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How To Choose a Yoga Mat Material [Pros and Cons]

How To Choose a Yoga Mat Material [Pros and Cons]

Choosing a yoga mat can be very challenging. There is a whole lot of different materials in the Yoga Mat market. It’s not easy to know which mat is good or not for your practice. Sometimes, you can be led mainly by the price without realising how bad a Yoga Mat can be for your health or the environment.

The right material for your Yoga Mat needs to be comfortable for you to be on, keep you warm from the cold floor and have a good grip. If you are planning to practice in the park you’d want a yoga mat that is more durable and is easy to wash.

For your yoga practice, you will enjoy more a non-slippery mat. However, it’s not all about our yoga practice. Yoga also cares for the environment and encourages living in a more natural way. For this reason, choosing a yoga mat that is less polluting is a duty to ourselves and our children. Some yoga mats have a manufacturing process that is quite polluting. Choosing a yoga mat that is eco- friendly in the long run is better for our planet and us all.

When you buy a yoga mat, check out the material it is made of. The label will give you a clue to know whether the material is biodegradable, recyclable or environmentally friendly. For more details, read this guide on How to Choose the Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat.

Most of the synthetic yoga mats have a big carbon footprint and will take a long time to degrade. Some yoga mat materials tend to have detrimental effects on our health in the long term.

I will explain the different materials a yoga mat is made of and explain which materials are best for the environment.


PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Yoga Mat Material

PVC is one of the first plastics ever manufactured and it’s one of the most common in everyday use. You probably use them every day, products made of PVC are shower curtains, sewage pipes, cables, vinyl records, yoga mats among many others. These polymers can take hundreds of years to degrade and in the process, they release toxic chemicals.

PVC manufacturing requires the use of Organochlorides and a lot of electricity. In fact, it uses about 1 per cent of the world’s total electricity output. Organochlorides are reactive compounds in the environment. They create toxic by-products hazardous for animals and plants such as dioxins, furans, phthalates, plasticizers and lead. Organochloride compounds accumulate in fatty tissues reaching all levels of the food chain. These chemicals also have the capacity to concentrate in breast milk and to cross the placental barrier.

PVC is a very toxic plastic for our health and for the environment. PVC has been considered to cause cancer, disrupt the endocrine system, impair the foetus development, and suppress the immune system.

A PVC yoga mat has some pros in comparison to other yoga mats. It is cheap. easy to wash, resists the growth of bacteria, has a good grip and cushioning and has a long life. But, its cons out weight any of the benefits. It has a strong plastic smell that doesn’t go away easily. At the moment PVC mats cannot be recycled. They end in landfills where they react with other chemicals and produce dioxins and chlorine compounds that are very toxic.

Pros:

  • Cheap.
  • Good grip
  • Easy to wash
  • Resists the growth of bacteria.
  • Have a long life

Cons:

  • Strong plastic smell.
  • Non-recyclable at this moment
  • Reacts with other compounds to create toxic chemicals that damage the health of animals, plants and humans.

TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomers) Yoga Mat Material

This means it’s made of polymers, a type of plastic with thermic and elastic properties.

TPE materials can be easily moulded, extruded and reused. However, they are not recyclable.

TPE doesn’t require reinforcing agents, stabilizers or even cure systems making it less reactive and polluting than PVC. So a better alternative to PVC. 

Pros:

  • Provides good insulation from the cold floor.
  • It’s easy to fold and transport.
  • Lightweight.
  • Resist the growth of bacteria.
  • Have a long life if looked after
  • Washable
  • Cheap
  • Recyclable in some areas

Cons:

  • Slow degradation in landfill but it doesn’t cause hazardous byproducts.
  • Overall, a bit better than PVC but has a big carbon footprint for being produced with fossil fuels.

NBR(Nitrile Butadiene Rubber) Yoga Mat Material

NBR it’s a synthetic rubber commonly used in the automotive and aeronautical industry. It has become popular among yoga mats as it provides good insulation and cushioning. 

NBR manufacturing isn’t environmentally friendly. In fact, it’s manufacturing is limited in Europe, USA and Canada due to the toxic substances used to produce it, such as Butadiene. 

NBR can degrade in if it has some additives added to accelerate the process. 

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Available in various thickness
  • Oil and water resistance
  • Provides good insulation
  • Easy to fold and transport
  • Lightweight
  • Resist the growth of bacteria
  • Have a long life if looked after
  • Washable
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Non-recyclable. Slow degradation in a landfill.

EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) Yoga Mat Material

EVA is made from blended copolymers of ethylene and vinyl acetate. It is commonly found in shoe soles, toys, foam tiles, sports helmets, among many others. 

Pros:

  • Very light
  • Has thermal properties
  • A good insulator
  • Soft
  • Flexible
  • Considered non-toxic
  • Wipe clean
  • Cushioning
  • Water-resistant
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Non-reactive to fats and oils.

Cons:

  • Has a plastic smell from new that disappears after a while
  • The material will compact slightly with use
  • EVA material can degrade in the environment if it contains additives to accelerate the process
  • The recycling of EVA material is extremely low and very localized
  • It usually ends up in landfills

JUTE Yoga Mat Material

Jute is a natural fibre from a plant form the Corchorus genus. It’s second to cotton in the amount produced and variety of uses. Jute is a rain-fed crop with little need for fertilizer or pesticide, in contrast to cotton’s heavy requirements. Production is concentrated mostly in Bangladesh, as well as India’s states of Assam, Bihar, and West Bengal.

This yoga mat has one side of Jute and another of PVC or PER. PER stands for Polymer Environmental Friendly Resin.

PER is friendlier than PVC and less damaging to the environment compared to PVC.

PER is essentially PVC which has been plasticized and stabilized with acetyl tributyl citrate, instead of phthalate-based plasticizers (DEHP) whose endocrine-disrupting properties give PVC its bad reputation.

Pros:

  • Half of it is recyclable (the Jute part)

Cons:

  • The natural fibres can be a bit coarse to the skin.
  • PER is not recyclable.
  • It degrades in a landfill.

Cork/PU/Natural Rubber Yoga Mat Material Material

Cork is a natural material made from the cortex of the oak tree. It is a renewable resource that doesn’t damage the trees during its harvesting. Cork yoga mats tend to have one side made of cork and the other from different material to make them non-slippery on the floor surface.

I would suggest you buy a cork yoga mat combined with natural rubber. This mat is one of the most environmentally friendly as natural rubber is also biodegradable.

Pros:

  • Impermeable
  • Elastic
  • Bacterial growth resistant
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Sustainable
  • Recyclable
  • Fire retardant
  • A good insulator
  • Has a good grip
  • Durable

Cons:

  • A bit more expensive than synthetic mats.

Here’s our review of a cork/natural rubber yoga mat. If you want to learn more about eco-friendly yoga mat options:

The Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats | Top 6 | USA

The Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats | Top 7 | UK


Natural Rubber Yoga Mat Material

Natural rubber is also known as latex or caucho. Natural rubber is made from the sap of rubber trees found in South America (Brazil) and South Asia (Malaysia, India, Thailand, and Indonesia).

It is harvest from trees by making incisions in the bark and collecting the milky fluid. This rubber can be made into all different items. It’s one of the best options for a yoga mat.

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Durable
  • From sustainable sources
  • Biodegradable

Cons:

  • Can cause allergies

Cotton Yoga Mat Material

The production of cotton has a high environmental impact due to the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and the use of huge amounts of water.

