Using Sunrise And Sunset For Meditation And Yoga Practice

Sunrise and sunset are known to be sacred times of the day. It is said to be a time when the veil between this world and the spiritual world is thinner and deeply profound meditative states can be reached. Therefore a great way to start the day is with a silent meditation. Observe Moana in the morning. It is the practice of silence. Allow the mind to be silent to cultivate a deeper meditation practice. The slower you allow your mind to be as sunrise approaches, the easier your transition into the day can be. 

After a period of meditation, you may want to begin a physical meditation practice. A great way to praise the rising sun is through Surya Namaskar. These are sun salutations. Sun salutations are a moving prayer that honors the sun and its role in providing life prana (life force energy) and giving us balance and rhythm to life. To practice Surya Namaskar, find a flat ground preferably facing the rising sun. You may use a yoga mat or not depending on how much support you need. If you have trouble with your knees, you may benefit from a mat or using a blanket to support your knees. Wear comfortable clothing like yoga shorts. Depending on where you are in the world, it is commonly cooler in the mornings. If needed, wear yoga leggings and maybe a light sweater. 

Take a moment to root into the ground. Close your eyes and breathe. Focus on your breathing, and you inhale deeply and create a big round belly. Turn the breath into a three-part yogic breath by filling the belly first, then the rib cage, and then the chest. Stand with the legs engaged. Pull your knees in and engage the muscles in your legs. From your navel upward, you are soft and relaxed. Let your arms hang and your shoulder rollback.

   

As you begin the Surya Namaskar series, allow yourself to pause during the first round, then you bring your hands into prayer position, pause and connect with the breath. Allow each part of the moving meditation to be felt. Continue this practice throughout sunrise, repeating for at least 4-6 rounds. Do more if you can. Allow this practice to ground you and create wakefulness as you start your day. 

Another great pose to practice after this is headstand as it allows the unused energy in your body to become transmuted into spiritual energy. This energy can propel you into your day. 

Sunset is another great time to practice and meditate. It is another time to observe Moana. A meditation that can safely be practiced at this time is sun gazing, as the sun is not too strong to look at. You may find you will like to go deeper into your yoga practice at sunset than at sunrise because your body is often more flexible and able to move into a deeper expression of poses without pain.

Use these sacred times of the day to deepen your relationship with your body, mind, and spirit. Observe all that is and connect with whatever comes into your reality during yoga.

What Is Ujjayi Breath And How To Master It?

Ujjayi breath is very confusing if nobody has ever explained it to you. The teacher says use Ujjayi breath, and everybody starts sounding like Darth Vader. I’m going to use this blog to illustrate the point of Ujjayi breath and how to do it. 

Ujjayi breath is a pranayama exercise that we can do while practicing asanas. Ujjayi is translated from Sanskrit to victorious. Some teachers will, therefore, refer to Ujjayi as the victorious breath. It is mainly used during yoga practice to help generate heat within the body, which then warms up the muscles and allows us to move into asanas more freely. The breath is supposed to be both invigorating and relaxing. Another benefit for the yoga class is that it helps to give us a rhythm, which is especially helpful if we are doing a lot of vinyasa’s (breath to movement). In Ashtanga classes, this type of breath is encouraged. There are many other benefits that Ujjayi breath is responsible for. 

  • These include regulating blood pressure
  • Calming the mind
  • Increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood and therefore helping to strengthen the immune system and fight off illness
  • Build energy 
  • And also detoxify the mind and body 

Method Of Performing Ujjayi Breath:

To do this, you must breathe in deeply through your nose, keeping your lips together. With your tongue, you should make a small constriction at the back of your throat. Each time you breathe, it should make a noise like the ocean or Darth Vader. The first time you try this, make sure that you are just sitting comfortably, nice and tall. It may take a bit of practice to get it right; in my experience, it is usually easier on the exhale than the inhale. If you are struggling with this, you can make a HAH sound with your mouth open (like you are trying to fog up a window) then try to copy this sound with the mouth closed. The time that you exhale for should be equal to the inhale time. Remember that this breath should be relaxing, so don’t stress yourself out with getting the sound perfect. It takes practice and patience, and with this, you will reap the benefits. 

