September 23rd, 2013 by Stag
I love camping! There, I’ve said it. I love the outdoors, I love getting off the grid if only for a little while. Just you or perhaps some friends and the great outdoors. Now whether you choose the forest or the desert you know that temperatures can raise and drop pretty quickly. You know that the ground is certainly a cruel mistress, and you may have figured out that you need to think on your feet at times.
A good, yet seemingly random item to have that certainly comes in handy for a quick warm up would be a Mexican blanket. Nice and warm, easy to pack and pretty light weight. It comes in handy in a pinch on a long hike or just randomly around the fire when you need it. It is also perfect to use in combination with your yoga mat in the morning in place of a Bolster.
Everyone is different when it comes to sleeping arrangements. Some need less support, others need more. You would be surprised that you can easily use gymnastics mats for a very comfortable camping bed. They are easy to clean, plenty of support and relatively easy to pack for your so-called car camping adventures. However if you require something lighter for those longer walkabouts you may or may not be taking, I would recommend the trusted Anti-Fatigue mats. They are light weight and can be rolled to a small size and easily attached to a backpack.
All in all, you would be very surprised about what things may be used for “alternative” reasons, and in ways that the original manufacturers never really intended. So venture out dear reader, see the world…and bring a blanket.
September 17th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
As of late, I’ve grown increasingly aware of the fact that I am getting old. Not old-old, but old like an adult. 3rd floor of life. Where you start reflecting on the fact that you should have been a little more athletic just so your body was conditioned for the hardships of being an American citizen for the next 50 years. Ok, ok, 30 if I’m lucky.
Heavily bombarded with fast food, fast cars, and fast women, it is no wonder our indulgent lifestyle makes it so easy to forget very basic things like regular physical activity. After all, the body wasn’t exactly designed to sit at cubicle trying to think of blogs to write… hmmm…
I’ve become increasingly more interested in keeping my body in shape. Not for looks, but merely for endurance, stamina, and vigor… IN BED! BOOYAH! Seriously, though… life in general. Regular physical activity be it buying a yoga mat and start doing yoga, jogging by myself, getting a few martial arts mats to wrestle with my girlfriend, or just taking the stairs instead of the elevator can substantially improve my metabolism, sleep, and my mood overall. Another big commitment is cutting out ALL sodas. That crap is BAD for you! No more Diet Coke for me! Or Squirt.. or Fanta… or regular Coke. (Beer is NOT soda by the way!)
Take it from someone that has been blessed with a pretty amazing metabolism (I have literally bombarded my body with just about anything you can throw at it for the past 30 years… and I still maintain a happy median weight of 185 lbs at 6’4″), things start to change after the last half of the second decade. If you are feeling the 3rd floor blues, consider taking something up cycling, yoga, martial arts, or cross-fit. One of the very distinct perks of working here has been the employee discounts on a variety things like work-out gloves, yoga equipment, martial arts products, and exercise mats. If you need a bit of a push in the right direction, remember that the body is like a car. Always lease, never buy. Wait, that’s not right… Oh yes, you’re body is like a car and it won’t last forever. But the more regular maintenance you give it, the more mileage you’ll get out of it.
August 29th, 2013 by Kelly Green
MAYO CLINIC APPROVES OF YOGA FOR STRESS RELIEF
Stress. It’s everywhere. A ringing phone at the wrong moment can send me flying through the air, shrieking like a goosed intern . . . not that I’ve ever goosed an intern. . . . Or a waitress . . . or a nun . . . moving on.
Even the “DING” of an arriving email can send my anxiety levels to “Houston, we have a problem” levels. So what can we do in this day and age to help alleviate some of that pent up stress? One possible avenue of relief has recently been suggested by the Mayo Clinic.
“Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation. Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function. And almost anyone can do it.”
Yoga has many styles, forms and intensities. Sometimes a yoga mat is all that is needed for a beginner or advanced student. Other times a prop like a stretching strap or a Bolster may be part of your experience. Jo-Sha mat wipes are also available to be sure whatever you’re using is clean and smells good.
