affordable

The 2015 Yoga Gift Guide

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 9.12.25 AM It’s that time of year again. The time when everyone goes crazy for Black Friday deals and you get stressed trying to find the perfect gifts for your yogi friends. Well, it’s also that time of year when Yoga Travel Tree releases the annual Gift Guide, jam-packed with awesome deals on yoga gear for the zen-friend who has it all. The best part is that our deals are good through January 1st, so no need to ruin all your good vibes on a single shopping day. Enjoy your family and friends this Thanksgiving weekend and shop from your couch, without a crowd.

Why do we do this? We want you to enjoy your holidays and have a little less stress during this sometimes maddening time of year. We’ve worked to get you some sweet deals from 16 sweet companies with similar missions and ideals to those of Yoga Travel Tree. Featured products are sustainably made, many companies donate to charities when you make a purchase, and everything is high quality and built to last, so your hard-earned money is well spent.

We hope you enjoy this year’s Gift Guide,

Namaste,

The Yoga Travel Tree Team

 

Finding ZEN

Finding Zen

1 & 2 Grizzy Love has been a staple in the Instagram Yoga Scene for years now, and it’s easy to see why. Her styles are unique, flattering to every body-type (including guys!!) and are a sure-fire hit with the yogi on your mind. Pictured above are the OM Dotwork Mandala Hot Short, and the Chakras Unisex Tank. With their meditative designs, they’re sure to help focus your thoughts and calm your mind. Use the code BLESSED for 15% off your entire order.

3 & 4 Yvwi Yoga offers high-quality, hand-made upon order yoga and meditation props and apparel. They’ve partnered with several organizations that help those in need, and a percentage of their profits is donated. The Eye Pillow above is filled with both organic flax seed and organic lavender, perfect for meditation in savasana.  The Bolster is the perfect height and support for seated meditation or breathwork, helping to keep the spine long and the lungs open. Use the code Holiday20 and recieve 20% your entire purchase.

5. Hot Chakras Yoga is an apparel and accessories company born and raised in San Francisco. All items are made by hand, and the high quality of the products is a statement to the time and love that go into the creation of each piece. The Mala beads above have 108 faceted agate beads, which slowly bring out inner strength, self-acceptance and self-confidence, perfect for morning meditation sessions. Use the code YOGATT for $10 off Mala Beads, shorts, leggings, capris and bras.

 

STARTER Kit

Starter Kit1. Fractal 9 is another instagram yoga staple. They sponsor challenges left and right, making them one of the most widely worn yoga pants in the insta-scene, and for good reason! Their bright colors and unique patterns make them the perfect addition to any yoga-wardrobe, and the fabric is lightweight and moisture wicking for the hottest of hot yogas. This year, this wonder-brand released a plus-size collection that focuses on the idea that yoga is for every body, and any practitioner should feel comfortable, confident and classy while in any pose. Receive 15% off your order by using the code GIFT15 at checkout.

2. Infinity Strap has been making waves in the yoga community lately with their unique and extremely useful yoga straps. Unlike traditional straps, there’s no extra material to get tangled up with while you’re in an already challenging posture. Our personal favorite is the Infinity Strap Stretch, which is made of heavy-duty elastic with just enough stretch to still feel stable, but let you access poses where a little extra wiggle room might be needed, perfect for newbies! Use the code TREE20 and receive 20% off your next order.  

3. Every yogi needs a yoga mat, and the Hugger Mugger Earth Elements Eco Yoga Mat is perfect for any yogi! It’s sticky texture, and lightweight design make it great for all yogis, from just beginning to advanced. Plus, it’s two-toned reversibility gives it just a pinch of sass, but doesn’t draw a ton of attention to your mat, or your poses. Hugger Mugger donates a percentage of your purchase to various charities, currently, they’re supporting The Family Place, a charity helping to build strong families with healthy children.

4. Mat bags are super useful for getting your gear to and from your yoga class and essential for keeping organized on the move. Good Marvin is a small team of yoga loving sewing masters who create beautiful and unique bags for yoga mats out of Pennsylvania. With many different styles, colors and patterns, every yogi is guaranteed to find the perfect mat bag. The bag pictured above is one of a kind, so don’t wait!  Use the code YOGATT20 for 20% off your order.

5. Devi Deva Yoga Blocks are made with love in Canada by a couple Canadian yogis and from local wood. Each piece is hand-printed, and ecologically created to give you an awesome yoga experience. Blocks are screened with a variety of designs, the block pictured above features Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. Practitioners new to yoga will love the feel of stability gained from a wooden block, as well as the ability to access more challenging postures. Use code loveyogalove for 10% off and a surprise gift with every order.

