Is an Oversized Sweatshirt the Best Fit for Your Yoga Practice?

When it comes to yoga apparel, one of the most commonly worn tops is the oversized sweatshirt. It’s a great companion for a pair of tight black leggings. This timeless top comes in an endless array of colors, styles, and graphic prints so that each yogi can find something that suits his or her personality. Is this oversized item really the best fit for yogis to wear to their yoga classes?

If you find yourself wondering how this item can be worn to a yoga class, you may want to check out some of these concerns. They can help to evaluate whether this top is right for you.

What Kind of Yoga Do You Practice?

As with any clothing item, the type of yoga you practice should be a top consideration before you make a purchase. A yogi who prefers a hot yoga class obviously doesn’t want to wear a sweatshirt in his/her hot and humid classroom. On the other hand, a yogi who has a very slow and gentle practice may prefer an extra layer for warmth.

This same thought pattern has to be applied to the actual postures that you will use during your yoga practice. If your practice is heavy on inversions, forearm balances, and similar yoga poses, you shouldn’t wear a long-sleeved shirt. The fabric can interfere with your skin’s grip on the yoga mat, creating a safety issue that could cause a serious injury. An oversized item is also extremely likely to fall over your face and make coming out of the posture dangerous as well.

Do You Usually Wear Layers to Class?

Some yogis may prefer to do their regular practice in nothing but a sports bra. This isn’t typically a great idea to wear out and about in the town, so you need to come up with a cover-up. An oversized sweatshirt could be the perfect option to help you dress comfortably without unnecessary and bulky layers.

Are You Ever Cold During Class?

Meditation and finishing postures have a tendency to be very cooling. In an air-conditioned yoga studio, you may find that you’re freezing during these last moments of the class. A light blanket is one solution to help you feel more comfortable and allow you to fully relax into savasana. However, you might want to think about simply wearing your sweatshirt during these chillier times on the yoga mat.

Overall, an oversized sweatshirt is a great companion to a pair of yoga leggings. It just may not be the perfect choice for wearing throughout a yoga practice. You could always bring your sweatshirt to wear before and after class to keep you warm in the chilly spring weather.

Oversized sweatshirts can be a great tool and choice for a yoga outfit, but you have to consider where they’re right for you. Each yogi will be different when it comes to their clothing preferences and needs. Would you be able to wear an oversized sweatshirt to your next yoga class?

Yoga for Scoliosis

Scoliosis is perhaps one of the most common aberrations in the spine. Originated from the word “skol” (Greek), meaning “twist and turns”, this medical condition can be easily observed when the spine creates an S form or reversed S on the back. It causes a displacement of the ribs, the shoulders, and the hips. It also alters the center of gravity in the body.

Types of Scoliosis

There are two types of scoliosis: functional or structural. In functional scoliosis, the muscles in the back are the most affected regions, not the spine itself. This condition can be caused by a poor posture and a consistent unbalanced weight carried by the shoulders. It creates less curvature in the back that is often times unnoticeable and is reversible. On the other hand, structural scoliosis is a serious medical condition resulting from uneven growth on both sides of the bone(s) and most of the cases have unknown causes. This type of scoliosis often times requires surgery.

Finding Balance

Practicing yoga helps the body find its center of gravity. Even though scoliosis causes a shift on a person’s point of balance, the following poses can help reduce pain, avoid increasing the curvature even more and help improve back alignment. Consult your doctor before performing any physical activity.

Pause!

In performing these poses, it is very important to be conscious of your movements. Remember to always keep your weight evenly distributed on both of your feet while walking or standing. Strengthening the legs can help reduce the strain your back muscles and spine carry. Always lengthen your spine to lessen your S curve. Keep in mind to pull your scapula away from your ears to avoid rounding your shoulders. Most importantly, breathe. Be grateful for the time and space you are given to practice.

Mountain Pose

This pose effectively reeducates the muscles in the legs with balance, proper weight distribution and correct posture.

How: Stand with your feet together and allow your arms to relax and dangle on your sides. Close your eyes, and then consciously shift your weight to the balls of your feet. Then, slowly lower your back to the ground, plant your feet, and pull your pelvic floor up to your belly. Stay in this pose for 3-5 breaths.


Cat/Cow Stretch

This movement allows the vertebrae in your back to open up while stretching the tendons and the muscles, which support the spine.

How: Begin in a tabletop position. Inhale as you look up the sky and draw your scapula closer to each other, arching your back. Then, exhale as you round your back, draw your scapula away from each other, and tuck your tail-bone. Keep your gaze on your navel. Repeat this movement five times.


