Featured, Yinspirations, Yoga hacks

The 5 best aspects of yoga (that have nothing to do with asana)

January 23, 2015
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This is a guest blog post by Sam Emrich from Catching Dragonfly.

Hi everyone!

I’m Sam Emrich, a New York City-based yoga & wellness blogger at CatchingDragonfly.com. I’m so excited to announce that I am guest-posting today on Sassy Yogi! As a big fan of Angie’s, I connected with her last year to feature her on my site and am thrilled to be collaborating with her now. Thanks for having me, Angie!

Today, I’ll be sharing the top 5 benefits I’ve experienced from yoga that have nothing to do with asanas. While aspiring to achieve physical yoga postures is a gratifying accomplishment, there are so many incredible benefits of cultivating a consistent yoga practice that have nothing to do with striving for advanced poses.

I’m excited to be sharing the following side effects of yoga as a reminder not just to you all, but also to myself, of the non-physical benefits of the practice. Enjoy!

1. Increased self-awareness
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Yoga has helped me cultivate a stronger sense of self. By paying close attention to my body and mind, I have come to better understand my quirks and what makes me unique. Next time you’re practicing, try to notice the subtle nuances of your body and thought processes. What relaxes your mind and what frustrates you? Examine why that might be, then work to release that tension.

2. Improved sleep

WomanSleepingWithEyeMaskImage credits: mindbodygreen.com

Before starting yoga, I had issues with insomnia. At times I would lie awake at night ruminating about the day’s events, creating to-do lists in my head or getting anxious about what tomorrow might entail. Yoga has helped me clear my mind and fall asleep with ease. If you find yourself lying awake at night or awaking several times throughout the night due to stress, try some bedtime yoga. A forward fold, happy baby, corpse pose mixed in with some pranayama to slow your breathing and before you know it…Goodnight!

3. Healthier Diet
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Yoga has helped me become more mindful about what I put into my body. For me, this means treating my body kindly with nourishing juices, smoothies, nutrient-rich foods and herbal teas. I still love to treat myself to desserts and my favorite indulgent foods, but I do so in moderation. Try sticking to the 80/20 rule: 80% healthful foods, 20% indulgent. That way, you are eating mostly nutritious, but still allowing yourself the satisfaction of that ice cream sundae when you so desire :)

4. Reduced stress
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I find that regardless of what’s happening in my personal or professional life, yoga helps keep me centered. Being able to bring my yoga everywhere has helped me stop stress before it spirals out of control. Feeling overwhelmed by your inbox? Meditate for a minute in lotus. Get in a tense conversation with a friend? Take some deep breaths and a few shoulder rolls before returning to the dialogue. I find yoga to be a bit like a secret manual for how to release anxiety and unnecessary tension from life.

5. Making friendsPhoto Sep 27, 11 39 52 AM
Connecting to like-minded yogis is one of my favorite aspects of having a practice. Both online (just like Angie!) and offline, yoga has allowed me to meet, collaborate with and learn from so many incredible people. Next time you’re in yoga class, try striking up a conversation with yogis on the mats near you. After class, go up to the teacher and ask him or her some questions. These simple interactions are just the start to fostering strong, ongoing relationships in the vast yoga community.

Feel free to get in touch with me through my online and social channels. I’d love to connect with you all!  Connect with Sam:  Blog   |   Instagram   |   Twitter

Namaste & endless love from the other side of the world,
Sam 

Featured, Yoga guides

Yoga Guide: Yoga for Backbends

January 16, 2015

Hello guys! It has been awhile since I’ve done a brand new yoga guide, and I hope today’s instalment will be useful for some of you out there who are looking to work on deepening your backbends and back flexibility!

Backbends help to open up the hip flexors and release tension in our shoulders and chest. It also helps with your standing posture especially if you have the tendency to hunch when you stand or walk. It also stimulates the heart chakra, which allows us to be more open in our emotions when it comes to our lives off the mat and when dealing with relationships.

Things to note!

Before you start, it is important to understand that backbends are NOT about crunching the lower back. That can add a lot of pressure and cause injuries to your lower back. It is often easier to dump your weight on your lower back to achieve a seemingly deeper backbend when in fact, it is very dangerous. Backbends involves so much more than just bending of the back – it involves strong glutes and open shoulders and chest. You should always think about lengthening towards the back of the room rather than collapsing downwards towards the floor.

Not only that, it is also very important to warm up before you start your backbend practice! It is not advisable to rush into a backbend cold. Warm up with a few rounds of sun salutations and gentle backbends before you attempt deeper backbends.

That being said, here are 6 great poses (with variations) that can help you work on your back flexibility!

Continue Reading…

Featured, Life

My Spring Pick for GingerActivO

January 11, 2015

If you have been reading my website, some of you might be familiar with GingerActivO, a Hong Kong-based yoga apparel retailer that brings in brands such as Liquido, Tonic, and Dharma Bums to Hong Kong and Singapore yogis! Recently, I had the pleasure to collaborate with them again to do a Spring Yoga Lookbook for them. I had lots of fun shooting this and you definitely will be seeing more of these coming your way.

Do check out GingerActivO’s website, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more updates and styles that I will be bringing to you guys from time to time. If you have a specific look or style that you hope to see, do let us know too!

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Featured, Features

Move & Om with SoulHaute

January 8, 2015
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This post is courtesy of SoulHaute.

I must say that the yoga community in Singapore is growing and it’s growing real quick. It is an exciting time to be a part for the Singapore yoga community, and it is pretty evident with the growth of more and more yoga apparel retailers in Singapore. That only spells good news for most of us (and bad news for our wallets), because this means that more and more brands are being brought in now! We now have a wider variety of yoga apparels to choose from, and that is definitely a great way to spice up our practice on the mat.