 

WORLD Travel

World Travel

1. Buddha Pants are the only yoga pants that pack into their pockets, making them perfect for backpacking, road trips and adventuring in general! Made from 100% organic cotton, these pants are soft, stay cool in heat, easy to care for, unisex, and come in tons of fun colors and patterns. The two styles pictured are the Savannah Winter, and Savana Flair. Use the code YogaTravelTree at checkout and recieve $20 off your order!

2. The Yoga Travel Tree Gift Card is the perfect gift for the travel-loving yogi in your life. With yoga retreats and teacher trainings all over the globe, a Yoga Travel Tree gift card is a great way to help your loved one see the world. Upcoming retreats include Thailand, India, Bali, Italy, Kilimanjaro and Peru! Gift cards are available in any amount, so give the gift of adventure this holiday season, and help someone have the experience of a lifetime!

3. An Audible Yoga Membership includes hundreds of yoga classes at your fingertips, anytime, anywhere. Audible Yoga is an online database of audio yoga classes, from different instructors, in styles from restorative to power. Classes can be done anywhere there’s room to unroll a mat, making this membership a great gift for travelers who love their yoga. Use the code YTT2016 for a discount on their one-year of unlimited yoga plan.

4. The YOGO Yoga Mat might be the best thing that happened to traveling yogis since Yoga Travel Tree… But really. The YOGO mat is super lightweight and foldable to about the size of a newspaper, so it takes up only a fraction of the space a traditional mat does. They’re also made with eco-friendly materials so your mat doesn’t ruin the planet that you love exploring. Bonus: for every Restoration series mat sold, YOGO plants one tree in Central America through their sustainability partner, Sustainable Harvest International. Use the code TRAVELTREE and get 15% off your order!

 

MAT to STREET

Mat to Street

1. Yoga isn't just for chicks anymore… Well, it never really was, but no one told the media that. Yoga for Men is a small but mighty company based out of St. Petersburg Florida that aims to help guys feel more comfortable on the mat. Everyone should be able to reap the benefits of yoga, men included. The Bhujang Style Cobra Yoga Pants (pictured above) have a relaxed fit and jean-like appearance, so you can seamlessly transition from the mat to a coffee shop or out on the town.

2. GrizzyLove makes men's clothing too, and it's just as stylin as the lady versions! Her materials are super soft, and with trendy styles like crop-tops and high-waisted shorts you can flow from the mat to the club with ease. Use code BLESSED at checkout and recieve 15% off your order.

3. Anything LVR is an amazing addition to your yoga-wardrobe. They use Eco-friendly organic materials and their process is just as earth friendly. The soft fabric of the Dip Dyed Organic Scarf will keep you warm from Savasana to wherever your feet might take you, and you’ll look oh so chic carrying your mat around town. Use the code YOGATRAVELTREE25 for 25% off your order.

4 & 5 If you're a regular follower of the Yoga Travel Tree Blog, you’ll know that we freaking love Onzie. They basically rock our socks right off. Their styles never cease to impress, and their latest line, the Electric Light Collection, features sweet new patterns that will look just as cute on your mat as they would with a pair of pumps. Above, the Triangle Bra and Motopant in Black Mesh are all the rage. Use the code TRAVELTREE20 for 20% off your order.

 

The Yoga BADASS

Yoga Badass

1. Sankalpa Yoga Mats are one part yoga mat, one part work of art, and two parts freaking awesome. These Eco-friendly mats are sure to inspire your downward facing dog, and help you find your inner calm. This isn't your run of the mill yoga mat company either. Each mat is designed by an individual artist to represent an individual yogi, making each design an actual piece of art. Best of all, every purchase of a mat supports the yoga community directly by benefiting both the yogi the mat represents, and the artist who created the design. How cool is that?! Use the code TravelTree25 for 25% off all products on the website.

2. LVR’s Fold Over Yoga Capris are definitely the next step in yoga pants. Far from the see-through synthetic counterparts, these organic gems out-perform and out-style the completion with far less of an impact on planet earth. They’re super soft, and sure to stay in place through the toughest of flows. Use the code YOGATRAVELTREE25 for 25% off your order.

3. Keeping the ladies in place while inverted is a challenge. Seriously, it can be harder than titibasana. Thankfully, Hot Chakras Yoga Tops are both cute, functional and flattering. Use the code YOGATT for 10$ off all bras, leggings, capris, shorts and mala beads.

