gaiam

Do Bike Helmets Create More Harm Than Good?

Leslie Garrett by Leslie Garrett | July 22nd, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Green Living | tags: bikes, biking, family, freedom, gaiam, go green, helmets, safety

As a child, my bicycle meant freedom: the freedom to get where I wanted to go quickly, and the freedom to roam, to explore, to savor. Nowhere in my childhood mostly spent on two wheels was there a helmet.

The Sacred Ritual of a Home Yoga Practice

Chrissy Carter by Chrissy Carter | June 16th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Yoga | tags: chrissy carter, coffee, gaiam, home practice, home yoga, meditation, morning, Yoga, yoga at home

I

I live for my morning cup of coffee. Sometimes I get excited about going to bed at night just because it means I can wake up and drink coffee. When my alarm goes off, I climb into my terrycloth robe and shuffle downstairs, my dog Ellie at my heels. I savor every part of my morning ritual, from the first whiff of the ground beans as I scoop them out of their tin, to the quiet sitting while I wait for my coffee to brew. I take my mug to the couch and prepare for the first sip, which feels like my own private moment with God. Ellie puts her head on my lap and we sit there in silence in our little church by the window.

This sacred time gives me the space to be with myself; it encourages me to listen to methe voices in my head are too sleepy to chime in with their usual agenda and commentary. And that’s a good thing because I like to spend my mornings doing nothing in particular. If I’m in the mood, I’ll putter around my house and tend to this or that. Maybe I’ll water the plants . . . or not. Maybe I’ll write . . . or not. The rest of my day is directed by obligation — things I have to do, or “should” do — which makes the guiltless moments of my morning feel even more precious.

Our home practice can be a lot like my cherished morning time. No one telling us what to do. No agenda to follow. It’s just you and your breath in that vehicle we call the body, cruisin’ wherever you wanna go.

I’m Not Flexible Enough for Yoga

Michelle Finerty by Michelle Finerty | June 12th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness, Yoga | tags: flexibility, gaiam, power yoga, strength training, yin yoga, Yoga, yoga for everyone

yoga and flexibility

As a yoga instructor, I am blessed to be able to share such a positive, life-changing practice with people, on and off the mat. When I first started teaching yoga, it never really occurred to me how my practice would work its way into my life off the mat, but it has.

I’m frequently asked, “So what do you do for a living?” When I state that I teach yoga, I usually get many responses about how much yoga has made a difference in someone’s life and how much they love their practice, but occasionally I get the “yoga…I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” response.

I respond that for that reason alone they are perfect for yoga, as yoga creates flexibility, rather than flexibility creating yoga. While I find it sad that people think they have to be flexible in order to take a yoga class, I also understand where this impression comes from, because with the growth in the popularity of yoga, there has become more growth in the amount of celebrity yoga instructors and yoga models who can twist themselves into various pretzel poses.

Recipe: Quinoa Coconut Cereal + The Power of WAMP!

Pooja Mottl by Pooja Mottl | May 20th, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating, Weight Loss | tags: ancel keys, coconut, Empowering Days, gaiam, health, low carb, organic, Pooja Mottl, processed foods, quinoa, QUINOA COCONUT CEREAL, recipe, recipes, The 3-Day Reset: Restore Your Cravings for Healthy Foods in Three Easy, vegan, vegetables, wamp, Whole Foods

quinoa coconut cereal recipe

Healthy eating begins with two simple principles:

Processed Foods = Bad

Whole and Minimally Processed (WAMP) Foods = Good

The idea that eating whole foods is good and processed foods is bad may seem self-evident, but it’s not as obvious as you might think. In fact, pinpointing WAMP foods isn’t simple. Processed foods can be sneaky and disguise themselves as healthy foods without our noticing.

For example, we all know that chips, fries, and doughnuts are processed junk-type foods — that’s obvious. But what about bagels, cereal, and yogurt? Maybe not—it all depends on the ingredients that make them what they are. Most bagels are full of refined, processed wheat, and mainstream cereals are stuffed with processed sugar — they’re certainly not WAMP foods. The fact is there isn’t a standard, regulated definition of the words “whole” or “minimally processed.” You’ll need to learn what makes a food WAMP and what doesn’t because labels on packages won’t tell you.

Luckily, there are a few key attributes that flag a food as WAMP.

Finding the Right Yoga Teacher

Heather Larson by Heather Larson | May 5th, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga | tags: beginner yoga, finding a yoga teacher, gaiam, Yoga, yoga classes, yoga for everyone, yoga teacher

yoga teacher

Although choosing the style of yoga that works best for you is important, locating an instructor you resonate with is crucial.

My first experience with yoga was through an after-work exercise program at the school district where I worked. The instructor gave initial instructions, but didn’t explain how to modify a pose if you were unable to do one in the way she described. The lady next to me mastered all the poses in their original form and between her and the teacher, I felt lost, confused and most of all, uncomfortable. That encounter caused me to stay away from any yoga class for several years.

After hearing rave reviews about a local studio and needing to alleviate my joint pain from arthritis, I tried a gentle yoga class. From the moment I walked into the studio and was greeted by Jeni, the instructor, I knew I’d found a perfect place to develop a yoga practice. Jeni exuded friendliness and warmth, she explained everything, and she had one of the most soothing voices on the planet. If you mention an ache or pain you have, she incorporates moves into the class that help alleviate it, she gives lots of individual attention and she also takes other yoga classes. I’ve taken this same gentle yoga class from Jeni, every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. now, for about seven years. And I’m never leaving.

How can you find your own version of Jeni?