Hatha yoga, my discipline of choice, is good for stress management because of its Tai Chi style of slower, gentler movement. Hatha is also one of the most common styles of yoga, classes are easy to find and literature abounds. Besides, did you know there are eleventy -gajillion postures that have “prone, seated, relaxed, or rest in their names? But I digress. Most people can benefit from any style of yoga — it’s all about your personal preferences. Mine just happen to consist of sitting, relaxing, resting and proning.
The core components of hatha yoga are:
Poses. Yoga poses, also called postures, are a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility. Poses range from lying on the floor while completely relaxed to difficult postures that may have you stretching your physical limits.
Breathing. Controlling your breathing is an important part of yoga. In yoga, breath signifies your vital energy. Yoga teaches that controlling your breathing can help you control your body and quiet your mind.
The potential health benefits of yoga include:
Stress reduction. A number of studies have shown that yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.
Improved fitness. Practicing yoga can lead to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. And this means you’re less likely to injure yourself in other physical endeavors or in your daily activities.
Management of chronic conditions. Yoga can help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Yoga might also help alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.
Once you decide on your style of yoga, head on over to the MatsMatsMats.com website and have a gander at all the different items that you can buy to get the most out of your burgeoning quest for yogism. Yoga Mats, Bolsters, meditation cushions, pillows, blankets, towels, blocks, benches, wedges, straps, cleaning wipes, disinfectants, and so much more.
August 23rd, 2013 by Kelly Green
I recently took a sick day off. For unknown reasons, I had a gland infection under my jawline that made me look like a squirrel harvesting acorns. Not only that but my eyes were reacting to some kind of irritant (I thought it was my mother-in-laws cooking but I could be wrong). Along with this came a nagging temperature, also known as a low grade fever. Is there anything more demoralizing than looking like a rabid wombat and feeling like a piece of meat in a toaster oven? I just wanted to sleep and call it a day. Problem was I could not get comfortable. Twisting this way and that way, I started looking at the bathroom tiles with longing, knowing that the coolness would be a balm.
Enter the Shiatsu Thai Massage Mat, this amazing, comfortable mat wicks away the sweat and keeps me cooler and more comfortable than anything else I know. Although the original purpose was for giving and receiving a massage, I have found it perfect for the rogue nap and camping. It provides a clean, soft platform to ease into slumberland and along with a zafu pillow “borrowed” from my wife’s collection of yoga meditation supplies. I was able to get a comfortable and cool few hours of rest while still able to tell my spouse that I spent the day with her meditation equipment. I merely leave out the part where I am snoozing.
If I had been thinking clearly, I would have added a silk eye pillow fresh out of the freezer to soothe my swollen eyes. But I was already asleep and snoring before I even thought about thinking about maybe wandering in that direction.
August 22nd, 2013 by Chris Aviles
One of my favorite technological advances is On-Demand anything! We live in a world of instant gratification and as much as I try to not be that person, I am. That makes it tough to be satisfied. I want the gourmet meal with the attention to detail, but I want it in 10 mins. Or I really want to have a new haircut and change my color, but I don’t have 2 hours to dedicate to getting it done.
Luckily there’s enough On-Demand or instant conveniences I can make more time for tasks that can’t be done right away. We already bank, watch movies, download music, bay bills, order groceries and even hold meetings online. It’s getting to the point where you don’t have to leave your house!
A friend of mine posted something online about there now being Pilates on Demand, which is amazing to me! Now, as long as you have your own exercise mat, you don’t even have to leave your house to get training or exercise. In the past, you usually needed an expensive gym membership. She uses it as a way to get her children to exercise and have a minute alone. This is a great way to multi-task and stay fit. Imagine how much you could accomplish if you didn’t have to take time to get to and from your workout. You don’t even need gym equipment all you need is a yoga mat, and you can start working that core from your own home- while dinner cooks. Or if you’re not exactly graceful when it comes to poses, this is a great way to learn without the added stress of being judged by other gym goers.
