Posts Tagged ‘yoga mat’
Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by Chris Aviles
Most everybody I know does yoga to feel healthy, but their yoga mat can be doing more harm than good. Unfortunately we don’t think about the hundreds of people that use the yoga mats when we’re taking a class at the gym. While the unspoken rule is to clean off your mat or equipment after you use it, a lot of people fail to do so. The amount of bacteria and disease on a yoga mat can seriously change your mind about working out altogether. The risk for athletes feet alone is enough to make me say NO THANK YOU!
Cleaning the yoga mats between uses can help reduce the health risk of spreading the germs and bacteria from person to person. Something as simple as our Jo-Sha Yoga Wipes does a great job, and the wipes are natural and smell real nice too.
The very best way to ensure the unwanted spread of gross germs during yoga is to buy your own personal yoga mat. We have a huge selection, so getting an affordable and light weight mat that is germ free is very easy. The purchase of your own yoga mat can also save you money over the long run since many yoga studios charge yoga mat rental fees. Buying yoga mat cleaner isn’t as effective on communal yoga mats or as effective against bacteria as using your own yoga mat.
Posted on: August 6th, 2014 by Ben Gonzalez
Hot yoga is so hot right now. In more ways than one. And most popular in recent years is Bikram Yoga. Founded by the brother of Paramahansa Yoganandi (who himself founded the Self Realization Fellowship. Angelinos know what I’m talking about.Based in Mt. Washington? In that awesome Golden Age of Hollywood mansion-turned-monastery? Overlooks the Los Angeles skyline. Off the 110? No… dang… Well, if you’re local you should go visit. Google search it. I can tell you the entire history of that place and how I came to posses such knowledge at the risk of continuing to suddenly break from my point to give a brief history of this pseudo-religion founded by an Indian expat who combined elements of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity into one easy-to-digest all in one philosophy emphasizing connection between the self and the all…. <deeeeeeeep breath> but I digress. Ahem…
Bikram is a form of hot Hatha Yoga where you step into a room at about 110 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity at about 40%. It’s hot. It’s not comfy, exactly. But it’s so popular that it’s become the go-to for an insurmountable amount of rush hour survivors and people looking for an intense set of 26 sequenced postures guided and standardized in the same duration of 90 minutes per class. This is more like an intense 90-minute set of heavy weight lifting than it is a 90 minute session with dim lights, burning nag champa, and new age soundscapes playing in the background . When the class is done, you are soaked and using your yoga mat as a stretcher. You become a purge of your own sweat and misery. The latter of particular importance as evidence from previous clinical studies showed that Hatha Yoga may have anti-depressant benefits.
Massachussetts General Hospital is currently pursuing a pilot trial to study the effectiveness of Bikram Yoga as a treatment for depression. While it’s been known to many from personal experience, Dr. Maren Nyer, director of Yoga Research in the MGH Depression Clinical and Research Program notes that Hot Yoga “…appears to be a promising treatment for depression.” She notes that hot yoga provides both mindfulness and intense exercise, both known to be effective treatments of major depressive disorder.
While this is a pilot trial of an actual clinical study, Hot Yoga enthusiasts should rejoice that not only is it great exercise, but it’s very likely that, as the the earliest trial currently show, practitioners are far less likely to develop major depressive disorders. One could assume it’s the constant exercise and serotonin production thereof that is a contributing factor into this. However, I think it’s partly the discipline that has to be assimilated in order to do this regularly. I tried it twice and decide that if I can pick and choose which I will engage in regularly, I was too much of a wimp to stick with the Hot Yoga as my regular routine. Instead, I chose daily 2k runs and 90 minute weight lifting routines. Although I love my yoga mat, Hot Yoga is just too hot for me to handle.
Posted on: July 17th, 2014 by Chris Aviles
We’ve been doing a little Spring Cleaning around the office, and I got my hands on a yoga ball. I read somewhere that sitting on one at your desk can be really good for posture and your core. Unfortunately the ball I have is too small to sit on at my desk. I feel like a troll. After the fun of bouncing on it like a child wore off I looked up some actual way to use a Yoga Ball, and I thought I’d pass them on to you. If you’re like me, expensive equipment or gym memberships are just not realistic. In expensive and diverse items like a yoga ball are great!
1. Squat and Reach: Hold the ball with straight arms, so it’s about level with the face. Squat down, bringing the ball all the way to the left side, just above the left foot. Hang tight in this position for three slow breaths, and then untwist the torso and return to standing before repeating on the other side. For the best results, keep that butt down in the squats and hold arms straight out in front of the torso. Try 10-15 reps of this twisty move to get the arms, core, and legs in tip-top shape.
2. Wall Squat: Stand about three feet from a wall with feet shoulder-width apart and the back to the wall. Place the ball between the lower back and the wall and squat down slowly until the legs form 90-degree angles at the knees. Use the ball to support the back as it rolls from the lower back to the shoulder blades. Slowly stand up again, and repeat for 10-15 reps.
