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  • What to Eat Before and After Yoga

     

    As the holidays approach, it’s easy for our usual yoga routines to get hijacked. Between traveling to visit family, parties with friends and the search for the perfect gift (we’ve got a few ideas here), making time to practice is not just a luxury – it’s a necessity. Whether it’s at your local studio or online, yoga allows us to take some much-deserved time to ourselves, as well as reflect to appreciate the amazing people, places and things in our lives...including food.

     

    There IS a way to enjoy both, although eating a heaping plate of pasta 10 minutes before your flow is not something we’d recommend (but neither is starving yourself only to feel dizzy while upside down).

     

    When it comes to deciding what to eat before and after yoga, the best thing to do is strike a happy balance. We’ve broken things down below, so you can feel light and festive for your next flow:

    What to eat: 2-3 hours before class

    Oatmeal with a handful of nuts

    The combo of carbs (oats) and protein (nuts) makes the perfect pre-yoga breakfast duo, helping to provide long-lasting, sustainable energy to power you through all those chaturangas. Added strawberries optional!

     

    Avocado Toast

    With a superdose of potassium and a great source of anti-oxidants, avocados pair perfectly with a slice of low-glycemic index whole grain bread (and any other veggie toppings you like). You’ll feel satisfied and energized for hours.

    PSA: What NOT to Eat

    Garlicky foods

    Deep breathing and garlic don’t go togeter. Be kind to your neighbor and skip for the greater good.

     

     

    What to eat: 30 minutes–1 hour before class

    Banana

    Keep it simple! Packed full of potassium and natural sugars, indulging in a banana pre-yoga can help gently lift energy levels while keeping the body hydrated.

     

    Green smoothie

    A small green smoothie is a great way to boost energy levels, but remember to strike the 2/3 balance when it comes to packing in leafy greens to ensure healthy blood sugar levels. Adding in half an avocado can also add a nice dose of healthy fats to slow down sugar absorption.

     

    A few squares of raw cacao

    Yep, that’s right – we support chocolate pre-yoga! But not the sugar-packed processed kind…We’re talking about the real deal. Dark chocolate is packed full of energy-filled magnesium and helps increase blood flow to the brain.

     

     

    What to eat: Post-yoga

    It’s best to hold off from eating any big meals at least 30 minutes after finishing your class. Certain yoga postures work on the digestive tract so eating heavy foods straight afterwards can sometimes cause some discomfort. After that, however, the world (or fridge) is all yours! And don’t forget to drink plenty of water to replenish any lost liquids!

  • Yoga Poses For Runners

    Hamstring tightness and soreness is probably the number one complaint heard in yoga classes. Our hamstrings make up three different muscle groups, which collectively are responsible for the flexing of knee and lifting of foot each time we run or jog.  When we overuse or aggravate these muscles, their response is to tense up and contract. And there’s no mistaking the fiery wrath of an over-worked hamstring!

    Why is yoga good for tight hamstrings?
    Yoga and running complement each other perfectly, helping to fill the gaps where the other lacks.  Practicing just a handful of specific postures before and/or after a long running session can help to stretch and gently lengthen the hamstring muscles, as well as release any built-up tension in the body.

    Here are our top 3 yoga poses to help you stretch hamstrings from every angle:

    1. Forward Fold (aka Uttanasana)

    Basic hamstring stretch to lengthen and release tension.

    PROtip: If you start to feel any pain, back off by gently bending the knees. The aim is to feel a stretch without any discomfort or strain.

     

    1. Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold (aka Prasarita Padottanasana)

    Inner hamstring stretch to also lengthen spine.

    PROtip: Rest hands on floor and lift kneecaps to activate quadriceps. Increased activation will deepen hamstring stretch.

     

    1. Pyramid Pose (aka Parsvottanasana)

    Outer hamstring stretch to work leg balance and strength.

    PROtip: Extra tight hamstrings will benefit from the use of blocks (like these!) to support hands if they don’t reach the floor.

  • Manduka’s Holiday Mindset: Putting Your Practice Into Practice

     

     

    How did this all happen so fast? One minute it’s summer and the next, we find ourselves fully entrenched in the holiday season! Not that we’re complaining…this time of year is always one of our favorites, bringing with it family, festivities and lots of opportunities to put the tools we learn on the yoga mat into practice in the real world.

