Downward dog. Lotus. Shavasana. We’re speaking her language, and now we’re going to let these yoga-mazing gifts do the talking. They’re designed for maximum “om” both at home and out in the world. Because let’s face it—keeping calm during the holidays is tough—even for a seasoned yogi.
She’s a master of mindfulness, an arbiter of incense, a face mask aficionado. She’s your most wellness-obsessed friend—and thanks to all the gift choices on our list, you can easily add to her self-care stockpile. Let’s do a few deep, cleansing breaths…and let the shopping begin.
With more than 4,000 uncommon goods to choose from, you might need some help finding your new favorite things. Each week, we’ll round up a mix of the brand new, the tried-and-true, and our personal picks. This week, we’re narrowing down the list a little more to focus on items that encourage self-care and relaxation. Our Accessories & Personal Wellness Buyer, Jackie, chose a selection of her favorite wellness products to help you unwind.
We all know someone who spreads holiday cheer like it’s her job. She starts her search for gifts in July, she’ll stay up all night trying to make that DIY centerpiece she found online just right, and she’s always willing expand her guest list, even if it means squeezing a party of 20 into her eensy apartment. Such a commitment to holiday jolliness can take a toll – it’s stressful to be such a goddess of good tidings. Keep her spirits up and show your appreciation with this list of relaxing gifts.
When Dan Abramson was brainstorming with a friend in a coffee shop back in 2014, he hadn’t intended to start a movement. The art director, who had founded the tongue-in-cheek “manly” yoga accessories company Brogamats two years prior, was “trying to come up with a funny way to get more men to do yoga,” he recalled. “We were wondering, What can we do to make yoga more macho?” He considered a series of videos of men at construction sites or at football games striking the poses. Then, said Dan, “I thought, What if we had classic green army men doing yoga?”
The San Francisco resident, who’d started doing yoga himself to heal a back injury, thought he had simply come up with a good video joke: “I thought we could do it on Reddit [with existing figures] and it would be funny for a day.” But after a great deal of research into plastics, he realized he could actually make the figures, posing them the way he wanted. So Dan worked to create a set of classic, plastic army figures arranged in postures such as Downward Dog and Warrior One and put his concept on Kickstarter. “It ended up blowing it out of the water!” he shared. “It raised way more money than I anticipated and had a huge audience.”
Something else happened that Dan hadn’t expected: A large number of those who donated were associated with the military—veterans, active service members, and loved ones of military members. “I started getting really heartfelt messages,” he said. “I didn’t have any idea that there was such a huge community of people doing yoga in the military.” Emails poured in from workers in veterans’ affairs, vets adjusting to life after service and loved ones of veterans. Some emails recalled happy stories, others tragic memories. But most of the messages shared a common thread: Yoga could save service members’ lives if only the practice could spread across the military community. “It was incredibly humbling,” said Dan. “I knew then I had a responsibility to do this well and do it right.”
Editor’s note: Laura Benko is the maker behind our collection of aromatherapy sets. In this guest post, Laura shares three holistic lifestyle tips from her upcoming book The Holistic Home: Feng Shui For Mind, Body, Spirit, Space, available everywhere books are sold starting January 2016.
In my upcoming book The Holistic Home: Feng Shui For Mind, Body, Spirit, Space, I update ancient Feng Shui myths while keeping some principles that are still relevant and blend them with my own holistic lifestyle concepts of connecting the mind, body, and spirit to your space. I include over a decade of my clients transformative stories along with my own personal narrative woven throughout.
I’ve learned that when emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects are addressed as a whole for each individual in their home, the effects of transformation can be quite profound. It’s about connecting the dots between the challenges in your life and how they are physically manifesting in your space. My three tips below will help you to experience a great change within your space and yourself.
1.) A Holistic Home is Not a Magazine Showplace
Guaranteed, you will shine and excel more in a home that bears the traces of real life than one that covers it up. A perfectly designed home where everything has been meticulously curated and placed–however awe-inspiring it may be–creates a subconscious feeling for visitors and occupants of unease. Over time, anxiety, angst, and nervousness will thrive when you are not innately comfortable where you dwell. It doesn’t mean living in a dirty, disorganized mess where a sense of neglect resides. At best, it means having a meaningful, comfortable, clean, relaxed home that supports your goals.
This home has soul and warmth. It’s clean and beautiful, filled with meaningful items that are all being used, yet nothing is too precious. “It’s the heart of my home, where everyone gathers,” says homeowner Regina Weishiet.