Some cotton crops are genetically modified. These crops require herbicide glyphosate, which poses risks to our health and the environment.

As an alternative, we can choose organic cotton. The production of organic cotton does not use pesticides, chemical fertilizers and relies on rainfall.

Pros:

  • Organically produced
  • Brings income to small producers
  • Biodegradable
  • Will last a lifetime
  • Sustainable
  • Has great grip
  • Absorbance of sweat
  • Great for all types of yoga, including Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Power yoga.

Cons:

  • Can be a little bit coarse to the skin and less cushioning.

Wool Yoga Mat Material

Wool is a sustainable resource that does not harm sheep in the process. If the wool is organic it benefits the small producers and has a low impact on the environment.

I would recommend it for calmer types of yoga such as Yin yoga, Kundalini yoga, Mantra yoga, Meditation and Relaxation.

Pros:

  • Biodegradable
  • Will last a lifetime
  • Helps local communities

Cons:

  • Can be a little coarse to the skin

Conclusion

Apart from the core material, one thing to be aware of is the manufacturing process. For example, natural latex itself may not be harmful or cause allergies. But the chemicals that turn a blob of latex into a yoga mat may be toxic or allergenic.

If you walk or jog to your yoga class a lightweight yoga mat material like a thin cork mat will be more suitable. Whereas if you are driving or practising at home the weight is not an issue, so yoga mats made of rubber are a good option.

With a wide range of yoga mats materials available, you can take your pick. Here’s a full guide on How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat. The common materials for yoga mats are PVC, TPE, NBR, EVA, Cork and Natural Latex. They tend to be more comfortable for the skin, while fabric yoga mats like Cotton, Jute and Wool can be a bit more coarse.

One thing to keep in mind is that PVC, TPE, NBR, EVA and Natural Latex yoga mats are made of one type of material. Whereas yoga mats made of Jute or Cork sometimes are made of 2 different materials – one for each side. The top part is made of natural material and the bottom part is made of synthetic material. This provides more gripping and insulation. Pure Jute and pure cork tend to be more expensive.

Some yoga mats are recyclable or are made from recycled materials. If you worry about the environment like me, you may want a yoga mat that is made of a natural and non-toxic material.

There is a wide range of yoga mat materials available. You can take your pick to suit your preferences and values. Choosing an eco-friendly mat will also benefit your health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are yoga mats made of?

There is a handful of materials, overall yoga mats can be made of synthetic polymers, natural materials either fabrics or natural rubber and a combination of both.

What is a yoga block?

A yoga block is a prop that helps us during yoga practice to achieve a position with more ease. A yoga block helps us get into the correct alignment and develop into a posture.

What is the best thickness for a yoga mat?

The thickness of your yoga mat will depend on two things the type of flooring where you will be performing yoga and the type of yoga you are doing.

What makes a good yoga mat?

A good yoga mat will ideally have the right size for your body, be comfortable, cushioned, have a good grip, and be environmentally friendly.

Top 10 Questions For A Long-Distance Relationship

long-distance relationship questions

It can be hard to navigate your long-distance relationship. The love and attraction you feel for someone is mixed with annoyance that you can’t see them.

The build-up of sexual frustration in a long-distance relationship can be overwhelming. There comes a point where a picture on the screen and the voice on the phone just don’t cut it anymore. In a romantic relationship, you deserve physical closeness.

To have a healthy long-distance relationship, it’s important to separate the feelings you have for the person from the feelings caused by your situation.

I’ve put together a list of 10 questions that should help you disentangle these feelings. Questions 1- 5 focus on your long-distance relationship and where do you see your relationship in the future.

Questions 6-10 help you reflect on your personal goals, feelings, needs and expectations.


1. Why are you in a long-distance relationship?

There are 2 general situations why you might be in a long-distance relationship: 

  1. You’ve met someone online, on holidays, in college or during a work trip. And you want to get to know them better.
  2. You are already in a relationship with someone, married or living together. And one of you has to go away for some time or you might be relocating.

Whatever your situation, the fact remains: for some time you are going to be away from each other.

If you are getting to know someone long-distance, then you are probably having a lot of fun. However, if you are separated after being together, it can be a more complicated experience.

How did you start your long-distance relationship? Leave a comment below…


2. How long have you been in this long-distance relationship?

Right, so you have a number. Now tell me, how do you feel about being in this relationship this long? Is it something you planned and prepared for or is it dragging longer then you would have liked? 

The reason this question is important is that couples tend to lose track of time. It may be in a good way where you have conversations that last for hours. And you are waiting with excitement for the next call or text. But it can also be that your interactions have become boring. And you are in this relationship just because…


3. How long are you planning for your long-distance relationship to last?

If you answered the previous question, you are now aware of how long you’ve been in your long-distance relationship. You are also aware if it was too long, not long enough or just right and how you feel about it.

Depending on your answer, now you’d want to know how long it will last. If it’s an early stage, you are probably happy to see how it develops and how it integrates into your life.

If it’s just right, then you are going to be facing some decisions very soon. Things like are you going to meet, will you move in together or are you better off alone or with someone else.

If you are feeling it’s been too long, then you’ve probably missed the point where you needed to address your feelings and make some hard decisions. Now the decisions you are facing are even harder. You see, the more you sacrifice and compromise the harder it will be to find the balance. 


4. What are your goals as a couple in a long-distance relationship?

Your long-distance relationship is an incomplete romantic relationship, because of the lack of physical intimacy. But as we’ve seen in question 1, it has a purpose. It serves for you to get to know each other or to maintain your established relationship.

Take a moment to reflect on the goals and expectations you and your partner have from this long-distance relationship. Talk about it, maybe even make some notes. Working with couples I recommend to have a session with each partner separately. Each partner makes notes and then we put them together. This way nobody is trying to please another and the answers are more honest.


5. When are you planning to close the distance and move in together?

Long-distance relationships are meant to be temporary. Stretch them out a bit longer and they result in a lot of suffering.

Once your long-distance relationship has served its purpose, it’s time to take the next step. If you started a new long-distance relationship online, it’s the moment you know enough about each other. I mean enough that you are ready to meet. There’s always more you can learn later on.

If you are a couple who is doing a long-distance relationship, the same applies. Every person has their alone time that they are ok with. Once that point is reached, and your need for physical closeness is unfulfilled, you will suffer. And as a result, your partner and your relationship as a whole will suffer as well. 

So, don’t miss this moment between being happy and excited about your relationship and being bored and fed up with it. 

Sometimes we get so caught up in our relationships, we forget our own life goals and objectives. The next questions are to help you bring the focus back to yourself. While answering the next 5 questions, imagine what your life’s like. 


6. Is your long-distance relationship healthy?

If you’ve started a new long-distance relationship online you did it to enrich your life. To get to know someone, find understanding, connection, love. 

If you are in a long-distance because of work commitment or relocation, then it must be daunting for you. It may feel like you had no say in it and now you have to put up with the way things are. But I’d like to tell you that you are in this situation because you made some choices. They may have not been easy, but they were yours. Even now, you still have a choice.


7. What do you want from this long-distance relationship?

What do you personally want for yourself from this long-distance relationship? Is it to have someone to talk to, to share with or to connect in a meaningful way? Maybe you are looking for a long-term partner with whom you can get married and have children. 

Sometimes we don’t even realise why we are in a relationship. Remind yourself how and why you got into this relationship in the first place. Are you getting what you want or are you just plodding along hoping for things to change?

