There is no doubt that the mind/body connection is one that must be taken seriously and made a priority in ones self care ritual. But often I feel unmotivated and usually not really inspired to workout in any way. I usually get very excited when I purchase some great products to help me look forward to wearing it for exercise.
The first time I went to a yoga class I felt intimidated and fearful of being judged because I wasn’t sure if I was going to fit in or make strange noises during a pose. Fortunately, if you choose a reputable yoga studio, the teacher will make you feel at home and comfortable with your own level of experience and flexibility. So once you have noticed that the fear was all in your head now comes the “what to wear and bring” worry.
YOGA CLASS ESSENTIALS
I never believed the hype about a yoga mat being an investment until I started using it on a consistent basis. Yes they can be pricy but buying a name brand for a little more money will guarantee you’ll never be shopping for a mat for at least several years or more. I received my Lululemon sticky mat for Christmas and love it. It is very heavy to lug around to classes but the quality cannot be beat. I use it for my home practice, but Manduka’s Pro Yoga and Pilates Mat is perfect for taking to class because it isn’t that heavy and it has good grip. I put the mat in a sling style carry on with a handy pouch so that I can have some hand cream and lip balm handy, not to mention some wipes. The Gaiam On the go yoga carrier is great. Also, don’t forget a towel. I don’t necessarily like it on the mat when I am practicing but I do use it to put over a bolster when we do some poses that require your head to touch. I don’t want to worry about whose sweaty head or neck was on that bolster before me. Water bottles are becoming an obsession of mine because there are so many beautiful ones on the market. My all time favorite is the BKR Bottle but they tend to be very small and costly. I received mine in a Box of Style from Rachel Zoe and fell madly in love instantly. So much so that I hide it so that my daughter doesn’t walk away with it. But for yoga, I prefer the French Bull Stainless Steel bottle in an ombre design.
Now for the important outfits. So I tend to always wear black, but lately I am becoming a little more daring and have been known to wear some yoga pants with different prints. I feel legit in them, it screams “I AM GOING TO YOGA”, but you would not be caught dead in the street or gym with those patterns. I tone it down with a solid top, and no it is not a crop. The one thing I cannot feel comfortable in is the bras that are all strappy and complicated, my preferred bra is an $8 bra from Hanes. Why do I love it? Because it is thin, stretchy and one of the most comfortable sports bras I have and I can take it off with ease. It doesn’t have padding but I don’t mind it and I wear it to kayak, walking and just to hang out doing chores. The only thing I don’t recommend using it for is if you are in a class that has you bouncing.
After class, I always feel very invigorated and warm but as soon as I get out of the classroom the temperature seems to dip, not to mention the air conditioner in the car. I always carry a Wrap with me and my favorite is the Soybu Wrap it’s thin enough to just give you a layer of warmth. And an outfit would not be complete without footwear. I can get away with wearing the Sanuk Yoga Sling almost all year round because I am in Florida, these slings bring comfort to a whole new level for your feet. I tend to wear them just out and about. If there happens to be a frigid day, I wear my slip-ons by Skechers. Anything with a memory foam inside is my favorite.
During Savasana I always use my lavender eye pillow. Believe it or not it does help by helping you be in complete darkness and the little extra weight forces your eyes to relax. I always dab lavender oil before I put it in my bag so that I have a scent when I put them on. As a side note, all the product I mentioned were purchased in Amazon.
Now on to meditation, when I looked into starting a meditation practice, the first thing I read to do was find a quiet space not necessarily a room but just a corner and make it just for meditation. So I searched on Pinterest for some inspiration. Some of the items needed was a Himalayan lamp for a warm and tranquil mood. Wonderful smelling incense in a beautiful stand is essential for the ritual just like a soy candle to light which signals the start of your meditation ritual. The meditation pillow should be firm and deeper than a regular pillow so that you can sit comfortably with the legs somewhat relaxed as you cross them. If you feel a little overwhelmed or have a sense of negative vibes in your space, it is very helpful to burn sage and walk around from the baseboards and carry the smoke up to the ceiling and in the surround space and finish off passing it around yourself and let the sage continue to burn in the abalone shell for a while. It may seem like a lot to do but all those elements come together to center yourself and send a message to your mind that you are ready to take time for yourself. When I am ready to meditate I put a small jewelry box next to me (my husband brought a beautiful one from Korea) which houses my crystals, mala beads, a feather and a few small sentimental items from my children. I start by setting my intention as I rub the crystals. Then as I take out each sentimental item from my box, I look at them and think of some positive memories associated with each item and place them on the floor around me. Next are the mala beads, to help my monkey mind settle a bit, I start counting each mala bead while mentally repeating a mantra. I have worked up to a minute give or take of meditating without interruption. I know it doesn’t seem to be a big deal but when I first started I just could not shut my brain down and then I read that you weren’t suppose to. Allow your thoughts to manifest and then let them go and little by little 10 seconds turns into 1 minute and my goal is to meditate for 5 minutes, I don’t think I will ever find the time for 20 or even 40 minutes but who knows what may happen. Below are the some of my favorite products that I purchased or were given to me and they are all available in Amazon.
Self care takes on many forms, from bathing, exercising, mani/pedis, the list is truly endless. What I learned is that whatever form of self care you choose, it is important to make it a priority. When my children were little, going to the supermarket or even taking a shower was a moment that I cherished and did not take for granted. The ability to be by yourself and apply your mind to your needs, thoughts and wants was rare and honestly wasn’t the thing to do years ago. Now that I am an empty nester, time is abundant but old habits are hard to break. Choosing to meditate instead of watching television, doing yoga instead of having a bag of potato chips are choices that should not be up for argument, and I don’t know about you but I have to make an effort to choose my self care time wisely. I am still a work in progress but when I do yoga and meditation, I feel rejuvenated. Hope you have a practice or ritual that calms you and gives back to you in the best way possible. All the best!