5 Things to Look for When Buying a Yoga Mat

There was a time yoga was dangerous and any slip could lead a serious injury but while the risk of injuries still remains especially if you get it wrong, the risk can be reduced significantly with the help of yoga mats but for that, the first and foremost thing is to find the right mat.

A good yoga mat has certain features that separate it from the rest and here are 5 of those features that matter the most. If you’re in a rush then you can just head over to Fitnessguyd and read yoga mat reviews without going through the research work yourself.

Thickness provided

In short, thickness equals comfort. Using a thin yoga mat leaves your muscles and joints prone to serious injuries in case of a fall or slip and a mat too thick will create a disconnect from the floor making you feel jittery.

Suitably, a normal yoga mat should have a thickness of around 1/8 inches and not more than ¼ inches. With travel yoga mats, the thickness is as low as 1/16 inches and thus are easy to carry around but are only recommended for the pros.

Texture

The traction provided by any mat varies with the texture. Traction helps reduce the slips and slide while the texture also has a bearing on the comfort of the mat. Mats made from natural material such as jute etc. already have the roughness and stickiness required whereas with PVC mats the texture is man made to provide a softer look and feel.

Rubber, jute and cotton mats come with a slightly bumpy surface which provides as good as traction as PVC mats but these mats have a smoother, more polished finish.

Is it eco-friendly?

A lot of yogis talk about non-violence or ahimsa but then should you be practicing yoga on mats that harms the environment? If no, then we’d recommend you avoid PVC mats as they are expensive to recycle.

Rubber, cotton or jute mats with a bumpy surface offer an eco-friendly alternative along with the stickiness, stability, and comfort of any PVC mat.

Yoga Mat

Cost

Cost for many is often the most important of deciding factors. A thin, plain PVC yoga mat should cost you about $10 but comes with its own set of cons. The Gaiam Print Premium offers a better alternative and should cost around $20-25.

If budget isn’t a matter of concern and you’re looking for an attention grabber i.e. a yoga mat with a fancy design, pattern etc. then Yoga Design Lab has a wide variety of mats you’d love.

Stickiness

Stickiness is one of the most important attributes of a good yoga mat and will keep you from slipping and sliding all around when holding a pose. PVC mats have the highest amount of stickiness but only when cleaned and maintained regularly.

Cotton, jute or rubber mats lack the stickiness of a PVC mat but due to the natural roughness and bump in the texture can still help you nail the downward dog to perfection.

Yoga Mat 2

Continue Reading →

Yoga Lila Communion Lab

“The spiritual challenge of the twenty-first century is the call from the Self for total unobstructed evolution. To surrender that much means to engage with the life process in the deepest, most heroic way possible.”

– Andrew Cohen

Vision: CommunionLab (“CL”) seeks to cultivate a deep and broad understanding of our own Consciousness, thus cultivating an enlightened life experience.  A deep and broad spirituality involves the direct investigation of the experiential evidence disclosed in all stages of consciousness development.  We understand that many such endeavors have occurred during history, and we do not wish to repeat what has been done; therefore, we will investigate the modern spiritual person in a modern world.  Consciousness has evolved greatly since the golden age of eastern enlightenment, and CL seeks to understand what enlightenment is and means in the modern world. Missions:

In short:  We, as participants in CL, seek to become fluent with all aspects of self/Self, not simply the upper end of the spectrum, though the upper end’s participation and influence in our interactions will be our area of focus.  We will not only explore the unfolding of our own consciousness but also what it means to live in the experience the ancient sages referred to as enlightenment.

At length:  CL strives to gain a greater understanding of all aspects of the personal human experience by engaging in the practice (1st person) of seated meditation coupled with fluid awareness practice in our own individual interaction, which will lead to ongoing dialogue (2nd person) within a group of equally committed individuals (CL), leading to shared observations (3rd Person) of the gross, subtle and underlying experiences of consciousness in the modern world (and the mastery of such).  The individual experience includes matter, body, mind, soul, and spirit within the interacting realms of self (Plato’s The Good; Ramayana’s Rama), culture (Plato’s The True; Ramayana’s Sita), and nature (Plato’s The Beautiful; Ramayana’s Hanuman).

Method:

This experimental/observational process follows the guidelines of all scientific inquiry, which includes an injunction (practice), apprehension [experience; i.e., datum (data) – immediate experience], and confirmation (communal checking; rejection or confirmation).  The process will be governed by the tenets outlined below.  Members of CL will not necessarily have to agree with each and every tenet, but they do, at the very least, need to have an integral, inclusive, discerning, balanced, and comprehensive vision, spanning the spectrum from matter to spirit, exercised in self, culture, and nature.

Overview of Tenets:

In their most basic form, the Tenets simply state that we must work to create a greater understanding of self, which informs us to higher levels of participation.  We will draw upon the Hindu Tantra (Shri Vidya and Kashmir Shaivism) incorporated with a basic Integral framework towards this evolution.

