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Woman Smiling with Sacred Yoga Mat
The Latest
Published Monday Mar 30, 2020 by Mindbody Team

WFH Workout Gear: The Inside Scoop on SACRED Yoga Mats

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SACRED Yoga Mats
Yoga
Fitness

Working on perfecting your at-home workout routine? Trying to take your yoga practice to the living room? Want to find a new mat and support local yoga studios from home? We interviewed SACRED yoga founder, Erica Simone, to get the inside scoop on the brand, wellness, and why SACRED yoga mats stand out among the rest. 


What sets SACRED apart from other yoga mat brands?  

SACRED is pulling the (yoga) mat out from under the industry. Because a basic search will likely lead many to believe that all yogis are young, physically fit, devastatingly good-looking, and well, white. Trust us, yoga doesn’t care if you look good in tight pants or if your outfit is cute. Yoga doesn’t care where you come from, what you look like, or how much money you make. Yoga isn’t about being flexible or being able to hold fancy poses. And you don’t need to take a ton of time out of your day—let alone be a skilled practitioner—to reap its amazing benefits.  

SACRED’s mission is to create beautiful quality products, empower everybody to practice yoga, and to feel damn good about it. Our yoga mats are made with extreme grip, central alignment, eco-friendly natural rubber, reversible sides, and high vibration design. They’re extra long and wide, firm and comfortable, super durable, and very easy to clean. 
 

Tattooed Arm Holding Sacred Yoga Mat

What is the most popular product SACRED offers? 

Our PRO line is our most popular yoga mat because it offers all the best features you could want from a yoga mat, including being extra long and wide (26.7" x 72") and with thicker material (5mm). The CORE line is the same mat, buts a little smaller and thinner (24" x 70" / 3mm thick). 


Tell us something about SACRED that people wouldn’t necessarily know right off the bat.

I designed the central logo, which was a symbol I 'channeled' a few years ago in one of my automatic drawing meditations. I often get geometric downloads that have some sort of cosmic connection and this one particularly evokes 11 elements (which can be read on the website), but essentially love and the all-seeing Universal mind. 


How would you describe wellness to someone who has no idea what it means? 

Wellness is that sweet spot where health and happiness hold hands. It's making positive decisions and taking daily steps to giving your mind, body, and soul a warm hug in whatever you can. Whether it's focusing on keeping a healthy diet, exercising, practicing meditation, or even volunteering in your local community—whatever you need to do to keep your total being balanced. 
 

Woman in Downward Dog on SACRED Yoga Mat


What is your wellness philosophy? 
 

I believe wellness is cultivated by self-love. The more you care for yourself and take all the steps in your daily life to self-nurture, the better you will feel and be able to show up in society for others. One of the major sources of disease is stress, which we can easily reduce by practicing a variety of wellness methods, including with yoga and meditation. By truly honoring your practices and deeming them sacred in whichever way you choose, you are activating a stronger connection with your inner self and therefore cultivating a greater sense of wellness. 
 
 
How do you personally practice wellness? (taking time for yourself, etc.) 
These days I take daily walks on the beach, hiking in nature, yoga, meditation, eating very healthy, not drinking, being creative, making art, and watching documentaries or taking online courses. 


If someone were to be nervous about using a SACRED yoga mat for the first time, what would you tell them to ease their nerves?  

SACRED yoga mats provide a safe space to practice, physically and ethereally. Our mats are dual-sided and made with advanced grip materials, giving yogis great stability. All our yoga mats come with a central line, greatly helping with form and balance. Our PRO line is extra long and wide, providing ample space to practice. The central design is a cosmic activation, bringing loving and harmonious energy to your practice. SACRED mats are designed to offer yogis a full experience, where they can connect with themselves and practice seamlessly, not having to worry about slipping and sliding or having any stress whatsoever over their mats. 
 
 
What trends and evolutions in the wellness space should we be aware of? 
People becoming nicer and more loving :) 


How does SACRED give back? 

We work with yoga-related charities around the world, helping provide yoga mats to underserved communities. 


What’s next for SACRED? 

Soon we will be releasing a fancy travel mat... I can't divulge too much, but stay tuned. It's going to be amazing! 
 
Want to order one? Visit Sacredyogashop.com.
Ready to take it for a spin? Check out virtual classes on Mindbody and start flowing! 

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woman with crystal bowl
The Latest
Published Tuesday May 19, 2020 by Shanila Sattar

Top Breathing Exercises for Anxiety and Depression and The New Normal

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Renewal
Personal Growth
Expert Advice

Inhale. 
 
 
Have you been feeling it? The big emotion floating around the last few weeks is the Big Anxiety. Coupled with the stress of what the COVID-19 pandemic has bought for millions of people, disturbed wellness routines, and worry, we have a recipe to create massive damage to ourselves. 
 
 
Exhale. 
 
 
Adjusting to the new normal, with social distancing practices in place and adapting to precautions and routines, may be the root of even more anxiousness for many as we’re navigating uncharted territories.  


Long-term anxiety and stress can harm our bodies 

During times of high stress, our bodies experience a physiological strain, where essentially everything from our heart, muscles, blood, and energy have to work harder than needed in order to keep functioning at a minimum. Our body’s natural processes, like breathing, can get compromised, lessening the healing functions of the nervous system, and overworking our adrenal system. Stress management is almost non-existent. This overtaxing of the body disrupts the natural flow of energy and resources, and puts us in something known as the “fight or flight” mode. In this mode, we are constantly deciding if there is some kind of real danger and how to survive it. We feel these signals when our heart rate and blood pressure rise, our stress responses like sweating and either constricted or super fast breathing occur, and our feel-good hormones become compromised. 
  