    This year, we’re proud to feature some of our favorite hometown teachers (that’s sunny Los Angeles, by the way), who share with us how they give back in their own communities, model some of their favorite Manduka picks, provide their personal flow playlists and some will even be teaching live-streamed yoga classes throughout the next few months.

    Meet our Holiday Gift Guide Teachers below and get inspired to put your own practice into, well, practice. Together, we can spread positive vibes big and small to everyone we meet, hug, toast and gift this season.

    Practice On,

    Manduka

     

     

     

    NAME: Alex Artymiak

    FIND HIM AT:

    @Insight_Yoga

    HOLIDAY PICKS:

    The Flow Collection

    PLAYLIST:

    FLOW

    TEACHING LIVE:

    Sign up here!

     

     

    NAME: Jackie Smyth

    FIND HER AT:

    @TravelingMats

    HOLIDAY PICKS:

    The Strength Collection

    PLAYLIST:

    STRENGTH

    OFF-THE-MAT:

    “As a single mother, I know that help from family, friends and even strangers is always appreciated. That’s why each holiday season, I use my community at the studio to arrange clothing drives for Santa Monica’s Upward Bound House to help single mothers and families get back on their feet.”

     

     

     

    NAME: Kali Sampson Alexander

    FIND HER AT:

    @ThisIsHowIFlow

    HOLIDAY PICKS:

    The Energy Collection

    PLAYLIST:

    ENERGY

    TEACHING LIVE:

    Sign up here!

     

     

    NAME: Katie Keller

    FIND HER AT:

    @KatieKeller_

    HOLIDAY PICKS:

    The Shine Collection

    PLAYLIST:

    SHINE

    OFF-THE-MAT:           

    “I work at The Giving Keys in Downtown LA, where we employ people transitioning out of homelessness to make inspirational products and key jewelry stamped with words like DREAM, CREATE or INSPIRE. Working with organizations like Chrysalis, Union Rescue Mission and First Place For Youth makes me proud to pay it forward today, tomorrow and every day.”

     

     

    NAME: CJ Harvey

    FIND HIM AT:

    @BreathAndGratitude

    HOLIDAY PICKS:

    The Growth Collection

    PLAYLIST:

    GROW

    TEACHING LIVE:

    Sign up here!

  • 5 Yoga Poses For Stress & Anxiety

     

    Stress is something that affects us all. In fact, we need a bit of stress in our lives to help evolve, grow, gain perspective and stay motivated. But when we’re overloaded with stress (hello, 2017), it can become overwhelming and detrimental. Ultimately, too much stress affects our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, which is why making time to practice yoga is so important.

    Yoga provides the perfect tools to help us deal with stress. Below, you’ll find some key poses to help relieve anxiety and allow you to move through your day with more mindfulness and peace:

    Sesa O'Connor

    1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

    This pose has an immediate calming effect. It allows the mind to turn inward away from distractions.

    • Come to a kneeling position, with knees wide and big toes together.
    • Place a bolster between your thighs, then fold forward from the hips and rest your chest down.
    • Rest head on the floor or on a block, with arms stretched out in front.

    2. Crocodile (Makrasana)

    This position allows for a deep connection with your own breath, helping to turn the mind inwards.

    • Lay on your belly.
    • Make a pillow with your hands and rest your head upon them.
    • Keep your legs out straight behind you, with feet turned outwards.
    • Focus on the breath down into the belly. Feel it pressing the floor as you inhale and soften back on the exhalation.

    3. Reclining Bound Angle (Supta baddha konasana)

    The detrimental effects of stress often occur because we’re holding onto unnecessary thoughts or feelings. This pose teaches us how to let go.

    • Lay on your back, place the soles of the feet together and knees resting apart.
    • A bolster can be placed underneath from the lower back up to the back of the head.
    • Extra support can also be placed under the thighs.

    4. Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

    This inverted position is instantly calming and introverting.

    • Sit with the side of your pelvis against the wall.
    • As you lay down, pivot legs to swing up the wall so your spine is lengthening away from it.
    • A bolster or low block can be placed under the back of the pelvis for more comfort.

    5. Savasana

    The ultimate stress-relieving pose!

    • Lay on your back, with the spine in a straight line.
    • Let feet and legs roll out from each other, and arms rolled out from the sides of the body.
    • Tuck the chin slightly towards the chest. A bolster or blanket can be placed under the knees to relieve tightness in the lower back.
    • Now, just breathe normally and relax.