Things always change, but for them to change the way you want, you need to make that conscious change yourself.


8. What are your doubts about this long-distance relationship?

We have doubts about a lot of things all the time. It’s not healthy, but it’s normal. The first thing to do is to recognise these doubts. What are you unsure about? Some doubts are just lingering thoughts and all you may need is reassurance. Other doubts tell us that something isn’t quite tip-top. 

To get a clear perspective on your long-distance relationship, recognise your doubts and concerns. Write them down, reflect on them by yourself. And then share them with your partner. But only share after they’ve written theirs.


9. What brings you joy in this long-distance relationship?

This is one of the most important questions. Does your long-distance relationship bring love, joy and excitement into your life? Or does it leave you feeling sad, frustrated and depressed?

Many couples simply overlook the importance of their own feelings. Just because it’s a long-distance relationship, they consider that patiently suffering is normal. But it can’t be further from the truth. No relationship should be a cause of your suffering.

Tip: If you aren’t happy with yourself – change yourself. If your relationship doesn’t bring you joy, you can choose to be with someone else. 

In real life, it’s usually more complicated, but it still holds true.


10. What frustrates you the most in this long-distance relationship?

Write down a list of things that you are not happy with. Let yourself go. Come up with things that are even vaguely true.

This exercise will help you bring importance to how you feel and what you want. This list is for you, so don’t worry about what anyone will think or say about it. Be honest with yourself. Express everything you can find inside of you on a piece of paper. You’ll find once it’s out, it’ll be easier for you to deal with it. 

You may even choose to share some of them with your partner. Before you do, check out this article on effective communication.


Bonus Question:)

Is this long-distance relationship helping you to achieve your own goals and dreams?

As a person, as an individual, you must have ambitions. And if you don’t, take the time to explore them. Having a relationship means sharing your time and space with another person. Once you do that, it’s can be harder to prioritise your own goals and desires. 

Now you need to make decisions as a couple. So you have to make sure that you are “in bed” with the right person. The right person will nourish your life and will help you with your goals. They will recognise what’s important for you and will support you along the way.

If you find yourself deviating from your life goals and compromising what’s important to you, reconsider. Sometimes it’s a matter of sitting down and just getting it out. 

Tip: For your relationship to succeed, you have to succeed.


Conclusion

I hope these questions got you thinking in the right direction. 

If you have any questions leave a comment below.

If you need any help, send me a message.


How Healthy Is Your Long-Distance Relationship?

Take 2 minutes to answer a few questions and receive an insight into your long-distance relationship


Frequently Asked Questions

Long-distance relationships fail when a couple treat it as a complete romantic relationship. The romantic relationship includes physical affection, closeness, intimacy. Without it, it’s not a full relationship. While it’s ok for a short period, if it lasts longer, it can damage your relationship.

Sexting is great for any kind of romantic relationship. In a long-distance relationship, however, it tends to compensate for real sex or the lack of. But tell me, can sexting fulfil the same need as the real sex does? No. So if you want a bit of fun, sure go sext 🙂 But if you have a silent hope that it will replace physical intimacy, you’ll be disappointed.

A long-distance relationship can last as long as you make it last. But you don’t want to make it last. Why? Because it’s not a complete relationship, it’s a phrase that can help you get to a relationship.

If your BF doesn’t miss you, you don’t want to make him miss you. First, you want to find out whether he misses you or not. Then, if he doesn’t you should find out why. Maybe he is busy or maybe he doesn’t want to be with you. Once you know how he feels, you can figure out what’s the best thing for you to do.

Starting a Long-Distance Relationship

Starting a long-distance relationship

Starting a long-distance relationship is different from starting a relationship face to face. The biggest difference is the lack of physical intimacy. 

When you start a new long-distance relationship it’s normal to have doubts. After all, you are having strong feelings for someone and you want your relationship to work out. For it to happen, you need to understand what a long-distance relationship is and what it isn’t.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the stages of going from starting a long-distance relationship to moving in. I’ll show the common problems you as a couple might face when getting to know each other long distance. Once you know what to expect, you can prepare for it.

So, let’s get you ready to start a new long-distance relationship the right way…


What Is a Long-Distance Relationship?

A long-distance relationship is a romantic relationship where you are physically apart.

Why is it important to break it down like that?

Many couples approach a long-distance relationship as they would a normal relationship. They expect romance and physical affection. And they see the distance as an inconvenience.

But, what’s a romantic relationship without physical intimacy? Well, you can see it as a friendship or as an incomplete romantic relationship. A friendship over a long-distance can work very well.  But a long-distance romantic relationship is only healthy for a short while.

As people, we need a physical presence and physical touch to feel connected. In a long-distance relationship, it’s hard to maintain this connection. So to compensate, couples tend to spend more time talking on the phone or via the texts. 

This leads to excessive communication, which can be damaging to your personal lives. But no amount of phone conversations can fulfil the need for physical closeness.

A long-distance relationship is an incomplete romantic relationship.

Starting a long-distance relationship can be a lot of fun. But it’s also a crucial stage in your relationship where you have to keep a few things in mind.

Let’s see what they are…


Stages of a Long-Distance Relationship 

Here are 7 stages you’ll go through in your long-distance relationship:

  1. Starting a long-distance relationship
  2. Getting to know each other in a long-distance relationship
  3. Making your long-distance relationship work
  4. Moving in together after a long-distance relationship
  5. Living together after a long-distance relationship
  6. Marriage after a long-distance relationship
  7. Ending your long-distance relationship

Let’s take a closer look at what they involve…

1. Starting a long-distance relationship

Starting a long-distance relationship online is very easy. Online dating allows you to focus on who you want rather than where they are. You can find someone who fits your profile in a different part of the world.

But this can also be a downside. To make your relationship work, you’ll need to know how to get to know them over a long distance.

2. Getting to know each other in a long-distance relationship

Once you find a match, your next step is to learn about that person. The general profile only says so much. It’s now up to you to see if you click in your values, beliefs and life goals. To make it work, you will need to have common interests and things to talk about.

3. Making your long-distance relationship work

So you found a special someone and developed feelings for each other. After you got to know each other better, it’s time to meet. If you have a chance to meet after a couple of months, great.

But what if you don’t have such an opportunity? For some time, you’ll need to maintain your relationship long-distance. This article can show you how to make your long-distance relationship work.

4. Moving in together after a long-distance relationship

By this point, you would have learnt something new and you still like each other. You also met a couple of times and are now ready to move in. Moving in together after a long-distance relationship is life-changing. Read this article to help you prepare for this step. 

Move-in together gradually and have a trial period. See how you get on as a couple and how you feel sharing your personal space with this person.

5. Living together after a long-distance relationship

Being in love is one thing, living together is a whole different experience. Little things can grow into bigger problems and may even destroy your relationship. Hopefully, by now you learnt to communicate and share your feelings. It’s also important that you enjoy sharing time and space with your loved one.

6. Marriage after a long-distance relationship

At this stage, you should know each other pretty well. If you had any doubts you should have addressed them in previous stages. You should also have a strategy to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings. The above gives you a strong foundation for a healthy relationship and gets you ready to build a family.

7. Ending your long-distance relationship

At any stage, things can happen and feelings may change. Either one of you may want something different. And it’s ok. It’s normal to have a relationship and it’s normal to end it. You must end a relationship if it’s no longer bringing joy into your life. But there’s a right way to end a relationship and there’s a wrong way.

When you know what to expect from a long-distance relationship, you can prepare for it. 

