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Get Outside This Summer and Feel the Benefits of Hiking

This summer, we are all about getting outside. We are encouraging our Aurorae family to take advantage of the sunny summer weather and shake up their routines with some extra time in the great outdoors. One great way to enjoy the many benefits of being outside is through hiking!

Hiking has many health benefits that will leave you feeling great inside and out. You can access hiking areas in many ways: maybe your next summer vacation is close to the mountains, or perhaps there are some great local trails in your area that you don’t know about yet! A google search is all you need to find a place nearby. Then, you can throw on your hiking boots, some comfortable clothes, bug spray, and go on an adventure!

Four Health Benefits of Hikingbenefits of hiking

  1. Cardio Health

One of the best benefits of hiking is that it gets the heart rate elevated and the blood pumping. Hiking for cardio decreases risk of heart disease, diabetes, and strokes.

  1. It’s Low Impact.

Hiking is a low impact workout that is accessible to people of many different fitness levels. Running is normally done on concrete or asphalt at a quick pace, so can be difficult on the joints. However, hiking trails are softer, and hiking is done at a slower pace, so it’s much easier on the joints and knees.

  1. Weight Loss and Toning.

Depending on the incline of the hike, how much weight you are carrying in your bag, and how fast you are going, you can burn up to 500 calories in an hour of hiking. Let’s say you hike some trails for 2 and a half hours, that is 1250 calories! Anyone who counts calories knows that 1250 is a significant number. Also, hiking helps tone the entire body, but particularly the lower body, targeting the glutes, thighs, and quads. The calorie burn combined with the toning makes it an amazing, full body workout.

  1. Improved Mood

The mental health benefits of hiking are numerous. Hiking is normally done with at least one companion, and group exercise has been known to greatly increase people’s moods and significantly boost endorphins. But no matter who you hike with (or if you hike alone!), hiking has so many amazing benefits, including, “greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.” Your mood will be improved greatly by spending time outside in nature.

So, the hiking has numerous health benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. For those of us that spend a lot of time throughout working indoors throughout the week, taking a weekend hiking trip can be just what we need to feel completely refreshed and renewed.

But really, whether your chosen activity is swimming, walking, doing yoga outside, biking, or hiking, we encourage you to throw on some sunscreen and get outside and experience the great benefits of the great outdoors! 

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Posted in Exercise & Fitness, Healthy Lifestyle, Managing Stress

How Outdoor Yoga Can Change Your Practice

Ahh, summertime!! Kids are out of school, the temperatures are steadily rising, and the days are longer and sweeter. Summer is a great time to shake up your exercise routine, as well! If you normally head to the studio for your weekly, or daily classes, try practicing outdoor yoga a few times this month and see how it feels. Grab your yoga mat and head to your backyard, or your favorite park, and just flow. You might be surprised at the benefits!

5 Reasons to Try Outdoor Yoga

It’s liberating

Practicing yoga outdoors is liberating. There is a freedom that comes from being outside that is tangible: you can feel the breeze, the grass under your mat, and see the sky above you. Enjoy this liberation as you flow and stretch, and you might just feel your mood lift even more than in a normal yoga class!

It reminds you to stay present Outdoor Yoga

As liberating as it is, practicing yoga outdoors can also be distracting. Staying present during a yoga practice is hard enough even in a yoga studio with minimal distractions, so being outside can be a huge challenge. There are sounds, bugs, sights, animals, and many other distractions that could easily pull you away from your practice. So, use it as a reminder to stay present. Focus on your breath. Stay in the moment. Don’t worry what’s going on around you.

It lets you be creative

Going to a yoga class with an instructor to guide you is a great experience, but sometimes it is fun to just flow on our own. Practicing outside lets you do just that. With no teacher to tell you which poses to do, you can tune into your body’s own ability to communicate and tell you which poses it wants to do. It can be messy, and that’s okay! Does your body want to do triangle pose, and then just lay down in a mini savasana for a few minutes before continuing on? Do it! Let yourself be creative with your outdoor yoga flow. There are no rules- just do what feels good.

