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Yoga on the beach

The Best Yoga Accessories for a Better Practice

Leggings and a yoga mat: That’s all you need to do yoga, right? While that technically isn’t wrong, it’s not totally right either. You can definitely get your yoga on with some stretchy/comfy pants and a mat, but if you really want to commit to and grow your practice, there are a few additional yoga accessories you should consider adding to your toolkit.

The 4 Best Yoga Accessories for Improving Your Practice:

Yoga Mat

1. Find the best yoga mat for you
Let’s start with the obvious: your yoga mat. You can find a mat for all types of practices on any budget. There are mats specifically for hot yoga, mats for taller people, and mats with a little or a lot of cushion.

I have personally tried several different brands and the best yoga mat I have found is my Yoga Design Lab yoga mat! It’s beautiful, vibrant, and makes me happy when I roll it out. It’s also great for hot classes and preventing slipping in general. (Side note: if you like hot classes, you may want to consider getting a towel to spare your mat some sweat!) But for me this one has great grip and just the right amount of cushion.

I have the studio version and I find it to be a great weight to throw over my shoulder (it helps if you have a strap for this) when I head out to class while still being supportive and soft under my body. If you want a smaller, even lighter option, you could try the commuter version! This is easily one of the best yoga accessories to invest in!

2. Get good yoga blocks for support
After you lock down a mat you love, you can move onto (in my opinion) the next most important yoga accessories to support your physical practice: yoga blocks and a strap. These props are key to a solid, aligned, and safe yoga practice. In my classes I notice a lot of people resist using props because they think it makes them look like a beginner.

I promise, it doesn’t. I have been practicing yoga for more than 10 years and I still use blocks and a strap every time I step on my mat. Rounding your back because the ground is too far away, or straining your shoulders because you cannot properly bind your hands behind your back isn’t only not cool, it’s not good for your alignment. Think of these props as your friends and know that by using them you’re doing your body and your practice a favor.

No need to go crazy and spend tons of money on these puppies, though. This combo package from Gaiam has both yoga blocks and a strap at a reasonable price. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more advanced, consider getting a yoga wheel.

books on yoga

3. Deepen your practice with books on yoga
Remember that yoga isn’t just a physical practice! If you’re interested in yoga beyond asana (postures) and want to explore the philosophy behind it, I encourage you to read. Read lots of books about yoga asana, meditation, spirituality, and anything else that interests you about the world of yoga.

One of the first books I read about yoga and the yoga lifestyle was “Happy Yoga” by Steve Ross. I love this book because it breaks things down in a simple way. It taught me how to take my practice off my mat and into my life. Ross makes it entertaining and fun by keeping things pretty light and sometimes silly, but also weaving in yogic stories and philosophies. There are also postures at the end of each chapter to help incorporate what you have read into your physical practice. This book also helped me make the decision to become a vegetarian, so be warned and encouraged!

Another great yoga book is B. K. S. Iyengar’s “Light on Yoga”. This one is a little heavier and has more in-depth explanations on yoga philosophy. It’s a great resource if you’re ready to deepen your understanding of yoga, yoga asana, and pranayama (breath). Fair warning with this book: Iyengar can do insane things with his body. It’s important to remember that he practiced his whole life and can only achieve these expressions of the postures because of time and practice.

For more personal, spiritual aspirations, I’d also recommend “Adventures for Your Soul” by Shannon Kaiser. This book helped me through a time of transition and connected me more deeply to my soul and my purpose in life. You can easily pick it up, read a chapter, do the work associated with that chapter, and then set it down for another time. Get yourself a journal dedicated to this book as you will need to do some writing and brainstorming throughout. Kaiser’s writing is entertaining and her story is easy to connect with. There are so many awesome self-help style books out there, and this one is definitely worth adding to your collection.

Yoga Meditation

4. Raise your vibration with a meditation cushion
Lastly, if you are looking to venture into the land of meditation, a good meditation cushion is a great thing to add to your arsenal of yoga accessories. One option is to get a bolster, which you can use for your physical practice, too. But I find that having a dedicated prop used only for meditation helps me actually meditate because it feels special and sacred.

My personal favorite is this meditation cushion by Peace Yoga. You can adjust the cushioning by changing up the amount of buckwheat inside. It also helps to make yourself a little space, even a corner of your bedroom or living room, where your meditation cushion lives. Let that be the space you can come back to each day, to be quiet and still, and tune into yourself.

