Archive for the ‘yoga gifts’ Category

Malas for Haiti

The beauty of Fall is finally arriving here in Washington, DC.  Though I prefer sunny days and outdoor yoga over cold temps and snow, the reality is the chill and thrill of the holidays will be here before we know it.  Heck, the December date & hosts for my Arlington, VA neighborhood holiday progressive dinner party (that’s a mouthful!) has been set for weeks already.  So really, the “season of giving” will be here shortly.

With that in mind, I’ve decided I’m scaling back on holiday gifts and cards this year.  And what I plan to give will more than likely be related to one or a combo of the following:  gifts from local sources,  gifts promoting health & wellness or donation-based gifts.

It just so happens one of the local sources, To Haiti With Love DC, I’m purchasing gifts from is also a huge fundraising effort to help raise money for Haitian-based organizations so they can implement sustainable solutions on the ground in Haiti.  Things like community infrastructure projects to micro-credit and education programs are top priority.  These projects are designed to enable and empower the Haitian people to recover, rebuild, and create better lives for themselves and their communities.

As part of To Haiti With Love DC’s fundraising efforts, donation-based yoga classes are being offered, film-screenings are happening and beautiful malas are being sold.  Malas for Haiti is a line of gorgeous yoga-inspired jewelry featuring hand-knotted mala beads and mala-inspired bracelets.  Malas are prayer beads used traditionally in yogic meditation practices to count 108 sacred repetitions of a mantra (a spiritual sound, word, or phrase).  Each and every mala is lovingly strung and knotted (by hand!) by Kristin Adair, a dedicated yogini/yoga teacher in the Washington, DC area.

Each Mala for Haiti is made with creamy natural calcite beads (for healing energy and stress reduction) and intense red garnet beads (for vitality, strength, and courage) and features a To Haiti With Love bird charm to symbolize peace and the promise of this incredible nation.  I’ve been wearing one for the last couple of months and I’ve felt inspirational energy radiate from it whenever I see it on my wrist (obviously, I have the bracelet version).

Keep in mind when you purchase a Malas for Haiti piece of jewelry, you’re getting (or giving in the case of a gift) beauty and love.  At the same time, you’re supporting a great local cause that is working to send love and support to those in need in Haiti.  Every single penny from Malas for Haiti sold are going to the projects mentioned above.  Just buying one can make a huge difference and send more love than you know.

Have Mat, Will Travel

Over the last few years I’ve shared info on my fav yoga mat by Manduka.  See Spoiled by Manduka and Can You Recommend a Yoga Mat?

The words I wrote back then still hold true today.  Even so much that when I went to Vail, CO last week (to do more spa-ing than skiing), I had my trusty (very thin) prana mat in tow.  For me, it’s a multipurpose mat.  Of course, I use it to practice yoga & meditate when on the road but I have another key use for it.

Have you ever noticed that the seat backs on airplanes are designed with a concave arche?  Huh?!?  When you sit back in the seat, your lower back has to round & your head jets forward?   Does that sound comfortable?  If you haven’t noticed, I’m sorry to say you’ve probably just gotten use to sitting poorly in what I believe is a very non ergonomic design.  My solution —use my 10 year-old rolled up prana mat to assist me in sitting tall.  I stand it up against the seat back and sit with my back on it.  It is perfect for keeping me comfy, or should I say as comfy as one can be on an airplane.

Unfortunately, since my mat is so old I don’t think the very thin version of it is still available.  Plus prana, like Manduka, are thankfully now offering more eco-friendly mats which tend to be a bit thicker than the one I have.  For another opinion on yoga travel mats, check out the Road Warriorette‘s product review.

Yoga mat + travel = happy girl.  Namaste!

A Life Worth Breathing

“Stay courageous.  To have your courage stripped away by others is something you cannot afford to let happen.  Money and property can be taken away by others, but your strength of spirit and human goodness is yours alone to keep or give away.” –Max Strom

A Life Worth Breathing is by far one of the most inspirational books I’ve picked up in a long while.  If you aren’t familiar with Max Strom, I am fond of describing his presence as being like that of a gentle giant.  An internationally known yoga teacher, Max is big in stature (well over 6 feet) and huge in heart.

I’ve been reading his new book (his first book finally!) slowly for about a month now.  The way it is written almost feels like being in class with him as I can hear his solid yet soft-spoken voice through the pages.  Much of it is extremely heartfelt, thought-provoking and experiential.  I continue to pick it up almost daily vs. letting it collect dust with the gazillion other yoga books sitting by my bedside.  For me, that says a lot!

Even if you don’t practice yoga, A Life Worth Breathing has a wealth of material that can alter one’s outlook on life and more importantly one’s self.  The power of intention, forgiveness and breathing are all things that can inspire and shift the lives of both yogis and non-yogis.