Time for some facts about a long-distance relationship…


5 Facts About a Long-Distance Relationship

Here are 5 things you should about a long-distance relationship:

1. If you haven’t met or lived together, you are going to idealise your partner. 

A physical gap in a long-distance relationship leaves plenty of room for imagination. This means that without knowing it, you create things in your head that aren’t real. This can mask the sadness caused by the lack of physical interaction. But it’ll make it harder to manage your relationship if you decide to move in together.

2. Long-distance relationships work for the right people and the right reasons.

Long-distance relationships are great for getting to know someone. They suit people who like romance and adventure. Travelling the world together is ideal for some couples. A long-distance relationship can also work for a married couple who is relocating. But in this case, it’s important to keep the transition short and sweet. 

3. Long-distance relationships can be hard, but people make it even harder.

Sometimes, a long-distance relationship can bring more sadness than joy into people’s lives. Some couples still choose to continue their relationship, despite feeling miserable every day.

If a long-distance relationship isn’t for you, it will be hard.

4. A long-distance relationship is for some and not for others

Every person needs a physical connection. However, some people need it more than others. Physical absence might be ok for some people. And for others, physical presence is necessary to feel connected.

5. Forcing a long-distance relationship to work is a waste of your life.

Couples start long-distance relationships to feel an emotional connection. But there’s also an expectation of physical affection. If for some reason a couple can’t close the distance, the need for physical closeness isn’t met. This can leave them feeling sad and frustrated.

When you know what to expect you can prepare for it…


How to Prepare For a Long-Distance Relationship

You’ve met someone special and now you are facing a long-distance relationship. You must have heard how hard and heartbreaking it can be. And now you worry if and how you’ll be able to make it work. If that’s you, then I’m going to put your mind at ease.

Starting a long-distance relationship isn’t hard or difficult, it’s exciting and adventurous. In fact, in many ways, getting to know someone long-distance is much better than face to face. Let me explain…

When you meet someone who lives in your area, one of the first things you want to explore is physical intimacy. Some apps are even catering for that aspect alone.

Starting a relationship with a person who lives in a different city, country or continent, physical interaction isn’t an option. One thing you can do is learn more about their personality, values and beliefs.

I’m an advocate for learning deep and hard about ourselves and each other. But there are times when a couple needs a little help and some guidance.

Here’s a cool Q&A journal that’ll help you to get to know each other.

Starting a Long-Distance Relationship 1Starting a Long-Distance Relationship 2

If you are starting a new long-distance relationship, one question a day will give you a direction while getting to know each other better.

For couples who were together before the long-distance, it’s a nice refresher. I guarantee you will learn some new things about yourself and each other.


How to Get to Know Someone in A Long-Distance Relationship

After some time getting to know someone over a long-distance, you will want (and need!) to meet them in person. You see, when you are talking to a person online, you imagine what it’s like to be with them. 

Until you get to experience physical closeness with a person, your brain will create its own reality. The longer this continues, the further this reality will be from the truth. So what’s wrong with unicorns?

When you finally meet after a long relationship online, you will face a real pony and you’ll be disappointed that it doesn’t have a horn. 

In other words, the more time you spend online, the more stories you will create in your head. This leads to unrealistic expectations and inevitable disappointments.

And it’ll ruin your relationship. Or at least it will be difficult for you to disentangle your feelings from unmet needs and unrealistic expectations. In other words, it’ll complicate things for you

Don’t miss the point between getting to know someone and creating a fairy tale about them.

Once you look at your long-distance relationship from a positive perspective, you can have fun with it. 

Let’s imagine that you’ve been in touch for a few months and you are 60 pages into the Q&A journal. By this point, you should know enough about each other to decide if you want to know any more.

Before you get into the fairy tale land of your own creation, it’s a good time for you to meet each other for the first time. Doing most things for the first time can be both worrying and exciting. So let’s have a look at how you can focus on the latter…


Meeting For The First Time In A Long-Distance Relationship

The biggest reason that meeting someone for the first time can be so nerve-wracking is because of your expectations. During the initial phase of getting to know each other, you created a certain image of a person. And now you are afraid of disappointment if this person won’t match your expectations.

Creating expectations are part of our survival. It’s a thing we all do all the time and it’s ok to worry a little. But this is where you can change how you feel…

You can either focus on things you expect or you can feel excited about learning new things. You see, when we are talking to someone online we think and behave in a certain way. When we are face to face with a person or a situation, we behave differently.

Meeting someone for the first time in a long-distance relationship is a strange experience. Part of you thinks you already know them well and expects them to be in a certain way. While the other part realises that all you know is some information about this person.

In a long-distance relationship, you are not actually connecting to another person. You are connecting to the idea of this person and what you know about them.

When you will meet for the first time, you will think that you know them, but you will know that you don’t.

So the best thing for you to do is to be aware of your expectations but focus on getting to know them all over again.

After your meeting, you’ll probably be apart for some time. It’s nice to get your special someone a special something.

I like this calendar with a date of your choice, but I only found it in the UK

Starting a Long-Distance Relationship 3Starting a Long-Distance Relationship 4

If you are in the USA, this one carries a similar message…

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Now let’s take a look at common problems couples face in a long-distance relationship.


3 Problems With a Long-Distance Relationship

3 problems with a long-distance relationship

Here are 3 main problems, specific to a long-distance relationship:

  1. Lack of physical affection
  2. Communication without the physical presence
  3. Absence of shared experiences


Let’s briefly go through them in more detail…

1. Lack of physical affection

In a romantic relationship, you expect physical affection. In a monogamous long-distance relationship physical affection isn’t there. While it’s ok for short while, after some time you will start feeling deprived.

In a couple, one person usually feels it sooner than the other, so it’s important that you talk about it.

2. Communication without the physical presence

A big chunk of our communication relies on physical interaction. When people are next to each other, their feelings and intentions are more obvious.

Body cues like postures and gesture help people understand each other better. In a long-distance relationship, you rely on speaking and texting. This can make it harder for you to understand each other. 

But there’s a positive thing about starting a relationship online. When starting a relationship, you have to respond quickly to what the person is saying.

If you feel rushed, you might jump to false conclusions. In a long-distance relationship, you have the time to ask the right questions and think of the best answers.

Here’s an article to help you learn effective communication in a long-distance relationship.

3. Absence of shared experience

Shared experience helps us feel an emotional connection. And physical closeness makes our experiences more vivid. When your loved one is miles away, you don’t get to experience your romantic relationship to its fullest.

Other problems that a couple faces in a long-distance relationship are the same as in any other relationship.

Things like trust, jealousy, honesty, understanding, finance and fading feelings. In any relationship, from online dating to marriage, these things need care and attention.

If you are prone to depression or anxiety, it’s more challenging to maintain a romantic relationship with a person you can’t touch.

So if you decide to end your long-distance relationship, does it mean it’s a failure?


The #1 Reason Why Long-Distance Relationships Fail

While there are many reasons for your long-distance relationship to end, there’s only one reason for it to fail. Any healthy relationship needs a couple to communicate well and understand each other.

Likewise, guilt, blame, shame and ignorance are destructive for any relationship. And a long-distance relationship is not an exception.

If you get on as a couple, then you would be happy to put in the effort to make your relationship joyful and exciting. But, if your circumstances change or you no longer feel the attraction, then it’s best to end your long-distance relationship.

If you get on with each other but aren’t feeling the romance, you can stay friends.

