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Yoga & Meditation Products

This category contains all discussions that surround the use of various types of products in all different kinds of yoga and meditation practices. These products can be as familiar as mats, or as exotic as bolsters, pillows, and other accessories.
  • Modified Viparita Karani—aka “Instant Maui”

    We could all use retreat time. When most of our days are filled with activities and responsibilities, taking a five-minute break—let alone a 20-minute one—can seem out of reach. Not to mention that it often seems a waste to “do nothing” We in the West tend to believe that the busier we are, the more value there is to our lives. Accomplishing things feels good. How we spend our days is important. But taking time to rest is equally important. Lizzie Lasater, daughter of Judith Hanson Lasater (author of Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times), explains the importance...

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  • How Yoga Props Advance Your Practice

    Some of my students have been attending my classes since the early ’90s. Over the years, it’s been interesting for me to watch my students using more yoga props, rather than fewer. In the early years of their practice, some people looked at props as being “crutches” that were only necessary for less experienced students. Since then, my longtime students have gradually let go of the idea that “perfect” poses, fancy poses or poses that push our bodies past beyond healthy limits are the point of practice. My experienced students, many of whom are very flexible and fit from long-term...

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  • Take a Seat: How to Choose a Meditation Cushion or Bench

    People sometimes chuckle when I tell them that sitting meditation is physically rigorous. But it’s true. When you sit still and tune into your body for any length of time, you’re likely to become uncomfortable. And sitting for long periods in the same position will at some point start to make you antsy. Even in my hour-long meditation class, people sometimes experience physical difficulties. That’s when I work with them to find the best sitting position and the best support for each person’s individual structure. How comfortable you are when you’re practicing sitting meditation is largely determined by what you...

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  • The First Sticky Yoga Mat: A History

    There was a time when yogis in America practiced on bare floors and bath towels. If you were lucky, your yoga class took place on a hardwood floor, one with a finish that had at least a modicum of friction. Reality was, most of us ended up sliding around on linoleum, wood, concrete or carpet. Standing poses and Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) were an exercise in frustration. No matter how much we might have wanted to open our hearts, expand into the light, etc., we were always holding back, trying to keep from ending up in a...

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  • Junior Bolsters: 3 Luxurious Restorative Poses

    People come in all shapes, sizes and levels of strength and flexibility. Because of this, BKS Iyengar invented yoga props to help everyone achieve comfort and steadiness in various poses. While some props, such as yoga blocks, have versatility built in—blocks have three usable dimensions—others, like our Standard Bolsters, may or may not fit everyone. That’s why Hugger Mugger developed Junior Bolsters. These bolsters were originally designed to create an alternative for adults with smaller bodies. But in the decade since they first came on the market, we’ve found lots of other uses for them, no matter what your body...

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  • Zafu or Bench? How Yoga’s Vayus Can Make or Break Your Meditation

    In the early 1990s, when I was just a few years into vipassana meditation practice, I sat a 10-day silent retreat. It was my fourth such retreat, so I knew that physical discomfort would visit from time to time, especially in the first few days. On every retreat up until that point, I’d experienced physical pain in my shoulders and back—a deep pain that was absent in my daily life. I knew my knees would tire, and I’d feel both sleepy and restless at times. But on this particular retreat, there was an inexplicable agitation I couldn’t place. I felt...

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  • Back to School: Refresh Your Yoga Supplies

    It’s that time again. It’s time to “get serious” and get back to school. You may be about to return to a formal institutional-type educational setting. Or maybe you’re heading back to yoga class after a few months of inconsistent practice. Either way, we seem to be conditioned to settle back into a more regular routine come fall. I certainly notice this in my own yoga classes. After 32 years of teaching, I long since stopped taking the inconsistent numbers in my summer classes personally. I missed a fair number of classes myself this summer. I’m ever grateful for the...

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  • Invest in Some Yoga Teacher Training Essentials

    You love yoga. You want to share it. Or maybe you love yoga, you don’t really want to teach it,  but you want to study the practice more deeply than you can in your weekly class. So you decide to embark on yoga teacher training. No matter what your motivation for starting a teacher training, your intention is to delve deeper. This intention almost always brings with it a greater commitment to your practice. In most teacher trainings you spend a whole lot of time on your mat, learning the intricacies of poses and coming up with variations. Sometimes you’re...

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  • The Return of the Yogatard

    We’ve all heard this old fashion trope: If you wait long enough, everything comes back into fashion. It seems that day has come for a longtime yoga wear staple: the Yogatard. A “one-and-done” garment, these great made-for-yoga unitards are comfortable, functional and as it turns out, once again fashion forward. Back in the 1990s, yogatards (a.k.a. “unitards”)  were all the rage in the yoga world. At that time, Iyengar yoga was blossoming. With its focus on alignment precision, Iyengar yogis were especially keen on wearing one-piece yoga wear. Yogatards give teachers the ability to show alignment details—without showing everything else...

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  • American-Made Yoga Products

    In recent years, there’s been a whole lot of discussion about “buying American.” Truth be told, it’s not as easy as it once was. In the mid-20th century, manufacturing led the U.S. economy. More recently, companies have chosen to cut labor costs and move their facilities elsewhere. Manufacturing products in the U.S. not only provides American jobs: it’s also more sustainable for our environment. Foreign-made products have to travel a long way to get to their final destinations. That travel starts with huge cargo ships that run on the cheapest diesel fuel available. These goods are then loaded onto heavy-polluting...

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