Start with this: Put systems in place for organizing the basics (recycling, mail, paperwork, keys, kids backpacks, etc.) then choose your high traffic décor items carefully. Pick pillows, duvets and couch cushion covers that can easily zip off and be thrown in the wash because when life happens and throw up, wine, or blood land there, you don’t panic. Put your money into items like artwork or light fixtures that can go up on the walls and not in precious rugs that take a daily pounding of dirt and spills. Surround yourself with items that uplift, inspire, and delight – just be smart about how you are going to use them and how effortlessly you can clean them. Leave the dishes if that means you have more one-on-one time with your kids. Don’t stress about the smudged fingerprints on the white walls when company comes. The bottom line is, a looser, relaxed, more forgiving environment is what makes a house a home and truly supports the best to happen for you and your family. And that is priceless.
2.) Your Fears are Showing Up Very Clearly in Your Home
Fear is the most transparent emotion that I can see clearly manifested in the home. A fear of commitment shows up in unpacked boxes, indifference in decorating and procrastination on big-ticket purchases. A fear of success or low self-esteem is found in artwork or mirrors that are unintentionally hung too high, leaving you subconsciously feeling like you can never measure up. Piles of procrastination and avoidance show up in the form of paper work, clothes, odds and ends or unfinished to-do lists, exposing a fear of failure. An overly-ordered home where anxiety lurks with even the slightest possibility of chaos, disorder or violated house rules reveals a fear of losing control. Stock piling and hoarding display a fear of uncertainty. The first step is to try to identify your own fears and take small steps to counteract it. For example, if you have a tendency to live in the past, haven’t updated your décor in eons, and you realize that your fear of change is holding you back, start small by updating accessories like a welcome mat or throw pillows. Then, move to medium tasks like moving your bed or desk. A new, physical perspective can often kick start a fresh outlook and help you metaphorically see things differently. As you make your adjustments and feel the positive effects of these changes, take a moment to revel in the feeling of progress of tackling your fears and know that you are creating an environment that is truly supportive and empowering.
3.) Mind, Body, Spirit, Space. It’s All Connected.
My life’s work has inspired me to launch a business that creates handmade, luxury products that holistically encourage the support of goals, desires and positivity for the individual user. The key to an effective, long lasting transformation and richer, more meaningful experiences are by uniting all planes of action – physical, mental, spiritual and emotional – together in your space.
The “Mind” portion covers the psychology of how you dwell. For example, if you have trouble sleeping, take a closer look at your bedroom. Is your bedside table stacked with unread books or unfinished to-do lists? Fast moving imagery of crashing waves should be replaced with serene waters and exercise equipment should be removed. Unresolved energy or jarring images can be unknowingly unsettling to the psyche. Besides the symbolism, tackling insomnia on another angle led me to create a “Sleep” spray to be used on your face and sheets at bedtime. The combination of lavender, chamomile and sandalwood are a potent slumbering elixir that UncommonGoods sells in a gift set with three other sprays.
The “Body” portion relates to all things physical. It’s the aesthetics of design, positioning of furniture, levels of organization, sustainability, décor choices, the health of your home and the efficiency of the layout. In Feng Shui, a basic tenant of empowerment is to situate yourself in the best possible commanding way. If your desk is positioned so that you cannot see who is entering, it automatically puts you at a disadvantage of being in a vulnerable state because you can’t see what is coming. Make sure that your desk is facing the door but not in direct alignment of it. If that’s impossible, put a mirror in front of you so you can easily look up and see behind you. You will subconsciously feel more empowered and in command. My “Revive” spray helps give you an edge by honing your focus and boosting alertness. It’s the perfect mid-afternoon antidote at your desk for waning energy.
The “Spirit” covers the soul of the home, the atmosphere and the invisible energies. The prevailing energy that resides there has a significant impact on those who live there. Whether that’s anger and illness or laughter and love (or a mix of both) its crucial that just as you would physically clean your home, you need to spiritually clean it too. This is not some new aged hocus-pocus. It’s a custom that has been around for centuries in nearly every culture and religion and has recently become so mainstream that you can find packets of sage to cleanse the energy of your space at virtually any organic health food and wellness store.
After cleaning your home, open up the windows and light one end of the sage stick. Blow it out and let the smoke waft around as you walk throughout the home. Visualize that you are releasing anything negative that does not serve you well. Pay attention to any pockets of energy where arguments, bad dreams or self doubts occurred and spend some time releasing it all and letting it go out the window. My “Good Juju” aromatherapy spray is made from essential oils of sage, Palo Santo and Frankincense and was created for this reason.
This mighty trifecta of energy shifters helps clear out stale energy and negativity.
As with all actions you do – whether its removing clutter, spraying “Good Juju” or using the salt scrub below – visualize that you are releasing specific emotions or attributes that don’t serve you well and you are envisioning a positive outcome.
While using the “Revive” sea salt scrub in my shower this morning, I also “scrubbed away” some excessive worry I’ve been carrying around. By dovetailing three planes of action together while setting a positive intention, your results can be much more effective and long lasting.
Wishing you all things good for your mind, body, spirit and space!