To create a successful relationship, you need to understand each other. You also must be able to identify the problems and fix them with effective communication. What separates the long-distance relationship from any other is the distance.

If you are starting a long-distance relationship, find out how the distance affects your relationship. A long-distance relationship is an incomplete romantic relationship, so don’t expect it to fulfil your needs for physical affection. This expectation is the main reason why long-distance relationships fail. 

For the time you are apart, expect your need for physical intimacy to remain unfulfilled. Without physical closeness, you may feel sad or frustrated. But at least you won’t feel lost and confused.

When you know the reason for your sadness or frustration, you can find a way to manage it.

So, with all the problems, is a long-distance relationship worth starting?


Is It Worth Having a Long-Distance Relationship

While this is the question only you can answer, let me ask you something…

  • Are you having strong feelings for this person?
  • Are you excited to get to know them better?
  • Does this person bring love into your life?

If you answered yes to all them, then don’t worry about the distance at the moment. Go have fun…

Keep an eye on that crucial point we’ve discussed earlier.


Conclusion

Waw, you are starting a long-distance relationship, amazing! I hope you are looking forward to the exciting experience that it is.

Is it going to be easy? No more than any other relationship.

Is it going to be difficult? Only if you don’t know what you are getting yourself into.

In this article, we’ve seen different stages of a long-distance relationship and how distance can affect a relationship. Now you are ready to start your long-distance relationship with your head high.

Of course, there will be challenges, but keep an eye on how you feel and work on that communication. To help you out along the way, here’s an article on how you can make your long-distance relationship work.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do long-distance relationships work?

Long-distance relationships work for people who meet online and want to get to know each other better. They also work for couples who are relocating and have to be apart for some time. In any case, it’s important to make it a short phase.

How long do long-distance relationships last?

A long-distance relationship is a phase and not a complete relationship. While it can work very well for a short period, after some point it becomes destructive for your relationship.

Can trust be rebuilt?

Trust is taking a chance to believe that someone will be a certain way. When this person behaves differently, it will take more to trust them again. So the trust isn’t about rebuilding, it’s about willingness to take a chance.

When to call it quits in a long-distance relationship?

Your relationship should bring love and joy into your life. So, you know it’s time to end your long-distance relationship when you are feeling sad or frustrated more often than not.

How to start a long-distance relationship?

Here are 3 things you should consider when starting a long-distance relationship:

  1. Remember to have fun.
  2. Get to know each other’s interests, values and beliefs.
  3. Don’t drag it out for too long.

Gifts for a Long-Distance Relationship

100 Thought Provoking Conversation Starters for Great Relationships – Fun Conversation Cards Game for Couples

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Couple Bracelets for Lover

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Couples Pillowcases – Gifts for Couples

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Couple Heart Lock Bracelet and Key Pendant Necklace

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Long-Distance Relationship Jewellery

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Long-Distance Relationship Lamp

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Couple Pendant Necklace

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Long-Distance Relationship Rings

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Touch Bracelets That Bring Long-Distance Lovers Closer Than Ever

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How to Pick the Right Yoga Mat [Beginners Guide]

how to choose the right yoga mat

Choosing the right yoga mat can be confusing, particularly for a beginner. Once you start looking into buying a yoga mat, you will find thousands of options.

Picking the right yoga mat for a beginner depends on the type of yoga you are going to do and where you will be doing it. Most of us stop at the cost, so today, we’ll take a look behind the price tag.

In this article, we’ll look at each of these in more detail. By the end, you should have a clear idea about the best yoga mat for your practice.


How to Choose a Yoga Mat

How to Choose a Yoga Mat

To choose the yoga mat for your yoga practice you need to consider the type of yoga you are going to do and where you will do it. You should be comfortable on a yoga mat. When it comes to the yoga mat features, 4 things to consider are yoga mat material, thickness, size and design.


Why Choose a Yoga Mat?

At first glance, it may seem like a strange question. After all, for a newbie, a yoga mat looks like a rubber rag to throw on the floor. So why should it matter the material, size, thickness and what’s printed on it?

When you will bring yoga into your life, you will be spending a lot of time on your yoga mat. So, the happier you are with the look and feel of your yoga mat, the more often you will want to practice yoga. The more you practice yoga, the greater the benefits.

The type of yoga mat will depend on what kind of yoga you are planning to do and where you are going to do it. For outdoor practice, you will need something durable and easy to clean.

For a yoga session on a stony beach, look for a yoga mat with more cushioning. The thickest yoga mat I could find from natural material is a 6mm cork/natural rubber yoga mat. For a yoga session in the park, a cotton yoga mat is easy to clean.

To get the postures right, you could get an alignment yoga mat with special markings. The popular yoga mat is Liforme Original Yoga Mat.

During yoga, you are likely to be barefoot and wear light clothing. So to keep you warm on a cold floor you need to consider the material and thickness of your yoga mat. Aside from insulation, you also want your yoga mat to be comfortable and have a good grip.

You may also want a yoga mat that is made from natural, non-toxic material from sustainable and environment-friendly sources. 


What to Look For When Choosing a Yoga Mat

The right yoga mat has to serve its purpose, align with your values and offer a degree of convenience. If you are taller, choose a longer yoga mat; if your joints give you trouble, choose a thicker yoga mat of 6-10mm; and if you will practice in the park or on the sand, choose a cotton yoga mat that’s easy to wash.

Practically, a yoga mat needs to be:

  • Made of a durable material
  • Easy to clean/wash
  • Comfortable
  • Non-slippery/have a good grip
  • Big enough for you to lay on and move around
  • A good insulator from the cold floor

To align with your values a yoga mat can be:

  • Made from a natural material
  • Made from recycled material
  • Recyclable
  • Biodegradable

Other yoga mat options include:

  • Colourful designs
  • Symbolic drawings (e.g. chakras, mandalas, etc.)
  • Personalised print (e.g. your name, affirmations, quotes, yoga poses and sequences)
  • Alignment markings

If you tend to sweat a lot or are planning to do a Hot Yoga class, you will need a yoga mat that has the most grip. 

A calmer yoga, like Yin Yoga or Kundalini Yoga, involves a lot more sitting and laying down. To do them in comfort,  you will need something softer and more insulating.

Tip: When the yoga mat gets wet it loses its grip. This is more true for synthetic yoga mats. Natural yoga mats made from cotton and cork gain more grip when wet.

Let’s take a look at your options in choosing a yoga mat material…


How to Choose a Yoga Mat Material

Choose the yoga mat material that’s comfortable and will keep you warm on the cold floor. Cork and natural rubber yoga mat have a good grip on both sides when it gets wet. If you are planning to practice yoga in the park choose a material like cotton, so your outdoors yoga mat is easy to wash.

If you are planning to walk or to jog to your place of practice, a lightweight yoga mat might be better. It folds well and is easy to carry. If you are driving or practising at home then you can prioritise your comfort with a bigger or heavier yoga mat.

With a wide range of yoga mats materials available, you can take your pick. The common materials for yoga mats are PVC, TPE, NBR, EVA, Cork and Natural Latex. They tend to be more comfortable for the skin, while fabric yoga mats like Cotton, Jute and Wool can be a bit more coarse. 

One thing to keep in mind is that PVC, TPE, NBR, EVA and Natural Latex yoga mats contain one type of material. Whereas yoga mats made from Jute or Cork sometimes have 2 different materials – one for each side. So while the top part can be from a natural material, the bottom part is synthetic. This is to provide a good grip and insulation. You can get pure Jute or Cotton yoga mats. 