4. Yoga for Men has done it again with their Bhujang Style Slim Yoga Pants. A far cry from the ‘meggings’ of late, these pants are high-functioning, without being constraining. They’re both flattering and comfortable. In these, you’ll be ready for a day on your mat, and a night on the town.

5. Good Marvin’s large style yoga bag is perfect for the seasoned yogi: it's big enough to fit all your props, and stylish enough to carry around town. With a ton of styles and patterns, every yogi can find the perfect mat bag from Good Mavin. Use the code YOGATT20 for 20% off your order.

 

Want more ideas? Check out the 2014 and 2013 versions of the Gift Guide!

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Announcing Yoga Retreat Giveaway!

We're giving the gift of travel!

One lucky yogi will be going with us to Costa Rica for free, and it could be you! With the help of some marvelous sponsors, we're able to set up an Instagram based loop giveaway that will change someone's life.

That's right, this is for REAL! The winner of this giveaway will enjoy all yoga retreat activities, food, and amazing adventures around Costa Rica, all courtesy of a group of yogis and heart-centered companies.

Enter between June 16th and 18th for a chance to win a Yoga Travel Tree Yoga Adventure Retreat to Costa Rica valued at over $2,000!

This giveaway is open to any yogi with valid passport and who has the ability to travel to Costa Rica!

How it Works, and How to Enter

This is a loop giveaway! What does that mean?

  1. Begin with any sponsor
  2. FOLLOW them on Instagram
  3. FIND the giveaway image on their Instagram account
  4. LIKE this post
  5. TAP on the photo to see where to go next
  6. OPTIONAL: For additional 3 entries under your name, tag 3 REAL friends in the comment section. You can also tag 5 friends for additional 5 entries. (No celeb, giveaway hosts, or fake accounts allowed or your entry will be disqualified.) Once you've made your way back here, you have completed your entry!

Please remember YOU MUST FOLLOW EVERYONE IN THE LOOP TO QUALIFY. We will be triple checking that everyone is followed by the winner!

All entries must be submitted by June 18, 10 PM PST. We ask that PRIVATE accounts are made PUBLIC during the giveaway in order to be entered.

The winner will be announced on June 22, we thank you in advance for your patience while we verify all the entries. Fake or Giveaway-Only accounts will be disqualified. We truly appreciate your support! Good luck!

 Ristrictions

  • Friends and family of loop hosts/sponsors are not allowed to enter.
  • Accommodation is double occupancy.
  • Giveaway only applies to the September 27-October 4, 2015 Yoga Adventure to Costa Rica.
  • International winner must have a valid passport to travel.
  • Must be 18 to win.
  • Winner may be responsible for additional taxes/fees/non-included meals/other exclusions listed on the Yoga Travel Tree website.
  • Airfare to Costa Rica not included.
  • Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram's term of use.

The Lovely Sponsors

We'd like to say a special thanks to the following sponsors, without them we would never be able to give the gift of travel during this giveaway!

@YogaTravelTree

@Rima_Danielle

@Kate_Towell

@Fractal.9

@Sarechaederra

@Sunkissedyogi

@SularaWear

@Angela_Jean_Yoga

@BarbaraCampinsYogaAndWellness

@VagabondGoods

@AlexisGirlNovak

@yvwiyoga

@MyMatMyMantra

@OneDowndog

@CostaRima

@Jennk10

@YogasanaMats

Trip Details

8 Days, 7 Nights Yoga Adventure Retreat to Costa Rica

With Rima Jomaa & Yoga Travel Tree

September 27-October 4, 2015

Do yoga every day, volunteer with the local community, snorkel with turtles, hike through waterfalls, do SUP yoga in the ocean, relax on serene beaches, and so much more on this Yoga Travel Tree Adventure around beautiful Costa Rica!

When you think of stunning landscapes, lush rainforests, unique wildlife, and pristine sand beaches, Costa Rica should spring to mind. This compact, 7-Day experience allows you to see the natural beauty of this country for yourself, while enjoying invigorating and relaxing yoga practices daily. We guide you from the city of San Jose to the beaches and jungles of Jaco, Montezuma and Santa Teresa, covering a wide variety of local experiences along the way. A guided hike to Montezuma’s waterfalls, learning to cook the local cuisine, and time to laze on private beaches provide the perfect accents for your discovery of Costa Rica’s splendors.