It shakes up your routine

Many of us get into a routine. Wake up, go to work, go to yoga/the gym, go home, go to sleep, etc. Shaking up this routine and adding in something new and unexpected can be really refreshing and fun. Take the time you allot for your workout and change up the setting with some outdoor yoga to give your routine a little break. You might feel extra refreshed and renewed from the change of scenery.

It gives you an extra hour of sunshine

Sunshine is good for the body, mind, and spirit. It has mood lifting benefits, it can trigger the release of serotonin, and vitamin D plays a big part in bone health. Outdoor yoga gives us all these benefits of sunshine, plus the many benefits of yoga, so it’s a win-win!  

So, will you try practicing yoga outside this summer? Let us know in the comments!

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Posted in Exercise & Fitness, Healthy Lifestyle, Yoga Practice

5 Healthy BBQ Recipes for your July 4th BBQ

Summer celebrations are in full swing: garden parties with delicious drinks and food, and good times with family and friends are common. Many people kick their celebrations up a notch for Independence Day and incorporate barbecue into their menu. While BBQ typically gets a bad reputation for being extremely unhealthy, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of healthy July 4th BBQ ideas out there to make your July 4th holiday party both delicious and nutritious. We’ve highlighted our favorite healthy BBQ recipes here.

Healthy BBQ Recipes for a Guilt-Free Celebration

healthy bbq recipes

Healthy BBQ Sauce from a Girl Worth Saving

Peach BBQ Sauce from A Girl Worth Saving

The one thing a barbecue needs is barbecue sauce! There are so many out there, from the simple to the intricate and creative. This healthy BBQ recipe features peaches for a natural source of sweetness that really takes the sauce to the next level. This BBQ sauce will go great on just about anything you offer your guests, from burgers, to side dishes, to dips.

Grillable Veggie Burgers from Minimalist Baker

This burger will give your guests all the satisfaction from a grilled burger without any of the negative health effects of red meat (such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease). This healthy BBQ recipe incorporates black beans, brown rice, walnuts, and spices to create a hardy and healthy burger with a texture great for grilling, which is a rare quality to find in veggie burgers. Throw some of that peach BBQ sauce on these burgers and you have the perfect healthy, delicious burger that will definitely be a crowd pleaser.

BBQ Chicken Tacos from Lovely Little Kitchen

For some meat lovers, a barbecue isn’t a barbecue without at least some meat. These BBQ chicken tacos offer a healthy July 4th BBQ recipe to satisfy those people without sacrificing nutrition. These tacos are fresh, flavorful, and easy to throw together. It incorporates lettuce, BBQ chicken, corn, and black beans into delicious and simple tacos. Your guests will appreciate this twist on traditional BBQ dishes!

Grilled Rainbow Carrots from In Sonnet’s Kitchen

Bored of the same ol’ July 4th BBQ ideas? This is one of those healthy BBQ recipes that is always the perfect side dish. It’s a crowd pleasure because it is both delicious and beautiful. Grilling carrots brings out their natural sweetness, so this dish is perfectly sweet and earthy. Carrots are also rich in nutrients such as Vitamins A, C, and K!

Grilled Corn with Honey Ginger Barbecue Sauce by Epicurious

Grilled corn is a barbecue classic. This healthy BBQ recipe spices up the traditional grilled corn by adding honey ginger barbecue sauce, making it perfectly sweet and spicey. Don’t be surprised if this dish steals the show at your party!

Using any of these healthy BBQ recipes at your July 4th party will give your guests plenty of healthy options that do not sacrifice flavor. You will all be able to enjoy the festivities knowing that your food is nutritious and meant to leave you feeling great. What is your favorite July 4th BBQ recipe for summertime parties? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Posted in Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition & Eating Healthy

Five Outfits You Can Wear This Summer to Pair with Your Yoga Mat Flip Flops

The summertime is a fun time to dress up in some of your favorite flirty outfits or dress down casually for work. One of the hottest accessory items these days during the summer, and year-round in beach cities, are yoga mat flip flops made from real yoga mat material. Nothing says comfort and style like a pair of real yoga mat flip flops. Aurorae actually sells two different styles that we think you’ll look fantastic in when you match your outfit with flip flops.