Wherever you are in your practice, these are all great yoga accessories to develop a solid, educated, aligned, and connected practice. Call it the basic starter kit, if you will, but it’s great for advanced yogis too! Enjoy your new props, books, and anything else you decide to add– and congrats on starting or deepening your practice!

 


 

About the Author: Tacy Nielson is a Yoga Instructor and Reiki healer who is passionate about holistic healing, traveling and living life to the fullest. She was born and raised in Minnesota and is now enjoying life in Minneapolis after studying massage therapy in San Diego. Read more from Tacy here.

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Tampa Bay beaches

Tampa Bay’s Best Beaches

Florida is known as the Sunshine State, and for good reason. But the best way to soak in those rays is on one of the world-class beaches that line the shore along the Gulf Coast. Millions visit Florida annually, the majority of them looking for vacation property to rent, to buy or even deciding to sell timeshare property so they can stay as close to the beach as possible.

For those sun worshipers, there is really only one region in Florida to consider- the beaches of the Tampa Bay area.

Award-Winning Tampa Bay Beaches

Home to spectacular beach destinations such as Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island, this 35 mile stretch of sand is continually highlighted by such leading outlets as TripAdvisor and USA Today. In fact, TripAdvisor’s 2017 Travelers’ Choice Awards named St. Pete Beach number 3 and Clearwater Beach number 4 as the best beaches in the entire United States.

The sugary white sand and warm Gulf waters combine for a wonderful beach experience. Accommodations range from holiday home rentals to 4-star resorts from major brands such as Hilton and Wyndham. There is just about every type of hotel and motel in-between, certainly enough options to fit anyone’s budget.

While these are the primary attractions, there are some beach spots in the area that are not as well known, but just as impressive.

Pass-A-Grille Beach

With history going back to the beginning of the 1900s, this charming locale is a taste of old Florida in the shadows of the legendary Don Cesar Hotel. Located at the southern tip of the St. Pete Beach coastline, you won’t find any high-rise hotels but plenty of hospitality, restaurants, shops and traditional holiday units that harken back to a more laid-back time.

Pass a Grille Beach Tampa Bay Beach

The sunsets are breathtaking and can be seen from anywhere along this strip. Some prefer to watch from the beach, others from the comfort of their holiday unit, and still others from the bars and restaurants that line the location.

Fort De Soto Park

Honored as Parents Magazine’s top beach in the U.S., the North Beach at this historic site is perfect for families with children. Protected by a sandbar which creates a lagoon-like swimming option, this spot can combine a terrific beach experience with a history lesson as this fort was originally built for the Spanish-American war.

Tampa Bay Beaches

Fort De Soto Park

Campsites provide options for tents and RVs, and there are food and beverage concessions plus canoe and kayak rentals.

For those traveling with their favorite four-legged family members, Fort De Soto Park offers a dog beach on the southern side of the park which looks out onto the entrance to Tampa Bay. While the park provides a great natural beach location, there is not much shade so you will want to bring your own umbrella, tent or beach canopy. Dogs must be on a leash but there is a separate fenced dog park area where they can run free.

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Timeshare in Cancun

A Guide to Timeshares in Cancun

If you want to go all out on your next trip to Cancun, but want to avoid going into serious debt, timeshares in Cancun make for a fantastic, high-end vacation experience. With a Cancun timeshare, you’ll discover luxurious amenities and accommodations that can’t be beat. Rather than paying to stay in a cramped hotel room, timeshare suites will give you all of the comforts of home like multiple bedrooms, full kitchens, living rooms, dining tables, and spacious bathrooms. You’ll also find many units offer additional luxury features such as whirlpool tubs and private balconies with ocean views.

Timeshare in Cancun-Aqua

Not only do timeshare resorts provide top-notch accommodations, but you also get to indulge in all the resort amenities offered right on-site. Palace Resorts at Moon Palace, for instance, offers an impressive lineup of activities and services for all ages and interests. This includes nine outdoor pools, a full-service spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, and nightly entertainment. All-inclusive packages make it easy to enjoy the wealth of restaurants and bars without stressing over the tab. Nearby, you’ll find an array of exciting attractions from Xoxomilco the unique floating fiesta to the Croco Cun Zoo, there’s sure to be something for everyone in your party to enjoy just a hop, skip, and a jump away.

