Natural Pain Relief Products-When Yoga Isn’t Enough

Recently my husband hurt his back, and as he limped around someone sarcastically asked him, “what, the magic of yoga couldn’t fix you?” Well no Ian, it couldn’t, but thanks for your sincere and heartfelt concern.  When yoga isn’t enough, you need a little help in the pain relief area.

Everyone suffers from some kind of malady at one time or another, and no matter how much you stretch, massage, ice or elevate it, the pain persists. In those cases I have two all natural pain relief products I recommend to clients.

The first is Myo-Med Pro Pain Relief creme. I was introduced to this product by my phenomenal massage therapist and I love it.  It’s not greasy, works really fast and does not smell as strong as other similar products. Here is a link if you want to check it out: https://amzn.to/2JuqmsG

The second is DoTerra’s Deep Blue Rub. Like Myo-Med, this product is formulated with essential oils, but along with the standard camphor and wintergreen for pain reief, Deep Blue has helichrysum which is known for its healing properties. Unfortunately, it’s also for it’s price which runs about $100.00 for 5 ml. YIKES!

This is why this product is markedly more expensive.  My clients who have issues with arthritis and other chronic inflammation disorders have had really good results with Deep Blue. Here’s a link if this seems like something you would like to try: https://amzn.to/2HiDBYB

The next time you find yourself in pain, and the “magic of yoga” has failed you as well,  you can give one of these natural pain relief products a try and hopefully find some comfort.

 

 

This post is not a paid endorsement although it does contain affiliate links. If you are concerned about this blog receiving a small commission for using the link, you can simply use a search engine to find products elsewhere on the internet.

Yoga Block Party- 5 Great Uses for a Yoga Block

If I intend to teach a class that uses a prop (yoga block, strap, blanket or bolster) I usually have to provide said prop. Therefore, if I am going to lug 35 blocks to class, you better believe I plan to use it for more than one pose.

In a great stand-up bit by Tyler Fischer, he talks about yoga class and says there is always some mystery prop. The teacher will say something like, you are going to need to get yourself a blanket, two blocks and a live turtle. He’s spot on hilarious. Here is a link if you want to check out the whole bit. Tyler Fisher on Yoga Props

Blocks are probably the most versatile of the props. Think of them as a way to bring the ground closer, or, alternatively, make your arms longer.  If you don’t have a block you really should consider getting one.  They come in 3 and 4 inch versions, I recommend the 4-inch,  here are two good ones.  Four Inch Block  or Three Inch Block

Once you have procured yourself block here are five of my favorite ways to use them.

Five Poses with a Yoga Block
  1.  Runner’s Lunge- Use the block to lengthen the arms by placing it under the hands; or,  lower down onto the forearms to drop into the middle-ground between hands on the floor and forearms on the floor. Try them both to see what your body responds to.
    yoga block runner's lunge

    Elevated Runner’s Lunge

    supported lunge with yoga block

    Supported Runner’s Lunge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Revolved Lunge-  use the block to get a little height and allow the ribs to more fully rotate towards the inner knee.

revolved lunge with yoga block

Elevated Revolved Lunge

3.  Bridge.  Placing the block between the knees balances out the strength of the outer leg, which tends to pull the knees apart.  The block between the knees engages those inner leg muscles and forces you to distribute the work between the inner and outer leg more equally.

aligned bridge pose with yoga block

Aligned Bridge Pose

4.  Supported Bridge-  This is a great way to release the hip flexors, align the SI joint and relieve low back pain.  Place the block under the sacrum (the bony area above the tailbone, below the L5 vertebrae).  For a more intense experience, try straightening out one or both legs.

supported bridge pose

Supported Bridge Pose

  1. Pigeon.  Slide the block under the elevated hip, and allow the block to fill in the space between the hip and the floor.  Stay for a minimum of one minute best results.
pigeon pose with yoga block

Supported Pigeon Pose

Yoga Club Review Take 1

Yoga Club is a subscription wardrobe service like Stitch Fix, Trunk Club or Wantable, but for workout clothing.  I recently participated in a challenge on Yogadownload.com in which a Yoga Club subscription was the prize, and while I did not win, I was intrigued by the idea and thought I would give it a try.

With Yoga Club, there are three levels to choose from, Mantra, Karma and Guru, the names are a little hokey I know, but I guess they had to call them something.  With the Mantra you just get a pair of leggings, the Karma is leggings and top, and the Guru gets you leggings, top and layering piece.  The prices range from $45-$79, and you can choose monthly or seasonal shipments.  I went with the Guru, cleverly deducing that the per item cost is around $26 which is actually quite reasonable.

If you use my referral code, which is, https://my.yogaclub.com/TaraK7 you can give Yoga Club a try and get 25% off your first box.  Full disclosure, I will get “Lotus Bucks” in return, but frankly you need a ton of them to get just to get a 10% discount, so I am a bit nonplussed with their reward program. But please, get yourself that discount because 25% off is nothing to sneeze at.