You can also use the Ujjayi breath outside of your yoga class. The way we breathe reflects how we feel. For example, when we are stressed out and nervous, our breathing becomes shallow, quick, and shaky. When we are calm, our breath reflects it, becoming smooth and steady. The calming properties of Ujjayi breath help a lot in situations where you may be nervous and anxious. Calming the breath means calming the mind. The rhythmic nature of the Ujjayi breath will also help to focus the mind and block out distractions. It can be used as a type of meditation. The more you practice the Ujjayi breath, the more likely it is to become a habit, and without realizing, you will soon start to calm the mind before the stress kicks in.

Cropped Leggings or Full Pants?

Manufacturers left no stone unturned in their pursuit to create the most comfortable yoga apparel possible. The options are seemingly infinite: high-waist capri leggings, yoga pants, and full-length yoga leggings, all available in an endless selection of colors. Whether you browse from the comfort of your couch or in a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll likely find yourself overwhelmed at all of the possibilities at some point in your shopping excursion.

If you’ve already narrowed down your search to a simple pair of yoga leggings, the next question is really whether you want cropped leggings (sometimes better known as capris) or full pants that hit around the ankle. Many times, the best option for yoga apparel will depend on your personal preferences, but is there a significant benefit to one of these styles?

Yogis seem to be gravitating more toward capri leggings than towards the ankle-length counterparts for a reason. Their practices are often safer when donning a shorter pair of pants.

Particularly for individuals who are smaller in stature, ankle-length pants could hit slightly below the ankle. If this is the case for you, you are faced with a handful of choices. You can push them up and allow the leggings to bunch at the ankle, roll them up, or allow them to cover the back part of your heel. Bunching them up and rolling them both give a sloppy appearance to your otherwise polished outfit.

Allowing the leggings to cover the back part of your heel can border on dangerous.

Consider what would happen if your leggings covered a portion of your foot while taking a Warrior II pose. In a wide-legged stance, particularly, if you’re holding it for a period of time, you may eventually find your front foot slipping outward. Stretching your hips and quad muscles this way can cause pulled or extremely sore muscles and should be avoided at all costs.

The other primary benefit to capri leggings versus full pants is the heat factor. Cropped leggings allow for more skin exposure, meaning, you’ll experience a slightly cooler practice. By allowing yourself to remain warm instead of reaching a point of being overheated, you can focus more on the quality of your practice instead of seeking a break from the heat.

You may prefer the full-length yoga leggings if your practice is gentler than a hot yoga, Bikram, or Ashtanga practice. If you know that you tend to feel chilly on your mat throughout the practice, you may decide to go with the ankle-length yoga workout leggings if you can find a pair that fits you lengthwise.

Ultimately, the decision between capris or pant-style leggings will be a personal choice based on your practice style. However, capris could be a safer option to prevent slipping out of proper alignment during even the most basic poses. Safety should be the highest consideration during your yoga practice, and capris can help ensure that you continue practicing safely for years to come.

Rest is a Great Way to Nurture our Bodies

We start living the fast pace life pretty early on. There is always something to do and somewhere to be. But rest is just as important as being active and elsewhere, if not more.

There are definitely ways to have an active rest that will energize you for future ventures. By saying “rest” I by no means think of laying on the couch, watching TV (I don’t even consider that rest, as my mind is often in more demand for rest than my body, but that does not mean that I don’t enjoy a good late night movie paired with a glass of wine from time to time). Below are my favorite types of active rest techniques that tend to re-energize me most successfully.


1. Meditation

It is a great way to calm down breathing and even to disconnect from situations that are out of your hands. It furthermore guides you to become mindful of how your body feels as well as what you’re going through emotionally at that exact point in time. Relaxing might help you find solutions to the intricate problems you seemed to be so wrapped around in before.

