Hot Yoga Hair Mask – Awesome Beauty Tip for Yogis

Or should I say …

Accidental But Somewhat Intentional (and AWESOME) Hot Yoga Hair Mask

If you are like me and you go to lots of hot yoga classes each week, you might be looking for an easy, low maintenence hair routine that stands up to all of the extra showers, headbands, and pony tails that can be hard on your hair. 

I came up with a great way to go to yoga and pamper your hair at the same time, kinda by accident one morning when I forgot to rinse out my conditioner in the shower. Not sure if it was laziness or lateness that was the motivating factor (maybe both?), but once I realized that I forgot to rinse, I had the brilliant idea to leave the conditioner in during the hot yoga class to super hydrate my hair and that I would use the showers at the yoga studio to rinse the conditioner out after class. So, I did go all morning with a kind of wet-looking messy bun, but my hair LOVED it. The result was super soft, shiny, thick, healthly-looking hair! Totally worth it. Now, I'll do this every other week or so. 

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Here is my hot yoga hydrating hair mask routine: 

Step 1: Shampoo as usual

Step 2: Rinse well

Step 3: Put normal amount of conditioner in hair (lately I have been loving this coconut conditioner)

Step 4: Do not rinse well 

Step 5: Do not blow dry

Step 6: Put hair in a loose but secure bun for yoga class

Step 7: Go to hot yoga

Step 8: After hot yoga, rinse hair well

Step 9: Dry and style as you like 

Pretty simple, right? Let me know how it works for you. 

Love,

Lindsay 

What is Yogi Surprise?

I'd like to introduce you to a new company called Yogi Surprise which I am personally really excited about! Members of Yogi Surprise will receive a monthly care package that is specifically designed with active yogis in mind. Their full site and services will be launching very soon! 

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The folks at Yogi Surpise describe their service to be "like a mini yoga retreat delivered to your doorstep." My first thought when I read this? Yes, please! As a full time yoga teacher and working mom, Yogi Surprise really appeals to me. I have learned over the years that self care and and high quality health and beauty products help me to be a better me. 

I have susbcribed to similar sample boxes in the past but I always felt that they were missing something. What I like about Yogi Surprise is that it addresses that "missing something" for me by providing yoga, wellness, and fitness lifestyle products as their unique offering. I also appreciate that with Yogi Surprise you'll get 6-8 full size products, not trial size! The items range from unique yoga accessories and natural beauty items to herbal tonics, organic snacks, super food essentials and more. Like I said, I am super excited! Stay tuned for more info. 

You can request an invite now and be automactically entered to win a LIFETIME membership to Yogi Surprise. 

 

NamaSTAY Hot Yoga Towel Review

I am so excited to be writing my first Hot Yoga product review in, ahem, a very long time. But this towel rocks! I just had to share.

The NamaSTAY Non Slip Yoga Towel

 
I love when I find a product that fits seamlessly into my practice without becoming a distraction. I honestly would rather go without the accessories than have something that I have to continually adjust and fix and keep an eye on while I practice. This is why I think it is totally worth it to invest in quality yoga props, to find a few key pieces that work so well you don't even notice them while you're practicing but you can't imagine being without them ( i.e. clothing that doesn't ride or chafe, a mat that is the right size, a block that does it all). I would definitely put the NamaSTAY towel into this category of quality and usefulness. 
 
 
The color options are terrific and varied and the texture of the towel is plush and soft. The microfiber material is absorbent and becomes even softer when wet. Also, like most yoga practice towels, the NamaSTAY towel grips even better when it is wet. This is especially helpful to know if you practice Hot Vinyasa styles, where you are at times moving between yoga poses at a faster pace. It also makes a difference in poses like Downward Facing Dog and arm balances, where you are using your hands on your mat to support some or all your body weight. 
 