First, you will take a little style quiz and yes, you do have to give them your credit card information.  Shortly thereafter you will get a bright pink Yoga Club box full of goodies just for you.  It’s like it’s your birthday every month. Let’s take a look at what I got in my first box.

In my happy place watching birds and eating peanut butter 🙂

This is the LA Soul Happy Tank and Peek A Boo Glyder leggings.  I really like both these pieces. At first the leggings seemed a little stiff, but as soon as they warmed up, they fit like a glove.  They are mid-rise and have a cut out detail on the back of the calves. The tank, speaks for itself, quite literally.

Showing a little skin.

Next up, the layering piece, meet the Amari  Revive Pullover.  How did they know I hate hoods, but love these loose mock-neck sweatshirts?  Well played Yoga Club. I really like the weight and finish on this top.  It’s warm, but not too heavy.

Perfect hanging out and drinking coffee top.

Bonus, there is a kangaroo pouch to hide your secret stash, whatever your particular vice may be.  No Judgment.

Skittles, what Skittles? I have no idea what you are talking about.

Since I liked all three pieces there was no need to explore the exchange feature this time.  However, had there been a item I did not want, I could have gone to the website and chosen another item which they will send in the subsequent box, along with any envelope to return the unwanted piece.  There is also a Facebook group where members trade and sell Yoga Club clothing.

So to recap, Yoga Club Round One was a success.  I look forward to seeing what they send me next.  If you want to give it a try, use the link above and treat yourself.

Tara

Finding the Perfect Yoga Mat

People will ask me which yoga mat is the best, and while I can answer that question with absolute certainty for myself, I think you have to consider a number of variables. Here are some tips to buying the perfect yoga mat for you.

My mat of choice is the Jade Fusion, it was an absolute game changer. Given that I have the boniest knees on the planet, I tried numerous mat and supplemental padding permutations. When I found the Fusion mat, my life changed. No more folding mats or setting up towels, I could just drop a knee and focus on the pose, rather than counting the seconds until I could get back up. I have several of these mats and I let clients use them just so they can see the difference. It is always a transformative moment. Check out the Jade Fusion here https://amzn.to/2qKMjsn

This is not to say I think the Fusion is the right mat for everyone, it has some downside. First, in comparison to other mats, it costs a small fortune. Second, it weighs as much as my cat, so lugging it around can be a burden. And, because of the extra density, it makes balance poses a bit more challenging. But to me, those are prices I am more than willing to pay.

Oh, that’s why it’s so heavy

My standard advice when choosing a mat is the same that I give when buying a cake, look for density. There are some nice mats out there that won’t break the bank. If you have been practicing for a while and are ready to treat yourself to a premium mat, check out Jade and Manduka. I have a Manduka mat that I use at my office and it is really nice, not quite as dense as the Fusion, but a really good mat at about half the price. Check out my Manduka mat here: https://amzn.to/2H7PqkT

There are good options at places like TJ Maxx and Target. Gaiam is probably best known, they have a premium line which I am seeing a lot of, and people seem pleased with them. When looking at mats, try to find a minimum density of 5mm, you can generally tell by the size of the roll how dense the mat is, if it looks like a taquito, it is probably 3mm so move on. Here is a nice Gaiam mat with lots of color choices: https://amzn.to/2J5ZjjD

Also, consider length. Standard length is 68” which is fine if you are 5’8″ or shorter. For taller clients, I recommend they spend the extra few bucks for the 74” mat, it is a rarely regretted decision. Extra wide mats also exist, so don’t just buy the first thing you see, get what you need, you are going to spend a fair amount of time, face down on this thing. The Jade 74″ Fusion mat is here  https://amzn.to/2J6i2f3 Gaiam also has a nice extra long/wide mat as well: https://amzn.to/2HtgTAR 

While there are plenty of mats which will serve you well out there, I have definite opinions about those big puffy “fitness mats.” Stay away from them. They are not designed for yoga, they have no grip, the ends roll up, and they condense to a tissue-thin sheet when you press on them. I cannot tell you how many people have bought them thinking the puffiness will make them more comfortable, only to be disappointed and frustrated when they don’t work.

This guy, yeah… avoid him.

Bottom line when buying a mat, consider how often you practice, if it’s more than once a week, spend a little more for a premium mat. If you practice once a week or less, get yourself a nice quality 5mm from one of the mass retailers. A final word of warning, if you float the idea of getting a mat as a present, be specific about the mat you want, otherwise the decision will be made on color and price and that does not always end well.

I would love to hear from you, please comment below and let me know your favorite yoga mat, and what it is about the mat that you love.

The Use Your Words Project

Have you ever had a goal you wanted to achieve, but struggled with where to start?  I have been working on a project with my yoga clients to help get them out of the starting gate and moving towards that goal. It’s called the Use Your Words Project. With this project I hope to help people harness the power of intention to achieve goals and lead a more mindful life.

