By Anne-Sophie Brändlin
If, this time last year, the world had been told it would spend much of the coming months in lockdown, few might have believed it. But that reality came, and it did so almost overnight, bringing with it a crashing end to the busy flow of life, which sees billions rushing from one appointment to the next without much time to think. Left to their own devices at home, people have had to find new ways to spend their time, and deal with anxiety and silence.
Creating an Awareness, One Breath at a Time<p>Though White says that doesn't mean living in constant state of bliss and harmony. Rather, it allows people to acknowledge why they might be feeling scared, overwhelmed, stressed or lonely. It can also prevent them from running away from those emotions and looking for distraction in alcohol, Netflix, food or spending sprees.</p><p><span></span>In short, White explains, traditions such as yoga and meditation help create an awareness of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-pandemic-linked-to-destruction-of-wildlife-and-worlds-ecosystems/a-53078480" target="_blank">what is happening in our world</a> and allow us to tackle difficult situations and our reactions to them.</p><p>"Our body response to big crisis situations, like climate change, and now the pandemic, is often to freeze, be numb and to run away," she said.</p><p>"The more we can connect with our body responses, the more we can tune into our own personal and collective responsibility to a crisis, whether it's the pandemic or climate change, without going into that trauma response."</p>
Overcoming Crises<p>The coronavirus pandemic and climate change are two of the biggest issues facing <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/the-time-has-come-for-humanity-to-go-through-its-next-evolution/a-53589043" target="_blank">humanity</a> at this point in history. Whether it's the global quest for a COVID-19 vaccine or the world pulling together to <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/5-years-paris-climate-agreement/a-55901139" target="_blank">slash greenhouse gas emissions</a>, solutions to both require an effort from the international community.</p><p>This is where the ancient Indian concept of <em>Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam</em> comes in. Rooted in yoga, it means the world is one family and has to act as such. And in times of crisis, collaboration becomes more essential than ever.<br></p><p>"Yogis believe that all life is connected, that we are all one and should live in harmony with each other," said Alexander Bütow, who runs a yoga and meditation studio in Berlin.</p><p>"The problem is that many humans take themselves out of that and create divisions, groups, and start disconnecting — from themselves, from others, from the world around them. Once we stop this disconnect, we can overcome crises together."</p>
'We Are Part of Nature'<p>He, like others who practice regularly, sees meditation and yoga as a means to slowing down, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/philosopher-svenja-flassp%C3%B6hler-the-coronavirus-standstill-gives-us-a-space-to-think/a-52915769" target="_blank">emptying our minds </a> and calming our thoughts. And that, so the thinking goes, facilitates a connection not only to ourselves, but to the world around us.</p><p>"Every human being is intrinsically connected to every other human being and also to nature, animals, plants, everything on this planet. But you are often not aware of it because you are too busy with too many things. When that stops for a moment, when you calm down, you realize these connections," said A.G. Ramakrishnan, a professor for electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, who also researches in the fields of meditation and breathing exercises.</p><p>"The concept of yoga, for instance, is holistic. It teaches you that we can't live without others, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/how-do-we-change-peter-sloterdijk-environment-coronavirus-on-the-green-fence-climate-change/a-53533840" target="_blank">we cannot live without animals</a>, we cannot live without nature." Ramakrishnan continued.</p><p>Yet that, says Bütow, is not in keeping with the way we live.</p><p>"It has become a bad habit these days that we take ourselves out of nature. We are part of nature way more than we pretend to be. Nature is where we came from. But we have totally detached ourselves from that."</p><p>He says breathing exercises can help us reconnect, because through our breath we are in constant contact with the outside world.</p><p>"We just have to remember this connection, which will help us to see ourselves as part of nature."</p>
Slowing Down to Help the Planet<p>For many, the pandemic has also brought our mortality into sharp relief. It has served as a reminder that life as we know it is susceptible to massive disruption.</p><p>In restricting what we can do, where we can go and how we can keep ourselves occupied, it has also made our worlds smaller, forced us not only to slow down, but in many cases to take a genuine pause. And that, says Jenny White, can reap rewards.</p><p>"Once you give yourself that time to pause and breathe, you will become kinder and softer and more understanding when it comes to your own shortcomings and difficulties. And this will make you more compassionate and understanding when it comes to other people and their needs and ultimately also our planet's needs."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-planet-climate-awareness-mindfulness-animals-plants-yogis-breath/a-56162526" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649861943#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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Yoga, in and of itself, is all about mindfulness. While flowing through the motions undoubtedly leads to a greater sense of self, it also helps cultivate a greater sense of connection beyond oneself, extending out toward all things—including the earth, and in that vein, eco-friendly yoga mats.