Child’s Pose

This is a very relaxing pose which allows the spine to lengthen and decompress.

How: Start by sitting on your heels. Then, extend both of your arms forward and place them on the ground. Keep reaching forward until your body is resting on your thighs. Keep on actively reaching the arms forward to allow stretch on your back muscles and spine. Stay in this pose for 3-5 breaths.

Remember to always consult your doctor first before starting any physical regimen. If you feel pain during the movements, stop and take a rest. It is recommended to practice under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher. Be aware of what’s happening inside the body and the thoughts that come to your mind. Breathe through the moment and enjoy the flow.

Realign with Conviction

As you gently move and breathe, the weightless feeling of comfortable and durable yoga leggings can boost your confidence towards progress.

TD Collection Two-Toned Yoga Pants. These yoga pants for women are full-length leggings created with stretchy and soft fabric that also wicks out moisture. Made of 60% nylon, 12% spandex, and 28% polyester, these fashionable leggings are very budget friendly. TD Collection Two-Toned Yoga Pants is very flexible, which allows a wide range of motion and better blood circulation in the leg. 

Do not allow your circumstances to define you. Approach them with patience and composure. Have faith that the journey ahead leads to good roads. Practice with awareness and listen to your body. Have faith within yourself and always flow with an open heart!

Diaphragmic Breathing

Our busy, modern life doesn’t allow much time to be still. Texts and emails bombard us. The news around the world worries and angers us. Personal relationships can cause tension and upset. Stress presses in on us and we forget to breathe. This lack of breath then exacerbates our anxiety in a downward spiral that leads to deeper and deeper levels of anxiety and even depression.

There is a way to cope and even conquer these feelings of anxiety. Regaining our breath is the foundation. The ancients of India knew this and practiced it in yoga and meditation. Diaphragmic breathing can reverse the effects of stress and equip you with a valuable tool to quiet your mind and body so that you can face the world and its demands with greater peace and confidence.

In the yoga practice, the breath is the foundation for all practices. By controlling the breath, the yogi is able to achieve a level of deep relaxation and control over impulses and the mind. By retraining yourself to breath from your diaphragm, you can develop a greater ability to deal with stressful situations.

During diaphragmic breathing, the upper chest and lower abdomen do not move. The diaphragm is engaged and flexed, allowing more air to be pulled deep into the lungs. This causes the lower ribs to flair out. By doing this the autonomic nervous system is soothed and relaxed. It is the most important preparation for meditation.

This type of breathing must be learned. Set aside a few minutes every day, throughout the day, to sit quietly to focus on your breathing. You must be someplace where you will not be distracted or disturbed during your practice. Sit either on the floor in the Easy pose or in a straight-backed chair or lying flat on your back on a yoga mat. Either way, be sure your spine is straight, and you are sitting on your behind, so your pelvis is not tilted. If you are lying down, make sure your pelvis is not tilted and your spine is straight and not overly curved as this will cause tension.

Now place one hand on your upper chest and the other on your abdomen. As you flex your diaphragm feel the air come into your lungs, through your nose, evenly and deeply but do not exaggerate the inhalation. Let the breath be continuous with no pauses, so don’t hold your breath. Be sure only the lower ribs are flaring outwards as you inhale, and the abdomen and upper chest remain still. Breathe slowly, being sure you are comfortable and not straining. Let the inhalation be the same length as the exhalation. Once you are breathing comfortably, begin a count so that your exhalation is twice the length of your inhalation. So, you might count slowly to 4 on the inhale and then to 8 as you exhale completely.

As you breathe with your diaphragm, become aware of your breath at your nostrils. Do this for several minutes, focusing on your breath and the sensation of the air moving through your nostrils. As you do this, becoming more focused, you may choose to continue into meditation. This practice of diaphragmic breathing is essential to mediation practice.

By practicing diaphragmic breathing, you gain the benefit of stress reduction and control over your breath which is often restricted during stressful situations. This practice can help those who suffer from panic attacks and from asthma to increase lung capacity and sooth the brain and nervous system. When stress responses are then activated, by taking the time to engage the diaphragm and practice this breathing exercise, you can gain better control over your emotions and body, gaining confidence and calmness. Happy breathing!

The Significance of Your Inhalation and Exhalation

 

Because our breath is such a normal and automatic thing, we tend to push it off like it doesn’t mean anything. In yoga there are multiple uses and meanings to our breath in general but today we’re going to focus on what our “Inhale” and “Exhale” are actually used for in yoga.

