Already feeling a little frazzled and it’s only Monday? Get centered plus save some cash by celebrating National Yoga Month with Exhale Mind Body Spa on Thursday, September 20. The spa is launching its second annual NamasDAY, with complimentary yoga classes throughout the day and an evening yoga party with DJs, giveaways and goody bags at night. And yes, a healthy cocktail or two!
To find a location near you and book your complimentary class, visit exhalespa.com/namasday. You’re already feeling a little less stressed, aren’t you?
We were amazed last year when we saw this video of West Hollywood Equinox instructor Briohny Smith doing some morning yoga in her viral video, “The Contortionist.” And we weren’t the only ones. Since then Briohny’s video has gotten almost 4 million views, leading her to create another one with her hubby, Dice Iida-Klein doing acro yoga for the Q by Equinox blog. Both yogis say this type of yoga takes a lot of balance, trust and communication (which also sounds like the formula to a happy marriage!). By the looks of it, they’ve got the yoga and Mr. and Mrs. thing down pat. Enjoy!
Written by Dionne Evans, editorial intern
By now, we know there’s an array of ways you can lend a helping hand to your favorite charity: completing a race and fundraising, volunteering, or donating no-longer-used products are just a few. But what about moving into downward dog or conquering the handstand? Yep, that’s an option now, too.
The Yoga Aid Foundation, an international nonprofit organization, is known for holding yoga events in the name of raising funds for various charities. Started by Clive Mayhew and wife Eriko Kinoshita, the foundation hosts traveling events through “The Challenge” series.
The Challenge is an event led by a set of 12 instructors who, for two hours, practice yoga to raise money for selected charity partners. But that’s not all: On September 9, The Foundation is dreaming big.
Hosting the first Yoga Aid World Challenge, this 24-hour yoga relay incorporates prestigious yoga teachers, like Shiva Rea, who will raise money for 15 humanitarian-based charities. The goal for this event is to raise $1 million in donations – all of which will go to the chosen charities. Taking place in over 200 locations in 20 different countries, the worldwide relay will start at 8 a.m. in Sydney, Australia and end at 6 p.m. in Los Angeles. Sessions last two hours and are free of charge, though a donation is strongly encouraged.
For more details and to see a list of the chosen charities: visit their website.
Now you tell us: What’s your favorite way to give back?
Written by Deanna Cioppa, editorial intern
No matter your occupation, lifestyle or fitness level, we could all use time to connect with ourselves. Trouble is, it’s not so easy to come by. Well, it will be a whole lot easier this September to find some quality me-time (and get a step closer to our strength and flexibility goals) with National Yoga Month and Athleta stores.
All month long, Athleta will be hosting FREE Saturday yoga classes in-store. And that’s not all! Starting on September 1, check your local Athleta store or Athleta.com/yogamonth for a schedule of other events, tips and giveaways, including the chance to win a private yoga session and shopping party at Athleta. Now that’s a pretty good reason to team up with the community for some sun salutations, don’t you think?
More from FITNESS:
- Yoga’s Surprising Health Benefits
- Blast 500+ Calories Doing Yoga
- Mind Over Manners: Yoga Class Etiquette
Written by Laura Cofsky, editorial intern
One of the best parts of yoga is moving to the hypnotic music that pulses through every stretch. But sometimes the more traditional yoga songs may not be as effective as modern rock beats when it comes to finding inner tranquility.
Wait, what did we just say? That’s right, rock music might help you chill out, if that’s the genre you typically prefer. Studies show that self-selected music often does the best job of calming someone down after a stressful period.
For those who want a slightly heavier beat during their next om session, we’ve whipped up a playlist featuring some of the best in the genre, bringing you one step closer to pure relaxation. Rock on!
Now you tell us: Would you want to hear rock songs during yoga?
Half of all U.S. adults will take at least one weekend getaway this year, according to a Harris poll commissioned by Ford. Are you one of them? We’re definitely down for a quick roadtrip, but after all the planning, packing and driving, 48 hours can seem like seconds. We talked to Julie Morgenstern, an organizational pro and author, to get tips to make your weekend escape as smooth-sailing and relaxing as possible.
Here’s what you need to do before taking your car for a ride:
1. Always be prepared: Keep these things in your vehicle in case of emergencies:
- Tools and a spare tire
- Phone/iPod charger
- Travel information (reservation documents, maps)
- Change/dollar bills for parking and tolls
- A small medical kit (band-aids, aspirin, Neosporin)
2. Snack smart: Bringing healthy snacks will help you save money and eat well on the go. A cooler or insulated bag will help keep fruit and vegetable slices fresh. Non-perishable foods like nuts and energy bars are also good for on-the-go eating.
3. Log on: Use programs like SYNC and MyFord Touch to input rest stop destinations — food, bathrooms, landmarks — into your navigation system. Ford’s innovative technology lets you find hotels, restaurants, tourist destinations, visitor centers, with more than 14 million businesses in the directory. “It’s best to plan to stop every one and a half hours to stretch and change scenery,” says Morgenstern.