July 16th, 2013 by Kelly Green
For those of you who are considering setting up your own Yoga Studio, you may want to include in your list of necessary pieces of yoga equipment, the humble micro fiber towels. Besides the usual suspects of a yoga mat, bolster, pillow, wedge and a stretching strap, I would venture to say that the yoga towel is one of the most frequently overlooked prop.
I know that when I exercise, I perspire a great deal. When said perspiration drips into my eyes, blinding me or making it impossible to see through my now drippy glasses, I have a tendency to shout, “AUGH! I’M DONE” as I walk away. In the past this has worked on my wife and she reluctantly allows me to wander off to get the sweat out of my eyes and/or clean my spectacles.
However, came the day when I started the usual whining, “I’M BLIND! I’M BLIND!”, when I was smacked in the face with a soft, waffle weave, yoga towel.
“Holy Crap on a cracker man, you whine more than a three year old multiplied by Morrisey!” my wife observed.
Discounting the fact that I had to Google who the heck Morrisey was, I was fairly certain that I had been insulted.
“How do you expect me to yoga-ize when I can’t see and my eyes are all stingy?”
“Use the towel, crybaby”. (My wife considers calling me a crybaby the end of any discussion.)
I found out that these towels are available at MatsMatsMats.com in a face towel of full yoga mat size. It’s washable, absorbs tons of sweat and provides superior traction when your hands get sweaty.
So, if you are making a check list of supplies tools and props for your clientele or if you want a towel that is made specifically for use on a yoga mat, consider a hot yoga towel an essential yoga tool rather than an optional luxury.
May 24th, 2013 by Stag
I recently went camping / back-packing. Â Now this was a small trip in comparison to some of my more ambitious ventures in my recent past. Â Just a two day hike up into the San Gabriel Mountains here in Southern California. Â Now even though it is 90+ degrees where we live, believe it or not it is actually still snowing up in the San Gabrielâ€™s (yes, it does snow in Southern California).
So I stuffed your usually things into my trusty backpack. Â I packed in my sleeping bag, inflatable cushion for sleeping, my food and water filtration essentials. Â But this time I brought a specially little experiment along with me. Â Just to see how it would fare. Â Thatâ€™s right ladies and gents, I brought Mexican blankets up into the snowy mountains of the SoCal.
Now you would not think that this type of material would do so well up in the mountains, and frankly neither did I. Â However to my very amazement, I found it to be quite useful! Â Not really as a blanket, but as so many other things. Â I could not help but thinking of the Hitchhikerâ€™s Guide to the Galaxy as I romped through forest with my now trustee Mexican blankets.Â It was the equivalent of the Towel in those books. Â I used it as a towel, as a napkin, I stuffed it into my sleeping bag cover and bunched it up to use it as a body pillow, when I got stressed I used it as a meditation cushion, and I even used it as a beany of sorts to keep me warm and wick away the sweat as we made our assent.
I have to say that the sheer versatility of this little blanket was marvelous and I will certainly be making them a permanent part of my mountain ensemble.
May 24th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
I came down with a nasty flu this week. Not nasty in length, but in severity. 103 degree fever for a solid four plus hours or so. When it finally broke, I felt like I was hallucinating. And I actually was. You see, I thanked my girlfriend for bringing me the glass of water that I didn’t ask for and in reality, wasn’t even there. After stumbling from bed to the kitchen for some refreshment and battling my cat to not trip me as I shuffled my feet in what can only be described as an alien imitation of human bipedalism, I had a revelation. I was sick from the gym! Of course! All the grime, sharing equipment, and that one folding exercise mat
I used… I remember the one. I had a bad feeling about using the common exercise mat
but I went ahead and did it anyway. Four days later, BAM! Sick as dog. Now, I wouldn’t dare suggest that this particular facility does not disinfect its workout mats
regularly, but I have my suspicions.
