In honor of it, here are our Top Plank Tips for Getting Back to Your Mat this Fall!
1) Make a Plan for Your Week: Schedule your Yoga Classes by signing up for them online in advance (if your studio allows you to), or just pencil them into your planner or online calendar. With all the tools and technology we have available these days, there is no excuse for missing your favorite yoga class!
2) Try a New Studio or Teacher: Sometimes, our practice can start to feel a bit stale. Get re-inspired this Fall and remember why you fell in love with yoga all over again. Try a new studio or new teacher's class – you might just find a new fav place to down dog!
3) FREE YOGA! Seek out Free Yoga classes and events in your area this September. In Honor of National Yoga Month, over 2,200 studios nation wide are offering One Week of FREE Yoga. CLICK HERE to see a listing of participating studios and get your asana over to one soon.
4) Get Some New Gear: A new season calls for fresh Yoga Clothes and maybe even a new Yoga Mat or Mat Bag. When you look good, you feel good, and why wouldn't you want to show off your new goods at your local studio?
Have you tried the hottest new workout in town? Take your practice off the mat and cool down with some #SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) #YOGA this August!
According to Boston.com, "SUP Yoga adds a new, exciting twist to an age-old practice." In this physical and mental style of yoga, "you are constantly engaging your core, along with smaller subsets of muscles throughout your body" in order to stabilize yourself. So you can still practice your Ridiculous Body Awareness™ even off your Plank Yoga Mat.
Feeling a little bored with your Yoga Practice this Summer? Take it into the great outdoors, like our Ambassador Bex Borucki, pictured above. It helps to change your perspecitive and what studio can beat the killer view of an ocean or stunning outdoor landscape?!
Even better, lots of studios and yoga brands offer FREE outdoor classes in the summer time! In our hometown of Boston, there are a TON of free classes being offered by Lululemon, Friends of Fort Point Channel and even the Boston Harbor Island Alliance! Check out details for Beach Yoga on Spectacle Island (a Boston Harbor Island) HERE and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for these kind of events in your area!
Where is your favorite spot to practice Yoga Outdoors in the Summer?
So why does Plank® keep going on about the Mind-to-Body-to-Mat connection? The old adage of everything works better when your foundations are strong, is even more relevant if you want to consider the body as an architectural structure. The bones being building blocks that when they are correctly stacked, allow the muscles, organs and pipework to function optimally around it.
I admit that when instructors share the following talking points, although great immediately applicable reminders, they offer little insight into the how to precisely and the why beneficially…
Ground down to grow.
Build your poses from the foundations.
Root down through your feet
However have you ever wondered what Grounding down or Rooting down actually means and why it helps in the creation of bigger, freer, bolder poses. For those yogis who are curious about what it takes to create firmer foundations, here are a few yoga classes and mini workshops that have been instrumental in allowing Plank to share with you, through its heat activated Connect™ yoga mats, the importance of learning that all your poses/asanas are built from the ground up, i.e. your feet…
At Plank, we're interested in what you connect to your mat to create solid arms and strong legs. We want to follow up with tips to create great arms foundations, for poses like Downward Dog, Handstand etc… We're particarly interested in the details of hand to mat connection. If you have foundation tips or your have made your own mini online workshop & you want to share with us and your yoga loving communities, we'd love to share them for you…
*Photo above courtesy of Tiffany Cruikshank. Check out how her Alive and Active Feet are always connected to her yoga mat.
Are you traveling this #Summer and staying as a house guest with friends or family? Do you often stress over what to bring your gracious host? Well stress no longer Plankers, have we got a tip for you…
PLANK TIP: Instead of bringing flowers or food for you host, surprise them with a Plank #Yoga Mat! They'll be down-dogging and finding Ridiculous Body Awareness™ in no time at all. Plus, you'll likely be their favorite guest ever!
Pick up a Plank Yoga Mat today for your favorite host or even for yourself! We promise we won't tell. 😉
Since I chose to get on board with one of our favorite Ambassador's challenges #PlankWithBex AKA Rebekah Borucki, the go-to-fitness-is-fun guru, I landed my first plank at 2m:16s and 4 days later I'm at 2m:30s. For us at Plank®, every pose or physical activity can be taken to the next level by incorporating a little Ridiculous Body Awareness™ aka Yoga. Thus, in addition to the tips I sent to Bex, I use a plethora of yoga tools so I can #PlankOnPlank for a bit longer each day.
If you are like me and can't absorb too many tips at once, I thought I'd share a couple of additional tips I applied each time I took to my mat (preferably a Plank Yoga Mat, but any mat will do…).
Let us know if our Plank Tips help you to hold your planks for those extra 5 seconds or beyond.
