Tag: offbeatyoga

The Yogi Gift Guide – 20 gift ideas for your yogi friend

20 gift ideas that any yogi would appreciate! From yoga inspired reading lists to DIY gifts, you’ll find a range of ideas to celebrate your BYF (best yogi friend).

Props that feel oh-so-good

Some of my favorite props that I like using for my own practice.
  1. Yoga therapy balls– These work perfectly for those hard to reach muscle knots in the back.
  2. Bolster– Essential for any restorative pose or meditation cushion. Recline onto your bolster to open your chest after a day at the office or elevate your hips to relieve low back pain.
  3. Tibetan Singing Bowl – The sound vibrations trigger meditative states comparable to a hard brain reset. Not to mention, they are a beautiful addition to your yoga space!

DIY your gift

A handmade present always adds an extra touch of love.
  1. Mat spray – 1/4 witch hazel, 3/4 water, 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oils. I like to combine lavender oil and eucalyptus oil. Super simple!
  2. Mala Jewlery – Not only are malas fun to wear, they serve as a great meditation tool.
  3. Eye Pillows – Choose a silky fabric and find some dried lavender to fill your eye pillows for added luxe. Minimal sewing abilities required.

Little Gifts of Joy

Small, but thoughtful gifts.
  1. Meditation Journal – Perfect for writing reflections after your meditation practice or turn it into a gratitude journal.
  2. Selection of Teas – Who doesn’t love warm beverage on a cold day?
  3. Earrings – I love these woodcut earrings! They are simple, eye catching, and aren’t distracting during your yoga class. Comes in a variety of colors.
  4. Essential Oils – Put them on your body as perfume, use them in a diffuser for your home, or put them in cleaning products. One of my personal favorites I use in class is “Calm“, a blend of Lavender, Bergamot, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Lemon.
  5.  Succulents or Indoor Plants – Your Instagram-ready yoga space isn’t complete without indoor plants 😉 Improves air quality for your breath conscious yogi. Just make sure they have a green thumb!
  6. Candle – Another way to add ambiance to your yoga space. I like to use them for candle-gazing meditation. And if your yogi is a St. Louis Craft Beer drinker… try out Twinkle Brews, they’ll make your favorite beer into a candle!

Bookish Yogis

Reads that every yoga nerd should have.
  1. You are Here  by Thich Naht Hanh – I like to read a couple of pages from this book when I get into a funk. Thich Naht Hanh has a poetic way of lightening the mood 🙂
  2. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk – Essential for anyone interested in understanding how trauma effects the body and brain. Explains how somatic practices like yoga can be used alongside traditional therapy to treat trauma.
  3. The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield – This book is filled with great insights into the human condition and how to improve your happiness in practical ways using compassion-based practices.
  4. Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith – A great introduction to the chakra system and its applications to Western psychology.

STL Locals!

Shop local this season for your yogi friend.
  1. Dimvaloo Gift Card – With over 10 different brands of activewear, your yogi friend can definitely find something she loves. Plus, she can shop online with free shipping anywhere in Missouri. Win.
  2. Sol Sweat Gift Card– Infared saunas are among the top wellness trends of 2018 according to many health bloggers. Did you know a sauna session can have the similar effects to cardiovascular exercise? I’d give up my running shoes for this…
  3. Confluence Kombucha Gift Card – Ever had a Kombucha flight? Choose between 8 unique rotating taps like asian pear or cranberry. Don’t forget to bring your growler to fill up with ‘booch afterwards. Bonus, the food is amazing. Vegan-friendly dishes that will make you rethink your opinions on tempeh.
  4. Private Yoga Session – Just a wee plug! We offer private yoga classes for your loved ones. Classes take place in the student’s home or other comfortable setting. Convenient and customized for any student, without the intimidation of going to a yoga studio.

 

Ask a Yogi – What’s a quick meditation I can do anytime?

Just being aware of your body and the surroundings can be a meditation in itself. Moments of awe happen on a daily basis, the challenging part is stopping to see them.

Last week, I was driving to class consumed with thought. Mindlessly driving thinking about how I felt stagnant. I slowed down as I approached the longest stoplight ever on Lindbergh and zoned out looking at the trees nearby. They almost looked like glitter against the backdrop of crystal blue sky. In that moment, I felt like time slowed down and suddenly I didn't mind waiting at the light. I stared at the tree leaves brushing against each other in shades yellow green, and orange thinking how lucky I was to live in a place with trees (Kansas City folks, you're really missing out).

Read More

Ask a Yogi – How do I set an intention for my yoga practice?

A goal is different from an intention. A goal focuses on a future outcome, an intention focuses on what is of most value to you in the present.


When I first started my practice, my teacher would often instruct us to “set an intention for the yoga practice”. Not understanding quite what that meant, I usually ignored her and wrote it off as just another “woo woo” aspect of yoga.

As I grew more interested in the philosophical aspects of the practice, I realized intention setting is a way to tune into my physical and mental wellbeing. Between teaching classes and working on my business, I sometimes forget to stop and check in with myself. Setting an intention each morning encourages me to self-reflect. How do I feel physically? What’s lingering on my mind? Is there a strong emotion present? Introspection helps me set an intention that will guide me toward action that’s directed and purposeful.