3. Standing Ball Squeeze Stand upright and place the ball between the legs, so the center is about even with the knees (it should not be touching the floor). Squat down until knees form 90-degree angles, squeezing the ball to stay balanced. Hold the position as long as possible, working up to 30-45 seconds per set. Note: For this move, consider using a ball that’s not the perfect fit. A larger ball makes this move more difficult, while a smaller ball is a little easier on the thighs. Beginners can also use a chair or wall for help with balance.
4. Overhead Ball Squat: For this one, complete a traditional squat, while holding the stability ball with the arms extended overhead. Adding weight (nope, not quite light as air) plus keeping the torso in an upright position engages the shoulders and deltoid muscles. Go for 10-15 reps of this bad boy.
5. Hamstring Curl: Lie on the floor with arms extended perpendicular to the torso and lower calves and heels resting on the ball. Engaging the glutes and abs, lift the hips up from the floor. Use the outstretched arms for stability, as this is definitely a wobbly position! Exhale and slowly bring the knees in towards the hips, so the feet are resting flat on top of the ball. Pause for a few seconds in this position and then inhale, straightening legs out again. Keep those hips up the whole time to get maximum gluteus maximus benefits. Aim for 10-12 reps of this total-body move.
6. Ball Lunge: While standing, place the ball behind the body and put one foot top-down on the top of the ball. Step the other foot out about six inches, and bend both knees in a deep lunge. Make sure the knee of the front foot does not go over the toes. (For the stability-challenged, a chair or railing can provide extra support.) This advanced move will test stability as well as strength, so shoot for 8-10 reps (or as many as you can do with proper form) on each side.
7. Reverse Extension: Start with your chest on the ball, with fingertips and toes resting on the floor. Roll forward so hands are under shoulders and hips are directly touching the ball. With the feet together and the core engaged, lift the legs straight from the floor until they are in line with the torso. Hold for a beat and then repeat. Try for 12-15 reps before heading back to solid ground.
8. Standing Plank: Using a wobbly stability ball gives the shoulders and arms an extra-tough workout. With one leg extended behind, rest the elbows and forearms on the ball (for a really tough challenge, try this with straight arms). Step the other leg back so the feet are together. Hold the position as long as possible, working up to 30 seconds per set.
9. Roll Out: Kneel behind the ball, with palms down on top. Slowly use the hands to push the ball forward until the triceps are resting on top of the ball and the legs are almost all the way extended with the knees on the ground. Remember: A tight core will keep the body moving straight ahead. Feeling pressure on the knees? Place a towel or yoga mat under them for a little extra TLC. Concentrate on maintaining the proper form for 10 reps straight.
10. Balance Push-Up: Take this basic bodyweight move to the next level with a stability ball. Lie facedown on the ball with hands and feet touching the ground and the stomach on the top of the ball. Walk the hands out until the shins are resting on the ball and the torso is in a flat push-up position. Lower the torso towards the ground until the upper arms are parallel to the ground. Return to the “up” push-up position and continue for 8-10 reps (or more, if you can hang).
11. Tricep Dips: Sit on the ball with legs forming 90-degree angles and feet hip-width apart. Next, place the hands on either side of the hips on the ball and slowly scoot the hips forward so they’re a few inches in front of the ball. At this point, the heels are on the ground and the hands are on the ball supporting the rest of the body. Use the triceps to lower the arms down a few inches, and then return to the starting position. Keep the back straight and abs engaged for 10-15 reps.
12. Back Extension: Start with the stomach and hips on the ball, legs extended straight behind (toes resting on the ground). Hold onto the ball with the hands for balance. If this position is difficult to maintain due to slippery shoes, try placing the feet against a wall. Raise the chest high (like a yoga “cobra”), bringing the hands to the back of the head. Hold for a beat or two, and return to a relaxed position. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
13. Pike: Start in the push-up position described above (see no. 10), but with the toes instead of shins resting on top of the ball. With straight legs, use the abdominals to pull the toes towards the chest. Done properly, the torso will be in a push-up position with the back straight (no arching or sagging) and legs angling down towards the ball. This move ain’t for the faint of heart, so give it a shot for 5-8 reps.
14. V-Sit with Ball: Lie face up on the ground with ankles resting on the top of the stability ball. With arms pointing towards the feet, roll the torso up so the body forms a V with the hips on the ground. Hold for five counts (long enough for a serious case of the ab-shakes) and slowly roll back down to the ground. Repeat for 6-10 reps.
15. Ball Jog: For this blood-pumping move, sit tall on the ball with abs engaged and feet firmly on the floor. Lift the knees up and down to bounce as high as possible on the ball. Try bouncing for 2-5 minutes to keep the heart rate up mid-workout (or try it as a fun warm-up!) nice and warmed up.
16. Knee Tucks: This adaptation is easier on the upper body but still brings a serious abdominal workout. Start in push-up position with toes resting on the ball and straight arms, with hands on the ground under the shoulders. Bring the knees towards the chest until the knees are directly under the hips. Extend knees back to push-up position and repeat for 10-15 kick-butt reps.