The Modus Operandi portion of the Tenets is based on a great deal or spiritual exploration, study, and practice which spans all major religions, intellectual philosophy, and spirituality currents.  Though the tenets have been informed by all, they heavily draw from the Hindu Tantra.  The Hindu Tantra was very articulate in delineating the unfolding of consciousness, and thus we will use their discoveries for guidance and support in our endeavor.  There are Sanskrit terms within this document that support the English syntax. Advanced students of Yoga or the Hindu Tantra will be familiar with these terms, otherwise, Georg Feuerstein’s Tantra is recommended for a basic overview of the topic.

The Integral Vision portion of the Tenets is a paraphrasing of what Ken Wilber, founder of Integral Institute, includes in his integral views.  These views were created by the investigations of, very literally, thousands of psychologists and psychiatrists, developmentalists, spiritual teachers and traditions, evolutionary theorists, scientists from every field, archeologists, social theorists, historians, political researchers, and physics theorists, which were considered for over thirty years and have been critiqued by hundreds of Mr. Wilber’s peers within the developmental world.  Integral Institute does not claim to have the most comprehensive and inclusive worldview; however, up to this point in evolution, there is no other theory that includes more research, consideration, and critique.

“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

– Albert Einstein

Tenets:

Section 1 – Modus Operandi

0) The process of life/evolution is Spirit in Action.  Absolute Consciousness (i.e., God) unfolds as the process of our very lives.  Distinctly, CL takes the position of world-centric, integrally informed, evolutionary, non-dual, panentheism.

1) All views arise from one Source, one Truth, thus all views must represent an aspect of this Truth.  All views are valid.  All views must be understood, arranged, and utilized integrally (please see tenet 7a – 7h for what a generally whole integral view includes).

2) Though we recognize all views as valid, we also understand that not all views are as beneficial.  We discriminate not only the way we integrate, but also in the value we place on individual views.  Please note that such discrimination must be implemented with the utmost care, concern, and compassion.  CL is in no way attempting to create universal absolutes, nor are we attempting to create a rigid, predetermined model that casts value judgments on individuals.  CL is seeking greater awareness to the possible potential that is not being utilized. read more

Continue Reading →

Yoga Lila Workshops and Retreats

Introduction to Anusara Yoga w/Kris Nelson
CityYoga

+January 27 & 28
The Life Divine
A Philosophical and Experiential Weekend with Kris Nelson

The ancient Tantriks of Kashmir awoke to the perspective that every experience, thought, emotion, relationship and moment was an expression of one Divine Universal energy. The pathway to the cultivation of this perspective was passed on from generation to generation through the texts and lineages of this tradition and is available to us today. When we enter into the current of Monistic Kashmir Tantrism, we intuit that the experience of our life is an experience of the Divine. Awakening in the context of these traditions is to awaken to your own life as The Life Divine. Come and experience your own self as deeply and profoundly sacred. You are what you seek.

This weekend intensive is balanced with philosophical perspective and practical experience. As the entire philosophical tradition of Monistic Tantrism arose from deep awareness, we will work with the same practices to cultivate the sacred perspective of The Life Divine. In the least you will have a variety of practices to work with throughout the next year; however, the intention is that we all awaken to the deep and sacred beauty that is our own experience. Come and awaken to your own Life Divine.

Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from this workshop will be donated to the relief fund for the victims of the earthquake last year in Central Java, Indonesia. I was present at the time of the earthquake and was a witness to the damage and loss it caused.

January 27 | 12:30 – 5:30: Awakening in the Context of Monistic Perspective & The Five Divine Acts

January 28 | 12:30 – 5:30: The Life Divine & Cultivating Universal Oneness

The cost for this intensive is $120. Saturday can be approached as a stand-alone for $75. Sunday can only be attended with the pre-requisite of Saturday. This intensive is limited to 20 people. Scholarships are available.

For registration please call 310.779.8587 or reply to heisbeautiful@hotmail.com.

The workshop will be held at:

7621 Hollywood Boulevard
Apartment A
Los Angeles, California 90046

Plentiful parking on Hollywood, Stanley, and Curson

+February 6 – 8
Master Classes at Bodywise
Driggs, Idaho

+February 9 – 11
Desire: The Tantric Path of Freedom
Weekend Workshop at Akasha | Jackson Hole, WY

+February 18
The Art of Inner Freedom | A Meditation Experience w/Kris Nelson
CityYoga

+March 18
The Poison is the Nectar
A Philosophical and Meditative Journey with Kris Nelson

The ancient Tantras are filled with symbolical paradoxes expressing the nature of non-dual realization. The adage The Poison is the Nectar is perhaps the most famous of these expressions. At the heart of every struggle, challenge, and negative experience lies the bliss of the awakened perception.

In this workshop we will engage in lecture, dialogue, contemplation, and meditative practices to alchemically transmute friction into freedom, ultimately arriving at the realization that all things are essentially bliss and ecstasy.

Continue Reading →