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” (Amen. 🙏) When you’re busy comparing, you are not present with all the greatness that you already are. You’ve come a long way in your life. Honor that. Honor yourself. Focus on yourself and your goals. When you do this, other people’s lives, bodies, clothes, or Instagram photos won’t even be on your radar: You’ll be way too busy doing all those things that make you feel so whole and undeniably you.
Break up with toxic people. It doesn’t matter who it is or how long you’ve known them. Life’s too short to willingly be around people who bring you down or make you feel unworthy. And, contrary to popular belief, family is no exception. Remember that you have no obligation to willingly be around anyone, including family members, that disrespect you. I’m sure you’ve heard that “Blood is thicker than water” quote. It’s actually a misquote of this: “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” Meaning: The bonds you choose can be much stronger than the bonds you are given through birth. Choose your own family, one that brings you up and supports you. As others love you, it becomes easier to love yourself.
Give yourself the grace to be human. It’s okay to fail and make mistakes! It means you’re trying. Be nice to yourself. I often remember this advice I read a long time ago: “Talk to yourself as if you would a best friend.” Relationships with others are vital, but the relationship with yourself is the most important one you will ever have. You should be your own best friend, your #1 fan, and your strongest support system. Learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes and misgivings and love yourself anyway.
Tap through self-hatred using the Emotional Frequency Technique, or EFT. Commonly known simply as “tapping,” this very simple ritual is on based on the meridian points in your body derived from ancient Chinese medicine. EFT tapping restores the balance to your energy when you feel or experience something negative. Hating yourself really throws the energy in your body off because it is a very low-vibration feeling. If you want to read more about EFT, go here. If you prefer videos and following along with someone, search “EFT for self-love” on YouTube. So many wonderful people teach this easy, effective tool to the masses and are making a huge impact. And the best part about EFT is that you can use it for any other issue or ailment you experience. If you’re skeptical, try it for yourself. It only takes a few minutes.
Worry about only one person’s opinion: Your own. It doesn’t matter if it’s your partner, your dad, or your coworker. If you are being true to yourself and someone else doesn’t like it, remind yourself of this: “It is not my problem how anyone else feels about me or my decisions.” Live your life for you and you only. And when you live your truth, you will become a magnet for those who’ll support you.
Notice whenever you think negative judgments about yourself or others. Self-awareness is key. Oftentimes we judge so passively and so frequently that we don’t even realize we are doing it. It’s vital to notice when our inner critic is disapproving and unaccepting. Only then can we switch out those negative thoughts for positive ones. Ask yourself: Where are these judgments actually coming from? (Hint: It’s never you.) Forgive yourself and replace that judgment with loving words about yourself, even if it feels like a lie. Tell yourself something like: “I am the coolest person I know!”
Express gratitude. For anything and everything. Gratitude is a high vibrational emotion. Practicing it focuses your mind and energy on the good and therefore attracts even more good things to you. And try to express gratitude for things you may take for granted, like health or easy access to clean water.
Seek a licensed therapist to help you love and accept yourself the way you were always meant to. If you cannot afford therapy, know that there are clinics and mental health practitioners that offer services on a sliding scale based on income. Many people are unaware of sliding scale therapy. For more information about what it is, how it works, and where to find it, go here.
Rewiring your brain takes a lot of patience and hard work, but it’ll all be worth it. I promise you.
The world needs people to love and accept themselves for who they are now, in the present moment. I truly believe that if everyone really loved themselves, the world would be at peace.
Narcissists who conquer with money, force, and greed don’t actually love themselves. Deep down inside, they hate themselves. That’s how their hatred and fear for others was cultivated.
When you see the good in yourself, it becomes effortless to see the good in others.
Heal yourself. Heal the world.
With love & gratitude,
❤️ Do you have any self-love tips you want to share? Comment below!
💐 Ostara is upon us! Happy Spring Equinox. Our wintry time of rest and introspection has come to an end —for now anyway.
🌳 I chose Tree Pose, or Vrikshasana, to feature in my digital Spring collage (pictured above). Tree Pose is a centering & empowering asana. It will help ground you in preparation for new beginnings and change.
It is also a balance pose: The Spring Equinox is one of the two times a year that light and dark (day and night) are perfectly balanced.
💨 When in tree pose, try swaying slightly like a tree would in the wind. Trees that sway are more likely to stay upright than stiff, resistant trees.
How can you apply this Tree wisdom to your life circumstances?
🎨 Go start that house project, or finish that song or painting you’ve been putting off. Whatever is is, use Spring’s ever-growing, warm, sunshiny energy to accomplish your dreams.
🐌 And if it’s in your nature to live more slowly (like me), remember that slow progress is still progress!
Slow progress gets shit done… Eventually.
With love & gratitude,
💬 Tell me: What is your favorite variation of Tree Pose? Hands in prayer or branched out wide? Foot by the ankle or high above the knee? How does Tree Pose make you feel?
Ah, Winter… ❄️ Nature’s time of rest in preparation for Spring light.
To perform and create at our best, rest is nonnegotiable.