2. Yoga

It obviously comes in different shapes and forms. All from pranayama (yogic breathing), to Bikram, or hot yoga (in spaces with 95 – 108 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity), or yoga inspired fitness classes (like the ones where you spend most of the time in plank poses and classes alike). Yoga is because of its intricate connectedness to the breath and awareness of the movement a practice of meditation also. As it offers an introspective into both your body and mind, it will leave you longing for more. Yoga is a practice that boosts up your metabolism, well-being and consequently confidence. Make sure to wear comfortable yoga pants though!

3. Stretching

Stretching is a great way to elongate your muscles. We perform so many different unnatural moves throughout the day that it is good to take time and pay attention to the sensations our body is communicating to us. Stretching is moreover a low impact exercise where we continuously focus on our breathing. Creating space within our bodies is important for allowing new experiences and ideas to form.

4. Simply being

Sometimes it is good to take at least a few breaths for yourself and be present. See the beauty around you, hear the noise and smell the air. It might make you look at the task at hand from a different perspective or spark new ideas. I find that it instantly calms me down and in turn makes me more in control of how I react to things.

5. Aerial practices

It might be a new thing emerging on the fitness list, but aerial programs have been around since the 1990s. There are numerous health benefits from performing an aerial practice as opposed to its regular version. By practicing aerial exercises like simple free swinging, you are nurturing kinesthetic awareness. By inversions, you are bringing fresh air to the brain, realigning your spine – as the hammock allows you to move freely in all ways. Your joints are being lubricated without impact. All of it in turn for a fresher looking skin. Moreover, cocoon (one of the finishing poses) is a meditative place where hammock shelters you from the outside world.

The whole practice is a low impact cardiovascular workout and it can even be perceived as a form of dance.

6. Nature walks

Choose the route depending on your fitness level, just getting out of the house or apartment and enjoying fresh air is always a good thing. You even have a win-win situation if you combine your walk with a friendly date (take your coffee on the go).

7. Coloring

Being creative brings a sense of fulfillment. You can make greeting cards and make someone happy or simply let them know you’re grateful for your friendship. You can redecorate your space according to the season or your mood depending on the pattern you choose or draw.

8. Upcycling older pieces of clothing

Instead, you throw out your old clothes you can rather upcycle them. If you have worn them a couple of times, you probably like them enough to wear them again. Spice them up by pinning brooches to them, adding some lace fabrics, or cutting out some holes to go for a rocker look. I feel like time is never thrown away while you’re being creative. Also, while being creative you think in unconventional ways, so in turn, you can solve problems more easily if you are able to look at them from various perspectives.

One thing that will keep you more restful is making and taking time for yourself. If only a couple of minutes a day. Your body and mind will be grateful for it.

Stiletto Yoga

Whether you are a certified fashionista or an office girl following a dress code; wearing high heels can be sometimes dangerous. This pair of footwear has been around for ages, and though the cost of wearing one has been obvious, many women nowadays still wear 5-inch high heels or stilettos. They give a tall, smart look. They make your legs seem longer, and they promote correct posture. The confidence boost that a lot of women get from wearing this feet-damaging pair of shoes outweighs the possible injuries they can get.



Comfort Before Fashion


From dinner dates to walking on red carpet, high heels are considered as your dress’ best buddy. It polishes the overall look to another level. Some people may be obligated to wear a stiletto, while others choose it to make a fashion statement. Despite the reason, the injuries and damage it can cause when constantly used must be considered.

Pain everywhere! High heels tend to absorb less shock than other kinds of footwear. Your feet naturally rotate as you walk, and because they are forced to straighten up, this rotation is blocked. When this happens, all the shock is directly absorbed by your ankles and knees, leading to joint pain and arthritis. This also shortens your Achilles tendon. Therefore, when you wear flats and this tendon is stretched, it causes immense pain. Wearing high heels also requires balancing on the balls of your feet which sends your pelvic floor forward. This puts your lower back on a lot of strain and causes lower back pain. Forcefully fitting into tight pointed shoes will also cause you to develop painful calluses. The most common form of pain is falling and accidentally twisting your ankles.