Read on for simple yoga techniques you can do in your car to stay stress-free.
Rebekah, or Bex, is one fit lady who makes it clear that loving life is really the most important thing she could teach anyone. A mother of four beautiful children, she’s a fitness and yoga instructor in south Jersey who—get this—has her own chickens, goats and organic garden, despite living in an urban area. Neat! Read on to find out how she stays happy and healthy, then check out Bex Life for more inside scoop on all things fitness (with some farming, of course).
My favorite way to work out: My best workouts are always with my husband. He has never been a fitness person, and he just started training with me recently. Witnessing his transformation and progress from week to week is so motivating, and it compels me to work harder toward my own goals.
My fitness mantra: There’s no excuse not to workout. There are fitness opportunities everywhere! You don’t need a gym or fancy equipment. You just need you and a little imagination. I’ve gotten amazing workouts just lugging my laundry basket up and down the stairs or running around the playground with my kids.
My go-to fit snack: Bananas! I often joke that I have a four-a-day banana habit, but it’s completely true. I don’t think I could ever get tired of eating them—in smoothies, made into ice cream, with peanut butter, etc. I’ll take them however I can get them!
For someone who’s gotten used to the nonstop sounds of NYC, doing a yoga class in complete silence is, well, a foreign concept. Which is why I was glad to hear that SLT Yoga officially opened their doors in NYC this May. The offspring of Pilates-based SLT (Strengthen Lengthen and Tone) combines Vinyasa yoga with popular tunes to sustain and enhance your energy throughout the hour-long routine. I worked up a sweat while giving my muscles a much-needed stretch session and my mind a feel-good recharge.
SLT co-founder Erin Jacques, who led our class, shared her playlist so you can move to the music on your own mats.
- “Changes“, Tupac
- “Good Day,” Greg Street Presents Nappy Roots
- “What Makes You Beautiful,” One Direction
- “Payphone,” Maroon 5
- “Kush,” Dr. Dre, featuring Snoop Dogg and Akon
- “We Built This City,” Starship
- “Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys
- “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” Jay-Z
- “Never Forget You,” Lupe Fiasco, featuring John Legend
- “Your Love,” Nicki Minaj
- “Rocketeer,” Far East Movement
- “Slice,” Five for Fighting
- “Empty,” Ray LaMontagne
Tell us: Do you prefer yoga with complete silence or need a soundtrack to move with?
Actress Sufe Bradshaw lives one hectic life. Whether she’s appearing on Bones, in the slim version of Star Trek, working on developing her documentary or volunteering in her Los Angeles community, her schedule leaves little room for down time. Yet Bradshaw still is able to find inner peace, thanks to her new love of yoga.
Read on to hear about her favorite poses and styles, then catch Bradshaw on Sunday for the premiere of her new HBO show Veep, co-starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
You began practicing yoga last year. Did you have other fitness favorites before that or was this your first love?
I’ve always been a physically active girl, dancing when I was younger, playing basketball and swimming. Adding yoga to the mix builds my muscles because it supports those activities as well. Yoga enhanced the things I did before and has created a greater awareness of my body now.
Do you have a style of yoga that you prefer over others? How about poses that you enjoy the most?
I like to practice Hatha/Vinyasa Flow. But I also like to practice Beach Walk Meditations. During these mediations, I feel more connected with nature, allowing the feet to feel the sand which grounds and roots me to the world.
In terms of specific poses, I feel that Crow challenges me mentally and physically and I also love Headstands. Being upside down, you rely on your hands to keep you balanced—and the pose gives you a new perspective. You have to focus on being present. I also love the Warrior series—not only does it build endurance, but it also gives me a sense of strength and courage.
Just as you can have a bad day at the gym, you can also have a rotten time at the yoga studio. To make sure you always have an awesome experience on your mat, make sure to avoid the following mistakes in your next class.
- Excuse me, I think your boob fell out of your shirt: No one is paying much attention to your outfit, but it will cause a scene if a too-loose shirt causes a bit of indecent exposure. Make sure your outfit is made of fabric that fits well, offers coverage, and doesn’t have annoying tassels, seams, or extra material to get in the way of your movements. Futzing with your outfit when you’re trying to focus on your breath (while also trying to hold intricate positions with your body) is sure to get in the way of a blissful experience.
- Puddles on your mat: Sweating in a hot yoga class is all part of the fun, but if you sweat too much on your mat, it’s a fall waiting to happen. When wet, some mats are slicker than others, so if you tend to sweat a lot, choose a mat with a grippy surface or place a yoga towel on top. Also bring along a hand towel so you can quickly wipe off your face and get back to your practice. Here are a few of our favorite slipless yoga towels.
- That burrito you ate for lunch: Eating right before class means your gurgling stomach may be louder than your breath. Avoid pains and bloating by finishing meals at least two hours before heading to the studio, and if you need a pre-workout snack, choose something light, easy to digest, and low in fiber such as a banana. Check out these tips for choosing the right pre-workout snack.
Keep reading to find out other things that can ruin your yoga class.
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