Five Summer Styles to Pair With Yoga Mat Flip Flops

1) The “Beaching at Night” Look

When you’re heading to the beach for the summer, you want to make sure you have a number of outfits available for the evening. Depending on your age range and what you enjoy doing, if you plan to head out to a club or a bar, you’ll look fantastic in a cute mini skirt, and a pair of slim yoga mat flip flops to match. They’re so comfortable on your feet that you can dance the night away without the blisters! yoga mat flip flops

2) The “Summer Friday Casual” Look

Some offices give their employees the luxury of banking enough hours during the week that they get to take a half day on Fridays. Sometimes these are called “Summer Fridays.” I can personally say I’ve enjoyed it in the past! In addition to this perk, we were able to wear any outfit with flip flops and no one would say a word to us. So, a nice casual, but classy, dress or even some cargo shorts (for men) paired with flip flops was the perfect outfit to get ready for a summer weekend.

3) The “I Just Came from the Pool” Look

Board shorts or a tankini with a sarong. Sunglasses. Sunscreen. Yoga Flip Flops. And your swim towel. That’s all you need for this outfit! If you’ve just come from the pool, then you’re striving for minimalism. But, you want to make sure you protect those bare feet of yours from the heat of the concrete or gravel so a nice comfortable pair of flip flops should do the trick. They’re easy to wash so trekking around in some dirty waters or the dirty parking lot won’t harm them one bit.

4) The “Happy Hour at Sunset” Look

When the weather is nice, we want to spend our time outdoors! That means we don’t want to go home after work, but rather we want to meet up with friends for a happy hour cocktail or two. Kick off those work heels and slip on a pair of slim yoga mat flip flops that will easily match your business casual outfit for the happy hour look. Come for the discounts and stay for the company! You’ll feel completely relaxed without having to change your whole outfit.

5) The “Yoga Class & Lunch” Look

With the trend of fashionable athletic wear taking off, going to yoga or to the gym does not mean leaving all fashion behind. Pair your yoga mat flip flops with some cute yoga clothes to feel comfortable and stylish to and from your practice. The flip flops are made from real EVA-foam yoga mats, so when you step off your mat and back into your flip flops after you practice, you’ll still feel that relaxed and peaceful feeling.

What is your favorite way to dress during the summer? Have you considered pairing your outfit with flip flops? If you’re interested in seeing what Aurorae has to offer, take a peek here.

Posted in Fitness Products & Equipment

New & Improved Instructions for Caring for and Washing a Yoga Mat

Aurorae offers a variety of yoga mats for all levels of yogis from the complete novice to someone who practices daily and has been for years.  Regardless of how long you’ve been practicing yoga or how often you practice, if you own your own yoga mat, you’re going to want to follow some simple instructions for caring for and washing a yoga mat. Because we have three types of yoga mats, we’d like to offer some simple tips on you can care for and wash your Aurorae yoga mat.

Washing a Yoga Mat Can Be Easy!

We know the drill. You finish your yoga practice and you’re ready to go eat, so you simply roll up your yoga mat and leave the studio. That’s fine, as long as you know you’re going to be washing a yoga mat at home sometime in the near future. There’s no reason to fret though, as washing a yoga mat is much easier than you probably think.washing a yoga mat

  1. If you’re trying to wash one of our eco-friendly Classic or Printed Yoga Mats, then you’ll want to use a soft brush with a non-oil based soap, or no more than a tablespoon of liquid detergent mixed with warm water. Scrub gently so as not to tear your yoga mat and rinse thoroughly when finished scrubbing. You might want to repeat this step if you think that your yoga mat is still dirty.
  1. If you’re washing a Synergy Yoga Mat-Towel, you can put your yoga mat in the washing machine IF you have a front loading, non-agitator washing machine only. Wash it alone with a small amount of detergent on gentle, warm water with an extra rinse cycle.

If you have a top-loading washing machine with an agitator, do not put your Synergy yoga mat into the machine. Simply wash by hand with a coarse sponge to avoid any damage to the yoga mat.