I created a digital collage for Winter, and I chose to include Child’s Pose due to its submissive, calming, relaxing effect. 😌
It’s interesting to me that the New Year is considered to be the ideal time for big changes. Everyone starts imagining themselves as a different, “better” version of themselves. And that’s excellent! But considering when New Year falls, at the start of winter, it isn’t exactly the primary time to start anew (in my humble opinion).
Instead, take the whole of winter to rest and be introspective, which is especially needed after the selfless hurricane of the December holidays.
Then, come Spring, it will be the absolute perfect time to change, grow, evolve…
I think it’s better to work with Nature, not against It. 😉
With all of that said, however: It is never a bad time to make positive, impactful changes in our lives. If New Years works for you, go for it!
Thank you for being here.
With love & gratitude,
Comment below: What’s your favourite relaxing yoga pose?
In this post, I specifically want to share the results of several scientific studies that analyzed affects on the brain itself.
Meditation increases grey matter in the brain.
What is grey matter? Grey matter is thought to be involved in information processing. Grey matter increases in the posterior cingulate cortex are correlated with creativity, rumination, self-reflection, and the way in which a person assesses how situations relate to them as an individual. Grey matter increases in the temporo-parietal junction are correlated with “perspective-taking and empathy.” Grey matter can also be increased in the hippocampus, which is associated primarily with long-term memory and spatial navigation. Interestingly, meditation also reduces the grey matter density in parts of the brain that are correlated with stress and anxiety.
Long-term meditation enhances the ability to generate gamma waves in the brain.
What are gamma waves? Gamma brainwaves are the fastest documented brainwave frequency range and are associated with concentration, perception, and consciousness.
There is a positive correlation between the number of meditation years and the amount of insular gyrification.
What is gyrification? It is a process of the cortex which is thought to help the brain in processing information faster.
Meditation prevents the thinning of the prefrontal cortex, which occurs naturally with age. This thinning contributes to cognitive function decline.
Meditation actually relieves pain and pain-related brain activity.
This post is especially for those who doubt their own creative potential. I’ve been there too.
The Artist You Already Are
Dr. Mike Bechtle, a communication expert and author of five books, wrote on his blog about a little test he would conduct on groups of adults and groups of children: He would draw a dot on a chart and ask, “What did I just draw?”
After conducting the test 300 times over the course of his long career, the replies were consistent and predictable:
The adults would answer, “A dot.”
But the kids would always imagine the dot being anything other than a dot, like a ball.
Kids see possibilities and impossibilities. And they see these things shamelessly, with bravery. Unfortunately, kids end up forgetting how to be shameless and brave because the pressures to fit in become too overwhelming.
Mediocrity sets in.
Life exists to express itself. Expression makes living worthwhile. And the sophisticated level of expression that has evolved in us humans makes being alive that much more of a passionate, worthwhile experience.
We are born to create. And we do create…until society suppresses our natural ability to dig into ourselves.
When we dig, there is gold to find. Some of us have to dig deeper than others to find that gold, and that’s okay. We are all on our own journeys.
However, the world cannot see, taste, smell, feel, or hear our gold until we create something out of it. That is the only way others can experience a taste of our perception of the human condition.
Our perception is always worth sharing.
The existence of “the gold” I write about is not a matter of debate. I’ve heard many people say that they can’t [insert creative skill here], as much as they want to. These people had to be creative at some point, because they were kids at some point. They just “grew up” and left their imaginative inner child behind.
In his Ted talk titled “Be an Artist, Right Now!”, Young-ha Kim argues that adults should nurture the creativity that children display, rather than suppress it.
For instance, he says that instead of questioning our child’s morals the first time they lie, we should celebrate their newfound storytelling skills.
That’s a fresh perspective for sure.
Setting Up For Success
Everyone has the potential to be creative, whether it’s through illustrating, cooking, interior design, knitting, dancing, whatever. If you want to hone in on your creativity but don’t know where to start, think back to what you liked to do as a child. There is a lot of valuable information there if you look real close.
I personally feel so damn good after I complete my creative projects, even projects that I’m not satisfied with. I’ve learned recently how crucial it is to stop thinking about creating, and to just go create already. Start. The thinking stage can last forever if you let it.
In the Ted talk I mentioned, Young-ha Kim says, “Let’s be artists right now. Right away. How?Just do it.“
Remember that creating and thinking are two different processes and should not be attempted at the same time.
The 3 Requirements of Authentic Creation
The three most important goals to reach before the creation of authentic art may be possible:
Know thyself. What is your unique experience and perspective?
Know thy inspiration. What makes you excited to be alive?
Give no fucks. Who said anything you make needs to be shown to others?
Authentic art comes from a place of deep self-knowing.
But that authenticity cannot manifest into the greatness it is if we are doubting our perspectives and our self-expression.
Everyone has the potential to be an artist because humans by nature have an innate need to create things and express themselves.
The cessation of creation is the cessation of spirit.
Think about how the people we admire most are artists. And let’s even take athletes, for example: Successful athletes are fiercely praised in our culture. Are athletes artists? Of course. Athletes express themselves in a physical, competitive form.
Michael Jordan’s expression through basketball has been described as “poetry in motion.”
