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      The Benefits of Meditation

      Meditation pose drawing - yogi in pose hovering above the ground | TRIBE Yoga

      Meditation calls for us to slow down and just be.

      Our fast-paced lifestyles leave little space for calm, and nowadays we're all available via our cellphones after hours too. Many of us have forgotten what it's like to be present without distraction. A regular meditation practice helps us come back to ourselves, our bodies, and to embrace stillness.

      Whilst medtation is an an excellent antidote to stress, the benefits of meditation go far beyond stress relief alone and the act of meditation is valuable for our health on many levels.

      10 Benefits of Meditation

      • Reduces stress - stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation.
      • Controls anxiety - meditation can reduce stress levels, which translates to less anxiety.
      • Promotes emotional health - some forms of meditation can lead to improved self-image and a more positive outlook on life.
      • Enhances self-awareness - for example, self-inquiry meditation explicitly aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you.
      • Lengthens attention span - focused-attention meditation is like weight lifting for your attention span. It helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention.
      • May reduce age-related memory loss - reviews have found preliminary evidence that multiple meditation styles can increase attention, memory, and mental quickness in older volunteers.
      • Can generate kindness - some types of meditation may particularly increase positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others.
      • May help fight addictions - meditation develops mental awareness and can help you manage triggers for unwanted impulses. This can help you recover from addiction, manage unhealthy eating, and redirect other unwanted habits.
      • Improves sleep - a variety of meditation techniques can help you relax and control runaway thoughts that can interfere with sleep. This can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase sleep quality.
      • Can decrease blood pressure - blood pressure decreases not only during meditation but also over time in individuals who meditate regularly. This can reduce strain on the heart and arteries, helping prevent heart disease.

      Meditation Tools & Aids

      The TRIBE Zafu Meditation Cushion

      This cleverly designed little cushion raises up the hips so the sacrum tilts forward very slightly, keeping the back straight. Sitting on a traditional meditation cushion like the Zafu adds comfort to your meditation practice, improves posture, and relieves pressure.

      The TRIBE Zabuton Meditation Mat

      Another option to create comfort during meditation is a cushioned mat. Mats are super versatile - you can sit directly on the mat to relieve pressure from your knees, ankles, and back; or pair it with a Zafu cushion for even more comfort. If you choose to lie down during your practice, you can use the Zabuton under your upper body to cushion your back and head, and a cushion or pillow under your knees to support your legs.

      The TRIBE Still Me Eye Pillow

      For an extra relaxing touch, a gentle eye pillow will help you go deeper into relaxation. Still Me Eye Pillows are perfect for supporting restoration during your meditation or savasana practice, and they're also fantastic for soothing tired eyes after a long day in front of your computer.

      How do I use an acupressure mat or pillow?

      Acupressure Pillow - one end at a 45 degree angle | TRIBE Yoga

      How do acupressure mats and pillows work?

      Consider these ingenious inventions like a friendlier version of a bed of nails.

      The tiny spikes on the mat/pillow deliver controlled pain and discomfort that triggers endorphin release (our natural feel-good pain relief chemicals), boosts blood flow, promotes relaxation and quality sleep, reduces stress, and can relieve aches and pains and aid in muscle recovery.

      How do I use an acupressure mat or pillow?

      Start with a short session - five to ten minutes. The back is a great area to start with. Aim to use your mat or pillow with bare skin, but you can wear a thin layer of clothing between your skin and the mat while your body adjusts.

      Find a comfortable spot, and lie down gently on your mat. If you're starting, a bed or a couch will give a little extra cushioning (graduate to the floor if you desire once you're an expert).

      The first time on a new area will often feel sensitive and prickly, but it is bearable and will subside once you settle onto the mat. Over time your body will adjust to the sensation. Gradually build up your time on the mat; some people like to meditate or even nap on them.

      The TRIBE Acupressure Mat

      With a whopping 6,534 spikes, the TRIBE Acupressure Mat is a dream for a tired, sore back or a wind-down session before bed. The mat itself is 17mm thick foam encased in organic canvas cotton, washable, transportable (hello, handles), and comes in at a lightweight 700g.

      You can lie on it, stand on it, rest your legs on it - even doze off on it once you're a pro!

      The TRIBE Acupressure Pillow

      With 1,566 spikes, and encased in the same organic canvas cotton, the TRIBE Acupressure Pillow is brilliant to relieve tension and stress in the neck and shoulders, bringing about a feeling of deep relaxation.