  1. Never use bleach on your yoga mat.
  1. What comes after washing a yoga mat? Drying it. So, if you have a Classic or Printed yoga mat, you’ll want to hang dry your yoga mat, outside if possible, or over the shower rod in your bathroom. You cannot use your yoga mat while it’s wet or damp so make sure it dries completely. It might even help to turn the fan/air on in the bathroom if you have that luxury.

If you have our Synergy yoga mat, first you’ll want to wrap it in a bath towel and squeeze out any of the excess water before hang drying. The microfiber will absorb water while you’re washing, so this step is crucial.

  1. You absolutely should never put your yoga mat in the dryer. There are no exceptions to this.

See how easy washing a yoga mat can be? You can also watch our video tips on how to care for and wash your yoga mat here.

Posted in Fitness Products & Equipment, Yoga Practice

5 Reasons to Try Paddleboard Yoga

paddleboard yogaThis summer, many of us are planning trips. If you are heading towards the water for a vacation at the beach, lake, or river, consider trying a fun twist on regular yoga: paddleboard yoga. Paddleboard yoga is done on a stand up paddleboard (SUP board) in any body of water that is not too choppy or busy. Usually the practitioners drop anchors into the water to keep their boards in the same area while they practice. The teacher leads students through a series of yoga poses very similar to what is done in a normal class, but the poses are more challenging (and perhaps more fun)! We came up with five reasons you should try it out!

Let your adventurous side out this summer with paddleboard yoga

  1. It’s a great workout. Because of the instability of the board, your core will have to work a lot harder to keep you balanced. It makes poses that you maybe originally thought were easy (cat/cow, tree pose) into extremely challenging poses that can build up a sweat and leave you feeling empowered.
  2. It’s calming to be on the water. According to Huffington Post, being on the water can give our brains the break they need and leave us feeling calm and peaceful. It lets us take a break from the constant overstimulation that comes from our busy lives and technology. It’s recommended that you leave behind your phone, watch, and cameras do that you don’t risk getting them wet and ruined, so you get the added bonus of an hour without any technology.
  3. It’s fun! Paddleboard yoga is fun and adventurous. There’s a very real possibility you might fall into the water, and that is totally okay. It lets you play with poses with a sense of freedom and exploration. Ever wanted to try a crazy arm balance? Why not try it on a paddleboard? The water will catch you when you fall.
  4. It lets you soak up some fresh air and Vitamin D. Many of us spend the majority of our lives indoors- working, driving, sleeping, even workouts at the gym or yoga studio. It is so good for the soul, and the skin, to get outside and enjoy mother nature. An hour on the paddleboard in the sunshine will do wonders for your mood!
  5. It might just be the best savasana you’ve ever had. After working hard for an entire yoga session, laying down on the board, closing your eyes, and drifting in the water is an incredibly relaxing and rewarding experience. You can let yourself get lost in the gentle movement of the water, the sounds around you, and the feeling of accomplishment from your class.

On your next vacation, see if there are any paddleboard yoga classes being offered. Many vacation spots near water have classes suited to beginners and advanced yogis alike. This can be a fun way to mix up your vacation routine, get in a great workout, and feel refreshed and energized.

Posted in Exercise & Fitness, Healthy Lifestyle, Yoga, Yoga Poses

New Water Sports to Try This Summer

Fun Ways to Stay Fit on the Water

Summer is right around the corner, and many of us are planning getaways to beaches, lakes, and rivers. A water vacation can be incredibly peaceful; the sound of the waves and the fresh air are soothing and refreshing for the soul. But, being on vacation doesn’t have to just mean laying around and relaxing! For those of us that crave adventure and fitness on vacation, there are many new water sports out there to try. These water sports are made popular for the sense of freedom and adventure they bring to the practitioner. They will get your blood pumping and leave you feeling energized. Here are three of the new water sports we think you should try out on your summer vacation!