We advocate for environmentally-friendly yoga mats. These are non-toxic yoga mats from natural material and sustainable sources. Some yoga mats are recyclable or made from recycled material. To learn more about different yoga mat materials here’s an article that will help choose the right one for you. For our detailed review of yoga mat materials with pros and cons, see this article.

Tip: If you are going to practice Kundalini Yoga, consider a yoga mat made of wool. In Kundalini Yoga you are working with an electromagnetic field of your body. A wool yoga mat will isolate you from surrounding electromagnetic fields.

I came across this video that has a quick comparison of the top 10 yoga mats.


How to Choose a Yoga Mat Thickness

What is the best thickness for a yoga mat? And why is it important to choose the right one?

The optimal yoga mat thickness strikes a balance between comfort, insulation and transportation. 

Yoga mat thickness varies from 1.5mm to 10mm. Travel yoga mats of 1.5 mm can be folded and are perfect to take with you on a trip. Standard thickness yoga mats are 3-5 mm and are ideal for doing yoga at home or in a studio. Yoga mat thickness of 6-10 mm may be your choice if you have joint aches or considering doing yoga on a stony beach.

Thicker yoga mats tend to be softer and more comfortable for sitting, laying or doing kneeling poses. Yoga mats that are 6-10mm provide more cushioning for your joints and better insulation. The thickness of a yoga mat complements the material. So a cheaper thick yoga mat may not be as cushy as a more expensive good quality one.

The right yoga mat also depends on the type or style of yoga that you choose. Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Power yoga and Hot yoga are more intense and will make you sweat. So you want to make sure that when your new yoga mat gets wet, you won’t slip away onto your neighbour’s yoga mat. 

Restorative yoga, Yin yoga and Kundalini yoga are more relaxing. You’ll be spending way more time sitting or laying down. So make sure you are comfy on a thicker mat.

The downside of thicker yoga mats is that they are bulkier. So they will need more room in your storage area and will be less comfortable to carry around.


How to Choose a Yoga Mat Size

When doing yoga, you will be doing different poses and transitions. Choose a yoga mat that is right for your height and the type of yoga you are planning to do. For some yoga sequences, you will need more room to move around, without coming off the mat. Choose a yoga mat that’s long enough for you in a lying down pose.

During Shavasana (laying down pose) for example, you will stretch out on your back with your arms by the sides of your body. So if your yoga mat is shorter than your body, your head and feet will end up on the floor. And if the yoga mat is too narrow – it’ll be your arms. Trust me, the last thing you want while relaxing after a work out is to have any part of your body touching the cold floor. 

Here’s another reason to get a mat that is big enough. As you go through your poses, you may not always return to your starting position. You may start at one end of the yoga mat and then move into a different pose that will take you to the other end of the mat. 

In this case, you want a yoga mat that is long enough for you to move without you ending up on the floor. If your yoga mat isn’t long enough, you will find yourself having to adjust your position to remain on the mat. This isn’t ideal because it will distract you from enjoying your yoga flow.

Most yoga mats are rectangular with standard dimensions of 68 in (173 cm) x 24 in (61cm). If you are taller, longer yoga mat options are also available from quite a few manufacturers. You can also opt-in for a round yoga mat (my personal favourite) to move around in all directions and remain on the mat. If you have kids, smaller yoga mats with fun designs are also available to you.

Examples of yoga mats in larger sizes:

Note: Our yoga mat review article goes in more detail of our favourite eco-friendly versions.

Width
Length
24 in (61 cm)26 in (66 cm)
64 in (163 cm)EcoStrength Hemp and Jute Natural Thick Yoga Mat
68 in (173 cm)Yoloha Original Air Cork Yoga Mat
71 in (180 cm)Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
72 in (183 cm)Kiss The Sky Eco-Friendly Performance Yoga Mat
NEET Cotton Yoga Mat
Liforme Original Yoga Mat
75 in (190 cm)The Green Polly Cork Yoga Mat
80 in (203 cm)Extra Long Professional Yoga Mat by KurmaYoloha Original Air Cork Yoga Mat
85 in (216 cm)Manduka PRO Yoga Mat

Yoga Accessories Yoga Mat is 36 in (91 cm) x 85 in (216 cm)


How to Choose a Yoga Mat Design

You can find yoga mats in a variety of designs.  They come in different shapes, colours and prints. Yoga mats designs can be aesthetic and even practical. A yoga mat can be round or rectangular and you can pick a yoga mat colour when placing an order. Some sellers will allow you to print your name or choose an affirmation. 

Some yoga mats have posture sequences and others have grid lines to help you get into correct postural alignment or keep track of your progress.

As a beginner, a printed sequence of poses can be your reminder of what to do next. A printed affirmation will come to your mind every time you face the mat. A printed name is nice personalisation, so it doesn’t get mixed with other yoga mats in your class. A mandala, chakra or other symbolic prints can strengthen your focus if you strongly believe in their meaning.

My personal favourites are the alignment mats. Sure, they may not be as exciting and colourful, but they are very useful, particularly for beginners. 

Here are some cool yoga mat design options for cat lovers and spiritual yoga enthusiast.


How to Choose a Yoga Mat Bag or a Yoga Mat Carrier

Once you’ve settled on getting the right yoga mat for yourself, you’ll need to carry it around. 

In most cases, you will roll up your yoga mat to carry it around. Except for travelling yoga mats that are very thin, so you can fold them.

To keep a yoga mat tidy and stop it from rolling out, you have 2 options: a yoga mat bag and a yoga mat carrier.

Yoga mat bags are of two types: hand-carried and over the shoulder. They come in a variety of colours, design and material. Yoga mat bags can be cotton, polyester, linen or nylon. And some are waterproof.

Yoga mat carriers are straps made of cotton and elastic. They can also be synthetic. You can use some yoga mat carrier straps as props to help you stretch. 

Sometimes when you buy a yoga mat, it comes with a bag. But if it doesn’t, then you can choose the one you like.

Tip: When you buy a yoga mat bag separate from your yoga mat, make sure it’s the correct size. 


Conclusion

Choosing a yoga mat is about striking a balance between practicality and aesthetics.

There are a few for you to consider when choosing a yoga mat. With a great variety in material, size and design it depends on what’s important for you and your yoga practice. 

Your ethical values can influence your choice of a yoga mat. For example, you may choose a natural, biodegradable, recyclable mat from sustainable sources. This usually comes with a more expensive price tag. Cheaper yoga mats tend to be from synthetic materials that destroy our environment.

The practical aspect of choosing the right yoga mat will depend on the type or style of yoga you are going to do. For a more active type of yoga, you may need a yoga mat with the best grip, so you don’t slip on your sweat. 

With a less active style of yoga, you’d be more comfortable to relax on a thick cushy yoga mat. So you can let yourself go into a deep meditation or have a nap.

Whatever your preference, there’s a mat for you… 


How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat for a Beginner

Decide which yoga type or style you are going to do.
For a more active type of yoga consider a yoga mat with the most grip. For a more relaxing yoga practice choose a yoga mat with the most cushioning.

Choose a yoga mat material.
The materials used for yoga mats are plastics, rubber, jute, cotton and cork. Some yoga mat materials are more eco-friendly than others and are on a more expensive side. A lot of yoga mats are made from 2 types of materials – one for each side.

Choose a yoga mat size.
For most people, the standard size of a yoga mat is big enough. If you are on a taller side, go for a yoga mat that’s slightly taller than your height. Yoga mat width should be somewhat bigger than your shoulders.

