Cher Aslor

We’ve kicked off the holiday shopping season with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and although we know it’s good practice to hold back on rampant consumerism, there are a few tools you can gift to the yogi in your life that will elevate their yoga practice, which can have plenty of benefits – a better mind-body connection, elevated happiness, and a generally more mindful approach to life. Here are the top yoga tools you can get for the beginner, intermediate, or expert yogi in your life:

Beginner

Just the essentials to help those who may not have the flexibility or strength to fully complete poses yet.

yoga mat yoga block feet

  1. Yoga Mat – An essential tool for any yogi. Doing exercises on the floor requires some padding to keep from being in too much pain to practice often.
  2. Yoga Block – Another great tool for beginners. Blocks help with getting into poses and maintaining balance when you can’t quite reach the floor.
  3. Yoga Belt – This helps with getting into positions that require a little more flexibility than you currently have.
  4. Yoga Towel – This is a great tool for Bikram yoga. Yoga towels are designed to eliminate bacteria from sweat, but can also be used for support in certain poses.
  5. Yoga Retreat – Beginners can learn so much from practicing yoga away from home and their typical instructor. Sign you and your yogi friends up for a retreat in paradise with yoga expert Cher Aslor in March of 2017 – also a great way to escape winter for a week!

Intermediate

Once people are comfortable practicing yoga in a studio, they may want to take their practice outside!

yoga on the beach

  1. Outdoor Yoga Mat – These mats are thicker and can be used on rough surfaces like rock, or protect your body from sticks and debris on the ground.
  2. Outdoor Class Passes – Maybe your yogi friend wants to practice outside the confines of a studio, but still needs direction from an instructor. Find a studio near you that offers outdoor classes and get them a few.
  3. Clothes – Most people love to hang out in yoga clothes, and many beginners will stock up their wardrobe, but once you start getting into more advanced positions it becomes important to wear attire that won’t get in your way. Consider form fitting, stretchy pants and tops without sleeves to allow unrestricted movement.

Advanced

Practicing yoga isn’t just about doing poses. More advanced yogis may appreciate gifts that enhance their practice in other ways.

Nicaragua yoga face mask

  1. Books – There are SO many options for books for yogis. You can find books about meditation, chakras, the limbs of yoga, anatomy, and more. Listen in to what your friend loves about practicing yoga and find a book on that topic – you can bet it exists somewhere.
  2. A journal – We’ve written plenty about practicing gratitude by writing it down in a journal, but journals can be useful for yogis (and pretty much anyone else) in other ways too. They can write about things that happen in their daily lives and track their emotional responses, record their progress in practicing asanas, or just write down their class schedule.
  3. Essential oils – Aromatherapy from essential oils can help you relax and get better sleep or become energized and more able to focus. Many people, yogis included, appreciate essential oils and all they do for the mind and body. They range widely in price, but are all useful for adjusting mood and atmosphere, while practicing yoga or just hanging out.
  4. A yoga retreat or training – Once your yogi friend has gotten to an advanced level, they may want to start teaching others what they have learned. Earning a yoga teaching certification requires an intensive, month long commitment to learning more in depth about yoga, its history, and the best ways to instruct others in practicing yoga.

If you or a yogi friend with at least six months experience is ready to spread the joy of yoga to the world, sign up now for our Moksha Modo 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in Nicaragua, starting February 26th, 2017.

The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. And gratitude doesn’t need to be reserved only for momentous occasions: Sure, you might express gratitude after receiving a promotion at work, but you can also be thankful for something as simple as a delicious piece of pie. Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal – regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful – can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.

You’d think that just one of these findings is compelling enough to motivate an ungrateful person into action, but unfortunately it’s not always easy to maintain motivation and upkeep a new habit.

Here are a few keys – supported by research – that help not only to start a gratitude practice, but to maintain it for the long haul.

Freshen Up Your Thanks

grateful yoga studio

The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Gratitude journaling works because it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. While you might always be thankful for your great family, just writing “I’m grateful for my family” week after week doesn’t keep your brain on alert for fresh grateful moments. Get specific by writing “Today my husband gave me a shoulder rub when he knew I was really stressed” or “My sister invited me over for dinner so I didn’t have to cook after a long day.” And be sure to stretch yourself beyond the great stuff right in front of you. Opening your eyes to more of the world around you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice. Make a game out of noticing new things each day.

Get Real About Your Gratitude Practice

thankful yoga studio

Being excited about the benefits of gratitude can be a great thing because it gives us the kick we need to start making changes. But if our excitement about sleeping better because of our newfound gratitude keeps us from anticipating how tired we’ll be tomorrow night when we attempt to journal, we’re likely to fumble and lose momentum. When we want to achieve a goal, using the technique of mental contrasting – being optimistic about the benefits of a new habit while also being realistic about how difficult building the habit may be – leads us to exert more effort. Recognize and plan for the obstacles that may get in the way. For instance, if you tend to be exhausted at night, accept that it might not be the best time to focus for a few extra minutes and schedule your gratitude journaling in the morning instead.

Make Thankfulness Fun by Mixing It Up

University of Rochester partners in crime Edward Deci and Richard Ryan study intrinsic motivation, which is the deep desire from within to persist on a task. One of the biggest determinants is autonomy, the ability to do things the way we want. So, don’t limit yourself – if journaling is feeling stale, try out new and creative ways to track your grateful moments. (Happify offers an endless variety of gratitude activities to choose from.) You could try creating a gratitude jar – any time you experience a poignant moment of gratitude, write it on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. On New Year’s Eve, empty the jar and review everything you wrote. When a good thing happens, you can now exclaim, “That’s one for the gratitude jar!” It immediately makes the moment more meaningful and keeps you on the lookout for more.

Be Social About Your Gratitude Practice

grateful champagne face mask

Our relationships with others are the greatest determinant of our happiness. So, it makes sense to think of other people as we build our gratitude. Robert Emmons suggests that focusing our gratitude on people for whom we’re thankful rather than circumstances or material items will enhance the benefits we experience. And while you’re at it, why not include others directly into your expression of gratitude? One Happify activity involves writing a gratitude letter to someone who had an impact on you whom you’ve never properly thanked. You could also share the day’s grateful moments around the dinner table. The conversations that follow may give you even more reasons to give thanks.

Original article from Happify.

Bring someone you’re grateful for along with you to paradise – attend
our
Bucket List of Bliss retreat with Cher Aslor in Nicaragua in March!