10 Simple Questions to Ask Before Buying a Yoga Mat

Looking for a new yoga mat?

Here are 10 short and simple questions to ask yourself…

  1. How much do I want to spend?
  2. Do I really need a new yoga mat?
  3. How thick of a mat do I want?
  4. Do I really need a new yoga mat?
  5. How much do I sweat?
  6. Do I really need a new yoga mat?
  7. Will I have to carry it a lot?
  8. Do I really need a new yoga mat?
  9. How important are health and environmental concerns to me?
  10. Do I really need a new yoga mat?

I love yoga mats…so I ask these questions a lot…

[UPDATE 3 Feb 12: Just added a new mat to the collection–Lululemon’s “The Mat“–lovin’ it!…
…I told you I have a problem:)]

How to Roll A Yoga Mat…and Survive!

I stared at this picture for a while before I realized I’ve been rolling up my yoga mat wrong all these years…glad I survived! I mean this is just one more shred of evidence proving how harmful yoga really can be.

Fabulous artwork courtesy of Alison Hinks, creative yogi extraordinaire!

50 Amazing Yoga Quotes and a Winner of the Manduka eKO Lite Yoga Mat Giveaway


Congratulations to Dani, winner of Daily Cup of Yoga’s Manduka eKO Lite yoga mat giveaway!! Thanks to all for participating, following, and sharing. The yoga quotes totally rock!! Now that I’ve read through all of them a few times it makes me want to go unroll my yoga mat right now.  I think you’ll enjoy reading and pondering these quotes as much as I have.
  1. “Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.” ~ Krishnamacharya
  2. ‎”I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.” ~ Gandhi
  3. “One becomes firmly established in practice only after attending to it for a long time, without interruption and with an attitude of devotion.” ~ Yoga Sutra I.14
  4. Samskara saksat karanat purvajati jnanam. Through sustained focus and meditation on our patterns, habits, and conditioning, we gain knowledge and understanding of our past and how we can change the patterns that aren’t serving us to live more freely and fully.” ~ Yoga Sutra III.18
  5. “The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
  6. “For me, yoga is not just a workout – it’s about working on yourself.” ~ Mary Glover
  7. “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
  8. “Have only love in your heart for others. The more you see the good in them, the more you will establish good in yourself…” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
  9. ‎”Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.”  ~ Jason Crandell
  10. “ Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built.” ~ Rumi
  11. “You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” ~ Sharon Gannon
  12. ‎”In the darkness, I am light.”
  13. “Everyone can do Ashtanga. Except lazy people.” Sharath Jois
  14. “Just breathe.”
  15. “Yoga takes you into the present moment, the only place where life exists.”
  16. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl
  17. ‎”The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind & the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
  18. “Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.” ~ Yoga Sutras
  19. “In stillness all conflict must end.” ~ Phillip Urso
  20. ‎”To perform every action artfully is yoga.” ~ Swami Kripalu
  21. “Breathe…”
  22. ‎”Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
  23. “Don’t forget to breathe!”
  24. ‎”The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.” ~ Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
  25. “A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves.” ~ Jay Fields
  26. Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu. May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
  27. “The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind.” ~ Rodney Yee
  28. “Stirum sukham asanam. Seated posture should be steady and comfortable.” ~ Yoga Sutra
  29. “When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
  30. “When we can remove the masks of our own making, then the one who has been longing to be seen sees itself unbounded, just as it is.”
  31. “You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”
  32. “The pose begins when you want to leave it.”
  33. “The wisdom obtained in the higher states of consciousness is different from that obtained by inference and testimony as it refers to particulars.” ~ Yoga Sutra
  34. “Let your practice be a celebration of life” ~ Seido lee deBarros
  35. “He shining, everything shines through him.” ~ Bhagavad Gita
  36. “Ashtanga yoga is 99 percent practice, one percent theory.”  ~ Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
  37. “Remember, it doesn’t matter how deep into a posture you go – what does matter is who you are when you get there.” ~ Max Strom
  38. “Make an attitude to be in gratitude, you will find the whole Universe will come to you.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
  39. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Gandhi
  40. “The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind.” ~ Rodney Yee
  41. “Eye on the drishti!”
  42. “Any belief, whatever it is, is counterproductive in the context of the practice of yoga. One holds a belief instead of knowing. For example, you wouldn’t say you believe in your right ear, since you know your ear, no belief is required. Believing always excludes knowing. When jnana (supreme knowledge) comes through the practice of yoga, you will know. Do not be satisfied with believing.” ~ Gregor Maehle
  43. “Breathe through it, and release anything that does not serve you.”
  44. “First month paining, second month tired, third month flying.” ~ Sharath Jois
  45. “Namaste!”
  46. “Submit to a daily practice. Your loyalty to that is a ring at the door. Keep knocking, and eventually the joy inside will look out to see who is there.”
  47. “Practice and all is coming.” ~ Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
  48. “The world is the gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.” ~ Swami Vivekananda
  49. “Desire, ask, believe, receive.” ~ Stella Terrill Mann
  50. “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”