Shine On With Yoga

Michelle Finerty by Michelle Finerty | April 21st, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Personal Growth, Yoga | tags: beatles, gaiam, happiness, headstand, practice, self-love, shine on, sun salutations, wheel, Yoga, yoga-practice

The other night, as I was driving home from teaching one of my weekly yoga classes, “Instant Karma” by the Beatles started to play on the radio. I’ve never really paid attention to the lyrics, as I’ve always enjoyed listening to the melody, but that night I was drawn to the chorus.

“Well, we all shine on, Like the moon and the stars and the sun, Yeah, we all shine on…
On and on and on, on and on…”

It got me thinking that we all need to shine. We all have unique traits and talents that set us apart from the rest of the world, yet most of us are too afraid to embrace these qualities because we are unaware of our own brilliance.

Into the Wild: Take Your Yoga Practice Outside

Nichole Golden by Nichole Golden | April 20th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Green Living | tags: adventure, gaiam, hiking, into the wild, nature, nichole golden, outside, peace of mind, spirit, spiritual, spiritual practice, spirituality, ToeSox Yoga Flip Flops, Yoga, yoga outside

outside yoga

Winter is an interesting time for me — well, more specifically, an interesting time for my feet. I love summer because of the ease of slipping my toes into a pair of flip-flops and floppin’ around unencumbered by shoes. In fact, during cold months I wear winter’s flip-flop equivalent, moccasins; a shoe that is as close to a non-shoe as it gets.

In fact, one of the main reasons that I love teaching yoga as a profession is because I get to be barefoot for a living! There is something so freeing when my toes are unbound from the claustrophobic nature of high heels, tennis shoes, boots, mary janes … you name it! When my toes feel the freedom to roam, I find that my spirit has that same permission.  The sense of adventure that I feel when I am liberated from the shackles of my shoes is only matched by the abundant bliss that I feel when I am out in nature, spontaneously and effortlessly awakened by the wild untamed natural world.

There is one exception to this no-shoe strategy I tend to live by: my hiking boots.  When my feet inhabit these shoes, my sprit soars straight to its inherent wildness. Of course, it isn’t the shoes, per se, that illicit this magnificent response, it is what the shoes represent: trees, trails, birds, bees, sunrises, sunsets, mountains, moose, rivers, rocks … you get the idea. This wildness is as much as state of being as it is a location, in the wild, animate world. When I’m not on my yoga mat, this is certainly where you will find me — winding my way through the wide-open woods.

Yoga for Depression: 3 Poses to Help You Combat the Blues

YOGANONYMOUS by YOGANONYMOUS | April 8th, 2014 | 3 Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga | tags: anxiety, camel, dancer's pose, depression, gaiam, inclined plane, Kristin McGee, mindfulness, Yoga, yoganonymous

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 7.11.42 PM

I recently attended a Health event as the magazine launched its new mantra, Happy begins here.”

I love that saying.

I have been trying to remind myself daily that happiness comes from within me. All I have to do is see my little guy’s smile to be really happy; but there are some days I can still feel blue.

I am admitting this because I want everyone to know that we are all human and we all have emotions. Depression is a real thing and it’s difficult to be in the depth of it and feel somewhat helpless.

Anxiety usually stems from worrying too much about the future and your “to do” list. Here are some yoga poses you can do to combat anxiety. Depression, on the other hand is when we get stuck in the past. Practicing yoga helps ground us in the present moment so we can feel truly happy.

Try rocking forward to the front of your feet or sit bones (if you’re seated) and notice how it produces anxiety, moving into the future too fast. Now, lean back in your seat or to the heels of your feet; notice how you slump your shoulders forward and feel a little down. Finally, feel yourself anchored right in the middle of your seat or your feet and feel grounded and present. Try this exercise whenever you feel anxious or a bit depressed.

After I shared this information in my newsletter, I heard from some friends and students that they too suffer from both anxiety and depression. Clearly, lots of people deal with depression. Yes, even us “enlightened” yogis.

New Yoga Mat? Eliminate the Smell

Leslie Garrett by Leslie Garrett | April 7th, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga | tags: apple cider vinegar, gaiam, mat spray, new mats, odor, odor removal, strong odors, tea tree oil, yoga mat, yoga mat spray, yoga mats

Yoga Mat Smell

A new yoga mat is full of promise and excitement to revitalize your practice. But along with promise, a new mat offers up something less appealing: new-mat smell.

Whether your mat is made of rubber, jute, bamboo or the more common and affordable PVC, it will release an odor that alerts all around you to its newness.

What’s a concerned yogi — one who doesn’t want to subject herself or her fellow downward doggers to headache-inducing off-gassing — to do?

Well, while you likely won’t eliminate the smell completely (only time can do that!), you can certainly reduce its assault on your nose. Here’s how:

Breathing Meditation for Patience

Jessica Mehring by Jessica Mehring | March 25th, 2014 | 5 Comments
topic: Health & Wellness, Personal Growth | tags: breath, breathe, colorado, gaiam, mediation, meditate, mindfulness, Pema Chodron, practicing mindfulness, Spring, Yoga

“Patience is not learned in safety.” -Pema Chodron

Spring tests my patience. Every single year. Especially here in Colorado, as the weather whips back and forth between snow and sun, and as calm mornings give way to blustery afternoons, my patience is tried every spring. I become anxious for warmer, more stable weather.

Every spring, I am reminded once again that I am not in control. Patience is the only way through.

We humans, though, don’t learn patience the easy way. We don’t learn patience when things are going our way. Rather, we learn patience when we are tested, and when we finally have to accept that we can’t control the world.