Amazon<p>Promising to inspire people to become their most empowered selves, Manduka puts full focus on efforts geared toward helping its shoppers be more conscious members of society. </p><p>One such way that it does this is by committing to creating top-of-the-line yoga mats that are designed to last. By creating long-lasting, high-quality mats, Manduka is able to assist shoppers in their efforts to cut back on consumption. What's more, the company ensures that all of its mats are created without harmful chemicals and dyes (which, by the way, have the ability to not only disrupt water sources during the production process but individuals' hormone balance during use). </p><p>But that's not all. In addition to nixing chemicals from all mats, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PMFS49L/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07PMFS49L&linkCode=as2&tag=ecowatch-20&linkId=684c73cdfb279fe6606c330f39930135" target="_blank">Manduka's eKo Mats</a> are made from biodegradable natural tree rubber and manufactured with zero waste and no <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/phthalates-mac-and-cheese-2465226489.html" target="_blank">harmful plasticizers</a>. The PRO Mats are made from the highest quality PVC—a form of synthetic plastic—on the planet and manufactured emissions-free. While PVC is seldom recyclable, Manduka ensures shoppers that they need not worry, as these high-grade PRO Mats are guaranteed to last for life. Once they do meet their demise (if ever), they can be returned through the company's <a href="https://www.manduka.com/pages/live-on" target="_blank">Live On</a> program, in which The Renewal Workshop breaks down the mats and recycles them.</p><p>As sustainable as Manduka's mats are, its accessories are just as earth-friendly, with towels made of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/plastic-bottle-recycling-uk-supermarkets-2625052129.html" target="_blank">recycled plastic water bottles</a>, blocks made of sustainable cork, and straps made of unbleached 100% natural cotton. </p><p>The point is, if you're looking to fully revamp your yoga routine with mats and accessories, Manduka is your number-one bet. It's a top brand chosen by yoga instructors around the world.</p>
SUGA<p>If you love the ocean as much as you love your yoga practice, you'll swoon over <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0722NDV2C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0722NDV2C&linkCode=as2&tag=ecowatch-20&linkId=3617330315a358a7344ec84556307362" target="_blank">SugaMats</a>. The California-based yoga mat company specializes in mats made of recycled wetsuits. It started as an idea to divert surfers' and scuba divers' old non-biodegradable neoprene wetsuits from entering landfills and now makes all its mats out of donated materials.</p><p>If you have an old wetsuit you'd like to recycle, you can drop it off at one of their partner stores or mail it in and you'll receive a 10 percent discount on your next purchase in return. For every wetsuit recycled, roughly one SugaMat is created. As durable as the mat is designed to be, the brand acknowledges that shoppers may want to replace it at some point. When you're ready, just send your used mat back to Suga to be recycled, and the brand will also give you a discount on a future purchase. Read more about the company's origins in our <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/green-your-down-dog-with-yoga-mats-made-from-100-recycled-wetsuits-1882132431.html" target="_blank">SugaMats review</a>.</p>
Amazon<p>Designed under the premise of "Good for you, Good for the planet," <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N5V8XHK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01N5V8XHK&linkCode=as2&tag=ecowatch-20&linkId=018b55be114697e2b33999dd8363fdfe" target="_blank">Liforme mats</a> are biodegradable, non-toxic, and PVC-free. The brand prides itself on being eco-friendly, ethical, and socially just, and, as such, they only use the highest-quality materials and focus on conservancy efforts with each and every one of their products. </p><p>By dedicating 5% of sales from two of their collections, they've raised over $200,000 for their charity partner, Friends of the Earth. </p><p>Additionally, from a social justice standpoint, they support women and children's rights, racial diversity, and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/lgbtq-farms-and-organizations-2646278168.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">LGBTQ+ rights</a>. And they're not just all talk. They put their money where their mouth is and have donated to various organizations outright, as well as created mats specifically to benefit certain causes, like the Rainbow Hope Mat, in which 5% of sales go to GLAAD, a media-monitoring organization geared toward promoting LGBTQ+ acceptance.</p><p>Beyond charity, the most unique aspect of Liforme mats is that they're tailored to promote balance and stability via their revolutionary grip and alignment system. So, if you've ever had difficulty maintaining balance during your practice, a Liforme mat may be the ultimate choice for you.</p>