Steps to Creating an Intention:

  1. Relax into a calm state. Notice how you feel physically and emotionally. Identify what you’re feeling: Exhausted? Anxious? Lonely? Peaceful? etc.
  2. Focus on a word that resonates with you. It can be as simple as 1 word. Find a positive word that supports your current emotional or physical state. The word can be a specific action like energize or relax. It can also be a more abstract feeling like love or gratitude. A few other options are listed below.
  3. Repeat the word to yourself. Use every exhale to repeat the intention out loud or internally. Whenever you negative feelings arise, come back to your intention. Recalling the word throughout the day breaks the stream of unconscious thought and mental stimulation. It reminds us to live intentionally— providing a framework for decision-making and action.

FEELING –> INTENTION

Fear –> Comfort

Weakness –> Strength

Sadness –> Joy

Doubt –> Peace

Insecurity –> Confidence

Instability –> Balance

Betrayal –> Truth

Indifference –> Compassion

Constraint –> Freedom

Emptiness –> Fulfillment

Loneliness –> Community

Playlist of the Month: May Playlist

Time play some gold hits and rock out with this throwback May playlist. 70s, 80s, 90s rock/pop… all guaranteed to make you happy!

Since the sunshine is putting me in an amazing mood these days, most of the songs are about soaking up Vitamin D and summertime. In 3 words, the May playlist is:

Sunny, playful, & uplifting

Enjoy a raaaad mix of: The Beatles, CCR, and Pink Floyd. Continue reading “Playlist of the Month: May Playlist”

Offbeat Confessions: Yoga, Injury, and Ego

Almost every yogi (including me) has had an injury.

In fact, 29,590 yoga-related injuries were seen in hospital emergency departments from 2001 to 2014! Most injuries (46.6%) occurred in the trunk region, more specifically, the back.

Safer than yoga? :0

Don’t worry, I’m not recommending ditching your yoga class for MMA fighting. However, it’s hard imagine a supposedly calming mind-body exercise, could induce damage.

Why are yoga injuries a thing?? It might have to do with E G O

Here’s my yoga injury story (a.k.a why my left hip is now more open than my right).

When I got back into yoga at 19, I was committed to a very vigorous practice.
Everyday I practiced yoga–a vinyasa, heart-racing interval inspired form of yoga and I loved it.

One afternoon, I was practicing in my backyard –determined, after many failed attempts, to progress into Bird of Paradise.
Bind the leg, lift it up, extend it out and… I actually did it!

Bird of Paradise, psh no problem now! (However, keep in mind this is on my good side…)

 

Then, my E G O got in the way of my practice.

Incredibly overjoyed that I nailed Bird of Paradise, I ran right off my mat and inside the house to show my boyfriend, Colman. I didn’t even bother to finish my practice. I urgently needed someone to appreciate this physical feat I just accomplished.

Boy, did karma bite back in response to my ego.

“Watch! I just did Bird of Paradise!” I called to him.
Standing in the middle of the kitchen, he watched me perform the pose.
I did just as I had before– bind the leg, lift it up, extend it out and… POP!

I just stood there with my arms still bound around my leg.
If “holy shit” had a facial expression… I would’ve been wearing it.

 

Of course, Colman, on the other hand, thought it was hilarious.
“Did you just pop your hip?!

I casually put my leg back on the ground oh-so-tenderly, and tried to laugh along with him. Ha ha ha…funny, I thought, I can’t bear weight on my left leg without immense pain shooting into my hip.

What yoga should look like. Enjoying the process 🙂

The next couple of days were pure hell.
I limped along thinking I permanently damaged my hip, and my exercise days were over at age 19. I couldn’t jump back into plank. Couldn’t run. Couldn’t squat.
Despite the pain, I kept teaching my yoga and group exercise classes (very slowly and without any burpees). My hip felt better each day, but it still took nearly 5 months for a full recovery. The only upside to this disaster was my left hip felt more open than ever before. Attn: I do NOT recommend you use this method to open your hips

Ego injured my body. I’ve seen many students experience similar situations—going into poses too far, too fast.

Early in my yoga practice, I would attend a studio class with a bias. I wanted to be the star of the room— the pupil with the most flexibility and strength. My ego wanted to be recognized.

Later on, something shifted in my yoga practice. I no longer needed to be the master of splits or invert on command. I just wanted to feel good while I was practicing.

The unfortunate truth: the ego will always be present at some degree in your yoga.

You may try to copy your neighbor’s form during class or get frustrated with your hamstrings that seem extra tight that day. Perhaps, you may even be forcing a pose even though you’re holding your breath to stay there. All of these instances are forms of ego in play during our yoga practice.

What can we do to control the ego?

When you feel ego taking over, encourage process over product.
How do you feel while practicing? What do you feel?
Yoga is an experiential outlet, not just “achieving” pose after pose. Every day is different, thus your poses will look different today than they did last week. While it’s a natural tendency to strive towards a goal, it’s unhealthy to constantly struggle. Your yoga practice is the moment in your day where you can let go of the achievement and merit narrative. Yoga won’t give gold stars for perfect form, but your investment isn’t wasted.

The return on your practice is a simple equation: less ego –> less injury + more peace of mind.

Asana of the Day: Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana).

The quintessential pose.

It took me f o r e v e r to finally feel comfortable in downward dog. My wrist and upper body strength was poor when I first started, so going into downward dog was certainly not a rest pose.

However, when you can get your body used to and attuned to all the nuances of the pose, it becomes a truly enjoyable mild inversion with lots of benefits.

Including: spinal decompression, shoulder opening, and hamstring stretching. Continue reading “Asana of the Day: Downward Facing Dog”