Daily Cup of Yoga Presents…Cyber Monday Manduka eKO Lite Yoga Mat Giveaway!!

Cyber Monday is upon us…and some checking accounts will survive better than others, but there’s one thing for sure:

You can’t beat a FREE Manduka Yoga eKO Lite Mat
on Cyber Monday!!!

That’s right, one lucky winner will score a sweet new yoga mat courtesy of Manduka to keep for themselves or to share the gift of yoga with someone else.  A little background on the eKO Lite:

The eKO Lite Mat is a wonder of eco-conscious innovation and convenience. Developed by yoga teachers looking for a high-performance, environmentally friendly mat, the eKO Lite features Manduka’s proprietary natural closed-cell rubber and comfortable sea-grass texture. The eKO Lite marries performance and durability with a lightweight, travel-friendly design. The eKO Lite will leave no footprint in landfills, and is perfect for people who want to make a commitment to our planet and take their yoga practice on the road.

Rules of the giveaway:

You have three ways to enter the contest…

1.  Follow both Daily Cup of Yoga and Manduka on Twitter and send a tweet to @dailycupofyoga using hashtag #yogahack.
2.  Like both Daily Cup of Yoga and Manduka on Facebook and leave a comment on Daily Cup of Yoga’s Facebook page with your favorite yoga-related quote.
3.  Leave a comment on this post with your favorite yoga-related quote.

Pick one or all three entry methods.  Do all three and increase your chances of winning!

I totally understand that many of you probably already follow Daily Cup of Yoga and Manduka on Twitter and Facebook, so your entry will still count if you send a tweet using the #yogahack hashtag or leave a quote on Facebook.

Anyhow, at the end of the day, I really don’t care that it’s Cyber Monday…I’m just excited to give away an amazing yoga mat to one of Daily Cup of Yoga’s amazing readers.  Hence, the giveaway period will last from now until Wednesday morning (probably some time around 8 o’clock a.m. Eastern).  The contest winner will be picked at random and announced Thursday morning.

Om Shanti on a crazy Cyber Monday and good luck!

P.S. You also have until the end of today to score 20% off any order on Manduka.com.  Use the code GIVETHANKS at checkout!!

Manduka Introduces the John Friend Collection

My favorite yoga gear company, Manduka, recently partnered with yoga teacher and founder of Anusara Yoga, John Friend, to create its first ever-cobranded line of yoga gear.  Since I think this is a great step forward in providing high-quality, innovative yoga gear, I wanted to share a few highlights from the recent press release to give you a flavor of this new collection:

