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Voted #1 Most Sustainable Mat and Top 7 mats of 2021 by Yoga Journal. Voted #1 Most Sustainable and Top 7 Yoga Mat of 2021 by Yoga Journal.

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7 Simple Ways to Practice Self-love as a Yogi

7 Simple Ways to Practice Self-love as a Yogi

The meaning of Yoga is Union. Union with others, a higher power and one's true  self. It is a constant journey of self discovery and learning to love who we truly are. The practice of yoga has infinite lessons, and one of the most profound is self-love and acceptance. Here are 7 small ways you can practice more self-love as a yogi for powerful effects!

1. 5 minutes of meditation in the morning

We wake up with a clean slate each morning and meditation can help set the tone for our whole day. Meditation is a simple practice of being a present and non judgmental observer of our thoughts instead of a reactor. We have about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. 80% of our thoughts tend to be negative and 95% are the exact same as the day before! Imagine if we just tuned in, became a bit more aware of what these thoughts are and learned to focus on being present just a little more every day. Presence brings joy, presence brings clarity, it can stop cyclical negative thinking, all of which brings a sense of self love too. Our mind is our home and the act of exercising our mind to be present is one of the largest acts of kindness we can give ourselves. 

2. Tune into and honor what your body needs physically and emotionally.

Your yoga practice is a great time to tune into your body. When we slow down,  we become present in the body and "hear" little things like, "My neck is stiff, I think you've been working too much!" Or "I feel sluggish, perhaps we should eat better today."or  "Hey, I feel lots of anxiety stored up, why is this?"

If you have ever practiced yoga or sat present in your body then you know what I am talking about. Often when we keep too busy, often out of a need to feel productive, we can miss these messages. Our bodies hold amazing wisdom, it knows what it needs and the more we listen the better we will feel.

It sounds simple but it can be shocking how long we will go without being tuned into our bodies voice. When we ignore signs or don't take time to investigate discomfort in the body or mind (or we are told its normal) it can lead to injury or even chronic illness. This finally forces us to listen and make changes. Taking time to listen and honor our needs now is another way to show self-love and be our own best friend. 

3. Detox 1 item in your house per day

Almost everything has a safer alternative from our body and bath products, food, cleaning supplies, makeup, to even house paint and clothing. Take the time to research the materials and ingredient lists on one item a day. 

For yogis, when you get yourself an Oko Living herbal dyed mat, you are one step ahead already! Typical yoga mats are made of PVC the most toxic kind of plastic! The toxins in PVC off-gass and can enter our bodies via our breath or skin. Oko Living mats are 100% toxin free and use medicinal herbal dyes for optimal wellness. This is so important to yogis especially for a piece of equipment you use every single day! 

Lots of other things can off-gas in our home including our wall paints.  Amazingly we can actually purify and grow fresh air with these 3 amazing house plants: the Snake plant (aka Mother in Law's Tongue), Money Plant and the Areca palm. 

There are so many neat tricks to creating a healthier environment for yourself, so just start with one item a day :) 

4. Start your day with an intention

When we first hit the yoga mat, we stand in Tadasana, bring our hands to Anjali Mudra and set an intention. We can do the same everyday to help us flow through life in a good direction. Think about your main goal or energy you want to achieve that day and remind yourself throughout the day. 

5. Take time to rest

The entire yoga practice is dedicated to allow the deepest Savasana aka final resting pose. Don't underestimate the art of relaxation. Savasana can be the most difficult pose of your practice. Taking time for intentional rest is crucial to recovery and wellness. Especially now that many work from home or run their own businesses, work can start to creep into every hour of the day and focus is easily lost. Focused and intentional work and  rest time are essential to your own wellbeing. 

6. Choose high vibration foods

Your body is your temple and your one and only home. Food is your body's medicine and fuel. Healthy food is foundational to self-love, which also requires self control! Every body is different but Michael Pollan's famous guidelines can be a great start.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

To elaborate on this, by "food" he means real food, the kind your grandmother ate and comes from a farm and readily spoils.

"Not too much" means eat an amount that maintains a healthy body weight and energy level for your lifestyle. 

And when you eat "mostly plants" try to eat local and seasonal. Our bodies are engineered to eat seasonally and have a break from certain foods for 2-6 months. When we eat the same thing year round our guts become sensitive to them and hidden food sensitivities can cause weight gain and all kinds of health issues.

One bonus tip is to take a break from eating too! Try intermittent fasting  (eating only within a 8-10 hour  window) . Our guts need a break,to heal other parts of the body, we were not meant to eat all day long every day. So love your gut and eat well!

7. Connect with others and seek diversity in your yoga circle 

Opening up to new kinds of people grows your empathy and respect, which deepens our own self acceptance. Yoga is for all bodies, minds and hearts so take time to invite someone to yoga, or share your yoga journey with them.

Recently the young man who processes all the Oko Living mats at the shipping center shared about how he's getting into yoga and how it has changed him.  We exchanged some tips, it was fun and unexpected! Every time I come in I ask how his yoga journey is going and get so excited for him.

Go forth and love thy self

So those are 7 simple ways that we can practice self-love especially as a yogi. These small actions can bring profound changes in our lives when practiced routinely. Comment below if you found this helpful and share how you practice self-love on and off the mat!



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5 Tip for Starting a Meditation Practice

5 Tip for Starting a Meditation Practice

On Global Mental Health Awareness Day, we’re sending you this mediation video to teach you the foundations of a mindfulness practice you can do anytime, anywhere.