Muscle Reeducation. Stiletto Yoga classes are intended to reverse the effects of wearing high heels and reeducate all the muscles involved how to properly distribute weight. Here is an easy-to-follow exercise that’ll help familiarize your muscles with proper weight distribution and ease out muscle compressions. So, take off those lovely 5-inch plus high heels. Pamper your feet as you learn how to rock your walk comfortably!

Ease It Out! Perform this easy-to-follow practice every day and help your muscles feel comfortable wearing your most-loved high heels.

Training Your Feet. Begin by standing with your feet together and extend your arms forward, palms are facing the ground. Keep your gaze on a point and slowly begin lifting your heels, keeping the balance at the balls of your feet. Once you have stabilized yourself with heels lifted, gently lower down by bending your knees. Then, send your hips a bit forward to tuck your tailbone. Inhale, suck your belly in, and then, exhale as you slowly lower more until your butt rests on your heels. Stay in this position for five breaths. Stand back up to release with your heels still lifted.


Relaxing Tensed Muscles. Performing a Downward-Facing Dog gives the Achilles tendons, calves and lower back a stretch that’ll surely remove all pressure your body acquired by using high heels.
To do the pose: Start with your hands and feet planted on the ground. Make sure that your hands are parallel to your shoulders and knees are parallel to hips. Curl your toes and straighten your legs up to form an inverted V position. Push away from the ground and keep your gaze on your toes. Stay in this position for five breaths. You can intensify the stretch by alternately bending your knees as you breathe. Lower down to your knees to release.


Wearing heels can make a fashion statement and may be a great confidence booster. However, wearing it on a constant basis can cause damage to your health. So, remember to practice how you can equally distribute your weight, and always give your feet the rest and stretch they need to fight any possible injuries. Practice and you’ll surely run with your high heels on ‘comfortable’ in no time!

4 Styles To Help You Get Rid of Clingy Yoga Pants

We may have grown accustomed to our butt-hugging yoga pants over the past few decades, but that doesn’t mean we all love wearing them. Yoga pants are a step up from the leotards of the 1980s and they’re certainly not as frumpy as sweatshirts. That doesn’t mean we’re all totally comfortable with the unforgiving cling of yoga spandex, or the way that some brands seem to always become sheer in certain positions. If you’re one of those people who would rather have a little more room to breathe while doing your poses and a few other safe options for your bottom half besides black, there’s good news on the fashion front for you. In much the same way as we are seeing more flowy and baggy pants in mainstream fashion, the yoga world is expanding to include more options. Lines for both men and women are producing roomy and colorful pants that can be worn both in class and afterwards.

Listed below are descriptions of some of the new types of pants available.

Low-Cut Harem Pants

Among the new, more breathable yoga pants options are many different takes on harem pants. Some are exaggerated versions, like the Buddha Pants, which the designer claims are a hybrid of the Indian shalwar pants (pajama-like trousers), harem pants, and “gypsy pants.” These pants look almost like a long, triangle-shaped skirt when worn, but the bottom of each leg is loose enough that it can be pulled up at the ankle to make a different look. This provides for maximum flexibility during yoga classes and different looks during the day. The Buddha Pants can be folded up and stowed into its own pocket, and since they are meant to look wrinkled, they are great for travel.

These are designed for both men and women.

High-Cut Harem Pants

Another version of the harem pant is the high-cut version. This version is loose and slouchy like the low-cut harem pant, but the dropped crotch is not nearly as exaggerated and it’s clear they are pants, rather than a skirt. The legs are often gathered at the ankle with elastic.

Athleisure Capri Harem Pant


An adaptation on the harem pant is a hybrid of the less exaggerated harem pant and the usual yoga athleisure pant offered by some of the better known athletic companies like Nike and Adidas. These pants feature the usual high-tech, moisture-wicking fabric of athletic clothing, and are cut off below the knee. At the inseam, however, they fit loosely like a harem pant and are therefore more comfortable and flattering.