Stop telling yourself that you aren’t creative enough to do whatever it is and just do it already.
You will likely judge your work and yourself. But that is an opportunity to practice nonjudgement and nonattachment to outcomes.
Then, create again and again and again.
I hope you become the creator you have always wanted to be.
Many of us feel fear every day. Now, I’m not talking about the kind of fear felt when we are in imminent danger and need to spring into action in order to save ourselves from injury or death.
I’m talking about the kind of fear that neither saves us nor serves us.
The kind of fear that stems from one thing: The Unknown.
We don’t know what’s in the dark, and logically, that means that anything can happen.
But fearing The Unknown is irrational. The word “irrational” is defined as: “not logical or reasonable.”
It’s not logical or reasonable to be worried about something that may not be real, and yet, we all still do it. All the freakin’ time. I am certainly no exception. I struggled with severe anxiety throughout most of my life.
The very definition of anxiety is: “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” Uncertain is the key word here.
But later, as an adult, I learned the truth: This type of anxiety-based fear is often a choice.
Why, then, do we keep choosing to indulge in something that tastes so, so awful?
It all comes down to good ol’ biology.
Humans are just highly evolved animals, and fear is the brain’s alarm system.
Humans need fear for survival, which in turn aids our evolution. It is crucial, and thus rational, to fear an angry bear or the sight of a poisonous snake. Evolution cannot occur in the absence of life, after all.
But the brain’s complexity has enabled us to think, obsess even, in irrational ways. Our intertwined primal instincts and evolved consciousnesses struggle to coexist.
We can (and do) blow our primal, survival-instinct fear out of proportion with great ease.
Our minds have no problem going down the rabbit hole of oblivion, and then before we know it, anxiety takes over, and we may end up with a full-blown panic attack.
…And all this over something that may not even be real, let alone a threat.
It may sound silly when it’s broken down like that, but it isn’t silly. Don’t feel silly.
Feeling fear of the unknown isn’t something to be ashamed of, but simply something to be aware of.
You are but a mere human bean after all, with an animalistic brain that is only trying really, really hard to survive. The primal brain is just doing its job.
However, we have evolved to this very advanced point and are capable of awareness, so it is our elevated brain’s duty to consciously use that capability.
Awareness is key. The lovely Corin Grillo teaches that we aren’t supposed to fight fear. We are to become smarter than fear. Fear distracts us from our light-led, earthly missions. We are to choose Love over Fear. Always.
Be aware of your fears. Be aware of your “what-ifs.” Be aware of going down that rabbit hole of oblivion. Be aware and come to a stop. Then breathe, deeply and slowly.
Awareness takes patience and practice, but remember that nothing worth having ever comes easily. Let this motivate you in order to become the best possible version of you.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but detox diet cleanses do not work. When healthy, our bodies already naturally detox themselves. I will tell you about a way to aid the detoxification that our bodies already do…
Lemme begin by bringing up the lymphatic system, a system that plays a vital role in the immune system.
The lymphatic system includes about 600-700 lymph nodes, which are essentially checkpoints throughout our bodies filtering out unwanted microorganisms. Lymph fluid is pumped through the lymph vessels. The lymph fluid gets filtered through the lymph nodes.
However, the lymph fluid doesn’t have access to a pump the way the blood has with the heart.
In fact, lymph fluid is pumped through the body via muscle contraction. Muscles contraction occurs when we exercise as well as when we breath deeply and consciously.
So throw your detox diet out the window and engage in something way easier instead: breathing!
I didn’t realize how awful my breathing habits were until college, after I started yoga classes.
I would subconsciously tense up often, allowing my breath to get shallower and shallower.
I’d wonder, Why is remembering to breathe so hard for me??? It sounds bizarre, and it is bizarre. But also common. That’s why yoga instructors remind their students to breathe, over and over and over again.
Personally, as someone who struggled with severe anxiety, I can say that it’s actually quite easy to forget to breathe, to really breathe. When one feels uneasy and apprehensive about the world around them, breathing doesn’t occur as a natural solution, or at least it didn’t to me.
And, looking back, it’s no wonder I was sick so often as a child. I suffered especially at the mercy of my tonsils: Low and behold, I found out tonsils are a part of the lymphatic system and are composed of tissue similar to the tissue of lymph nodes.
Something as simple as conscious breathing would have upped my immune system game and eased my anxiety.
My former inadequate relationship with my breath contributes to the reason why I am now so passionate about this topic. It took longer than I thought it would for me to acquire the habit of conscious breathing. I can attest to how disconnected from the breath humans can become and how life-changing it is to get in step with it.
Anyway, the moral of this post is: Don’t neglect your lymphatic system. Remember to move and breathe to pump the fluids through the nodes to maintain health and actually detox your body.
Even on days you don’t want to exercise, take a few minutes to really breathe. Try it while showering, gardening, walking the dog, doing the dishes, commuting, etc. Anywhere, anytime. Your body and mind will appreciate the love. And remember: It’s legit detoxing.
I should write a separate post based around the importance of breath, I think… 😉
For detailed information on the lymphatic system, give this video a go.
With love and gratitude,
Tell me: How much or how little attention do you give your breath?