Choose a yoga mat design
Yoga mat designs vary in shape and colour. Standard yoga mats are rectangular, but some have rounded edges and others are completely round. The print on top of a yoga mat can be esthetic (beautifully coloured), decorative (chakras or mandalas), personalised (your name or affirmations) or practical (alignment guide-lines and posture sequences).


Frequently Asked Questions

How to pick a yoga mat?

When choosing a yoga mat consider these:

  • Where you will practice yoga: home, studio, gym, beach, park…
  • What style of yoga are you planning to do: slow/relaxing or hard/intense
How to choose a yoga mat size?

Your yoga mat needs to be big enough for you to lay on and move around without touching the cold floor. The yoga mat should be longer than your height and wider than your shoulder.

How to choose a yoga mat material?

Yoga mats come in several types of material. Some are eco-friendly and others are not so much. Most yoga mats are made of a combination of materials: one for each side. Eco-friendly yoga mats cost a bit more.

How to choose a yoga mat thickness?

Standard yoga mat thickness is 3 – 5mm. Travel yoga mats are 1.5mm. You can also get yoga mats of 6mm and even 10mm, but the eco-friendly versions are harder to find. Thicker yoga mats are better if you are planning to practice on the stony beach or if your joints tend to complain.

How to choose yoga mat design?

You may have come across yoga mats that have different prints of mandalas, chakras and other colourful designs. Some sellers let you print your name and others have a variety of affirmations to choose from. But did you know that you can also get an alignment yoga mat? These are yoga mats with guide-lines to help you get the correct alignment for your yoga poses.


Starting yoga for the first time [Beginners Guide]

Ashtanga yoga - beginner poses

You’ve come across yoga and heard that it’s good for you. But with so many different styles of yoga emerging every day, it can be confusing for a beginner. Where do you begin? Today, we’ll give you an overview of the origins of yoga and the key difference between traditional yoga and modern-day variants.

Yoga can be seen as a complete well-being system or as a set of exercises. Traditional yoga encompasses many aspects of life: philosophy, exercises, meditation and nutrition. In recent years many people create a set of exercises and add the word ‘yoga’ at the end.

Once you understand the basic principles of yoga, you can decide which one suits you best. We’ll cover your options and do some practical exercises to set your intention.

Things to know before starting yoga

What is Yoga?

Yoga has become very popular nowadays. There are classes everywhere, people talk about yoga in TV shows, celebrities are doing it, there are posters ads even in children’s schools, we all know someone that is taking a yoga class.

Yoga almost seems mystical and not for the everyday person, as if we need to be hippies, have a certain kind of beliefs or be super flexible before we can consider trying it. 

But really, what is Yoga? To answer this question, let’s learnt a bit of history first.

Some Yoga History

Yoga is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. I am calling it practice because it is more than just physical postures, which are what people are more familiar with.  

It was developed in India over 5000 thousand years ago, according to the oldest written records known “The Yoga Sutras” by Patanjali and the Bhagavad Gita. Both books explain the nature and obstacles to reach a higher state of awareness and fulfilment, including methods to achieve consciousness and enlightenment.

The practice itself may be a lot older than that as before this writing the tradition was passed orally from Guru to disciple.

The disciple started learning at an early age, experience, practice and at some point, after many years it would reach a level of consciousness and wisdom to become a master and carry out with the tradition. To become a student you would be selected, so not everybody would be able to join it.

Sadhguru, a Guru of Our Time

Sadhguru, a modern guru, talks about the first yogi being Shiva (a God creator and destructor of the Universe within the Indian mythology) who brought the yoga practice to humankind 15000 years ago. So, it’s a very old practice!!!. Yoga is a practice that can’t be learnt through texts, it needs to be practised, it has to be experienced.

What is the actual meaning of yoga?

The term ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word Yuke which means to unite. Yoga is a holistic practice and more than that it’s a lifestyle. It includes all aspects of our life: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Yoga means to connect our mind, our body and our spirit. It helps us to connect to others, to connect us with ourselves.

At a physical level, it helps us to accept ourselves the way we are. It brings awareness to our body so that we give ourselves what we need. For example, it helps us to recognise when we need rest, food, sleep, love and to then take action to give it to ourselves instead of neglecting our needs. 

3 Aspects of Yoga

Yoga is a union of body, mind and spirit. It helps to train each of these parts. The physical aspect trains the body to perform asanas or body postures, bringing strength and flexibility to the body. Meditation trains the mind, it helps to keep the mind quiet, bring clarity, calmness and awareness of ourselves and our lives. The last aspect is spirituality, it helps to connect us with ourselves and the universe as a whole.

This spiritual aspect intends to help us transcend from our own limitations into the universal consciousness of being and recognise ourselves as one with every living creature and inanimate object in the planet and in the universe. It teaches us to go beyond the boundaries of our minds and the limitations of our language. It can help us to love ourselves as limitless beings able to love and be compassionate with ourselves and others, so a more harmonious and peaceful environment can be created.

Modern Yoga

In modern times yoga has branched out in many directions. There are differences between the yoga practised in the East and the one in the West. There are different styles of yoga which have been developed from the different lineages, or gurus teachings ad many of them are named after the guru. There are also more modern practices that have been created by people that have studied a particular style and modified it, then this style variation is given a new name.

With more and more styles appearing all the time, it may seem as if yoga can be many different things. However, for a practice to be called Yoga must include all aspects of a person’s well being.

Traditional Yoga Styles

Hatha yoga is the oldest style known, which can be considered the original style. From Hatha yoga there have been many types of yoga asanas developed. There have so many variations such as Vinyasa yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Isha yoga, Nidra yoga, Kundalini yoga, Bakti yoga, Karma yoga, Jhana yoga, Kriya yoga, Raja yoga, Yin yoga, Yang yoga, Iyengar yoga, Jivamukti yoga, Sinavanda yoga, Anasura yoga, Hot yoga, Shaman yoga, Dog yoga, and probably some others I haven’t heard of yet. The styles keep growing as the practice becomes more popular, and people decide to create their own style and name them after them. 

Starting Yoga Classes

A class can last anything from 30 min to 2 hours. Workshops can run to up to 5 hours for a day or run over a course of several days. You can practice Yoga at home or in a class, each of them has some pros and cons check out this article for more info.

Yoga as a Way of Life

The yogic lifestyle considers the way one lives, the food one eats, the emotions one experiences, the reactions one makes, and the decisions one takes.

The food is one of the most important parts of a yogi. A yogi is a person that does yoga as a holistic practice and as a lifestyle. A yogi eats food that provides the right energy to the body and nourishes the mind so that the body has the energy to perform the physical practice and keeps the mind sharp, clear and calm to bring awareness to oneself and the surroundings.

Yoga Food

Yoga food can be considered vegetarian in nature. It consists of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses in a balanced way. This food is known as Sattvic in the Ayurveda tradition. There are three types of food, food that gives prana to the body, food that takes away prana and food that is neutral, it does not give not take energy from it.

Basically the food needs to give energy to the body for the practice and body functions. This food is known as pranic food (from Prana- energy), so that the body can function to its best. The food that instead of giving takes energy from the body is known as non-pranic or negative pranic food. Food that doesn’t bring nor take anything from the body. 