I always wondered why we sell our mat disinfectant
. That sounds stupid… I know WHY we use them, but I never really thought about it in context. But the sweat, the grunts, the exhausting of ones body to the limits while perspiring sweat and salival grunts, well, let’s just say your gonna be swapping fluids (involuntarily) with a couple of people at your gym. I’d like to think that ALL gyms (and after researching OF COURSE THEY DO) disinfect their daily use common equipment with disinfectants and a mat cleaner
, but if you happen to be extra paranoid like me, take your own aerobic mats with you from here on out.
May 15th, 2013 by Stag
I am not sure as to how prevalent or obvious it is through these blogs, but I have a very non-stop kind of â€œover-thinkingâ€ brain process. Â I constantly question and second and triple guess each and every thought, motive and action. Â Although an asset at times; and it certainly has been in the past, it is also been a source of frustration.
With this said I decided to attempt and calm this part of myself in some fashion. Â My first attempt was what is commonly known as an isolation tank. Â It is a large metal box essentially. Â It is filled with about 12â€ of water that is saturated with 800 lbs of salt to make it incredibly buoyant.Â You simply lay in this water and float, and then the fun part. Â You close the door to this box and it is completely black. There is no sound, no visuals or stimuli of any kind. Â In fact after a few minutes you begin to feel as if you are actually floating and completely weight-less. Â Although this is not for everyone, it is quite an experience and I highly recommend it.
However although very fun and interesting, this isolation tank is not exactly the â€œcalmingâ€ experience that I really need, nor is it something that is practical to do on a consistent basis. Â So I began to dabble into the good â€˜ol meditation. Â Now, I am in shape and that shapeâ€¦is round. Â So needless to say, I need some comfort to brace between the floor and I. Â I tried many things, from a yoga mat, to a bamboo meditation bench and then finally the meditation cushion.
These Zafu and Zabuton meditation cushions were certainly my favorite thus far and are eco-friendly. They made it much easier to â€œlet goâ€ per say, rather than thinking about how hard the ground was. Â So although I am a grave novice at this point, I shall see where this little rabbit holes leads and report on my findings down the road.
May 8th, 2013 by Kelly Green
I lose my keys. Why? I blame DNA. My father lost his keys and his father before him and when my great, great, great, great great great great great great grandpa came home from a night of carousing with his fellow caveman, he probably lost the keys to the family mammoth. I have tried everything I can think of to prevent key loss. I put them on a carabineer and clipped them to a belt loop.
47 broken belt loops later, my wife demanded I lose the carabineer.Â I have purchased remote electronic devices that, when you press the button, are supposed to cause the paired key chain to loudly â€œchirp.â€ I lost the stupid remote. I purchased a zafu zabuton set and tried meditation.Â It didn’t work for my keys, but my organic meditation cushion has proven to be beneficial nonetheless.Â I even paid my daughter to follow me around and if she found my keys before I did, I would give her a dollar. I ended up with a rich little pick pocket, now I jump at shadows thinking itâ€™s my daughter about to steal my keys for a dollar.
Every man I know has this problem. This got me thinking. How can I stop this pitiful cycle of unrelenting key loss? How can I make sure that my own son will never have to plaintively whine, â€œHoney, have you seen my keys?â€ Why are all of those public restroom keys attached to objects that are big enough to require their own zip-code? AHA! If I could attach my keys to something I deemed vital, important and large enough that I couldnâ€™t lose it, my suffering would finally end. Sadly, my wife refused to volunteer.
I did manage to find this Key Chain Baton. I discovered the idea while watching martial arts movies.Â Large enough that losing it will be more difficult but it also has the potential to serve a purpose. The Kubotan, developed by Grand Master Takayuki Kubota, is a self-defense device which doubles as a key chain. Originally developed to be used by police officers, the Kubotan technique has revolutionized the concept of unarmed self-defense for not only law enforcement officers, but also karate enthusiasts and everyday citizens. Easily found on the MatsMatsMats.com website along with many other martial arts supplies.Â It also feature a DVD and book outlining simple self-defense techniques that utilize the mini baton. Now I shall never be without my keys again!Â Now, where did I put my glasses?