Breaking Bad Habits On Your Yoga Mat

elizabeth rowan handstand

This month at Plank, we're all about Bad Habit Breaking, in life and in our Yoga Practice! 

By using a Plank Yoga Mat (PYM), we've been able to break the habit of collapsing into our joints, by focusing on creating firmer foundations through our hands and feet. However, when we use a grippy mat, we lose our foundations and sink into our joints because we are relying on the stickiness of the mat to root us down, not our own body strength. 

The PYM is a mat that asks the practioner to think before doing, not just simply to do. So next time you are on your mat, be conscious of whether or not your are sinking into your joints, or using the strength of your foundations and muscles to hold your poses. If the answer is "sinking"…then it just might be time for a new mat!

Check out this awesome photo of our Ambassador, Elizabeth Rowan, rocking her firm foundations in Handstand. ​

What bad yoga habits have you been able to break by using a PYM? Comment below, we'd love to hear!

Top Nutrition & Yoga Tips from Julie Starr-Wood

Julie Headshot

This month, we are proud to feature our newest Ambassador, Julie Starr-Wood, a rockstar Nutritionist and Yoga/Barre Instructor based out of Boston, MA. 
Julie is a wealth of knowledge and we hope you enjoy her tips for building strong foundations in both your Yoga Practice and Daily Food Habits, especially as the Holiday Season approaches. Make sure to check out her Facebook Page and Website, too!

Julie Crow Pose

As a well-known Nutritionist and Yoga/Barre instructor in the Boston area, a common theme in your message is that developing good habits sets up a strong foundation for your health. How do you make this real and applicable for your clients and students?

When someone comes to see me, I make it clear that I am a guide. I'm not here to tell people that there is ONE diet for them or ONE right answer to their optimum wellness. They in fact, are my boss! In order to succeed in a wellness program, there needs to be trust. I get to know my clients/students, their lifestyle, their needs, and then work from there. I see no point in handing someone a list of nutrition do's and don'ts without knowing how they feel about food, which foods they like/don't like, etc. When you work with me I get to know where you shop, where you eat, your trainer, your sleep patterns – everything! It's my job to help you through the difficult shifts that are required to make positive change with as little stress as possible.

Julie Half Moon

Many of us get overwhelmed during this busy time of year, especially as we head into the Holiday Season. Can you give us your Top 3 Tips for Maintaining Balance in Your Life Throughout the Fall?

Fall is my favorite season! There is nothing better than Fall in New England. My Top 3 Tips for Maintaining Balance through the Holiday Season are:

1) Don't go into the holiday season thinking that it is something to STRESS over in regards to food. It's something to embrace and enjoy! Shifting the way you think about situations alleviates anxiety, which helps maintain healthy eating habits.

2) Keep your house stocked with positive trigger foods. What are these? We all have those foods that when we eat them, they make us feel healthy and like we are doing something good for our bodies. They are different for everyone. Mine are: arugula, coconut, and parsley! So whenever you feel like you have indulged too much or are unbalanced, grab a positive trigger food and you will feel much better.

3) Remember the basics to eating healthy. Drink water, eat balanced meals, don't wait to long between eating, and slow down. When we take time to enjoy what we eat, it keeps us mindful and also allows us to digest our food and recognize fullness.

We hear you are loving your Plank Yoga Mat! How has it changed your practice and what tips are you passing on to your Yoga Students?

I love my Plank Yoga Mat! Due to its technology, it forces me to be mindful of my hands and feet, which engages my whole body while I practice. I remind my students to press into the mat with their whole hand and fingers – like they are playing a piano without missing a single key. Sometimes we favor one finger over another but it's important to evenly disperse our energy to set a strong foundation. While on the PYM mat, you can feel this even more! I also love the vibrant colors and the design of the mat.

Plank Tip: Get Rooted in October with Tree Pose



This October, our Founder is focusing on breaking her bad habits and with that, comes the practice of being present and grounded. For our pose of the month, we picked Tree Pose (Vrksasana) because it is grounding and also relevant since we are all about the beautiful changing leaves and trees this October.

PLANK TIP: Ground down through all four corners of your standing foot to stabilize your tree pose from the root up. Like the corners of a tent, as you press all four corners of your feet in your mat, feel your joints stack on top of each other and the muscles of all four corners of your legs engage to create solid pillars of strength.

Create a Dynamic Diagonal as the big toe presses deeply into the mat and follow the line of connection to the outer hip, to pin it into its socket. This powerful additional grounding creates a more solid foundation which evens out the hip bone and embeds it deeper into its socket. These actions work to reinforce the body's architecture to be stronger, as it compacts into the midline.

Press your floating foot into your inner thigh, and your thigh back into your foot to create more stability and engagement through your core and upper body, too.

With a Plank Yoga Mat, grounding of all four corners of hands and feet is a starting point and a must. It is not a suggestion, which is the tendancy when using an always-grippy yoga mat. The more you learn to connect to your mat, the more you will develop your firm foundations and mind body connection.

How do you stabilize in Tree Pose? We'd love to hear your own tips below!