Things I Want to Share

This posting is simply three great, yet very unrelated, things I’ve stumbled upon over the last week.  I hope you get the same joy out of the randomness of this as I do.  Shanti (Peace).

As I wait for a dear friend (new Mom with baby!) to show up at Busboys & Poets in Arlington, VA, I read… “I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments.  Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower —I just bought two necklaces from this hip, full-time artist at Art on the Avenue in Del Ray (a hub spot in Alexandria, VA).  I love supporting local artists who are true to their word.  He has a strong vibe and so do his pieces.  Feel it for yourself!

Want to deepen your yoga experience?  Feel overwhelmed every time you pick up a translation of the Yoga Sutras?  I know I usually do!  Sign-up to receive a yoga sutra weekly, delivered to your email.  What better way to learn how to live your yoga daily, one sutra at a time.  Visit

Writing from the Heart

Even though I never enjoyed writing, I started this yoga blog as a fun way to communicate with my students.  Of course I wondered, would people read it?  What would I write on a regular basis?

Shockingly, a lot of people actually like what I write.  Who knew my yoga off the mat would be interesting or even the least bit inspirational.  Who knew so many people, including my grandparents (Grandmom and Pop-Pop) and yogis from around the world, would be avid readers and comment on things I write.  Lastly, who knew I would be asked to review yoga products and promote them on my little yoga blog.  In fact, I’ve even been offered money to do so multiple times.

I have kept it my policy not to advertise on my blog.  I’ve turned down a few paid offers to post/promote other companies/websites, as I believe it would change the dynamic of this blog.  I like being “homegrown”, small and personal.  Frankly, this is probably a result of working too long in corporate America and being rubbed the wrong way.  Not everything in life is about money.

With that said, two small companies have recently caught my attention.  How?  One was the personal approach taken, and two; I like what they’re offering and the stories behind them.  Lastly, I find them both very creative.  See for yourself.  Visit Tickle My Chi and YogaMatic.

This blog is about whatever comes to mind and speaks to my heart.  I will continue to write from my heart and not get sidetracked or bribed to do something other than what speaks to me.  If you have started a yoga related business –yoga clothes, mats, jewelry, events – or opened a yoga studio, I’d love to hear from you.  If you’ve written a yoga book or yoga blog from your heart, I want to hear from you.  Let me know what inspired you.  Entrepreneurs all have a story.  I’d love to hear your story!

My Mala Beads Broke

I’m sad to report a thread on my crystal mala beads came loose over the weekend.  The beads are no longer wearable.  I wonder…did I jinx myself by writing my previous posting?

On the flip side, I emailed The Y Catalog ( to find out what type of return policy they have or if there is a way to repair them.  I received a reply within 24 hours. Like most retailers, they offer a 30-day return/exchange/refund.  I have had my beads slightly more than 30 days so I was pleasantly surprised that they have offered to exchange them.  I am more than happy with the way they handled my request.

If you haven’t ordered from The Y Catalog, check out their site.  They have a great selection of quality yoga items.  Best of all, 10% of everything you spend goes to supporting charitable causes.

Yoga Jewelry vs. Mala Beads

I practice yoga a lot.  I have a lot of “yoga” type clothes.  I have a ton of yoga books, mats, related music, etc.  One thing I’m “anti” is yoga jewelry.  Don’t get me wrong; there are some nice/cute/sexy pieces out there.  For instance, check out or  And I love jewelry, but yoga jewelry?

My personal opinion is the yoga accessory category has gone overboard.  I don’t need to wear yoga jewelry to verify my commitment to yoga.  I don’t need to tattoo an OM symbol on my neck to prove to others I’m a yogi.

I know accessories are an expression of who we are but at some point, enough is enough.  True expression comes from the heart –thoughts, words and actions.  Yoga is a way of life.  People can see it from my face, posture and shine.  I don’t need material items to express yoga; it naturally expresses itself through me, out of me.

On the flip side, to keep me focused in my meditation practice I did purchase some jade mala beads last year from The Y Catalog.  I originally just used them for my meditation practice but then I started to wear them.  They felt good to wear.  Next thing I knew, I was receiving compliments on them…multiple compliments.

What happened next?  I ordered the faceted crystal mala beads, and I love them.  I rotate between the crystal and jade beads for meditation and wear them regularly as well.  Funny thing, I continue to receive compliments.  Needless to say, I have mixed feelings now on what I term yoga jewelry.

P.S.  If you’re not sure what mala beads are, check out this link:

Right under My Nose

I’ve been in search of a specific item.  I was in need of a funky container/small piece of furniture to house my yoga practice stuff (DVDs, straps, blocks) in my all-in-one home office/yoga studio.  This seemed like a simple task so I started my search at Target, Pier I and all the other local places that might have what I desired.