Have you ever wondered why your yoga instructor tells you to do specific movements on inhales and others on exhales? It’s because there is a sort of dance you do with your breath in yoga. Each section of your breath is tied directly to a number of purposes and uses. Let’s start off with your inhale.

What Your Inhale Means in Yoga

The purpose of your inhale in yoga is to consume. Your inhale is a time where you can take up space that you just can’t take up during an exhale. You can ingest anything like energy, emotions, space, etc. It is an invigorating part of the breath and that’s what makes it a great time to set intentions and find confidence in your yoga practice.
When you are inhaling you should generally be moving either upwards or forwards. If you are familiar with sun salutations you can even try thinking about it for a second and pay attention to all of the upward and forwards movements. The sun salutation and any yoga flow should abide by these rules. Anytime a flow has an exception to the rule you can probably notice it because it feels awkward or wrong in some way.

What Your Exhale Means in Yoga

The purpose of your exhale is to release. This can be expressed in multiple ways. It can be expressed by releasing energy, emotions, and space or it can be expressed by transferring your energy into something new while you rest. Your exhale should not be a collapse but just a release of what no longer serves you. There is still strength and incredible purpose to your exhale but it is more passive or transformational than your inhale.
The movements associated with your exhale are naturally the opposite of the inhale. Anytime you move down or backwards your exhale should be right there with you. Again, I encourage you to consider the sun salutation and run through it in your mind as you fall and move back every time you exhale. Another way that this section of your breath is used is by moving deeper into poses.

 

How Your Inhale and Exhale Work Together

Now you know how both your inhaling and exhaling work on their own but they do some amazing things together as well. They build on one another in a very practical and beautiful way. When you become aware of the uses of your breath in yoga, it becomes a sort of dance. Yoga is like a dance and your breath becomes the music that you dance to. It suddenly feels as if the sequences were made up for you by your own natural and internal rhythm. Your body rises with your inhale and lowers with the exhale. The next time around you move forward with your inhale and then go back with the exhale. After some practice with being mindful of your breath in relation to your movement, you can almost begin to anticipate the next movement before the instructor even calls it out.

Your breath can really take your yoga practice to a whole new level. It can help you with your alignment, energy, and as you read today, a whole lot more!

Mindful Eating: The Anti-Diet That Can Help You Lose Weight for Good

If it’s a fresh, hot off the press weight loss plan, we’re trying it. Diet after diet, many of us crack and end up back where we started, diving head first into a cheesecake. What if there was a way you could reach your weight loss goals without having to follow another crazy strict diet? If you think this sounds too good to be true, you’re wrong.

The truth is fad diets work until they don’t work. Think about the last time you started a new diet plan. You were excited and ready to tackle it full force and it seemed like something you could stick to for a long time. Fast forward three weeks into the diet, when your willpower starts to dwindle and food cravings begin rearing their ugly heads. You can only exercise your willpower muscle so much until it cracks, leading you into an all-out cheat fest on those foods you banned from your diet.

This is where a useful tactic called mindfulness can come in handy. You might have experienced the word ‘mindfulness’ being mentioned in the yoga community. Being mindful while eating is similar to utilizing mindfulness during your yoga or meditation practice. It is a simple and practical method that can help you stay in the moment when you sit down to have a meal, which will have a substantial impact on your weight loss efforts. We live in a fast-paced environment, where it’s not uncommon to multitask throughout the day in order to check things off our to-do lists. By practicing mindfulness during each of your meals, you will be able to listen to your body and react accordingly to the signals it’s sending you. Follow these tips before you sit down for your next meal and you will be on your way to a healthier relationship with food and your body.

Try not to label any food “off limits.” This only makes you want said food more, increasing the likelihood that you will binge. If you’re craving a particular food, allow yourself to have it. Before you take the first bite, ask yourself if you’re truly hungry or if you’re bored, stressed, sad or angry. If you are experiencing true hunger, allow yourself to have that food and enjoy every bite.

Before you take the first bite, sit in a quiet place, free from any distractions such as television, computers or phones. That means no social media! If you can, leave all electronics off the table and focus on what’s going on around you. Chew each bite of food slowly and actually taste your food. How does it taste? Is it too hot or cold? Spicy or bland? Don’t be so quick to douse your meal with salt before even trying it!

Take a few sips of water between bites to help you digest. Every so often, check in with your body. When you’re about a 6 on the fullness scale, put down the fork or spoon and stop eating. You want to be satisfied, not overly stuffed.

Practicing mindfulness around eating will not only help you lose weight, but it will help you appreciate food. Food is not a scary monster under the bed. Just like we learned how turn off our bodies natural hunger cues, we can re-learn how to react to them again.