Going outside the 24″ industry standard width for yoga mats, the John Friend Collection by Manduka will launch initially with two extra wide mats including the 29-inch wide eKO Superlite and 30-inch wide PROlite.  This is the first time the yoga community will have access to such a high quality blend of innovative technology and the veteran experience of John Friend in a mat, providing superior comfort and sufficient space to align the body and explore yoga postures.  The added space allows for a deeper expression of movement and a better connection between body, mat and heart.
Manduka’s take:
“Our partnership with renowned yoga teacher John Friend allows us to provide the most innovative and ecologically responsible yoga gear in a new way ,” said Sky Meltzer, CEO of Manduka.  “Together we’ve aligned to create a collection that pushes industry standards, pouring over four decades of expertise into designs that will inspire yoga practitioners worldwide.”
John Friend’s take:
“For years I’ve been committed to the teaching that yoga comes from the heart—that it is a practice accessible to all and brings out your inner joy and divine energy,” said John Friend, Founder of Anusara yoga.  “Manduka is a company that embodies the same principles while providing high quality products to enhance your practice.  I am honored to collaborate with such an authentic company to bring an amazing new line of gear to the yoga community, deepening the connection between heart and mat, and inspiring students of any level to enjoy more energetic freedom during their practice.”

Click the banner below to check out the new collection!

Manduka eQua Towel Provides Amazing Non-slip Yoga Surface

I ran three miles on the treadmill this morning and then jumped on the yoga mat for some oh so nice cool down poses. Usually when I run I sweat buckets, then by the time I unroll my yoga mat I’m dripping puddles on my mat and slipping around like an ice skater.   It’s kind of gross…and dangerous at times.  Not so today, though.  While I really do like my Black Mat, the truth is when I start sweating a lot it gets a bit slippery.  Maybe I just haven’t worn it in well enough yet.  Anyhow, I think I’ve finally found the perfect combination.

After reading the reviews about the Yogitoes Skidless Premium Mat and the Manduka eQua Towel, I decided to give the eQua Towel a try (I bought the long towel). Although I’m still trying to avoid making unnecessary, life-complicating purchases, I decided that investment in a new yoga towel might slip into an exception to the rule somehow, especially since I’ve been getting tired of feeling my hands and feet sliding out from underneath me while I’m bent over backwards in wheel pose.  Let me just say that in the few days I’ve practiced on it I’m extremely impressed with the new-found non-slip surface the eQua Towel provides when the sweat really gets dripping.  I practiced wheel pose the other day without a hint of slippage.  The towel doesn’t slip, your hands don’t slip, everything stays where it’s supposed to.  It’s awesome! Just that little extra reassurance that my hands felt on the towel made a huge difference in how I practiced the pose.

While the Yogitoes Skidless may be a great towel as well, I can certainly vouch for the eQua Towel as a great addition to your yoga practice.  Drop any questions you have about the towel in the comments and I’ll answer whatever I can based on my experience.

Namaste!

DIY Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat Cleaning Solution

Helpful post at Eco Yogini with eco-friendly solutions for freshening up a dirty yoga mat. She shares a vinegar water spray recipe for daily use. Here it is:

In an old spray bottle…combine

  • You could also add some lavendar or other essential oil that makes you happy.1 part vinegar,
  • 3 parts water, and
  • 10 drops of tea tree essential oil.

Pretty simple.

 

Expand Your Yoga Practice with iPhone Yoga Apps

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve accumulated a fair number of yoga apps on my iPod Touch. Though I haven’t played around with them enough to decide which ones I like best, here’s the current list of yoga apps on my iPod [links go to iTunes App Store]:

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I did most of the primary series yesterday using the iPhone YogaMat app to follow along with an Ashtanga podcast I downloaded on iTunes. The app thing worked much better than I expected, especially since the full version of the YogaMat app has the primary and intermediate series sequences already programmed in. However, the YogaMat app only has poses, no instruction. The little stick figure guys are great though.

That worked so well that I decided to practice today with Yoga Journal’s iPractice app. The iPractice app has voice instruction and background music to practice with. The full version of iPractice has 15 complete classes. It’s basically Yoga Journal’s “Home Practice” section on steroids. Having some good yoga instruction on my iPod made squeezing yoga practice into a busy day away from home a cinch.