Another top Cancun timeshare resort is Sunset Royal, offering its own slew of great features. The property has a packed activity schedule with things like beach volleyball, dance, cooking, scuba diving lessons, and happy hours. You can also indulge in high-end spa treatments, dine on the beach, work out in the fitness center, or relax by the pools. If you decide to venture off resort grounds, you’ll find that the Sunset Royal is situated in a prime location. Enjoy dancing the night away at the world-famous Coco Bongo located only a few steps down the road. If culinary adventures are more your style, the delectable seafood restaurant Lorenzillo’s is also located nearby, and offers some of the freshest seafood in Mexico.

Timeshares in Cancun room with view

For years the only way to stay in a timeshare was to either buy one, or be forced to sit through a 2- 3 hour timeshare presentation. Nowadays there are online timeshare marketplaces which offer timeshares for sale and rent by private owners. This gives you the chance to get a Cancun timeshare at a fraction of the retail cost. If you’ve never stayed in a timeshare, we recommend you book a Cancun timeshare rental so you’re able to try it out and save hundreds off resort pricing.

Cancun offers miles of beautiful, white sand beaches and warm ocean water. Families can plan a perfect beach getaway that meets their unique needs while staying on budget by booking timeshares in Cancun.

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Cancun Mexico

A Week at the Beach in Cancun Mexico

We’ve talked extensively in past posts about Cancun Mexico being a haven for all-inclusive resorts and perfect white-sand beaches. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love putting their feet up on postcard-worthy stretches of sand? In this post, we’d like to take some time to examine a few different options for getting the most out of your time in this exotic locale. Here are some insider tips on how to enjoy a week at the beach in Cancun, Mexico.

Where to Stay in Cancun Mexico

Resting in the northeast corner of the Mexican Caribbean, there are many all-inclusive resorts in Cancun. Several of these resorts are actually located on The Island of Cancun, which is connected to the mainland by two bridges, with one each in the North and South. Though it’s worth noting that many of these 3 to 5-star all-inclusive resorts can be quite pricey. As an alternative, there are more affordable hotels in the city center, surrounded by shops and restaurants.

While there is accommodation available for all tastes, for us nothing matches the convenience of a Cancun timeshare. Not only can one save a significant amount of money, but these luxurious properties have more space, full bathrooms, and private kitchens, which allow you to eat in–undoubtedly a welcome break from the bustle of the restaurants in town. This is the best way to avoid worrying about booking reservations at pricey, cramped hotels and overcrowding during peak seasons. Timeshares offer the best of both worlds with affordability and plenty of space.

What to Do in Cancun Mexico

Let’s not beat around the bush: Most people desire time away in Cancun because of its reputation as paradise. We’ve said before that the immaculate beaches of Cancun and the white carpets of Caribbean bliss were the original draw for tourism to be developed in this beautiful land. And it’s still true. If you’re ready to make all your friends green with envy, post a few shots to your Instagram of your time on the sand here, and watch the likes roll in like the tide. Some of our favorite (and most picturesque) Cancun beaches include Playa Nizuc and Playa Caracol.

Hawksbill Turtle near Cancun Mexico

An even more exotic alternative to the white beaches is to visit the Isla Contoy, which is only about 25 miles off the coast of Cancun. But know that, following progressive conservation efforts, the Mexican government has required visitors to work with locally-supervised ecotourism companies to visit this wildlife haven. Still, it’s sure to be worth it. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by four species of turtle that find a safe haven for nesting on the beaches of the island, and the reserve is also a sanctuary to approximately 152 tropical marine birds. The Isla Contoy is considered the most crucial nesting place for birds in the Mexican Caribbean.

If world-class archaeological sites are on your radar, you won’t want to miss the short day trip from Cancun to the stunning Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. The crown jewel of this pre-Columbian city is the Kukulkan pyramid. Officially Designated by UNESCO as one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World,” Chichen Itza is one of those special places that doesn’t disappoint even those with the highest of expectations.

From the sands of pristine beaches to the ruins of Chichen Itza, where you’ll get in touch with your inner Indiana Jones, Cancun Mexico offers an adventurous and luxurious place to spend a week at the beach.