17. Hand Off: Lie face up on the ground with arms and legs extended. Grab the ball overhead with both hands. In one smooth motion, lift the arms and legs in the air, transferring the ball from the hands to the feet (in between the ankles to be exact). At this point, only the hips and butt should be touching the ground. Lower arms and legs with the ball between them to the ground. Stay strong for 6-10 reps with correct form.
18. Hanging Knee Raise: Place the ball in front of a weight bench or another sturdy piece of furniture. Lie back on the ball, with the shoulders and back touching the surface. Grab the weight bench with the hands and keep the legs pressed tightly together (for a more advanced move, try a free weight). Flex the abs and bring the knees towards the chest, using the arms for stability. 10-15 reps will bring those abs out from hiding.
19. Ski Step: Try this alpine-influenced move to work the sides of the abs. Sit tall on the stability ball with feet together. In one smooth motion, swing the feet to the right and the arms to the left. Don’t be afraid to get into this move — the higher the enthusiasm the better the workout! Bring arms and legs back to center and repeat for 12-15 reps, alternating sides.
20. Side Squat: Finish up an ab-tastic routine with a bit of a stretch. Stand with legs shoulder width apart, grasping the ball overhead with both hands. Keeping theback straight and the abs engaged, bend down bring the ball to the outside of the left foot. Lift the ball again and repeat on the right side. Stay strong (and limber!) for 10-15 reps.
Posted on: October 14th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
I’m currently on my way to the high Sierras for a little nature bonding with the boys for my brother-from-another-mother’s bachelor party. We decided the traditional Vegas regrets would be a little to cliche for us, so instead, we’re gonna go on epic hikes and camp lakeside. While I wouldn’t consider myself a regular outdoors man, I certainly have enough appreciation to at least try to get out at least once a year into the open wilderness. As we were loading up everyone’s gear, however, I realized that I would not be enjoying the same comforts as everyone else… You see I overlooked an important detail. An exercise mat…
I actually forgot to bring even a yoga mat. The irony isn’t lost on me either. Every day I’m literally talking about how comfortable and portable our 2′x6′ folding exercise mats are. How they’ve got just the right firmness crosslink foam. How they are comfortable enough to lay on and nap on, but also firm enough to do exercise on.
As I write this I’m overcome with nervous anticipation to what comfort or lack thereof awaits me as I set up camp and eventually retire on bare ground. I can literally see the sample 3/8″ thick foam mats resting on the corner of the office cabinet… just there… waiting. Waiting for me all week to go “Hey, I’ll probably need that!” Instead, I’ll have to brave the cold night on bare ground as the roll of comfortable foam sits at the MatsMatsMats.com office sitting in bitter silence at not having been noticed.
I am not a smart man…
Posted on: 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.
Posted on: 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.
Posted on: 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.
Posted on: 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.
Posted on: 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.
Posted on: May 28th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
I was curious to go watch the new Iron Man movie last night at a midnight showing. I quickly realized I can’t hang with the late night showings anymore. Not at my age, anyway. How sad is that? Lately, between random bouts of insomnia, under-accomplishment blues, and marital woes, it can be extremely difficult to stand being surrounded by rowdy teenagers and all their witty anecdotes during the previews or the pre-show entertainment; a random flurry of local CPA’s, hair stylists, and tax lawyers all mixed in with useless celebrity trivia and Coca-Cola advertisements which, mind you, work like a charm. I got the largest syrupy coke they had to offer.
In my quest for searching for a blog topic, I was literally about to ask the girl at the concession stand what kind of anti fatigue mats they were standing on. Perhaps some Performa or other non-slip drainage mats? I stopped myself. I knew that If I opened my mouth not only would I ooze depression and desperation for some conversation, but this young female worker might assume that I’m hitting on her and I wanted to spare myself and her the embarrassment of having to clarify that I am not awkwardly trying to hit on her, but I actually really do have in interest as to the fatigue mats she is standing on.
After a nice long narrative involving good ol fashioned American exceptionalism (Mandarin in this movie, however, is not Mandarin at all), I found myself pondering in very deep ways the nature of the universe as I often do after a sci-fi action movie. When I got back to my car, instead of driving home, I drove up to a nice dark empty spot just outside the valley. Low light pollution but not quite rural yet. I went to the trunk and pulled out the embossed yoga mat that I had “borrowed” from work. You see, whenever a yoga mat order gets placed with an embossed logo on it, we get a free unit to make sure it is up to par with what the customer received. I got to keep this particular one since it was, unfortunately from an older plate manufacturer we no longer use and was not as nice as the rest of our regular lots. I hastily (I had precious little time to do so as I still had to be at work the next day) unfurled the yoga mat across the hood of my “new” car and watched the stars while sipping on the last of my watered down coca-cola. At that point, I felt small and insignificant enough to suddenly not care about any of my particular woes. The stars just guided me for the next hour and a half.