Stimulant food is considered Negative pranic food, it should be avoided unless needed for a medicinal purpose and for a short period of time. This type of food includes chilli, garlic, coffee, tea, asafoetida, eggplant (aubergine) and intoxicating substances like alcohol and drugs. 

Neutral foods: potatoes and tomatoes. These foods make us sleepy, brings inertia to the body, so it is harder to move. They are not recommended for people with arthritis.  Positive pranic food is fruits, vegetables, nuts, dried fruits, honey, coconut, ash gourd, sprouted grains. 

How to choose the right style of yoga?

The style of yoga that you choose will depend on what you want to achieve by practising it. Here are some questions that will help you decide:

  1. Do you want to get fit or do you want a lifestyle change?
  2. Are you looking to change your direction in life or do you want to look good in yoga pants?

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga has become a popular practice in the western world. Traditional yoga is a holistic practice towards inner-development, it’s a lifestyle. Modern yoga can give a strong sense of belonging. If you don’t know what to do, starting yoga can open you to social connections as well as keeping healthy.

While it seems that it’s an all-encompassing practice and doing it is just good for everything, I’d like us to pause a second. While it may seem like an overall great idea, without getting clear on your goals and expectations it won’t be sustainable. For example, if your intention is social, then doing meditation to discover your inner-self may be unnecessarily challenging for you. On the other hand, if you want a life change, then getting to know yourself by facing your feelings and thoughts is an essential part of your journey.

Why it’s important to set realistic expectations?

Like with any practice, it takes time to get to know yoga and a lifetime to get to know yourself. Knowing what you want, will allow you to set realistic expectations and will help you avoid disappointments. It can make a difference between you sticking with it and reaching your goals and giving up the moment it gets hard.

What is the best type of yoga for beginners?

Safe way to start yoga

Doing yoga properly should be your first priority. Maybe it’s the chiropractor in me speaking, but good posture is a must in any practice. A lot of poses require flexibility in the hips. This can be hard, particularly for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Doing exercises and holding poses with hip restriction can put extra strain on your low back and your knees. One thing you can do is to consult a manual therapist in your area and ask them for some basic stretches and releasing techniques.

Until you reach a certain degree of flexibility, use support like blocks to relieve the pressure from your joints. Now, let’s have a look at some simple and safe poses to begin with…

Hatha Yoga Poses

Choose 5 exercises that you can do with relevant ease. Set aside the time you are happy to spend on this new practice ( 10 – 30 mins).

Yoga sequences are composed of a transition between specific yoga poses. Yoga poses can be divided into 5 types: standing, sitting, laying, bending and inversion.

You can repeat this sequence as many times as you want, play some soft music, bring awareness to each posture, stay there for as long as you feel comfortable and move to the next pose. Experience how your body feels in each pose. 

For beginner yoga poses check out this article that walks you through the 5 Yoga Poses for Beginners.

Conclusion

I hope that by now you have a better idea of what yoga really is. You’ve seen different styles and what they are good for. Now, depending on why you want to start yoga, you can select the style that suits your needs.

As a rule of thumb, the quality of your practice greatly outweighs the variety. It can be challenging to implement this new practice into your current lifestyle, so begin with something simple and remember to stay safe.

While safety is certainly an important part of yoga practice, remember to have fun with it.

If you have any questions or need some extra pointers, feel free to drop me a line.

yoga mat link

Starting yoga for the first time [Beginners Guide] 25Starting yoga for the first time [Beginners Guide] 26

The Secret to Surviving a Long-Distance Relationship

survive a long distance relationship

Being away from the person you love isn’t easy. Lack of physical intimacy and a different style of communication can take its toll on your relationship. While long-distance has its challenges, it also presents certain opportunities often overlooked by most couples.

To survive a long-distance relationship you need to know how to maintain an emotional connection with your partner. The lack of physical closeness creates a desire for touch. So the first step is to recognise how strong is this desire and how much it affects your relationship.

Let’s have a look at what’s going on with our desires, feelings and behaviour when we are in a long-distance relationship.


The Expectation of Surviving a Long-Distance Relationship

Many couples expect a long-distance relationship to be the same as face to face, but it’s not. Maybe in your mind, you realise that things are different, but what’s going on in your heart?

The first and by far the most important question is: what do you want from this relationship? It will also help you to know what your partner wants. Then, it’s time to come to an understanding of what does a long-distance relationship mean to you and how does it align with the way your partner sees it.


Why Do You Want Your Long-Distance Relationship to Survive?

Note pad and a cup of coffee. Write down your wishes

Is it a temporary situation for a short period of time or is it the type of relationship that you want at this point in your life?

Whatever your circumstances, the key to a successful relationship is being on the same page with your partner. For this, both of you need to know what you want and be able to share it with each other in a way that both of you can understand the other’s feelings and desires.

We have this expectation that our partner should be able to guess what we want before we even know what we want. This alone can create a great deal of confusion. In a long-distance relationship, you have time for yourself. Reflect on what do you want for yourself and for your relationship.

To get what you want, you need to know what you want.


If you don’t say it, your partner doesn’t know it

A girl expressing herself in a long-distance relationship

So, you figured out what you want, great! Now it’s time to share it with your partner. 
Some people believe that if they think something, their partner knows it. While Elon Musk is working on such a technology (source), you can do it an old-fashioned way. Say it or write it down in a letter or a text. Follow the 3 steps above to do it properly.


What’s Your Plan to Survive a Long-Distance Relationship?

s.m.a.r.t. acronym for setting specific goals goals

In a long-distance relationship, it is important to have a plan. The unknown can excite, but it can also be scary. Having a plan will put your mind at ease. It can reassure you about the state of your relationship and relieve the pressure of doubts.

No good planning on your own and informing your partner of your decisions. Make ’S.M.A.R.T.’ goals and make a plan, together. I am not a fan of acronyms, but this one really did the trick for me.

Set the date for your next meeting and plan something exciting for the meanwhile.

If you don’t have a specific plan, don’t expect anything specific to happen.


Conclusion

When you are asking yourself how to survive a long-distance relationship, it’s a sign that you are at a crossroads. You have a choice: see the long-distance as a source of your struggles or take it as an opportunity to reflect on your relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do long-distance relationships fail?

Long-distance relationships fail because couples are fighting with circumstances instead of understanding them. When you view your circumstances as obstacles to your happiness, it’s a struggle. And you may choose to struggle for a short while to achieve your goal. Just remember that every moment you spend “surviving” your relationship is one moment less you get to enjoy it.

Can distance kill a relationship?

Emotional distance is the one that can kill a relationship. Today’s technology makes it very easy for us to keep in touch. We can send a message in an instant and cross the globe in a day. However, when it comes to maintaining an emotional connection, most of us are left feeling powerless in the dark world of confusion. It is much simpler to navigate the outside world than it is to explore our inner-selves.

How do you make a long-distance relationship easier?

Begin by understanding why you are in a long-distance relationship. How often will you see each other? How long are you expecting it to last? How are you and your partner feeling about it? Keep in mind that one of you may be more comfortable with a long-distance relationship than the other. Express your needs and be accommodating towards one another.

Can you fall in love over a long-distance?

Yes, you can. You can also fall in love with a fairy tale or a romance novel character. When you meet a person online, for example, you create an ideal. Then you weigh everything you learn about this person against your ideal to see if their characteristics match. If they do, you fall in love and if they don’t you move on. Falling in and out of love is not the same as having a relationship.

How Healthy Is Your Long-Distance Relationship?

Take 2 minutes to answer a few questions and receive an insight into your long-distance relationship