The search existed for a good 6 months.  During that time, I brought home a couple different things, sat with them in the space and inevitably packed them back up to be returned.  Then last week as I was emptying out a metal container that we no longer needed to store our dog’s stuff (yes, he has stuff too), I began to wonder “now, what I’m I going to do with this empty metal container”.  Ahhhh, like magic, I realized this is the perfect container for my home yoga space.

How often does this happen?  We search and search for something; yet we neglect to look under our own feet, around us, or simply directly in front of our eyes.  Don’t try hard, try easy is one of Baron’s principles listed in Journey Into Power.  It’s such a simple idea and hard to believe until you try it.  More and more, I have personally discovered in my yoga practice and my life, the easy way is sometimes the answer.

The Alchemist, an inspirational read on following your dreams, offered this point as well.  We have everything we need but often look outside ourselves for the answers.  What we really need is to simply look within.  How easy is that?  This idea has been tough for me to grasp over the last few years.  It always sounded so esoteric when my yoga teachers would say this, but I think I’m starting to get it!

To whole-heartedly grasp something, whether it’s the practice of yoga, the thrill one gets on a roller coaster ride or the pain experienced from a tragedy, one has to live it.  One has to be in the moment to understand all the feelings associated with the experience.  So after my own experience of many years practicing yoga and almost 36 years of living life, I’m just now finally starting to get a few things.  Life shouldn’t have to be so hard, and often times it really isn’t.  Sometimes, we just need to get out of our own way.   

The next time you’re in a life struggle or you can’t quite get the bind needed for Bird of Paradise, slow down and maybe even stop to smell the roses.  The answer might be right under your nose.  And this silly container that I already owned for several years is the perfect fixture for my yoga stuff.

Take Charge of the Holiday Frenzy

Tagging onto my last blog post, here are a few simple suggestions from a yogi who is feeling all the things you’re feeling right now as the holiday frenzy erupts.  If you want to fully experience the meaning of “celebration” during the holidays, give this a read.

If you haven’t started shopping, writing cards, baking or whatever it is you need to do, start today.  As Baron says, if not now, when?  Eliminate the ease of procrastination.  Overload, exhaustion and increased stress will happen that last week before Christmas if you don’t start now.  Oh, and you’ll probably ditch your yoga practice and exercise routine to boot.  Lack of exercise can bring a damper on your personal celebration.  You may physically be at the party but mentally you feel the guilt of not sticking with the things in life that keep you sane.

If you need to skip a holiday event (even if it’s to give you time to hit the yoga mat), provide a brief explanation in advance and be sure to express appreciation.  You don’t have to accept every invitation, but don’t say you’re going to be there and then cancel the last minute.  Or worse, not show up period.  You’ll feel guilt and stress and more than likely, disappoint the host.

Lastly, if you procrastinate during the holidays in an effort to avoid the debt that many take on in the process of giving, get creative in your gift-giving this year.  Think “white elephant exchange” (a nice way to recycle something someone else might like without tossing it).  Think “giving to charity” on behalf of someone you love.  Think of “spending quality time with your friends” by treating them to an afternoon of tea/coffee at the local coffee house as oppose to buying them all gifts.  If you do this during the middle of a Saturday of holiday shopping, your friends will love you!  Give them a break from the frenzy.

Oh, and most importantly, whatever it is you decide to do during the next few weeks, stay committed to your yoga, meditation or whatever outlet you normally do to keep yourself sane.  The worse thing you can do this time of year is let the holiday frenzy take over your life.  You’re in charge so take charge starting today!      

Inspiration to Give

My dear friend Kristy in PA recently emailed the following to a group of her close yogi friends, including me.  I had read the same article that she is referencing in the current issue of Yoga Journal but I am so impressed to see that she took the initiative to share it and remind some of us who might have glossed over it.  Thanks Kristy!

Here’s her inspirational email:  I was reading my Yoga Journal magazine the other day and there was an article I’d like to share with you all.  Just some food for thought.  
“After receiving a holiday gift of a cookbook on chicken from a well-meaning relative two years ago (I don’t eat poultry), I decided to rethink holiday giving.  The next year I requested that friends and relatives donate money to a worthy cause instead of buying, me, say, yet another pair of salad tongs.  The plan worked beautifully: 
I cut down of planetary waste, helped those who really needed it, and eliminated loads of unwanted presents.  To start a new holiday tradition, write a heartfelt letter to friends and family explaining your reasons- financial, spiritual, or otherwise- for asking that everyone donated money in lieu of getting you a present.”  N.I.  (Yoga Journal, December 2007)
If this doesn’t sound like something you’re interested, that’s ok.  If you are, here are some websites to check out: 

Happy Holidays!