 
My lululemon "The Mat," which is slightly bigger than the average yoga mat, fits perfectly into the sleeves at either end of the Medium Size NamaSTAY towel (they have a handy sizing chart on their website to help you find the best fit for your mat). The name NamaSTAY is spot on as this towel truly stays in place and, if you're like me and you like to get your sweat on, you know how important and helpful this feature is. A good, absorbent towel that doesn't slide around is necessary for safety during Hot Yoga practice. 
 

Try it Yourself

The wonderful folks at NamaSTAY Towels have set up a discount code for you, my dear readers. This code is good for 20% off a NamaSTAY Yoga Towel!
 
Simply enter case-sensitive code: LINDSAY when purchasing a towel at www.namastaytowel.com
 
If you are looking for a product that will support your yoga practice and not distract you from the goodness that comes with a sweet, sweaty flow, then I recommend you get a NamaSTAY yoga towel … or two! As you can see in the picture to the right, my NamaSTAY towel inspires me to kick up my feet and smile. 
 
Keep it Sweaty, 
 
Lindsay

The Power of Choice and The Yoga of Action

Life is Good

I mean, really, REALLY GOOD. It is easy, however, to get caught up in the not-so-good – the suffering, the disaster and the struggle. With so many of us fighting just to pay the bills and to put food on the table, it can be comforting to commiserate and complain with others who are experiencing the same thing. Lately though, I have noticed that focusing on the struggle is actually counter-productive. It is overwhelming and frankly pointless.

Suffering is Optional

I am aware that struggles will continue to occur in my life. I also realize that how I respond to the struggle is my choice. Yoga and mindfulness practices have helped me get to the point where I can notice the things in life, and in the world, that are unfair, unjust or downright difficult. I can notice these things and not get wrapped up in the hopelessness of it all. In the midst of crisis, I can still feel connected and comforted. I am fully aware of the suffering in my life and in the lives of others but I also see the potential that lies in each and every one of us. It is empowering. It is inspiring. It leads to the kind of action that can make a difference.

Unsure about what action you should take? Join the club.

If you find yourself feeling confused or helpless, know that you are not alone. Take comfort in your choices, even the little ones. Making a choice to live a life of mindfulness is taking action. Making a choice to roll out your mat or sit on your meditation cushion is taking action. Whether the choice is to go for a walk, to help a neighbor, or to simply feel better about yourself, the choice itself is the first step towards making a difference. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem, when you claim your power of choice, it has a snowball effect in your life.

Why Yoga?

In yoga practice we confront ourselves both physically and mentally. We practice letting go of attachments in the simplest of ways. For example, we let go of thinking about our To-Do Lists and instead focus on breathing and relaxation. Yoga reveals to us our strengths, our limitations and our unhealthy patterns of thinking. It teaches us acceptance and shows us where we have room to grow. With that awareness, we are left with a choice. And just as we practice, we can choose to let go of fear and suffering and focus on solutions and potential instead. Take comfort in your choices because they contain your power for transformation, for change.

Every minute of every day is full of opportunity to claim your power. And it really is as simple as a choice – a choice, right now, between fear and LIFE. I choose life – fully awake, vibrant, healthy, active, compassionate life. And with that simple choice I am seeing evidence of my untapped potential. And it is good, really, REALLY GOOD.

So, how do you shift from worry and fear to decisive action? How does yoga practice help you make a difference in your life and the lives of others? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

Yours in Gratitude,

Lindsay

A Yoga Pose for Letting Go and Opening to Potential

 

Reclining Hero's Pose Variation

Practice moving into this pose with intention and deliberate placement of your body. Exercise your power of presence, choice and action.

 

supported hero pose supta virasana

Sit with your feet at the outsides of your hips. You can separate your knees as wide as you'd like to find a comfortable position for your knees. Keep your feet close to your hips with the tops of your feet on the floor and your toes pointed directly behind you. Place a bolster or  folded blankets behind you and begin to recline back, resting your upper body on the bolster. Your neck should be in a neutral position which means you may need to use additional bolsters or blankets to see that your head and neck are supported. Relax as completely and deeply as possible. Breath slowly in and out through the nose. Relax your shoulders down and rest your arms on the floor with your palms facing up. Allow your heart center to widen as if the skin and muscles of your chest and your ribs are opening side to side, exposing your heart and revealing your true nature, your choices in this moment, your power.