As we process anxiety, not only do we mentally and emotionally feel the repercussions, we also physically confuse our systems that are doing their best to naturally heal us. Staying in a state of continued anxiety with an overactive sympathetic nervous system can be incredibly damaging to your health, even if it is a small amount of stress that collects over time. Stress suppresses our immunity, digestion, deep breathing, disrupts sleep, and eating patterns, impacts mood, energy levels, and much more.  


We are holding our breath

Studies show that over 50% of adults are essentially holding their breaths. They do a shallow type of breathing known as thoracic breathing, where you breathe lightly into your chest instead of into your diaphragm. For example, notice how you’re breathing right now. You’re likely holding your breath to some extent and you’re probably not breathing much at all. If you’re asked to partake in a deep breathing exercise now, you’ll puff up your chest and shoulders, and empty out your stomach. Guilty? 
  
If you’ve ever seen a baby breathe or the breathing technique of someone in deep sleep, you’ll notice that their bellies rise and fall; the oxygen goes directly into a natural deep belly breath. Adults, however, have become acclimated to holding our breaths without meaning to. When we can slow down and practice deep breathing, we send physical and neurological signals through our entire body that asks us to rest.  


Breathing exercises can reduce stress and anxiety

The great news is that there are easy breathing exercises we can do at home that do not take a lot of time or effort. An incredible tool that anyone can use in times of high stress is remembering to inhale and exhale. Yes, breathing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recommended breathwork not simply as an immunity building tool, but as a way to balance emotional and mental wellbeing. Deep breathing and other breathwork improves the body’s overall functions; improves the respiratory system, builds protective mucus in the nose, oxygenates and blood and brain, improves digestion, alkalizes the full body, and much more. Each style of breathwork sends special physiological signals—some ask us our bodies to slow down and chill, to get out of fight mode, and bring us back to equilibrium where our body’s natural healing systems can be activated; some styles of breathwork ask to pump up and energize


Top breathing exercises to reduce anxiety and stress 

It’s common to find yourself rushing through breathing practices or feel like you need to set aside special time for it. But that’s the point. We get to slow down, and we get to implement these practices even if there are distractions, business, and no perfect zen meditation corners in our homes. We can do these anytime, anywhere. 
  
If you’ve been feeling any small symptoms of anxiousness or stress, now is the perfect time to incorporate some incredibly easy and effective breathwork techniques into your day-to-day. 


Belly breathing 

This breathing technique can be done at any time of the day, for as long as you want. It’s recommended to practice this for at least 30 seconds to start and several times throughout the day. It’s a breath technique to practice before going to sleep as well. As you’re doing this breath, imagine your stomach like a big pump. As you breathe in, you’re expanding; as you breathe out, you’re emptying out. 

1. Put your hands on your belly/abdomen area. 
 
 

2. Take a big breath through the nose and PUSH your hands away from the belly as you breathe in. Expand your stomach as much as possible and try not to puff up your chest. 
 
 

3. Slowly exhale through the mouth and constrict your belly inwards. Feel free to make a sound with the mouth when you do this.  
 
 

4. Repeat for a minimum of 30 seconds. 
 
 
  
  

6-7-8 Breath 

The 6-7-8 breath can be done at any time of the day to calm anxiousness and stress, especially before doing to sleep. It’s a self-soothing technique that helps relax and calm the nervous system. You can do this practice sitting up or laying down.  
  
1. Close down your eyes. 
 
 

2. Relax your mouth. 
 
 

3. Take a deep breath in through your nose for 6 full seconds. Count in your head and maintain an even pace. 
 
 

4. Hold this breath for 7 seconds. 
 
 

5. Pucker your mouth and exhale out through the mouth with a “whoooooossh” sound for 8 seconds. 
 
 

6. Repeat this 6-7-8 breath for at least 5 rounds, or as long as you wish. 
 
 


You can adjust the 6-7-8 counts to accommodate your pace. You can try a 4-5-6 sequence, or an 8-9-10 sequence. Play around with the length of time that feels good for your body. Some people love to sit by an analog clock for the ticking sound to help keep pace; some love to incorporate music. 


The Box Breath 

This is another easy technique that can be done at any time of the day. 

1. Breathe in for 4 seconds through the nose. 
 
 

2. Hold for 4 seconds. 
 
 

3. Exhale for 4 seconds through the nose. 
 
 

4. Hold for 4 seconds. 
 
 

5. Repeat at least 5 times. 
 
 

You can play around with the timing for 6 seconds, 8 seconds, and so on to see what works best for your body.

These are the top three breathwork techniques to manage anxiety and stress. Plenty of other techniques work on sleep, inner healing, subconscious programming, altered states of consciousness, and more. Play with the three techniques above and see what feels great for you. It’s common to find a sense of calm almost immediately, some gentle tingling, and relaxation! As we’re adjusting to the new normal, let’s all contribute to creating peace both inside and out. 

If you'd like to try a guided breathwork class with me, click here to find one that works with your schedule! For other breathwork classes, browse Mindbody

Shanila Sattar
Written by
Shanila Sattar
Founder, AlwaysPlay Studios
About the author
Shanila is a sound healer, breathwork coach, women’s researcher, and speaker. She trains sound healers and breathwork facilitators through her mobile studio, AlwaysPlay Studios, and is the founder of the Integrative Wellness Leaders based in Los Angeles. She practices integrative wellness - considering a person's emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Her background is in tech, having co-founded an award-winning web agency, and in women’s research, specifically in mindsets, implicit bias, perfectionism, women's health, and societal experiences supported through the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and several universities. She has implemented several health and wellbeing programs in underserved populations throughout Los Angeles. Shanila mentors women who are wellness entrepreneurs and on their confidence journey.