    PRACTICE ON

  • 8 Steps to Creating the Ultimate Home Yoga Practice

    Developing a home yoga routine can be daunting. Finding the time and space to show up on your mat each day is challenging, especially when you're used to the structure of an in-person yoga class.

     

    But learning how to practice yoga at home allows you the space to really listen to your body and its needs, without the temptation of playing a comparison game with neighboring yogis.

     

    More often than not, the biggest hurdle is simply showing up. The remaining steps? We’ve outlined them below to help get you started. Practice On.

     

     

    1. Get Online

    Make use of the many resources out there. Online yoga classes are a great way to get started on your home yoga journey, providing just enough structure and routine to build up confidence to “go it alone”. And with a range of different lengths, styles and levels to choose from, there’s always a class to fit your needs.

     

    1. Create the Right Space

    Creating an inspiring space for your practice is crucial. Find somewhere open and clutter-free that creates a feeling of ‘space’. Outfit that space with props that make you feel comfortable and supported. We love blankets and blocks for home practices.

     

    1. Find Your Soul Mat

    The cornerstone of your practice should be a mat that suits your needs and personal style. We love our PRO mats, especially the PRO Squared (if you can fit it!) Confused on which mat is best for you? Take our quiz!

     

    1. Be Selfish

    Take the time to tap into how you’re feeling. No two practices are going to be the same. Some days, you’ll want a stronger, longer practice; others, you might just want to do a few Sun Salutations and lie in Savasana.  Allow yourself the flexibility to feel what you and your body really need.

     

    1. Welcome The Resistance

    Resistance is part of life. Embrace it, rather than punishing yourself with it. The most important thing is that you make it to the mat, whether it’s for 5 minutes or 50 minutes. Respect and appreciate where you’re at in your practice.

     

    1. Start Small

    It can take a while for a new commitment to turn into a habit. Respect that, and start with just a few minutes, working up to a longer practice when it feels comfortable.

     

    1. Phone = Off

    This is YOUR time, and don’t let anyone or anything take it from you. If you're joining Yogaia classes from your phone, make sure to turn off all notifications so your class doesn't get interrupted.

    1. Forgive, Forget & Carry On

    Falling off the wagon is normal – so don’t beat yourself up about it! Just be sure to get right back on and reward yourself that you did.

    PRACTICE ON

  • The Ultimate Yoga Guide for Beginners

    Starting something new can be scary, and finding yourself in a yoga studio as a beginner is no exception. With unfamiliar names for poses and even stranger-sounding Sanskrit words, being a new yogi can often feel like learning a new language.

    That's why it's important to make sure you start your yoga journey with a class structured specifically for beginners. Yoga for Beginners (Level 1) classes start with the absolute basics, structuring sequences in an easy-to-follow way, even for someone with no idea what Downward-Facing Dog means.

    Continue reading

  • How Manduka Founder Peter Sterios Built The Best Mat in The World

     

    In 1997, the Internet was just getting started (less than 2% of the world’s population were users), the first social media platform was launched (but, let's be honest, no one knew what to do with it) and Amazon was only 4 years old, primarily selling books and DVDs.

     

    20 years later, all of those things are very alive and well...and so is Manduka’s signature yoga mat, the Black Mat PRO. In 1997, the yoga landscape was a very different place, where 60’s-era refugees and martial arts students gathered in small studios to practice on makeshift mats often made of cut-up pieces of carpet underlayment (true story).

    Continue reading

  • We're in This Together

    Our beloved community of yogis goes beyond the studio – it spans the nation and the globe. Harvey and Irma's affect on our community has broken our hearts, which leads us to the question: What can we do to help?

     

    Manduka has committed to helping studios in need hit by the hurricane with replacement yoga mats for those that have become lost or damaged. We truly believe that the power of yoga provides a sense of self and strength, especially in times of uncertainty.

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  • Take Only What You Need: A Yogi's Guide to Festival Packing

    Lauren Matters (@laurenmattersyoga) and Daniel Scott (@danielscottyoga) are a traveling yogi power couple who pack light and show up ready to rock at festivals, conferences and events around the world. So…who better to share a few tips on how to pack like a yoga rockstar?

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  • Slipping on your yoga mat?

     
    If you sweat during practice or find yourself slipping on your mat, we always recommend a towel to help absorb your sweat.

    Our yoga towels are sweat activated- the more you sweat, the more they grip. A yoga towel is the perfect accessory for any yogi or fitness guru.

     

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