 

Yoga to the Rescue: Winter Warmth is Just a Pose Away

Snowed in and stir crazy? Or is it just me?

I am so restless in fact that I've moved furniture in the coldest room of my house so that I could have some space to get busy and heat things up yoga-style. I've even busted out the camera (and leg warmers and yoga socks ).

Here is a short yoga practice, about 20 minutes total, that I put together with the intention of heating up my body and soothing my nerves. The sequence includes a fire starting breathing technique, sun and moon salutations, strength building poses, deep hip stretches and backbends. And don't forget about final relaxation to help spread that fire to your whole body.

The audio and video quality is not the best but the information is there. This sequence (and my legwarmers) has been so helpful to me while I've been snowbound. I hope it helps you, too.

So, turn up the heat and move your body. Let's melt the snow together y'all.

Yoga for Winter Warmth Part 1 – The Warm Up

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Yoga for Winter Warmth Part 2 – Deeper Stretches and Heat Building Poses

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Post your questions or share your Yoga for Winter Warmth experience below.

Namaste,

Lindsay

Yoga for Clarity YouTube Video

Yoga to the Rescue: The Other Side of Confusion

Have you made your resolutions for 2011?

I can't say that I've ever been in the habit of listing my New Year's Resolutions at the years end. For one, I am constantly striving to be a better me. My goals and inspirations come to me throughout the year. However, this awareness of my un-involvement in, and in fact apathy for this very popular tradition has me indulging in introspection.

Is it because in the past I haven't seen myself as the deliberate creator that I am? Am I prone to a victim mindset (you know, faulting the economy, the job market, my upbringing, and other endless excuses)? I am simply too lazy to take responsibility for my life?

The question often contains the answer

Ouch. The truth sure stings sometimes. Still, I prefer it to living a life of illusion (not the Joe Walsh song – actually, I really like that song). With all of this in mind, I have begun a new practice, a "resolution" if you will. When I have a tendency to question, I turn it into a statement. The result is that I find clarity where there was previously floundering. With clarity I am more likely to take action. It is like this: When I state that I haven't recognized my power for intentional living and that I use excuses to let myself off the hook and that I can claim my power and my responsibility at any moment, a pretty wonderful thing happens. I know what my next step is.

Practice is the key word here. I am not always as present for myself as I intend to be. Fortunately, my default response to feeling knocked off my center is internalization and questioning. And as I mentioned earlier, the question and the answer are usually very close indeed.

Bonus: I always have my yoga practice which continues to reveal me to me.

Yoga Sequence for Clarity and Inspiration

I have designed this short asana sequence to relax and sooth stressed nerves and reveal a clear headed, confident state of mind. Practice when you feel confused or unclear about what you want, your life purpose or simply what you should do next.

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So there it is, my gift to you as we enter this new year (and new decade!). Please return to it whenever you need. I plan on posting more videos soon. Please let me know if you have any requests.

Also, I would love to hear your thoughts about this video or about your New Year's resolutions. How do you find clarity amidst the chaos? Please share!

Happy New Year!

Lindsay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bringing Your Yoga Practice Off of Your Mat

In the sacred space of the yoga room, you are provided with a safe place to get to know yourself, your body, your fears and your strengths.

Yoga class can bring many lessons and a variety of experiences within the span of but 60-90 minutes. Learning how to apply your experiences in yoga class to your life outside of the yoga room can bring that bliss-filled-yoga-class-clarity to other areas of your life, too.

Here are a few examples of how to grow your yoga practice into your day-to-day moments.

Notice your breath.

Something that is repeated in yoga class after yoga class is bringing your awareness to your breath. Also, incorporated in a class is pranayama or yogic breathing exercises. This is a helpful and powerful practice that carries over into everyday life almost by default. With regular practice, you begin to notice how you are breathing in any given situation. For example, "Is my breath short and shallow or slow and steady?"