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BestbeachLosAngeles

A Guide to the Best Beaches in Los Angeles

The beaches in Los Angeles are almost as famous as the theme parks. And who doesn’t like spending a few days relaxing on the sand? You can find more than 20 different beaches across the city that attract locals and tourists alike. Some are better for surfing, and others are more secluded and private. There are also several luxury homes in Los Angeles that line the coastline and have impressive views of the Pacific Ocean. Here are some of the best beaches in Los Angeles.

Santa Monica Beach:

Santa Monica is the most famous stretch in Los Angeles that extends for more than 3 miles with a long pier in the middle. The sand is soft and it’s just a few minutes away from many hotels and restaurants, which join to the sand by sets of stairs. Popular activities include sunbathing and water sports. Some attend Surf School to learn the basics of surfing or paddleboarding. In the evening, locals come to use the exercise machines and jog along the walkways. A quick word of warning, this is a popular beach and it gets very crowded, especially during the weekends.
One of the best things to do at Santa Monica Beach is to rent a bicycle and cycle along the South Bay Bicycle Trail, which stretches for 21 miles. Lots of rental shops are along the coastline.

Venice Beach:

Venice Beach combines picturesque views with a range of other activities and entertainment along the Ocean Front Walk. Performers hang out along the boardwalk doing a range of things from playing guitar to magic tricks. And there’s also the famous Muscle Beach Venice, an outdoor weightlifting area popular with the local body builders. A trip to Venice beach isn’t just for sunbathing or swimming. There are several other things to keep you engaged for an afternoon or evening. If you’re driving, parking is free but the limited spaces tend to fill up quickly.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach:

This is one of the prettiest stretches of coastline in Los Angeles and is characterized by long beaches with white sand and a small lagoon. When the tide goes out, you can walk out and see lots of marine life in the rock pools. The area itself is near Surfriders Beach and is a great place to come to relax after a few hours in the waves. One of the highlights of Malibu Lagoon State Beach is the nearby Adamson House that’s a large building with a Spanish-Moorish design. You can also visit the Malibu Lagoon Museum where exhibits explain the history of the region.

Malibu Surfrider Beach:

As the name suggests, this is one of the hottest beaches in Los Angeles for surfers. The waves are typically good, and you’ll see masses of local surfers heading down to catch the perfect wave. Board rentals are available if you want to give it a go and spend the day in the water. If you can’t surf, paddleboarding is also popular on this stretch of beach. The local surfers are also friendlier towards outsiders and tourists.

El Matador Beach:

El Matador is on the western end of Malibu Beach and an ideal spot for an evening stroll with your special someone. The beach is small and is relatively hidden by the surrounding sea caves. This gives it a special vibe compared to some of the other ones. The water is very clear and it’s a pleasant place for a swim or bodyboarding in the light waves. During the summer months, it does get quite crowded but you’ll probably be the only person there during the low season.
Hermosa Beach:
If you’re looking for a place with the stereotypical laid-back atmosphere and beach-bums lounging around throughout the day, Hermosa Beach is the place for you. Local hipsters and hippies come here to relax on the sand and are friendly and welcoming to tourists. In fact, it’s very easy to make a few new friends along here. You can play volleyball, go jogging or rent a bike and cycle along the walkway.

Manhattan Beach:

This beach is famous for being the “Wimbledon of beach volleyball” and is one of the more popular stretches in Los Angeles. The urban location makes it easy to find a restaurant or coffee shop. Why not enjoy the sunset from one of the beach side bars whilst sipping a cocktail or a cold beer? If you’re tired of the beach, the shopping area is a few blocks away. People come here for surfing, swimming, and fishing a little further up.
The only downside about Manhattan Beach is that it gets busy on weekends and during the summer. This, in turn, makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to find a parking space.

Zuma Beach:

This is one of the favorite beaches in Los Angeles for locals on the northern side of the city. The beach has white sand and plenty of places to sunbathe or go swimming. Water sports are less popular here due to the colder water and softer surf. This beach has something more special and unique that visitors love. And that’s the dolphins. Sometimes you can see them swimming in the distance.

The Bottom Line:  Best Beaches in Los Angeles

You have more than 20 beaches to choose from in Los Angeles. Some are more active and attract a surfing crowd whereas others are better suited for a romantic walk. Don’t just go to the nearest beach, do a little research to find which ones you can claim as the best beaches in Los Angeles.

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