And no Yoga Travel Tree experience is complete without the opportunity to give back to these amazing communities. We’ll spend a day getting our hands dirty during a Seva, or selfless service, project in the town of Santa Teresa.

To learn more about the trip, see the itinerary, meet our lead instructor Rima, and more, click the banner below and visit the Costa Rica Retreat Page!

Costa Rica

 

Five Extremely Good Ways to Make Money While Traveling

Image Credit:  mendhak


Traveling is a passion for many of us yoga teachers.  We are all trying to find ways in which we can afford to travel and share our passion for yoga-without completely breaking the bank.  But it doesn't have to be as difficult as you might think.  There are numerous ways to make extra cash and save money on your travels, as long as you're willing to be creative.  These odd jobs may not be careers, but the following ways to make money on the road will have you teaching and traveling in no time!

Option 1: For the Writer – Blogging

Do you already have a blog with a decent following?

If so, then a great way to continue to fund your travels while you spread yogic joy across the world is to use advertisements on your blog.  Contextual advertisement avenues, such as Yahoo Publisher, Adbrite, and Google AdSense, are great examples of easy-to-use contextual ads.

Have a super-popular blog?  Try being picked up by an advertising network such as Blogads or BuzzMachine.

Don’t have a big enough following for context or advertising networks? Try using these methods:

Affiliation Advertising - Are your blog visitors apt to make online purchases?  Sites like Amazon offer affiliate sales-anytime someone makes a purchase from your website, you get a commission!

Linking - Use websites such as LinkAdage to change the hyperlinks in your blog to advertise for specific companies who will pay you to have their site come up if a reader clicks on the link.

Don’t have a blog but enjoy writing?

Try your hand at writing some creative and unique articles for companies such as Yoga International and Strong Whispers. These blogs have great online traffic, which in-turn, can link back to your site or blog to create a larger following.  They will even pay you for your article!

Option 2: For the Analyst – Transcriptionist

If you’re a skilled typist and don’t mind sitting at a computer for a couple hours, then this option might be good for you.

As someone who grew up in a generation of computers, I consider myself to be a skilled typist, which definitely comes in handy with this line of work.

There are a ton of sites out there that offer transcription services.  As a volunteer yoga teacher at a yoga retreat center in Costa Rica (Blue Osa), I have a lot of work that needs to get done.  I also want to experience the beautiful place that surrounds me, so my time to make money can be very limited.  That’s why I chose the site Scribie. Not only did they have good reviews, but they also give me the flexibility to work on what I want, when I want.  Scribie allows me to work around my own schedule and pick up transcriptions as I have time.  Now, the pay isn’t the highest, but it’s extra cash for work that is not too demanding and I can usually find some extra time to do one or two before bed.

A few other transcription site options are: e4s.co.uk, etranscriptionjob.com, & Athreon.com.

Each transcription site varies on how they assign work, so when you’re researching for places to apply, make sure that you are able to fulfill their requirements while you’re traveling.

Option 3: For the Creatively Talented

Websites such as ODesk and CreativeCircle offer options for the wanderlust soul to work as a freelancer, offering your skill sets remotely for various businesses.  Skill sets vary from customer service, writing, graphic design, web design, data entry and more.  All you have to do is set up your profile and start applying!

Hint: Pay attention to what you are applying for.  Although many of the jobs offered allow you to work remotely, some businesses prefer you to be on-site, so be sure to apply for a job that you know you can commit to.

Option 4: For the Crafty Cat – Jewelry Making

Who doesn’t love to pick up some unique souvenirs and jewelry while traveling across the world?  Why can’t you be the one making those?

During my yogic volunteering experience at Blue Osa in Costa Rica I met this amazing individual who funded an entire year of living in Costa Rica simply by making cool looking bracelets.  I’m sadly not the crafty type, or else I would totally do this too!

If you know how to make bracelets or necklaces then bring that skill with you on your travels!  Things such as string and rope are relatively easy to come by while traveling—and inexpensive. For example, a spool of one color of thread in Costa Rica is about $2.50 and you can make a few bracelets out of this and charge $5 per bracelet.  After your first sale you’ve already doubled your investment and have extra thread to make more!

As a traveling yoga teacher, you can end up having a lot of free time, either at the place you are working or traveling between different destinations. Use this time while you’re sitting on the beach, laying in the hammock, or taking a bus ride, and start putting together a few different bracelets & necklaces.

After you have a couple made, give one to your host.  See if the place you are staying at has a store or small shop that you can sell them at.  Negotiate with them for commission for being able to sell your bracelets/necklaces at their place.