 

We are so happy to have our guest yogi Marisa LaValette guide this meditation. Marisa is a San Francisco-based yoga and meditation teacher. She’s the founder of Attune + Align, an online women’s wellness membership community. Here are her top 5 tips she shares with her students for starting a meditation practice. 

Top 5 Tips for Starting a Meditation Practice:

  1. Wear Comfortable Clothes: You’ll want to sit for meditation in light, loose clothing with an elastic waistband. 
  2. Get Quiet: Protect the energetic container of your space by shutting the door or lighting a candle.
  3. Get Grounded: You can sit for meditation on the floor on your OKO mat resting your hands on your knees or your thighs.  For some life you can also fold your mat or use a pillow, cushion, or folded blanket. If you’re seated in a chair, uncross your legs and rest the soles of your feet on the floor.
  4. Release Expectations: There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breathing. Thoughts will come and go as they please. 
  5. Repeat Over Time: Remember that meditation is a practice. Commit to sitting every morning or every for five to ten minutes with your eyes closed. Incorporate other modalities into your practice such as journaling or listening to spiritual music. 

Science Backed Reasons Meditation Helps

  1. Research shows that 30 minutes of meditation improves depression symptoms.
  2. Meditation can reduce stress by up to 40 percent
  3. It can keep colds away reducing respiratory illness and  increase recovery time. 
  4. Meditation can also help boost your memory and reduce mind clutter

Looking to learn more about meditation or want to meditate in a group setting? Join Marisa once each month for virtual chakra meditation sessions in Attune + Align women’s wellness monthly membership.

 

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How to Recycle or Repurpose Your Old Yoga Mat.

How to Recycle or Repurpose Your Old Yoga Mat.

*Photo by Jalynn Baker via HGTV

How to Recycle or Repurpose Your Old Yoga Mat.

So many people are learning about the toxic hazards of typical PVC yoga mats and deciding to invest in a new eco-friendly yoga mat. If so congrats! But what can we do with out old yoga mats?

Most modern yoga mats are manufactured with dyes and flame retardants that make them difficult for recycling plants to process.

So what is the most responsible way to handle your old yoga mat besides just tossing it?  

This is a tricky question so we did some digging to see what is possible.

Here are 3 ways you can recycle or repurpose your old yoga mat responsibly.

#1. Donate Your old Yoga Mat

There are plenty of places that can use your mat for good. Below are ideas of where you could donate your mat. Make sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize your mat before donating.

  • High-need communities
    • homeless shelter
    • substance abuse clinics,
    • orphanages
  • A nonprofit that uses yoga to help people
    • Many volunteer groups there are that teach yoga to prison inmates, children, and trauma survivors. Since yoga encourages peace and positivity, many nonprofits use it as a vehicle to help people heal and grow
    • Yoga Activist works with social programs and government agencies to help at-risk communities learn yoga.
    • Off the Mat Into the World uses yoga outreach programs to promote social justice and equality.
  • Animal Shelter
    • Like homeless shelters, many animal shelters are overcrowded and underfunded. Contact shelters in your area to see if you can drop the mat off. Animal shelters use the yoga mats as bedding for cats, dogs, and other pets. They also use them to transport smaller injured animals as well.[4]
    • Larger shelters that have decent funding, like the Humane Society, do not tend to accept yoga mat donations. Most local shelters will, though.
  • Local yoga studio may be interested in them
  • Many thrift stores will take yoga mats that are in good condition.
  • You can also try selling your mat on a site like Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace.

#2 Upcycle or Repurpose Them in your Home

The non-slip properties of yoga mats make them useful for plenty of other things if you want to get crafty! Check out our Pinterest board for hundreds of ideas! Below are just a few. 

  •  Put them under furniture or rugs to keep them from slipping,
  • Set the mat in your trunk to keep items from sliding around.
  • Cut out shapes, letters, and numbers for kids to play with.
  • Shoe mat
  • Shelf liner
  • Drying rack liner
  • Coaster
  • Coffee sleeve
  • Memo board
  • Place mat for your pets food and water or litter box
  • Bring it camping as a sleeping mat
  • Cut the mat into bases and use them for children’s baseball games 
  • mouse pads,
  • garden kneeling pads,

#3 Check if You Can Recycle your Old Yoga Mat

Option 1.  Recycle Facility

Contact recycling facilities in your area to see if they take yoga mats. Not every recycling facility is capable of recycling PVC, so check first. Likewise, if your mat is made from TPE or another synthetic rubber, it may be recyclable, but you should callto check.

Some recycling facilities will accept your mat to be used as a cushion or recycling pad. It's possible some recycling facilities will actually recycle it by cutting it up and melting it into a new material.

If they do accept it Clean it and take your mat to the recycling facility and pay a small fee to recycle it. Most recycling facilities will charge a $1-10 fee for the yoga mat.

Bring other recyclables with you if you have any. It’s kind of a waste to show up with only one item!

Option 2. Hazardous Materials Center

Some recycling centers for hazardous materials may take your yoga mat as well. These facilities often recycle materials that require individual attention.

Option 3. Terra Cycle 

If you're struggling to find a place to recycle your mat, Kaméa suggests checking out TerraCycle, an innovative company that's made it possible to recycle traditionally non-recyclable goods.

Take note: People with latex allergies will also react to rubber and should not use these mats.  

The best method is of course to do your due diligence before making any purchase so that we support the creation of responsible products. But of course in modern life this is near impossible to always do so if you have an old yoga mat it's nice to know there are ways to reduce your footprint.

If you have any tips or ideas  we would love to hear so leave them below!


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