I’ve recently become an affiliate of MANDUKA products mainly because of the company’s great overall philosophy but also the products they sell. Their mats are exceptionally great and Manduka has a fairly wide range to suit any Yogi’s needs. The mats come in a variety of lengths and thicknesses. They have a travel “eKO lite” mats that folds instead of the traditional rolling as well as mats that are more suitable for environments like a hot yoga class.
I have a Black Pro mat that is the extra long length, 85 inches x 26 inches, to accommodate my height. It’s certainly not “lite” and weighs in at 9.5 lbs. The standard version of this mat is the same width but 71 inches long (7.5 lbs.). Once set up, this mat offers a space that has great foot grip, even in hot yoga. I’ve even used it as a make shift mattress on an unexpected night of sleep in the back of my SUV. I have a nice Manduka can to carry it in and I might consider getting one of the lighter mats when I’m travelling or wanting a lighter load.
One advantage of this mat is the thickness. At 5mm, it is easy on the knees. I seem to want to step off the mat when in a balancing pose. The floor seems to give a little more stability than standing on a thicker mat – at least for me. The verdict on this Manduka Pro is definitely a thumbs up.
If you’re like me, getting to your yoga practice is often a rushed affair that ends in finding a place in the studio and landing on the mat just in time for the instructor to begin. But if possible, there are some essential things that should be considered before one depends to the mat to begin the practice.
- Be mentally ready to begin approximately an hour of letting go of your daily demands and focusing on yourself through your yoga. This is a time for you and it’s important to allow this space to be as much as it can be, especially if you are putting the effort into doing it.
- Make sure you have all of the equipment needed – primarily your mat and water. Most studios have block and straps as well as other props. It’s like having your gym stuff in your bag ready to go.
- Try to avoid heavy meals or simply eating close to practice time. Most yoga experts recommend an “empty” stomach. Hydration before during and after is always recommended. So bringing water is good.
- Wear your best and most comfortable yoga apparel that will bring out the best in you. Try to keep them ready and fresh. Having the appropriate yoga apparel that is fresh and comfortable works for you, your fellow yogis and teachers who get close-up doing adjustments.
- Be on time and ready to go. Adjusting your schedule so that you can be a few minutes before class time allows everyone to grab a spot in the studio that is best suited to them. Teachers appreciate this too!
Feel free to add to this list with your own experience.
There are so many places in the world that are great destinations for finding space, relaxation and, if you want, excitement and adventure. When someone takes a journey either near or far and finds a space for themselves and come back with great memories of the experience, it is time very well spent – especially if you were able actively relax, enjoy your time or even feel that you’ve achieved something new and interesting . Here’s 2 of my initial entries in this category.
- Newfoundland – Virtually all of the Province of Newfound, Canada is a place of peace , tranquility and adventure. The province has a great online site. There is a city on the East Coast, Corner Brook as well as the Capital on the East Coast of the province. One of my favourite spots is just outside the City of St. John’s called Cape Spear. This beautiful Cape is a majestic piece of the land that is actually the most Eastern part of North America. The amazing experience is going there for a sunrise (I have) so you can be the actual first person in North America to see the sun on that day.
- Osheaga – On literally another note anthem, Osheaga is the annual summer Alternative Music Festival held over three days in Montreal, Canada. I include this because it’s opportunity to simply get lost and involved in a musical, cultural and social phenomenon. The catch is that you are doing it with about 100, 000 other people. Sure, you’re not standing on shore with no one around for miles – just the opposite. But there is something I it if Alternative Music is your thing – there’s actually a wide range of music in this genre. The people are nice, there is an air of freedom and fun. There’s even a kind of “Burning Man (Nevada Desert), feel to the place.
I’d be interested in hearing about your getaways and experiences.
photo credit: Newfoundland and Labrador Dept. of Tourism
The important part of the title is “your approach”. Just like your own finger print, your stress is unique and the approach to deal with stress and anxiety is as individual as you.
- Thinking is an important aspect of any approach to daily stress or anxiety. The style of our thought patterns often plays a role in how we deal with challenges such as stressors or symptoms of anxiety. One of the Best approaches is seen in the Centre for Positive Psychology that is directed by Dr. Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania.
2. Physical Activity remains an important part of any approach to the management of daily stress and symptoms of anxiety. There is quite a lot of research to support the benefits of regular exercise for mental and physical health. Especially exercise that you enjoy. I previously reviewed an article posted by the American Psychological Association.
Your Approach to Taking Care of Yourself is as Unique as your Fingerprint
3. Getting Help . Help can come in the form of a good book that you find to have the information that you need , such as Kabot-Zinn’s Full Catastrophie Living or a therapist who is trained in the area in which you need help. Psychologists and other mental health professionals, especially in private practices, are able to list the areas of specialty in their public listings. You can also see what organizations and licensing bodies they are affiliated with. If you feel that you need the assistance of a professional – it’s important to get someone suitable for you. Most will even answer questions before you make a commitment to refer yourself.
These are some key features that I recommend considering.. I’m interested in your views.
Even though the list can be endless, I think that the following 5 components of tacking your stress are essential for any plan!
1 . ENJOY the activities that you are using to deal with your stress.
The American Heart Association has outlined the importance of actually incorporating enjoyable and pleasurable activities into your stress management plan. Doing things that you simply don’t enjoy does not work
2. Include Physical Exercise in you Stress and Anxiety Management.
3. Deal with Stress at Work.
4. Learn Assertiveness and Self Respect
5. Avoid the overuse of substances or artificial way to Reduce Stress .
Using substances like alcohol, drugs or ingestion of food and drinks such as cola or coffee can become an ineffective way – as well as problematic- to deal with stress. Simply put – It’s important to watch this aspect of your life and not make your “go to’s” a problem area for you. A relaxing coffee, tea, meal or other things like this can be a great part of your day. The National Library of Medicine has an interesting article on stress and vulnerability to addiction that is linked here.
Please add your comments and tips . This is just part of a plan for stress and anxiety management that can be effective.
Mindfulness, first made really popular by John Kabot-Zinn (sp) the author of “Full Catastrophe Living”, wanted people to be able to be present in their own experience of stress, joy, excitement and just simply the human experience. We now have a wide variety of “Mindful” approaches to stress anxiety and life management. Ultimately it’s the experience of living a moment in the fullest and hopefully feeling positive, aware and good.
We can all be our own experts on developing an approach that is unique and effective for each of us. The other day I was caught in a moment where I watched some spring chickadees at my bird feeder as I pulled into my driveway. A few minutes passed as I watched them fly to and from the protection of a nearby bush. I really didn’t think about it as mindfulness at the time but I was not thinking about anything else for those few minutes except the two small creatures and the beauty of the scene (cue the music). Anyway, that a mindful experience.
I’d be interested to hear about the experiences of others.