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Prop Yourself Up for “Yoga School”
Give your yoga practice a “back to school” update with fresh, fun and eco-friendly new yoga mats, yoga props and accessories.
Fall is here and schools are back in session. Kids are sporting new backpacks, shoes and the latest technical gadgets. So why not start your own yoga “school year” and freshen up your practice with some of the latest products and accessories launching just in time for fall classes or your own at-home practice? Innovative, well-designed yoga gear can add a new helpful edge to your yoga, no matter how or where you like to practice.
Gaiam and several other companies that offer yoga solutions are ahead of the curve in fashioning props and products that enhance your practice on and off the mat. Props and accessories can actually help you to learn the art and science of yoga even better. So whether you are new to yoga, are a pro or a teacher, or whether you love some of the accessories that feed into meditation, self-care or relaxation practices, you will find some helpful suggestions in the list below. This autumn assortment rolls open new styles of mats, and balls of different shapes and sizes. You’ll find products that appeal to the sense of touch, smell, taste and vision. Happy shopping!
It takes a village
Why not follow this classic back-to-school theme with the Akha Embroidered Yoga Backpack? This new fair trade yoga backpack, crafted by Thai Tribal, literally holds everything! Akha hill-tribe women carefully hand-embroider each generously sized backpack. It will fit ALL of your gear — yoga mat, brick, strap, water bottle and more. The homespun cotton feels soft and non-abrasive and has an easy-to-use drawstring closure. The backpack can also adapt to custom-fit your body with adjustable backpack straps with plastic buckles.
Tune in to your practice
It’s always fun to introduce a new gadget, especially when it helps to motivate you to stay on your mat! Introducing Gaiam’s ingenious Audio Yoga Mat. At last you can hook your MP3 player to your yoga mat and play any music or audio file of your choice through the small speaker at the top of the mat. Whether you enjoy Hip Hop, chanting, Top 40, or nature sounds while you practice, this mat really ROCKS! As a bonus, the mat includes one free download of an instructional yoga program (for an at-home private yoga session) guided by Rodney Yee. It will help you to truly tune in to your practice. Or try out Gaiam’s streaming video service, Gaiam TV, which offers hundredes of online yoga classes you can watch on your computer, TV, smartphone or portable device.Talk about yoga to go!
Instant stress relief from "studying"
Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball Full-Body Kit
If nagging aches and pains are preventing you from getting on your mat, or if daily life is stressful and tension-filled, the folks at Yoga Tune Up® have a self-massage product that quickly erases pain. The Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball Full Body Kit is full of quick and easy self-massage sequences and includes two grippy rubber balls that knead and unwind common high-tension areas on the body. These guided audio CDs take you on a tour of the upper back, neck, jaw, shoulders, lower back, hips, feet and more! A step-by-step visual placement guide shows you trigger-point high-tension areas, and before you can say, “ah,” the tension melts away!
Perhaps you are a visual learner and you thrive in environments of color, image and inspiration! Then try practicing on a mat artistically imprinted the powerful array of chakras, or yogic energy centers. Gaiam’s new Chakra Mat is printed with exquisite renderings of all seven colorful chakras along the length of the mat. Let these mystical symbols enhance your yoga practice, or use the mat as an empowering seat for meditation.
Or how about trying something radically new this “school” year? One of the latest yoga trends is airborne yoga! These yoga slings are fastened and hooked to the ceiling or door jamb and provide the unforgettable experience of gravity-defying yoga. The chafe-proof materials harness your body and allow you to invert without stressing your joints, helping to elongate yourself in ways that can only come from this unique type of suspension system. It is SO MUCH FUN! And it feels so good.
Weightless travel mat
If flying is REALLY your thing, and airplanes take you away from studies at home, why not travel with the thinnest, lightest most convenient new travel mat on the market. The innovators at MANDUKA have created the eKO SuperLite® Travel Mat. It folds up (and never creases!) into less space than a sweatshirt and weighs about the same. It has a super-grippy surface much like their other mats, and it works in a carpeted hotel room or the local yoga studio.
Brand new students, enroll here!
If you are an absolute beginner, or even an advanced practitioner ready to add some new moves to your current practice, let Rodney Yee’s Yoga Ball Beginners Kit become part of your studies! Rodney has been developing programming with Gaiam for years that helps students worldwide to improve their health and well-being through yoga. His newest program improves alignment, flexibility and balance. It includes an eco-friendly ball that contours to your body to support you during poses. The 20-minute workout is easy to squeeze into a busy schedule. If time permits, add the additional 10-minute strap workout that gives a thoroughly relaxing stretch. The kit includes an 18” (45 cm) eco anti-burst yoga ball, DVD, yoga gloves, strap and pump.
Hydration helps your brain and body
It’s hard to stay focused when you’re thirsty. Staying hydrated while practicing is essential for helping to move toxins out of your tissues and to keep everything flowing. For the past few years, consumers have been told to skip plastic bottles of all kinds, and to switch to safely constructed stainless steel bottles. Gaiam’s new Stainless Steel Water Bottle offers the best of eco-conscious design backed by rigorous safeguard standards so that you can sip without worry! There is no inner lining, so there is no chance of contamination, making the bottles toxin- and BPA-free. Clip this lightweight flip-top bottle to your backpack with its convenient caribiner and tote it to your local studio or gym. It's durable, dent- and scratch-resistant, and 100% recyclable. It’s easy to clean too — just throw it in your dishwasher!
Meditation boosts your learning!
One of the great benefits of adding meditation to your yoga practice is that it actually helps your brain to consolidate and assimilate all of the new learning your muscles “explored” while bending and stretching into poses. For years, yogis have used a special eye pillow prop to accelerate the relaxation process. Yogis and non-yogis alike will love the new “scent of tranquility” that radiates from the beautiful Silk Eye Pillow & Case by ZOBHA. This 100% silk dupioni eye pillow and case is filled with dried rice and lavender. When placed over your eyes, it will transport you to the rolling hills of Provence and induce deep restful sedation. Let the gentle aromatherapy sweep you away from it all either after asana practice, before sleep, or for meditation anytime. It also comes with a matching case to keep it clean and protected for each use.
Many yoga teachers would agree that the real practice of yoga does not happen on the mat, and that the mat is just a playground for our practice of physical postures. The more challenging work is maintaining our equipoise, or balance, in our day-to-day life, ESPECIALLY when we are faced with the pressures of work and sitting for long hours at the computer! Gaiam’s Balance Ball® helps you maintain poise throughout your day. You’ll be able to apply all of Rodney’s Ball Kit tips as you master office Zen.
Yoga truly is a phenomenal way to re-educate your mind and body. Incorporating the latest gear into your home or travel practice will keep you healthy through the fall and beyond. Stay in shape, inside and out by prepping yourself to be your best at your practice. Make the most of your practice by adding any of these new elements, or send a loved one a new way of helping themselves to awaken the possibilities of yoga and healthful well-being. Be well and enjoy your practice!
Practice yoga with Jill Miller on GaiamTV.com!
Jill Miller is a yoga/fitness therapist and the creator of Yoga Tune Up®. She travels the globe leading teacher trainings and workshops to help people to live better in their bodies. She lives in L.A. with her husband and two very large rescue mutts.