Amazon<p>Rhode Island-based health and wellness brand <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JNK1G61/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07JNK1G61&linkCode=as2&tag=ecowatch-20&linkId=c3770479c73c05ff26db92b6e3bdd5f4" target="_blank">2nd Wind</a> is renowned for its intricate yoga mats, all of which are made with sustainability in mind. Each mat is made with 100% natural and sustainable cork and rubber, water-based ink, and no glue, latex, PVC, or toxins. Additionally, each mat is biodegradable. Sustainability aside, the artistic appearance of each mat is something to bat a lash at. </p><p>You can purchase 2nd Wind mats that have a rubber face or that have a towel infused mat for added grip. Instead of having to purchase a secondary yoga mat cover, these mats prevent slipping with a soft surface that's heat pressed into the rubber.</p>
Scoria<p>Toronto-based <a href="https://www.scoriaworld.com/products/blossom-cork-yoga-mat" target="_blank">Scoria Yoga</a> is beloved for its eco-friendly cork yoga mats. Each mat is made with sustainably sourced cork and backed with natural tree rubber. The two materials are adhered with eco adhesives that are bonded under high temperatures. Additionally, the designs—which are stunning—are crafted with non-toxic, water-based ink. </p><p>As if the production of each mat isn't enough to swoon over, know that Scoria is partnered with Feeding Children Everywhere and for every mat purchased, 10 meals are donated to those in need. </p><p>What's more, the very meals delivered are sustainable, as they're vegan and wrapped in <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/companies-rethinking-packaging-2639054932.html" target="_blank">biodegradable packaging</a>. All this is to say, Scoria has brought the idea of sustainability full circle with its cork yoga mats and give-back program.</p>
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Delta-8 THC is a cannabis product that has become a bestseller over the past few months, as many consumers find they can legally purchase it from CBD retailers. Its proponents say that Delta-8 THC will give you a nice little buzz, minus some of the more intense feelings (including paranoia) that are sometimes associated with marijuana.
Delta-8 THC is being marketed as a legal option for consumers who either don't live in a state with legal cannabis, or are a little apprehensive about how traditional psychoactive THC products will affect them. But is it all it's cracked up to be? Let's take a closer look, exploring what Delta-8 THC is, how it differs from other THC products, and whether it's actually legal for use.
nuleafnaturals.com<p><a href="https://nuleafnaturals.com/product/full-spectrum-delta-8-thc-oil-30mg-ml/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum Delta 8 THC Oil</a> is made from organic hemp and organic virgin hemp seed extract. It's available in a 150 mg bottle and a 450 mg bottle, which both provide 15 mg of Delta 8 THC per serving. This formula is also available in a soft gel.</p>
botanyfarms.com<p>The <a href="https://www.botanyfarms.com/product/delta-10-thc-vape-cartridge/?aff=14" target="_blank">Botany Farms Delta-10 THC Vape Cartridge</a> actually contains both Delta-10 and Delta-8 THC.This is designed to provide the desired effects of Delta-8 THC but without the drowsiness. They also offer a vape cartridge with a 1:1 concentration of <a href="https://www.botanyfarms.com/product/delta-10-delta-8-thc-vape-cartridge/?aff=14" target="_blank">Delta-8 THC</a> and Delta-10 THC. Note that while vape products can be used to aid in smoking cessation, we do not recommend vaping or smoking because of the negative health effects they can cause.</p>
Medically reviewed by Daniel Bubnis, MS, NASM-CPT, NASE Level II-CSS
Hot yoga has become a popular exercise in recent years. It offers many of the same benefits as traditional yoga, such as stress reduction, improved strength, and flexibility.
