About 7 years ago I started practicing Yoga and it helped. I never thought that an exercise that was slow moving, holding poses, centering my mind would actually make me feel better. I thought it was all hype. But it really wasn't.
Between the yoga products & techniques I used
I was able to lose weight, feel better and focus more.
However, that all came crashing down after we received the news that I was in the process of miscarrying our child. The past 4 or 5 years after that have been difficult for my husband and I. We've been down right depressed which has put a lot of stress on our relationship. Thankfully, we're both totally committed to each other enough that we're working on what we need to. One thing we both really struggle with and that's becoming more comfortable with our bodies.
Lately, over the past few months,
I've been struggling a lot with
who I am
who I'm meant to be
who I need to be.
Ever since I was probably 15 or 16, maybe even as young as 14 yrs old, I've struggled with depression, eating disorders, and anxiety. A boyfriend I had when I was in high school, used to tell me all of the time, I was chunky or just flat out a “fat ass” and that I needed to lose weight because he didn't like fat girls. At the time, I was lucky if I weighed 115lbs. I won't say I was “big boned”, but I was very curvy. I've always had a bigger chest and thighs with a butt. His words STILL haunt me. I look at myself in the mirror constantly and turn around to the toilet to the thought of putting myself through all of that again, just to be skinny again.
A lot of my past has been heavy on my mind lately. So much, that I needed to figure out how to deal with the stress it was causing me. I needed an outlet that helped me relax my mind, body, and my soul. Becoming more comfortable with your body doesn't necessarily mean losing weight, gaining weight, getting plastic surgery, or doing any modifications to your body, in general. It means loving your body, mind, soul and listening to it.
I pulled out my favorite yoga products & techniques and started practicing again.
Since I started practicing again, I've noticed an increase in productivity, I get things done, and I'm able to focus on what I'm working on. Don't get me wrong, I still have moments where I squirrel, but those are starting to be few and far between for me.
Yoga Products & Techniques That Actually Help Improve Focus:
Know and Listen to Your Body:
Seriously, I can't stress this enough at the very top of the list. You can't do advanced yoga and expect to excel at advanced techniques, if this is your first day of working out. You didn't come into this world learning how to drive a car, you're not going to immediate know how to do more advanced yoga stretches or techniques.
That being said, don't force your body into going further than it can. It's okay to push your body, but not too much. You'll injure yourself and it won't do your mind or body any good. If you're not feeling well, or need to see a doctor, do it. Don't put it off. (I suck at this, too)
This also means you need to nourish your body. Don't stop eating, or giving your body water. You need those whether you're practicing yoga or sitting on your butt playing video games. Your body can NOT function without proper nourishment.
Find the right routine that works for you:
When it comes to routine, I suck, other than waking up at 5:30a Monday through Friday, starting my coffee, going to the bathroom, unlocking the door for the kids that I watch, I don't have a routine, or at least I didn't. I started to practice yoga again after the kids got on the bus in the morning. I'd have my coffee, wake up a bit, pick up a little around the house, get the kids on the bus, grab my yoga products, then start up Amazon Prime and practice. Since I've been doing that, I get more done throughout the day. I'm focused, relaxed, and less stressed.
I used to have tons of Yoga DVD's, which I think they got lost or tossed during the move on accident, so I had to take to Amazon Video and YouTube to get back into the swing of things. (Below are a few of my favorite Video Series on Amazon Video)
Have Space to Practice:
When it comes to yoga, for the most part, you'll stay in a small space. However, that doesn't mean you won't be moving around. I suggest making sure you have at least 6-7ft diameter space. So if you're in a living room, make sure you're not going to bump into the couch, coffee table, the kids toys, etc.
Best way to figure out if you have enough space, lay down on your belly in the center of your mat, stretch out your arms and legs and rotate. If you touch anything besides the floor, it's too close. Move the item or your mat.
Use Quality Yoga Products:
Yoga is a type of exercise, therefor you want quality yoga products that are specific for the exercise. While using a beach towel is okay at first, you will definitely want to use a quality yoga mat. My favorite foam mat is the Gaiam Premium Thicker Yoga Mat (5mm)like the Ash Leaves. I've had my mat for a while and until recently, it rarely was used. Ideally, you should swap out your mat every 6 to 12 months, depending on the wear. Organic Authority talks about how to know when it's time to replace your mat.
I was recently diagnosed with Raynaud's Syndrome so my hands and feet tend to get cold randomly, especially when the weather changes. Since the diagnosis, I started using a different yoga mat, which is heated. The ToastiMat. It's a fully adjustable heated yoga mat, which can also double as a full-body heating pad if needed. Having Raynaud's and doing yoga, while having an episode is frustrating. My muscles and bones tense up and it hurts to move them sometimes. Having my ToastiMat helps calm my muscles, nerves, and circulatory system so I can exercise the way I need to.
Speaking of muscles and bones hurting, a good quality massage roller set is ideal. It can be used for your calf muscles, back, arms, etc. When it comes to quality yoga products, you'll want quality a roller set, yoga block and mat that will assist in your workout.
I do have a round yoga mat also. Though it's nice and pretty, it's something I use more for meditation, my prayer circles, and for over my altar as a wall hanging. Since it's made of a silky material, it's not really suitable for yoga, though it is a mat, according to the company.
When you go to the gym, you don't go in, pump out 100 reps of everything within 5 minutes. You don't want to do that with Yoga either. It's not a fast pace boom and done exercise. It's relaxing, getting your blood circulating, focusing, meditation type of exercise. Make sure you allow at least 30 minutes of yoga in order to get the full effect.
Relax Your Mind
One of the hardest things to do daily is to relax our minds. We're always worried about “What's going to be for dinner?”, “When was that proposal due again?”, or “Crap, did I turn off the stove or coffee pot?” I'm a lover of incense. I just recently started using it again, for a while I couldn't find a brand that wouldn't give me headaches. (DO NOT BUY CHEAP INCENSE!) Yoga is not only about balance, yoga products & techniques, it's also about centering your Chakras. I love incense that is tailored to the Chakra I'm working on.
I'm guilty of it. A LOT. I also let my mind race so much that I get overwhelmed and can't produce quality like I know I can. When I find myself slipping into that crazy hectic chaos, I stop and roll out my mat, breathe in and out, turn my phone on silent, put on some relaxation music and relax. If I'm having a particularly rough day, I will roll on a lil' of my Boom Boom Relax + Unwind Organic Essential Oil Blend. It gives me that little extra boost of relaxation while I do a good workout.