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Gear Stack Review: Yoga Gear for Stability

Definition: “Gear Stacking – combining various types of cool gear and/or hot tech to enhance your workout.”

Challenge: Slipping sliding away or toppling over…on your yoga mat. 
Solution:
Gear to give you 100% stability on the mat.

Affirmats Yoga Mat & Manduka Pro: 50%
Why we love em: It’s a hard choice between the two because they both have their strengths. The long-time Gold standard for Yogis, the Manduka Pro does edge out Affirmats in overall stickiness. However, you might suffer a bit in standing balancing poses because of the thicker mat.  Manduka is also much heavier which isn’t too big a deal for a home yoga practice but you’ll feel it if you’re lugging it to class. I’m always the last one to finish rolling up and stowing it after Savasana. Still if you really need “sticky” the Pro is a winner.

All that said I”m a sucker for soul-stirring products. The cool quotes on Affirmats are not just for show. They really do inspire you; knowing I’m going to be greeted with “Rise and Shine On!” has more than once gotten me out of bed at 5am.  These eco-friendly, Jute blend mats are slip-resistant but not as much as the Pro. However, I’ve found that this has forced me to be conscientious in grounding my hands and feet in certain poses…which I need to do anyway. The big plus for me was that Affirmats are the more traditional thickness so I’m much more stable in standing poses. (I admit not falling out of Bird of Paradise is an ego thing for me, which probably violates a  couple of yoga sutras, but there you have it.)
Mats $66 @ affirmats.com  Use code:  Affirmation Love for free shipping.
Manduka $78-$128 @ manduka.com

FitFour Neo Grip Gloves: 30%
Why we love it: Hand slipping is more common than foot slipping for most of us. If you’ve got extra dry (like me) or extra sweaty palms you may still slip on the grippiest mats. These cool little gloves were designed for crossfit but they are absolutely PERFECT for yoga. Made of durable high-density neoprene these gloves are low profile with silicone grips on the palms. Fitfour sells several versions of the gloves (including the Anti-Ripper and the Gripper) but we opted for the Neo Grip in all black for yoga. There was no slippage at all with these babies. NOTE: follow the fit guide on their site to choose your size.
Neo Grips $30 @ fitfour.com If you’re a first time customer you can use code TRYME for 10% off.

Nike Studio Wrap: 20%
Why we love it: Both mats do a pretty good job with foot stability but if you want to crank it up a notch and your Tendu Grips are in the wash, the Studio Wrap is your best bet. Like the FitFour gloves, the studio wrap combines neoprene and silicone grips to keep your feet stable on the mat. Lightweight and super comfortable you’ll forget they’re there. Normally I don’t like anything between my toes but the Studio Wraps didn’t bother me at all. NOTE: There’s also Studio Wrap Pack that includes a shoe and ballet ribbon. But we found the shoe not so comfortable and not worth the extra spend.
Studio Wrap $55 @ nike.com

A note on towels: Yoga towels will also help some folks increase grip. But we find these work best in hot yoga. Personally I tend to get my feet all tangled up in them during class so I save them for a Savasana cover-up at the end. For great towel options check out Affirmats selection of yoga towels  .

Our Gear Stack Reviews will give you 2-3 fitness products that work together to help you achieve a specific fitness goal or solve a fitness challenge. A brief description of each with a percentage score based on how much that product contributes to the goal. Splits59 is not paid for reviews. In some cases gear is provided by the brand for free or at a discount. In most cases gear is paid for at retail.
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Eat Well. Eat More.

As a Certified Nutritionist, I’d say the number one issue I see in women who have hit a weight loss plateau is the result of them working out too much and not eating enough!  It seems contradictory, but the moment they give their bodies adequate resources, their bodies are no longer in what I call “preservation mode” and the weight loss continues.  When we appropriately fuel our bodies, the body will use what it needs and make waste of what is left.

I think too many people in an effort to lose weight work out more and eat less, which makes sense for a bit, but is ultimately not sustainable.  As long as you are giving your body whole foods (nothing processed) and organic as much as possible, it’s difficult to not lose weight.  If someone hits a plateau there is a good chance their body needs more fuel than what is being provided.  Our bodies are finely tuned machine. We must fuel them as such.

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Fitness is Self Love.


My parents, friends and husband mean the world to me but no relationship supports me like the one I have with myself. Getting to know you takes a lifetime so start now! Fitness is my personal tool towards that investigation. Note that the word ‘fitness’ is interchangeable with whatever movement or practice you connect with. Here are steps to begin or maintain your path to fitness:

1. Get out of your own way

Simply put the only person causing a delay towards happiness is yourself. Delete the excuse dialogue, remove all self-imposed roadblocks and start showing up for yourself.

2. Try a class

You test-drive a new car so too should you test-drive a workout. Classes are an inexpensive way to taste the many flavors fitness has to offer. There are free videos online as well – remember no excuses. Private sessions are also available if you want the individual attention.

3. Commit

Make a commitment to yourself to stay active. Give yourself several months and notice the changes in your life. Write down ‘MY TIME’ in your calendar, blocking out at least an hour four times a week for fitness. This is your commitment to yourself so follow through!

4. Enjoy the Process

Eventually, commitment changes from obligation to enjoyment. Movement is so much fun, its like adult recess. Remember that next time you are in boot camp skipping rope!

5. Finding Balance

Injuries are pitfalls that send us on quieter paths of recovery. The body will seek balance. Physically we change over time so be prepared to let go of expectations. Fitness is a lifelong journey so go with what works and stop beating yourself up when something no longer does.

I have cultivated a path of self-love through my physical fitness practice and I try to empower others to do the same. Let fitness become a familiar friend and may the relationship be life long.

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FRIDAY CHILL: STRESS BUSTING TIPS


We’ve all heard time and time again that stress is the #1 cause of illness, but for many of us, it seems impossible to escape stress in our daily lives. After a long day of hustling around from class to class, client to client, borough to borough, I often find it hard to get my brain off the hamster wheel. So, how do I keep stress from swallowing me up? I’ve discovered one sure-fire technique to finding relaxation that is simple and can be practiced anywhere…deep abdominal breathing.

When you take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from your upper chest, you inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen you take in, the less tense and anxious you feel.

To practice:
• Sit comfortably with a tall spine. If you are seated on a chair, be sure your feet touch the ground. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Note: If you find it difficult breathing from your abdomen while sitting upright, try this technique while lying on the floor.

• Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, initiating the breath from the belly. You should feel the hand on your abdomen rise as your belly inflates, however the hand on your chest should move very little.

• Exhale through your mouth for 4 counts, forcing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your abdomen should draw in as you exhale, but the hand on your chest should move very little.

• Repeat this sequence for several rounds of breath.

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WORKOUT WEDNESDAY // SLIDING SIDE LUNGES

Sliding Side Lunges

I love this exercise because it works multiple body parts at one time – quads, glutes, abs, arms, and shoulders! It also improves alignment, challenges balance and stability, strengthens the body in lateral movement, and gets the heart rate up!

Directions:

1) begin standing up tall with a towel (or something that slides) under one foot. Hold 2lb or 3lb weights in your hands. Arms are down by your sides.

2) slide your leg straight out to the side as you lift your arms out to the side. Make sure your arms are in line with your shoulders.

3) slide your leg back in and bring your arms back by your sides as you return to standing.

4) repeat 10-12 times on each side.

Trust me….You’ll feel the BURN!