SoulHaute is another brand new retailer in Singapore, that brings in less accessible yoga brands such as Candida Maria, Daughters of Culture, Purusha People, Simply Stated Apparel, and Anjali Clothing. Not only do they have a wide range of beautiful yoga leggings and tops to choose from, it also means that it is less likely to bump into someone wearing the same legging as you when you go for classes next time!

IMG_9196If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you would know that I am a huge fan of Candida Maria leggings now, because of how vibrant, comfortable and lightweight it is. It also helps to dissipate sweat really quickly and easily, which makes it ideal for hot classes. The tank tops from Simply Stated Apparel is not only quirky and cute, it has a really flattering cut as well. It is definitely one of my go-to tank tops whenever I want to find a comfy and lightweight top to wear to yoga class.

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To be honest, my first impressions of the Daughters of Culture leggings were a little reserved, because at first touch, the material of the leggings is not what you would typically expect from a pair of yoga leggings. However, after wearing it to a regular Vinyasa class, the material of the leggings is really light and cooling. In essence, it really makes you almost forget that you have leggings on, haha.

Do check out SoulHaute if you are looking for an atypical yoga apparel brand to fall in love with, and I promise they are like an undiscovered gem in the market. So, be one of the first yogis to get your hands on their apparel before anyone else does!

Check out more photos below!

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Featured, Yinspirations

How to set your 2015 resolutions!

January 1, 2015
FEATURED

Happy 2015! It is the brand new year, and many of you may be thinking about setting some goals or new year’s resolutions on the first day of 2015. I have never been a person who sets new year’s resolutions, simply because you don’t always have to wait till the brand new year to set some goals.

Regardless whether it is a new year’s resolution or you are determined to set some targets that you will stick to in the long run, it is important to set the right goals! The right goals will motivate you, inspire you, and allow you to grow as a person. Goals and targets are not meant to discourage you, set you back, and most importantly, it is not meant to be a quick fix for anything.

So, here are some tips for you to set some resolutions for the new year and allows you to stick to it more easily!

1. It should not have a deadline

Your resolution should not have a deadline pegged to it, such as “I will lose ____kg by June”, or “I will get my splits by August”, etc. No matter whether it is a fitness related goal, different people takes different time to achieve their target, and there is never a right or wrong timeline. Setting a deadline can be stressful and can in turn discourage you from sticking to your goals rather than motivating you to achieve them more quickly. Most of the time, it really is not about how fast you reach your destination, it’s about the steps you take to achieve the goal!

2. Focus more on the psychological and the intangible

Instead of looking at a more tangible aspect such as number of kilos you want to shed, or any personal best timings that you want to achieve, try looking at it from a different angle instead. Focus more on what makes you feel good. For instance, look at eating clean or amending your diet to incorporate more veggies as making yourself feel more energetic and alert, rather than the sole focus of weight loss. Similarly, perhaps you want to pick up a new sport to challenge yourself mentally and to put yourself out of your comfort zone. That way, setting new year’s resolutions can do a lot more in terms of improving yourself not just physically, but also mentally as well!

3. Find support

Finding support to achieve your new year’s resolutions can be a great motivating factor. No matter whether it is sharing them with your friends and family, or sharing them with your online community, support does wonders in your journey to achieve your goals. Friends and family can serve to encourage you and provide a positive and supportive community for yourself. Of course, it is also equally important to find people who are reaffirming, rather than toxic! If you do not have someone in your circle, try venturing out and meeting new people in settings that you find yourself most comfortable with. For example, yoga studios, group fitness classes, tumblr communities, crafts workshops, and many more!

4. Do it for yourself!

This is one of the most important points but also one that is often overlooked. It is important to set targets and resolutions that you genuinely want. It is not about what other people want or think! As I said earlier, setting resolutions is a great way to improve yourself not just physically but also mentally, and the ability to stick to these goals in the long run lies in intrinsic motivation. That way, it also makes goal-setting a much more meaningful process for yourself as well! You are worth it, and you deserve to love and better yourself, and to sit down and spend time to write down what you want for yourself in this brand new year!

5. Enjoy the process!

New year’s resolutions, or any goals in general, are meant to be something that you enjoy in the process. Don’t stress out when you feel that you are not on track, don’t beat yourself up over it when you feel that you are not making progress. Take heart, smile and laugh a little! Ultimately, these goals are meant to be a guideline for you to better yourself in this brand new year, it is certainly not be all end all!

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 presetSo what are my new year’s resolutions?

After sharing some of my tips on how to set better new year’s resolutions, I’m sure some of you are curious about what my own new year’s resolutions are! As I’ve said, I am never a new year’s resolutions kind of person, but I thought since I’m doing this post anyway, it will be fun to list down some of the goals I hope to achieve in the brand new year!

1. I hope to take myself a little less seriously.

I tend to be a worrier – meaning a person who worries a lot. I stress out so much that sometimes I lose sleep at night because I have so many things going through my mind. The first few months of the year is going to be immensely stressful, and I really hope that I will be able to breathe more, stress less, and just have more faith that everything is going to turn out alright.

2. I hope to stick to my guns no matter what.

2015 is going to be a year of change for me, since I will be graduating and I will be finding a job soon! So, I really hope that I will be able to hold this resolution close to my heart as I search for my dream job. I hope it will be something I genuinely love, something I feel for, and something that will never feel like a job to me, simply because it’s my passion.

3. I hope to be a more loving, forgiving, and kinder person. 

In this brand new year, I hope to be a more compassionate person to myself and others around me. I hope to be able to be a positive energy to the people around me, and spread the love all around!

 

So what are your new year’s resolutions? Share them with me below! Happy 2015, and I hope that you have a great year ahead of you! x