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The power of a colorful yoga mat

The five elements of Ayurveda

The FLXBL mat is a versatile mat that gives you softness for your yin practice, grip for your vigorous ashtanga vinyasa class or clarity for your meditation. But which color suits your soul? 

According to Ayurvedic teachings, there are energies of the five basic elements present in ourselves and the world around us: earth, water, fire, air, and space. These five elements represent different colors, that have different psychological effects on our body and mind. In yoga traditions, there are seven subtle elements located along the spine, that make up the body: chakras. These are also connected to color and are each responsible for regulating our physical health and emotional experience.

Understanding the functions of these energy points, together with the basic elements and their symbolic effects, can help you to connect with yourself and the world around you. Which element resonates with your personality and which color creates a balanced environment for you to be attune with your body, mind and breath?

The FLXBL Very Berry mat fits the earth element. The bright red radiates warmth and happiness. The color red is the color of passion, strength, courage, willpower, vibrance and determination. The earth element is associated with the first chakra, Muladhara, or root chakra, and is located at the base of your spine. This element is associated with grounding, security and stability. Choosing for Very Berry can bring you strength, resilience and an opportunity for transformation.

The FLXBL Deep Petrol mat suits the water element. When the water element is balanced, you connect easily to others, feel calm and fluid. The color blue is associated with the fifth chakra, Vishuddha, or throat chakra, and is located in your throat. The colour of blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body, both calming and serene. By choosing Deep Petrol, you express yourself freely, adjust well to change, are confident and authentic.

The FLXBL Balancing Green mat represents the air element. The air element is associated with the fourth chakra, Anahata, or heart chakra, and is located at your sternum.This energy is associated with the color green. Green stands for positivity, balance, nature, freedom, and rebirth. it is the symbol of freshness and progress, because it gives us renewed energy and a sense of stability. When choosing for Balancing Green, you listen to your heart, are compassionate, positive and motivated.

The FLXBL True Lavender mat is associated with the element of ether. The ether element has qualities of space, spirituality and consciousness and is expansive. The color of purple is connected to the seventh chakra, Sahasrara, or crown chakra, and represents wisdom, devotion, intelligence and sensitivity. When True Lavender is the colour that suits you, you are connected to your intuitive knowledge, aware of your spiritual self and the truth that lies in the stillness between your thoughts.

The FLXBL Uplifting Orange mat is related to the element of fire. Orange is naturally optimistic and uplifting, boosting creativity. It also represents joy, prosperity and passion. The color orange is associated with the second chakra, Svadhisthana, or Sacral chakra, and is located about three inches below the navel. Energetically it rules enthusiasm, sensuality, emotions and joy. Choosing Uplifting Orange means you want to blossom to your live your full creative potential.

Are you still not sure which color suits you and your practice? Choosing different colors on different days, in accordance of what you need that day, is of course always a wonderful way of not having to choose between these lovely shades. 

Copy: Marjolein Manintveld
04/11/2019 READ MORE
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Karunā and Ahiṃsā

To ourselves and others

Yoga is a practice of self-awareness. In the beginning it can be challenging or uncomfortable to practice asanas that your body resists to do. Letting go of expectations and ideas about self imposed ideals, makes space to feel complete and proud of yourself, regardless of
where you are in your journey.

By working on the body, you work on the mind. Compassion, kindness and non-harming are essential skills to cultivate to transform your life and practice, on and off your mat. Karunā and ahiṃsā refer to how we relate to others and more importantly, also can be applied to how we treat the self.

Karunā

(Sanskrit: करुण) can be translated as compassion or kindness. Karunā is a concept from Buddhism that is quite complex in its meaning. It is a concept that is close to connectedness, empathy and active sympathy. It is about understanding the suffering of others and ourselves. It also is about equanimity and is linked to the neutral colour grey. 

The word compassion literally means to “suffer with”. It is a caring intention to support a suffering person in a loving, selfless way. Having compassion means that you are forgiving and offer kindness when people make mistakes, rather than judge them. Coming together to practice yoga, being part of a loving community, is such a joyful feeling when compassion and kindness are embodied and practiced. 

Ahiṃsā

(Sanskrit: अहिंसा) is one of the Yamas (ethical guidelines of yoga), meaning non-violence: not to cause injury through actions, words or thoughts. If everything is connected and all beings are interdependent, then every action, how small it may seem, affects the whole. To harm another being, is the same as harming ourselves and the other way around.