      It can also be placed underneath tired or sore hamstrings, calves, and thighs to assist with healthy recovery post-exercise, and as a lumbar support tool behind your back on the couch or at your desk.

      How to clean your yoga mat

      Group shot of Eco Clean yoga mat cleaner spray - 50ml, 250ml, 500ml | TRIBE Yoga

      Giving your yoga mat a quick wipe down after each use will keep it fresh and hygienic. TRIBE eco.clean natural citrus cleaner is 100% natural and biodegradable and can be used on any yoga mat, including rubber mats. It comes in a handy 250ml size which is perfect for taking to the studio (pop it into your yoga bag with a cloth for post-class cleaning).

      Spray on your mat and wipe with a soft cloth, using an extra spritz on any areas that have marks or stains. Allow your mat to air dry before rolling it up.

      For a deeper wash: spray approximately 40 pumps directly onto your mat and leave for 3-5 minutes. Use a damp cloth and scrub the surface to remove dirt and stains. Wipe your mat down with a clean cloth and air dry before rolling and using.

      What's your yoga mat made of?

      Three Earth Me yoga mats - vertical, side by side - Amethyst, Cosmos, Olive | TRIBE Yoga

      As we become increasingly aware of the environment and the things we purchase and use, it's natural to be curious about what our belongings are made of. Implementing sustainability in all areas of our lives not only helps reduce our impact on the planet - it will save us money in the long run.

      When it comes to yoga, we all need a mat. For many, it's tempting to buy a cheap one initially, but these mats don't last the distance, and old, worn yoga mats are likely to get thrown away without much thought. Sadly, most yoga mats are unable to biodegrade and will end up in a landfill.

      Did you know that the majority of yoga mats are made from cheap plastic-based ingredients like PVC? Also known as vinyl, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a synthetic material created using salt and oil. Given that it is unable to biodegrade, it will be around for a very long time. PVC yoga mats usually always contain phthalates and BPA, both known for their potential health risks.

      We get up close and personal with our yoga mat; our hands, feet, face, and limbs all make skin to mat contact, often with heat and sweat in the mix. It is entirely possible to absorb chemicals through a yoga mat made from cheap, toxic materials; in fact, we should assume that this is the case if we are using our mat regularly.

      The Totally Natural Yoga Mat from TRIBE

      For a yoga mat that is genuinely 100% natural, you can't go past the TRIBE Earth Me. Created from 100% natural sustainable rubber and jute, with no glues or synthetic additives, this functional mat has excellent grip and remains still and flat as you practice. Best of all, it's completely biodegradable and will eventually return to the earth where it came from.

      Rubber yoga mats are tough but require gentle care and cannot be submerged in water or left in direct sunlight.

      Earth Me mats are manufactured in a factory that works to the Kyoto Protocol and employing a green production concept. The manufacturing processes have controlled measures of air, water, waste, toxicant, and noise to minimise environmental impact too.

      Why Kapok?

      Kapok Bud hanging on a tree | TRIBE Yoga

      The original TRIBE Bolsters were filled with organic wool that had undergone minimal scouring to ensure that our bolsters were as healthy as possible. Bales would arrive but there was no consistency in the quality of the wool as sheep get sheared at different times of the year so the length of the wool varied and that meant some bales were lumpier than others. Minimal scouring also resulted in the wool still having thistles, twigs and dare we say it, little bits of poo in it!  Some customers would complain about the 'sheepy' smell. Wool filled bolsters weigh around 4kg each when well packed which makes them difficult to manoeuvre as well as expensive to ship our customers.

      The second generation of TRIBE bolsters moved on to organic cotton batting from India. This proved cheaper, lighter and a lot less smelly, but we noticed that these bolsters flattened down very quickly. So your round bolster turned into a pancake bolster after only a short time. The shipping distance from India to New Zealand and Australia where most of our customers are based was also a concern.

      Then came the discovery of the most beautiful, natural fibre - kapok - grown sustainably in Indonesia (a few less shipping miles to get it here!). The third and current generation of TRIBE bolsters was born.

      It's like touching silk. Light, fluffy, odorless and clean.

      A fully packed kapok bolster is under 2kgs, nearly half that of a wool bolster.

      Kapok has no nutritional value so it doesn't attract insects or any other life form, and hence no pesticide or insecticide is used, plus, it requires very little water, so no irrigation either!

      Quite possibly the perfect bolster filling.