Three New Water Sports to Try in 2016

  1. Paddleboard Yoga

new water sportsStandup Paddleboard Yoga (or SUP Yoga) is a new water sport where yoga is done on a longboard in any body of water, preferably without too many waves. People love it because it brings a playful challenge to traditional yoga. The poses tend to be simple yet extremely toning: because balancing on the board is difficult, the practitioner must use core strength to stay balanced. This sport attracts adventurous folks who probably don’t mind falling out of the pose and into the water every once in awhile! If you crave the serenity of yoga with the fun of paddleboarding, try SUP yoga on your next vacation.

  1. Flyboarding

This is a new sport that is taking off in California and other water friendly areas. In this sport, a rider straps their feet into boots on a board that is connected to a the exit jets of a jet ski with a hose. The jet ski powerfully pumps out water that thrusts the flyboarder into the air. It is considered a pretty extreme sport that requires a good amount of athletic ability, but there are plenty of places that run beginner sessions to let the practitioner ease into the sport. If you have ever wanted to know what it would be like to fly around using a jetpack, try flyboarding on your next vacation.

  1. Kite Surfing

Kite Surfing is a new water sport that combines elements of skateboarding and windsurfing. In this sport, a surfboard is connected to a large power kite, and the kitesurfer uses the power of the wind to be propelled across the water. Kite surfing is another rigorous activity that requires athleticism and burns about 750 calories in an hour. Due to it’s fast paced, fun nature, kitesurfing has become a popular activity in the last few years.

These new water sports have become popular in most vacation areas near bodies of water. And, you don’t need to be a fitness expert or athlete to be able to try them out. Most areas have beginner options so you can try them out in a safe environment with professionals to help you get the hang of them.

So what do you think? Will you be trying out one of these new water sports on your summer vacation or do you have experience with any of these sports? Let us know!

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Posted in Exercise & Fitness, Healthy Lifestyle

Yoga Flip Flops: 5 Reasons to Wear Them This Summer

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already Memorial Day weekend! Where I am from, which is New Jersey, this was always the unofficial start to the summer. In New Jersey, and I am sure in other parts of the United States, we pick a beach within driving distance, grab all our friends or family, and pack up our bags with the essentials: beach towels, sunscreen, and yoga flip flops. What? Yes! They are so comfortable! But, that’s not the only other reason I wear yoga flip flops to the beach:

aurorae yoga flip flopsWhy Do I Wear Yoga Flip Flops?

    1. They Are Eco-Friendly
      My flip flops are not only made from an eco-friendly Eva Foam yoga mat (yes!) but the straps, which are super cushiony and not at all pulling at my skin are actually vegan. That’s great to know.
    2. They Have Cute Designs
      There are a bunch of different types of yoga flip flops available on the market these days, but the Aurorae ones have the cutest little yogi designs on both the inside of the strap as well as at the bottom of the outer sole. So, when you’re walking up and down the beach catching the sunset you’re going to leave behind some cute downward dog facing poses everywhere you go!
    3. They Make Me Feel Like I’m in Yoga Class
      Because I’m basically walking on a yoga mat when I wear these flops, I am constantly reminded about that first step you take when you enter your yoga class. You walk onto your yoga mat and it almost immediately brings you to this place of calm. I know, you probably think I’m crazy, but I absolutely love that feeling. The yoga mat is my safe haven and I can’t wait to get on it.
    4. They Are So Easy to Clean
      Although I can’t stick my yoga flip flops in the washing machine, it is super easy to clean them with hot water and a bit of detergent of dishwashing soap. Because they are usually worn outside by elements such as sand, grass and dirt, they do tend to get kind of dirty. No problem at all since once you just scrub them a minute with a washcloth, soap and water, they look almost brand new again and none of the color has rubbed off!
    5. They Are So Comfortable
      I know, I mentioned that I don’t just wear these flip flops because they are comfortable, but it is the #1 reason that I wear them!

Check out the pair I have and have a great Memorial Day weekend!!