Most of the time it is easy to be warm and forgiving towards others, but we are still criticising ourselves for our personal shortcomings. Being compassionate towards yourself is really no different from being kind to others. Self-compassion and a non-harming attitude is about caring for yourself when you are going through a difficult or challenging time, being soft and loving. Honor and accept your humanness and do not identify with the inner critic, that is inside all of us.

When you try a posture, it does not matter whether you are able to do it in the ‘perfect’ form. You have to start where you are and energetically something shifts once you just try and invest all you have to give. Yoga practice is about learning to be comfortable when we are challenged. Nobody has a perfect body or perfect mind. Regardless, there is every reason to be proud and grateful for working on yourself.

Copy: Marjolein Manintveld
04/11/2019 READ MORE
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Asana as soul practice

Why we practice yoga poses

When many of us think of yoga, we are more specifically referring to an asana practice, a practice of yoga postures on the mat. But what keeps us coming back to our mats and what is the true purpose of these asanas?

We all know the physical benefits from our yoga practice. Practicing postures improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength, circulation and posture. Our asana practice also has emotional benefits. When we get on our mat to move our body, breathe consciously and focus our attention inwards, we release tension, feel calmer and have a sense of well-being. These benefits are so profound that many people practice yoga for these reasons.

So some of us are looking for improved physical well-being, while others are more interested in the emotional benefits that the practice brings. To get a better understanding of the purpose of yoga postures, we might want to take a closer look at the role that asanas played in the history of yoga.

Asana is the third limb in the Eight Limbs of Yoga from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The word asana literally means ‘seat’. The seat that is referred to, is the seat you take for meditation. Most of the first asanas described in yoga scriptures were simply that, seated postures for meditation. In the Yoga Sutras, asana is only mentioned once. The description given by Patanjali is “sthira sukham asanam”, meaning that every asana should be steady and comfortable. So the reason asanas were practiced, was to be able to sit steady and comfortably in meditation for long periods of time. 

But that is not the only reason that postures had a prominent place within the practice of yoga. Yoga postures also purify and create lightness within us. The Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā (Sanskrit: हठयोगप्रदीपिका) mentions this purpose of asanas: it explains we practice asana to create steadiness, freedom of disease and lightness of body. So we are healthy, joyful and grounded, not only to meditate but also when we step off our mat into our daily lives. 

Asana practice supports the connection between our mind and our body. In our physical practice we use the body as a tool to be aware in the now, that is unfolding in the present moment. We start our yoga journey with practicing postures, because our body is visible and tangible. Our bodies are always in the present moment, regardless of where our mind wanders. So by practicing yoga postures, we go on an inward journey, a journey towards harmony and wholeness from the inside out. 

Copy: Marjolein Manintveld
04/11/2019 READ MORE
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Stilling the mind

The philosophy of yoga

We all come back to our yoga mats for enjoyment and bliss that we experience after an active or soothing yoga practice. But what does yoga in a broader sense actually mean and what was the meaning of yoga in history? 

Let’s be curious and take a closer look at the meaning of the word yoga. Yoga means to yoke, or to unite. This unison has a different meaning for different people, from uniting the mind and body, connecting mind and spirit or being in harmony with our internal world and external environment. We could simply say that the reason we practice yoga is to create unity in the body and mind and to be aware that everything is connected. 

Patanjali explains in the in the second Sutra of the Yoga Sutras the purpose of yoga practice:  “Yogas chitta vritti nirodhah”, which means that yoga is the “stilling of the fluctuations of the mind”. By identifying with the fluctuations of the mind, life can be like a whirlwind, pushing and pulling us in different directions. When we identify with our thoughts and mind states, we might act in some ways that are not helpful for our stability, well-being or enjoyment of life. 

When we practice yoga and meditation, we can observe and become aware of these fluctuations, rather than identify with them. When we are aware and present, we are able to see that our thoughts are ever changing and fleeting from moment to moment. Being present and aware on our mat, makes us able to be more present and aware when we step off the mat. And off the mat is where the true yoga begins, so we can be at peace within ourselves and in harmony with the world around us, regardless of where the wind is blowing.

21/08/2019 READ MORE