The awareness that yoga practices brings and the ability to return to your slow flow of breathe can be extremely helpful. A relaxed breathe promotes a relaxed body and ultimately a relaxed mind. Try it next time you are stressed while sitting in traffic or facing a deadline at work. First, notice that you are stressing out (that seems pretty obvious). Then, notice your breath. Let go of everything else and breathe slow and deep. What usually comes next is a sense of serene clarity and the ability to to handle whatever it is that has you stressed. The alternate nostril breath is a brilliant "stress-buster" (I have been known to do this while driving).

Release unnecessary tension.

In the same way that awareness of your breath is helpful, so is awareness of your body. The cues given by yoga teachers in class are relevent in many situations daily. That "dawning" you have in class when you finally understand what it means to release your shoulders back and down holds true in life – release unnecessary tension. In other words, find where you are "leaking" energy with tense muscles, let go of the tension, and you might just find that you have more energy and clarity as a result.

Let go of what does not serve you.

In the most literal sense yoga class helps you relieve the physical tension that leads to energy "leaks." In yoga class you are often confronted with your criticisms, comparisons and judgements of yourself (and sometimes others) as well. You can either continue those patterns of thought and be miserable or you can let go of those things (even if just for the span of the class) in order to have a better class experience. This becomes a practice for life as well. Can you let go of certain patterns that you may have outgrown?

Accept yourself as you are.

Comparisons and goal-oriented mindsets are part of our nature. We want to strive, we want to achieve. No different with our yoga practice. We have reasons for practicing, for example, weight loss, peace of mind, or a deeper spiritual connection. It is easy to slip into a mindset of "achieving" or in other words "wanting" and thus living in the mental space of "not having" You won't be able perform the most advanced or physically challenging poses in the beginning, nor would you want to (ouch!). However, you can realize that the beauty is, in fact, in the unfolding – the opening up to yourself.

When you realize that where you are in your ability is perfect and exactly were you need to be, a miraculous thing happens. You accept yourself as you are instead of fighting your limitations. Your focus shifts from that which you do not have (wanting mind) to that of appreciation for what you are. And in this space, you are open to way more possibilities than those stringent goals you set in the first place. Why limit yourself in life? Be easy about it and give yourself the freedom to allow infinite possibility.

Please share your thoughts about bringing yoga union to your off-the-mat life. I would really love to hear from you.

Love,

Lindsay

If you'd like to read more, check out this post where I discuss the subtle ways in which my yoga practice helped me deal with chronic depression.

 

 

 

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The Yoga of Relationships – Moving from Anger to Forgiveness [VIDEO]

The Yoga Microcosm Effect.

The more I practice yoga, the more I see my body as a symbolic representation of the non-physical me. While in a yoga pose I notice the subtle relationships in my body, for example, the relationship between the breath and the tension in my body and also the relationship between my feet and my spine. Honesty and good communication are important elements in a healthy relationship and the key to those things is awareness.

In this short video, I discuss how yoga and cultivation of awareness can be a useful tool in creating the kinds of relationships you want in your life. Specifically, I describe how I moved from anger and pain in a relationship to forgiveness and freedom.

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I would love to hear your thoughts about this. Have you noticed the lessons of a yoga pose having an effect on your life outside of the yoga mat? How has yoga helped you create healthy relationships in your life?

Post your comments below.

Lots of Love,

Lindsay

 

 

camel pose youtube

Strike a Pose Saturday: A Camel Pose for Everyone [VIDEO]

Thought I would do something a little different this week.

People learn in many different ways. Simple pictures and reading works great for a lot of people but for those of us who are  more "visual" learners a video is very helpful. So, here it is: Tips and modifications for Ustrasana, Camel Pose … in a VIDEO!

It is very important that you warm-up before you practice this pose. 3-5 rounds of sun salutes should do the trick. Also, a counter pose after you practice Ustrasana is important to balance the stretch and stabilize your core and your spine. A great complimentary pose for Camel is Sasangasana, Rabbit Pose. Also, Balasana, Child's Pose or simply hugging the knees into the chest will serve this purpose.