What is hot yoga?<p>You may hear the terms "hot yoga" and "Bikram yoga" used interchangeably, but they're not exactly the same thing.</p><p>Bikram yoga, developed by a yogi named Bikram Choudhury, is done in a room heated to 105°F (41°C) with 40 percent humidity. It consists of 26 poses and two breathing exercises that are done in the same order in every class. Bikram yoga sessions typically last 90 minutes.</p><p>Hot yoga, on the other hand, really just means that the room is heated above normal room temperature. The heat can be set to whatever the yoga instructor wants, though it's typically between 80 and 100°F (27 and 38°C).</p><p>Hot yoga sessions can include any variety of poses, and the time of each class will vary from studio to studio. And unlike Bikram yoga, which is a quieter, serious practice, hot yoga often includes music and more interaction among the people in the class.</p><p>Bikram yoga has lost followers in recent years due to assault allegations against its founder. Some studios may use the term "hot yoga" rather than "Bikram yoga" to describe their heated classes. So, it's a good idea to read class descriptions carefully before signing up.</p>
What are the benefits of hot yoga?<p>Regardless of the room temperature, both hot yoga and Bikram yoga aim to provide relaxation of the mind and improve physical fitness.</p><p>A heated environment can make the practice of yoga more challenging, but some of the benefits may be worth it, especially if you're looking to make progress in one of the areas outlined below.</p><p>If done correctly and safely, hot yoga can provide the following benefits:</p>
1. Improves Flexibility<p>You may already know that stretching after you <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931" target="_blank">warm up your muscles</a> is safer than stretching cold muscles.</p><p>So, it follows that an environment like a hot yoga studio can make yoga poses easier and more effective. The heat allows you to stretch a little further and achieve a greater range of motion.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22592178" target="_blank">2013 studyTrusted Source</a> of Bikram yoga found that after 8 weeks, yoga participants had greater flexibility in their low back, shoulders, and hamstrings than the control group.</p>
2. Burns More Calories<p>A 160-pound person can burn around <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-many-calories-does-yoga-burn" target="_blank">183 calories</a> an hour with traditional yoga. Turning up the heat can help you burn even more calories.</p><p>According to researchers at <a href="https://source.colostate.edu/researcher-hot-yoga-yields-fitness-benefits/" target="_blank">Colorado State University</a>, the calorie burn can be as high as 460 for men and 330 for women during a 90-minute Bikram yoga session.</p><p>Hot yoga, even if it's not quite as intense as a Bikram session, will burn more calories than a traditional yoga workout.</p>
3. Builds Bone Density<p>Supporting your weight during a yoga pose can help <a href="https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/exercise/exercise-your-bone-health" target="_blank">build bone density</a>. This is especially important for older adults and premenopausal women, as bone density declines as you age.</p><p>A <a href="https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ad1b/43b2d9ec325f9dcefa0f71fbab565c3a6dfd.pdf" target="_blank">2014 study</a> of women who participated in Bikram yoga over a 5-year period found that premenopausal women had increased bone density in their neck, hips, and lower back.</p><p>This lead the authors of the study to believe that Bikram yoga may be an effective option for reducing the risk of osteoporosis in women.</p>
4. Reduces Stress<p>Many people turn to yoga as a natural way to deal with stress.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28866110" target="_blank">2018 studyTrusted Source</a> of stressed, physically inactive adults found that a 16-week program of hot yoga significantly reduced the participants' stress levels.</p><p>At the same time, it improved their health-related quality of life, as well as their self-efficacy — the belief that you have control over your behavior and social environment.</p>
5. Eases Depression<p>Yoga is well known as a technique to help you relax and improve your mood. According to the <a href="https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/08/yoga-depression" target="_blank">American Psychology Association</a>, it may also be a helpful therapy for reducing the symptoms of depression.</p><p>Additionally, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871291/" target="_blank">2017 reviewTrusted Source</a> of 23 different studies that focused on yoga as a treatment for depression concluded that yoga is an effective way to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/yoga-therapy" target="_blank">reduce depressive symptoms</a>.</p>
6. Provides a Cardiovascular Boost<p>Striking different yoga poses in high heat can give your heart, lungs, and muscles a more challenging workout than doing the same poses in a lower temperature.</p><p>According to a <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/fulltext/2014/05001/Acute_Metabolic,_Cardiovascular,_And_Thermal.450.aspx" target="_blank">2014 study</a>, just one session of hot yoga is enough to get your heart pumping at the same rate as a brisk walk (3.5 miles per hour).</p><p>Hot yoga also revs up your respiration and metabolism.</p>