Posted in Fitness Products & Equipment

5 Simple Ways to Practice Yoga and Meditation Throughout Your Day

The Busy Person’s Guide to Yoga and Meditation

Life is busy: whether it’s work, school, relationships, fitness, or social obligations, many of us have a lot going on. We all could probably use a little more “me time”, time to slow down and really nourish our bodies and our minds. One way to do this is to incorporate more yoga and meditation in our lives, but it’s not always easy to find time to attend a yoga class or carve out time to meditate. The good news is that you can sprinkle yoga and meditation throughout your day and experience the calming, nourishing effects on your body and mind without dedicating hours and hours to the practices. We have come up with some simple ways you can practice yoga and meditation throughout your day.

Dennis Ingui Practicing Yoga and Meditation

Dennis Ingui Practicing Yoga and Meditation

Set an intention for your day when you first wake up

Setting an intention is a small, simple meditation. Spend about five minutes in the morning reflecting on what you have to do that day, and set an intention based on your day ahead. Some examples of simple daily intentions are:

  • Today I will not grind my teeth or hold tension in my shoulders during traffic on my commute to work.
  • Today I will make sure I eat three healthy meals.
  • Today I will be compassionate towards my co-workers, even when I feel frustrated.
  • Today I will make time for quality time with my family.

The intention does not have to be complex or over-ambitious. Often times, simple is better. Setting this intention will set the tone for your day.

Move a little before work

Not all of us have time to run or go to a yoga or fitness class before heading off to work. But even doing very simple yoga stretches, such as a few sun salutations, can help us feel more grounded and more open to facing the day with peace of mind. Try a simple sun salutation at home:

  • Inhale: Raise your arms over your head
  • Exhale: Forward fold
  • Inhale: Halfway lift
  • Exhale: High plank to low plank
  • Inhale: Updog
  • Exhale: Down Dog
  • Inhale: Step to your hands
  • Exhale: Forward fold

Set yoga beaks for yourself for 5 minutes every hour

It is so important to take a break from sitting at a desk looking at a computer, phone, or paperwork. Taking a stretching break at work can make a huge difference not only in how you feel, but also in your productivity. This can be a form of yoga and meditation, as you are not only stretching the body, but also removing yourself from your work to clear your mind.  Set a timer on your phone to alert you to stand up and stretch every hour for five minutes. Your body and your mind will thank you.

Try these simple stretches to undo some of the tightness that comes from sitting at a desk:

  • Triangle pose – 5 breaths each side
  • Wide legged forward fold- 5 breaths
  • Low lunge- 5 breaths
  • Down dog- 10 breaths

Turn your meals into a meditation

We (hopefully) eat three meals a day. Why not turn these meals into a meditation? When we eat mindfully, we are fully present with each bite, rather than rushing through each meal while looking at our smart phone, watching TV, or finishing up our paperwork. We can turn eating into a mindful, meditative experience by doing the following:

  • Sit down at a table free of distractions.
  • Before you eat, find gratitude for the fact that you have food on your plate.
  • Slowly eat and notice the texture, smells, and taste of the food.
  • Notice that as you eat slower, you might eat less, because the stomach often becomes full before we notice.

Write a gratitude list before you go to bed

Nighttime can be crazy for many people (especially those with children). We are often distracted by making and eating dinner, cleaning up, helping the kids with homework, getting them ready for bed. These things can take over and leave very little time to pause and reflect on the day. We can counter this by writing down a gratitude list, or counting our blessings, before we go to bed. You can do this from bed in a journal. This will create a catalogue for you to look back on your days and remember all of your abundant blessings that might otherwise have been forgotten in the rush of daily life.

Incorporating yoga and meditation into our lives can seem like an overwhelming, or unreasonable task. But in reality, it only takes small changes to make a big difference in how we think, feel, act, and react. You can start off by just incorporating one or two of these ideas into your life for a week or two, see how it feels, and add on from there. Eventually you might notice that yoga and meditation have had hugely positive effects on your life!

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Posted in Meditation Practice, Yoga Practice

Interview by RebatesZone with Aurorae Founder, Dennis Ingui

Recently, Aurorae founder, Dennis Ingui, had the opportunity to speak with the writers at Rebateszone.com. He talked a little about his experience of growing Aurorae and what it’s like as an entrepreneur. You can read the full interview here.

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Posted in Guest Blog, Yoga Practice