In this video I offer modifications for every level and alignment tips to get the most out of your Camel efforts. Remember, yoga is not about achieving an idealized or "final" pose (that's just a myth anyway) but more about what you learn along the way. In other words it is not the pose but how you approach the pose that matters. Patience, acceptance and an open mind are helpful. Compassion and honesty and a sense of playful curiosity are good things to bring to your practice, too.

 

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So, there you have it. Please post your questions and/or comments below. Also, if you ever have a request for a video or tips for a specific pose, just let me know!

Lots of Love,

Lindsay

By the way, please practice safely. These articles express my opinion and while I have over a decade’s experience with hatha yoga practice, intensive teacher trainings and hundreds of hours of teaching, always consult your physician before beginning any exercise regimen and to find out what activities suit your uniqueness. Because you are special and doggonit … I like you.

Cool It, Man! Try Some Minty Water [RECIPE] – Hot Yoga Hydration Tips

When it is hot outside, staying hydrated is essential and requires a little mindfulness.

True, it might seem obvious (drink water or die?) and also true, we tend to be thirstier during the warmer months. Still, we can forget to drink enough water. Go figure.

Then again, even if we are paying attention to our water consumption we can become downright BORED with drinking so much water.

Here’s a healthy alternative. It is refreshing and tasty and has the added bonus of making good use of that extra mint growing (like mad) in your herb garden.

 

Mint-Infused Water

Instructions:

  • -Take a handful of freshly picked mint leaves, any variety, and wash well.
  • -Place the leaves in room temperature water, about 1 large liter-sized bottle, and allow to infuse for several hours or overnight (can also be stored in the fridge for longer).
  • -Remove or strain mint leaves from water.
  • -Add ice if desired and enjoy a refreshing, soothing summer beverage!

Feel free to experiment with the ratios of mint and water. Also, bruising or chopping the mint leaves first will make for a stronger minty flavor.

Another way to infuse your water with natural mint is to make a “sun tea.” Simply fill a bottle or jar with drinking water and fresh mint and place in a warm, sunny location. Your mint tea will be ready in about 20-40 minutes depending on the degree and intensity of the sunny spot.

Mint is so easy to grow and especially manageable if grown in a container. However, if you don’t want to make this yourself, the Metromint water sold in health food stores is an adequate substitute. It just seems a little excessive when it is so easy (and cheap!) to make your own. Another bonus: Mint has many health benefits!

Try it in Hot Yoga Class

Now, this is not for everyone, not all of the time. Sometimes it seems that anything but plain water is icky (for lack of a better adjective) when you’re intensely focused on your sweaty practice, but it is worth a try now and again. Mint is cooling in nature and is also quite soothing if you’re feeling nauseous. I like it, not all of the time, but sometimes it is simply AWESOME.

When Water Isn’t Enough

Maintaining proper hydration is important for overall health and well-being. If you happen to love Hot Yoga as much as I do, it is especially important. You lose trace minerals and overall balance when you sweat a lot and in Hot Yoga class, you sweat even MORE THAN A LOT! Here are some more ways to replenish and maintain proper hydration and mineral balance:

  • -Electrolyte supplements such as Ultima Replenisher (my fav) and sports drinks such as Gatorade.
  • -All-natural coconut water.
  • -Or you can make your own all-natural electrolyte drink (info below).

I like this recipe from Aviva Jill Romm’s “Naturally Healthy Babies and Children”:

 

Electrolyte Replacement Drink

Combine:

  • -8 ounces water (preferably warm or room temperature)
  • -1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • -A pinch of salt
  • -2 tablespoons or more of honey, sugar, or maple syrup

I recommend at least 1 serving (the above 8 oz) on days you sweat a great deal.

 

Please share your tips below!

Lots of Love,

Lindsay

 

More Resources:

You’re all dried up (yoga and water)

Yoga Students – Drink Tap Water (not bottled)