Words have real power, and combining your words with a few simple rules, you can reach your goals or make those changes you have thinking about but have simply lacked the catalyst to get started.

Taking inspiration from the MyIntent Project, I am making and selling custom-made intention bracelets.  These pieces are an integral part of the project, serving as the touchstone of your goal.

The power of intention

Here’s how it works.

Choose a word that represents your goal or aspiration.  For example, someone who is struggling with getting things done, might choose the word PRIORITY.  So the next time they are overwhelmed with a long list of tasks and short time to do them, they will be reminded to question what has priority.  It can be any word you want, it just needs to make sense to you.

Once you have the bracelet there are three simple rules to follow.

First, wear your word continuously for three weeks.  Why?  Because research has proven it takes at least 21 days of repetition to either make or break a habit.

Second, take a photo of your word and post it to whatever social media you like and tag it with #useyourwordsproject.  If you are not on social media,  then simply take a photo of your word and find a way to display it.  You can save it as your phone or computer’s wallpaper, or have the photo developed and put it out where other people can see it.

You don’t have to include an explanation unless that is something you are comfortable with, just the photo alone will serve as your outward and public declaration of your intention or goal.

Third, tell three people during the 21 days about your word.  It can be as simple as “look at this cool bracelet I bought, I chose the word priority to remind me not to get caught up in unimportant tasks”  The reason for this step is to help you articulate your purpose.  The more you talk about it, the more likely you are to do it.

That’s it.  Simple right? Give it a try and see what happens.

Brass & Nickel Tokens

Intention Bracelets $10.00    These bracelets are made with waxed cotton cord and your choice of a brass (gold tone) or nickel (silver) token.  String is available in black, blue and purple.  The bracelet has an adjustable sliding knot. Free shipping in the US.

To order use the contact form below. Credit cards are welcome on the Paypal account.

 

 

Tips for Choosing a Yoga Mat.

big stack of mats

There are a lot of options out there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People often ask me which yoga mat is the best, and while I can answer that question with absolute certainty for me, I think you have to consider all the variables.

My mat of choice is the Jade Fusion, it was an absolute game changer. Given that I have some of the boniest knees on the planet, I tried numerous mat and supplemental padding permutations. When I found the Fusion mat, my life changed. No more folding mats or setting up towels, I could just kneel and focus on the stretch, rather than counting the seconds until I could get back up. I have several of them that I let clients use just so they can see the difference. Check out the Jade Fusion here https://amzn.to/2qKMjsn

This is not to say I think this is the right mat for everyone, it has some downside. First, it costs a small fortune by comparison to other mats. Second, it weighs as much as my cat, so lugging it around can be a burden. And, because of the extra density, it makes balance poses a bit more challenging. But to me, those are prices I am more than willing to pay.

cat in mat

Oh, that’s why its so heavy…

My standard advice when buying a mat is look for density. There are some nice mats out there that won’t break the bank. If you have been practicing for a while and are ready to treat yourself to a premium mat, check out Jade and Manduka. I have a Manduka mat that I use at my office and it is really nice, not quite as dense as the Fusion, but a really good mat at about half the price. Check out my Manduka mat here: https://amzn.to/2H7PqkT

There are good options at places like TJ Maxx and Target. Gaiam is probably best known, they have a premium line which I am seeing a lot of and people seem pleased with them. When looking at mats, try to find a minimum density of 5mm, you can generally tell by the size of the roll how dense the mat is, if it looks like a taquito, it is probably 3mm so move on. Here is a good Gaiam mat: https://amzn.to/2J5ZjjD

Also, consider length. Standard length is 68” which is fine if you are 5’8 or shorter. If you are taller, there are longer mats available, you just may have to order them. For taller clients, I recommend they spend the extra few bucks for the 74” mat, it is a rarely regretted decision. Extra wide mats also exist, so don’t just buy the first thing you see, get what you need. Jade 74″ Fusion mat here  https://amzn.to/2J6i2f3 Gaiam also has a nice extra long/wide mat as well: https://amzn.to/2HtgTAR 

While there are plenty of mats which will serve you well out there, I have definite opinions about those big puffy “fitness mats.” Stay away from them. They are not designed for yoga, they have no grip, the ends roll up, and they condense to a tissue thin sheet when you press on them. I cannot tell you how many people have bought them thinking the puffiness will make them more comfortable, only to be disappointed and frustrated when they don’t work.

This guy, yeah stay away from him

This guy, yeah stay away from him

Bottom line when buying a mat, consider how often you practice, if it’s more than once a week, spend a little more for a premium mat. If you practice once a week or less, get yourself a nice quality 5mm from one of the mass retailers. A final word of warning, if you float the idea of getting a mat as a present, be specific about the mat you want, otherwise the decision will be made on color and price and that does not always end well.