Slouchy cropped trousers

Lightweight, brightly printed cotton trousers have a loose enough fit to allow for yoga poses and are slouchy at the waist. The legs are cropped and can slide up and down according to needs of poses. These are very similar to the traditional Indian shalwar pants.

Matcha Madness: 4 Delicious Recipes

Matcha, the green powder made from green tea leaves has been around for some time. Only recently, it has been gaining more attention in the wellness space, many deeming it as a superfood. Trendy coffee shops and health food spots are offering matcha options on their menus and many of these you can make yourself at home. Don’t think you’re limited to drinks and smoothies.

This earthy, rich powder is so versatile, it can be used in coffee concoctions (matcha latte anyone?) and in savory dishes. Be prepared for a major energy boost. Just like a cup of green tea, it will give you a dose of caffeine, matcha has a similar effect. It has half the amount of caffeine than a regular cup of coffee, so it’s the perfect pick me up without the jittery caffeine after effects!

1. Matcha Mango Mint Smoothie

Let’s start with the easiest, yet refreshing recipes. This drink is pure health, loaded with vitamins and nutrients and of course matcha, our star ingredient!

What you’ll need:

  • 3 handfuls of spinach
  • ½ cup of strawberries
  • ½ banana
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of matcha powder
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen mango
  • 1 cup water
  • 15 mint leaves

Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients in a high-power blender.
  • Pour and enjoy!

2. Matcha Green Tea Waffles

Don’t get turned off by the slime green color! These waffles are sure to be a breakfast or brunch crowd-pleaser and definitely a conversation starter. With this recipe, you will be getting a protein-packed, nutrient-rich option that can be enjoyed any time of the day!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup matcha powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 1 (15.2- ounce) bottle Bolthouse Farms Coconut Protein PLUS
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • ¼ cup agave syrup

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine oat flour, baking powder, ¼ cup matcha powder, and salt. Whisk together to combine.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients, except ¼ cup agave syrup. Pour into dry mixture.
  • Whisk together until just combined, small lumps in the batter are gone. Let the batter sit and thicken for 10 minutes while you heat up the waffle iron.
  • Pour roughly ½ cup batter into center of heated and greased waffle iron. Cook each waffle according to waffle iron directions (3-5 minutes) and serve with syrup.
  • To make matcha green tea syrup: Combine ¼ agave syrup and desired amount of matcha powder.

 

3. Gluten-Free Matcha Green Tea Banana Bread

This is a perfect breakfast or afternoon snack option if you have a few overly-ripe bananas handy. You’ll get an extra caffeine boost as well, without having to drink coffee. Don’t be turned off by the green coloring! The matcha an additional rich flavor that will have your friends and family begging for the recipe.
 
What you’ll need:

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 1/4 cup  (*my flour blend has xanthan gum included. If yours doesn’t, add 1 teaspoon)
  • 3/4 cup 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons  (*if your matcha isn’t sweetened add 3 TBSP of sugar to the recipe)
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar (you can use brown sugar but it will make the color of the bread turn out more muddy colored)
  • dash salt

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray coconut oil into a bread loaf pan.
  • In a mixer, add all wet ingredients. (I just dropped the bananas in whole because they were so soft and ripe.)
  • Turn on mixer to slow.
  • Slowly add in dry ingredients a little at a time.
  • When the dry ingredients are mixed, increase the speed to medium for 1 minute.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake 25-30 minutes until done.

 

4. Cold Brew Summer Matcha Drink

With summer practically around the corner, what better way to enjoy the warmer weather, sitting poolside than with this cold beverage. This is a great alternative to regular iced tea and iced coffee and just as refreshing!

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 lime (sliced or juiced)
  •  1/2 lemon (sliced or juiced)
  • few fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon matcha
  • 16 oz filtered water
  •  ice
  • good maple syrup (optional)

Directions:

  • Put ice, water, and matcha powder in a shaker or glass bottle or mason jar.
  • Shake vigorously for one minute, until matcha is smooth and creamy.
  • Pour over ice, mint, lemon or lime slices are recommended but optional!

I hope you enjoyed these recipes! Thanks for reading!