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.
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.
2. Revolved Lunge- use the block to get a little height and allow the ribs to more fully rotate towards the inner knee.
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.
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.
Those of you who know me are aware, fashion is not my strong suit. I will happily teach a yoga class in a ratty, 10 year-old Ohio State T-shirt and plain black leggings (full length in Winter, capris in Summer, because variety) without a hint of self-consciousness. But, when I started making videos, I realized that’s probably not the best look, so I decided to tighten my yoga fashion game and subscribed to YogaClub.
How it works: YogaClub is a subscription yoga fashion wardrobe service like Stitch Fix, but for workout clothing. When you join, you choose a commitment level. The Mantra level is a pair of leggings, Karma level is leggings and a top, and the Guru gets you leggings, a top and a layering piece. Prices range from $45-$79, and you choose monthly or seasonal shipments.
If you use my referral code, which is, YogaClub Referral Link 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 just to get a 10% discount, but please, use the discount, 25% off is nothing to sneeze at.
When you click through that link, you will take a little yoga fashion style quiz and; yes, you do have to give them your credit card information. Shortly thereafter you will get a bright pink YogaClub box full of goodies just for you. It’s like your birthday every month.
My first Club box was a smashing success and is chronicled here if you are curious, Yoga Club Review Take 2
My second box was also good, but not quite as successful as the first installment. Let’s take a look.
This is the Glyder “Slash” Racerback Tank Glyder Tank Link First, the softness of this fabric cannot be overstated, it’s like wearing a kitten. However, it is really sheer, like I can see the details of your bellybutton sheer, and then there is this little detail…..
ahhhhh, no. The mystery of the name Slash is solved, it looks like I just barely escaped an unfortunate paper shredder encounter. Given the foregoing, this will be my first experience with the YogaClub exchange program. But wait, there’s more.
Let’s talk about these guys. The Alternative Scoop Neck T (cheaper version in gray here Alternative Shirt in Gray Link ) and the MPG Frame High Waisted Side Pocket Legging, here they are in black, MPG Side Pocket Legging Link The shirt is amazingly comfortable, and the color is gorgeous, it retails for $42, I don’t know who pays that for a T-shirt, I paid $26 for this one and that seems about right.
But these, pants… words cannot describe how much I love these pants. They fit perfectly, sometimes high-waisted leggings fit me like maternity pants, but not these, they don’t roll or slide around. The fabric is soft and the mesh vents are just cool. All of that, and a place to hide my Skittles. WINNER!
So to recap, Yoga Club Round Two was mostly a success. I will investigate my exchange options for old see-through Slash, and let you know how it works out. If you want to give it a try, use this referral link to get 25% off YogaClub first order and let me know how it works out.
My daughter Piper tells me that all the cool kids put their “content” on Youtube; and, we all know coolness is my lifelong goal, so I am uploading my free videos onto YouTube. You can find me wedged between “Crazy Nuttyass Honey Badger” and “Goat Yelling Like a Man” Or, you can follow this link to my Hips and Hamstrings class https://youtu.be/TCey6kBCIqM
(but seriously that Goat is unsettling)
See you there!
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.
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.
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.
Bonus, there is a kangaroo pouch to hide your secret stash, whatever your particular vice may be. No Judgment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This class combines the two things my clients request most, cork work and balance. I don’t believe balance is improved by standing on one leg, but rather, by challenging the body’s ability to adjust during movements in all planes. Handily enough, all balance work requires core strength. I have combined kneeling core and balance work, with leg swings and lunges, a core isolation flow series, then a long leveraged balance sequence, we finish on our backs with a series I call dead crow progression. Not gonna lie, this one’s a challenge.
You will need a block.
Seek Balance in All Things. This Yin Yang class is designed to balance the sweet ease of a yin yoga class, with the spicy effort of a yang flow class. The first twenty minutes are slow paced, gentle poses. The middle 20 minutes are a slow easy flow designed to loosen the joints and get your energy moving. The class finishes with 20 more minutes of quiet yin postures for a soft landing into final relaxation.
Issues with low back pain? Tight hip flexors and hamstrings are often the culprits. Try this lower body focused class to loosen those areas and provide some relief to your back. It’s beginner friendly and the only equipment you need is a strap. If you don’t have a strap, a long belt, dog leash or towel will do the trick. Enjoy!
Right now the videos are all free, in return I only ask that you take the time to subscribe to the channel and share them on your social media so we can build an online community, just like the great groups we have here in Ohio at the live classes and workshops.