Relax Your Shoulders:
Melt shoulders away from ears and feel the neck become longer
Melt INNER shoulders and feel your back soften and the neck become even longer
Bone Awareness, align rib cage in the center of the upper trunk:
Breathe fully into the back of the body, filling your back with air from OUTER shoulder to OUTER shoulder and SIDE RIBS to SIDE RIBS
Breathe fully into the mid-back, separating the back ribs and lifting the rib cage
For Plank, yoga is all about developing a Ridiculous Body Awareness in order to protect and support the body whenever strain or stress shows up. It becomes your job to center the heavy bones of the body to the center of its musculature, thus spreading the body weight, the muscles and all the supporting bits, evenly between your front, back and side bodies.
At Plank®, we make no bones about sharing that BKS Iyengar's methodology is foundational to inspire us to create yoga mats that teach the practioner how to create more solid body-to-mat-to-mind connections, thus stronger foundations…
We call it Ridiculous Body Awareness™ AKA yoga…
What I love about an Iyengar practice, is that once you think you've mastered a pose, there is still more to learn. Thus if you think you know what grounded technology is, think again…
I love this story, as paraphrased by my IY instructor, Nancy Turnquist. When working on articulating how to master Downward Dog, BKS Iyengar, practiced on ICE, yes ice. For me, this means not only do I have to seriously investigate my hand/feet-to-mat connections, I also have to pull into the midline, like crazy, like ridiculously more than I think necessary, otherwise…
If you've been practicing for a while and wondering how to take your practice to the next level, for us at Plank, without a shadow of a doubt, consider including an Iyengar Practice to your yoga regime. The rate of pose improvement occurs within one class, instead of over several weeks of a typical Vinyasa/Flow class.
Thus it's a no-brainer that we'd support this documentary to shine a light on his work and methodology. We hope you do too and if not, to at least consider taking up an IY class at least once a week, month or from time to time. Once you realise the difference a lil Ridiculous Body Awareness makes, you don't slip up, back, forward or wherever…
This month, we want to introduce you to our newest Ambassador, Elizabeth Rowan. Elizabeth is a Vinyasa, Prenatal and Children’s Yoga Instructor who was certified in Hong Kong and is now based in Savannah, Georgia. Elizabeth is passionate about all things Yoga, Ayurveda and of course, her Plank Yoga Mat. She is a regular contributor for MindBodyGreen, Asana Journal and Intent.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into yoga and where/what do you teach?
I was working around the clock, across all number of time zones with my husband as corporate expats in fast-paced, small-spaced Hong Kong. Enter: yoga – and fast! I began practicing yoga to find balance, and was soon cheating on my BlackBerrys with my mat. I then trained as a teacher in order to share it with others. I’ve since returned to the U.S., and teach private and group vinyasa, prenatal and children’s yoga in Savannah, Georgia.
We know you enjoy sharing about how Yoga is useful for real life activities. How do you help your students take their yoga off the mat and into their jobs and daily activities?
I’m always talking about taking lessons from yoga into real life, and I love hearing how my students put yoga to work outside of class. Practicing pranayama and relaxing the shoulders help a marathon runner rally late in the race; new moms tell me that chanting Om helped them during labor and now soothes their newborn; children have said that yoga has taught them to listen better, not get angry and – a favorite – “calm my brain”; stress relieving postures and poses that counter desk work, high heels, crazy travel schedules resonate with executives. I can go on! A yoga practice is made to take off the mat, and I love exploring these with fellow practitioners.
We see that you are a fan of Ayurveda (alternative healing derived from India). How do Ayurvedic principles keep you healthy and how do they tie into your yoga practice?
My teachers in Hong Kong are all Indian and so traditional Ayurvedic practices played a significant role in their classes and yoga teacher training program. In fact, they taught the two as intrinsically linked, not separate entities like we often encounter in the West. Ayurveda is incredibly complimentary to yoga as both provide deep wisdom for health, healing and a natural approach to living to counter our nonstop 21st century lifestyles. I think that so much of Ayurveda is intuitive if we pause and listen to our bodies and natural rhythms. It helped me break the cycle of depending on caffeine, eating on the run and taking my health for granted just to get through the workday.
What was your first experience like with aPlank Yoga Mat and how has it helped evolve your personal yoga practice? Why do you think it is the best yoga mat on the market?
I was first drawn to Plank for their fresh designs unlike any mat out there, and then was amazed to feel the physical benefits of a heat activated grip. My Plank mat (the wooden plank design) rocks as both a training tool and for its clever and fresh design. I want all of the students in my classes to practice on one. It makes a tremendous difference in terms of bringing awareness to one’s foundation, showing how proper placement, grip, weight distribution of hands and feet can completely change your practice. It also demands that you slow down and commit fully to every posture. I feel super grounded on my Plank, and hear the same from fellow teachers and students who notice it first for it’s good looks, try mine, and then fall hard for its ability to connect on a deeper level than any other mat. Poses are stronger, bandhas engaged, muscles more active, awareness heightened (not to mention attitude lightened with a glance at its cheeky-with-a-message design).