FYI: This weekend only, if you’re looking for a nice yoga app, Authentic Yoga with Deepak

Chopra and Tara Stiles is on sale for 99 cents. I bought it for $2.99, so that’s a real good deal.  It’s one of the best looking yoga apps I’ve seen and it has tons of great video and audio instruction.  Highly recommended!

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43 Creative Ways to Reuse or Recycle Your Old Yoga Mat

Let’s face it, even if your favorite yoga mat is bulletproof and will never ever wear out, there’s still a decent chance that you have a collection of yoga mats laying around the house, most likely never to be used for their intended purpose ever again.  Eventually, one day you may decide to tidy up the place and gaze in astonishment at all your mats. First, you’ll wonder where the heck they all came from.  And second, you’ll wonder what the heck to do with them since you really don’t need old, worn-out mats filling up the corners of every room in your house, do you?

Well, it certainly looks yogic to have a mat in every corner, but then you think to yourself there must be something practical I could do with all these extra pieces of large, spongy, colorful, plastic rectangles.   The simple answer:

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

After a little personal introspection and Internet research, I compiled this list of 43 creative ways to reuse, recycle, and extend your old yoga mats’ non-yoga related usefulness.  Sound fun?  Get your scissors ready.  Off you go:

My Personal Top 10 Reuse/Recycle Options:

  1. Turn your mat into a bleacher cushion.  Great for those hard bleachers when watching sporting events.  Here’s how:  Step 1) Cut the mat into equal pieces to make one top and bottom (the size of a newspaper laid flat); Step 2) Punch holes about every 2 inches with a paper hole punch all the way around (both top and bottom); Step 3) Take a couple of days worth of newspapers and lay them between the top and bottom (or if you have another old mat to sacrifice, chop it up and use it as the cushioning); Step 4) Use yarn, ribbon, rawhide, etc. to lace the holes and tie off.  Oh yeah, pretty sweet, huh?  To re-stuff, untie and add new newspaper.  Easy to store, lightweight, washable, reusable, and comfortable
  2. Leave the beach towel home and bring your old yoga mat to the beach instead (caution! may induce spontaneous yoga poses on the beach 🙂
  3. Save your floors and roll out the old mats for the kids to do messy craft projects on
  4. Along the same lines as number 1, fold mat in four, place in a pillow cover, and you have a cheap and comfy meditation cushion
  5. Donate your old mat to a mat recycling program such as Recycle Your Mat, an eco-conscious organization whose goal is to re-purpose or recycle the world’s unwanted yoga mats.  Apparently Manduka offers 20% discount on your next mat purchase if you go this route!  Jade Yoga also offers a 3R Program where yoga students can drop off their used up and unwanted mats to participating studios who, with Jade’s help will find local resources to reuse or donate the mats.  I’m sure there’s more recycling programs like these, so feel free to comment if you know of other programs that deserve a mention
  6. Enjoy yoga in the wild! Use old mats as a “Guerrilla Yoga” mat alternative (okay, I just mean plain old outside yoga, but Guerrilla Yoga sounds so much more primitive).  Most, if not all, “eco” mats are susceptible to damage by the elements and using them for outside practice is not the best idea.   Now you don’t have to jack up your good mat doing it
  7. How could the computer geek inside me resist a nice, thick, cushiony yoga mouse pad for surfing the Internet
  8. I really hate rattling stereo speakers.  Place cut out yoga mat squares under those noisy stereo speakers to reduce vibration rattle
  9. Do you absolutely love the feel of yoga mat on your feet?  Why not cut out yoga mat insoles for all your shoes.  Now you’re a true yogi!  Oh, wait, no your not unless you’ve tried number 10…
  10. True yogis don’t wear shoes, right?  Why not make a pair of flip-flops out of your yoga mat?!?  Click the link and/or watch the video below for everything you need to know.  You’re going to need these for going to the beach (see #2 above)

Click through the jump to see the rest of the list… [Read more…]

Even American Girls Dolls Need Yoga Accessories…

My daughter loves American Girls dolls and I’m pretty much a sucker when it comes to doll accessories…. Looks like I’m in trouble!