7. Reduces Blood Glucose Levels<p>While any type of exercise can help burn energy and reduce circulating levels of glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream, hot yoga may be an especially helpful tool for people at higher risk for <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes" target="_blank">type 2 diabetes</a>.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24138995" target="_blank">2013 studyTrusted Source</a> found that a short-term Bikram yoga program improved glucose tolerance in older adults with obesity, but it had less of an effect on young, lean adults.</p>
8. Nourishes the Skin<p>Sweating, and a lot of if, is one of the main objectives of hot yoga.</p><p>One of the benefits of sweating in a warm environment is that it can improve circulation, bringing oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to skin cells. This, in turn, may help to nourish your skin from the inside.</p>
Safety Tips<p>If you're in good health, hot yoga is generally safe. But, as with most types of exercise, there are some safety precautions to keep in mind.</p><ul> <li><strong>Dehydration</strong> is a major concern with hot yoga. Drinking water before, during, and after a hot yoga class is essential. A low-calorie sports drink may also help restore electrolytes lost during your hot yoga workout.</li></ul><ul> <li><strong>Some pre-existing health conditions</strong> may make you more prone to passing out in a hot room. This includes <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease" target="_blank">heart disease</a>, diabetes, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/arteriovenous-malformations" target="_blank">arterial abnormalities</a>, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anorexia-nervosa" target="_blank">anorexia nervosa</a>, and a history of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fainting" target="_blank">fainting</a>.</li></ul><ul> <li><strong>If you have low blood pressure or low blood sugar</strong>, you may be prone to dizziness or lightheadedness with hot yoga. Check with your doctor to make sure hot yoga is safe for you.</li></ul><ul> <li><strong>Pregnant women</strong> should consult their doctor before trying hot yoga.</li></ul><ul> <li><strong>If you've had heat intolerance problems</strong> in the past, you may want to stick with yoga that's done at a normal temperature.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>Stop right away</strong> if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous. Leave the room and rest in a cooler environment.</li></ul>
How to Get Started<p>If you haven't done yoga before, you may want to try a regular yoga class first to see if the instructor and studio are a comfortable fit for you. While there, ask about hot yoga classes and if there are classes that cater to beginners.</p><p>You may also want to try out a few different yoga studios before you commit to one. Ask if the yoga studio offers free or discounted trial classes so you can see if it's the right fit for you.</p><p>If you're ready to give hot yoga a try, consider these tips to get started:</p><ul> <li><strong>Wear lightweight, breathable fabrics</strong> that can wick away your sweat.</li></ul><ul> <li><strong>Bring a towel to place over your yoga mat</strong>, which may get a little slippery once you start sweating. You can also bring an extra towel for your face and hands.</li></ul><ul> <li><strong>Consider special gloves and socks</strong> that can provide a better grip in a hot yoga studio.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>Bring a large, insulated water bottle</strong> filled with cold water that you can sip throughout your hot yoga session.</li></ul>
The Bottom Line<p><br>Hot yoga may not be for everyone. But if you enjoy regular yoga, and want to step it up a notch, it may be just what you're looking for.</p><p>Hot yoga offers a wide variety of benefits for both your mind and body. It can help you burn calories, build bone density, boost your cardiovascular fitness, and improve your flexibility. It may also help ease depression and reduce stress.</p><p>If you have any health conditions, including heart or artery issues, diabetes, anorexia nervosa, a history of fainting, or heat intolerance, consult your doctor first before doing a hot yoga session.</p>
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If you can flow from "downward dog" to "upward dog," then you're part the growing number of yogis in the U.S.
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By Jeremy David Engels
On June 21, on International Yoga Day, people will take out their yoga mats and practice sun salutations or sit in meditation. Yoga may have originated in ancient India, but today is practiced all over the world.
By Maggie McCracken
Inverting—positioning your body so that your feet are higher than your heart—holds a number of health benefits. Seniors are especially likely to benefit from inverting, but everyone can enjoy improved circulation, reduced foot and leg swelling, a rush of oxygen to the brain and perhaps even relief from back pain if they include regular inversions in their yoga practice.
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