Hint: A great way to add some special local flavor (and enhance your sales) is to collect things from the area, such as seashells from the beach, and add them as charms to your jewelry.

Making jewelry is a ton of work, but it also can be very meditative and rewarding. So think of it as a expanding your meditation practice while making money on the road!

Option 5: For the Jack-of-All-Trades

Sometimes while you’re traveling it’s not about making money, it’s about saving it.  Think of all of the wonderful skill sets that you have and see how you can cleverly use them for trades.

Here are a few ideas:

You are a traveling Yoga Teacher!  What is cooler than that?  If you’re taking a break from volunteering and traveling the countryside, see if you can trade a private yoga class for a free night and some food.

Did you study Massage?  Reflexology?  Chakra Balancing?  See if you can trade a special skill set that you’ve learned for a ride to the town you’re headed towards!

How about photography?  Offer to take pictures for their website in exchange for a night or two.

Handy with a computer or publisher?  Offer to trade some computer work, like inputting data, designing flyers, etc. for a couple free yoga classes.

The most important thing to remember is to be creative with your skills.  Everybody has something unique and special to offer to the world.  Utilize your skills, pursue some acts of karma yoga, and don’t be afraid to show off that Wanderlusting Yogi Spirit!


Teach for Yoga Travel Tree!


Beth - Headshot for BioBio:

Elizabeth Arnold is a 200-hour registered yoga teacher, certified Thai Bodywork Practitioner, and world traveler. She left her corporate life in 2014 to explore the meaning of life through yoga, natural healing & travel. She is currently writing from Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa in Costa Rica where she serves as a volunteer. You can find out more about Elizabeth on her site at www.bethanneyoga.com

 

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What, Why, Try: 4 Yoga Props to Deepen Your Practice

Image Credit:  Rachel A. K.


Look around any yoga studio, and you’ll find an arsenal of blocks, straps, blankets, bolsters and more. Just like us, yoga props come in all shapes, sizes, colors and forms. Figuring out how, why and when to use them can be a daunting task. Use the guide below to kick start propping your practice.

The Story behind Props

Props make yoga accessible and more achievable to beginners, and give well-seasoned practitioners’ that extra umph needed to take poses to the next level. Props aid us in keeping our practice safe; props allow us to refine our alignment, help us balance, and create space, length and support for us to deepen into poses. We use props to set ourselves up for success in our practice, to lend support while we build strength and flexibility, and to give us the confidence to take our poses to the next level.

1.  YOGA MAT

What it is:

A yoga mat is oftentimes the very first prop we encounter in yoga practice. A mat is a flat piece of non-slip textile, is generally rectangular in shape and is available in a variety of colors, designs, materials, and sizes.

Why We Use it:

We use a mat to keep our hands and feet from slipping out from underneath us as we move through practice. A good yoga mat offers plenty of grip to help keep us in postures until we build enough strength to hold poses without aid.

Try it:

Experiment with a matless practice by taking downward facing dog for a walk. Pop your mat down on a wooden, tile or firm surface of any kind. Settle into downdog in the center of your mat and spend five breaths here.

Walk your dog toward the back of the mat and position toes on back edge. Firm core and thighs, push down through hands, and step both feet off the back of the mat onto the floor. Hold for five breaths, and come to downdog in the center of your mat once more. Now walk your dog toward the top of your mat. Find strength in your shoulders, anchor through legs, firm your belly and place hands in front of mat on bare floor. Hold for five breaths, and release.

Notice what happened? Without a mat under your hands or feet, it might have been much more challenging to hold downdog. You may have noticed new muscles firing up to keep your hands and feet in position. Once you’ve aced hands and feet off your mat, you’re ready to try downward dog with no mat at all!

 2.  BLOCK

What it is:

A yoga block is a high-density cube (usually 9 inch x 6 inch x 4 inch or 3 inch, but more sizes are available) typically made of cork, foam, bamboo or wood.

Why We Use it:

Anytime our hands can’t comfortably touch the ground in lunges or folds is a great time to bring a block into the picture. We use blocks to refine alignment and help us maintain balance.

Try it:

There are a million and one different ways to use blocks. Here are two we’re sure you’ll love:

-Place a block under each hand in forward fold to bear the weight of arms and shoulders.

-Place a block just inside front foot in Triangle. Place bottom hand on block to stabilize your balance and maintain length in both side bodies.

In any pose we feel the need to bring the floor up to meet our hands (since we can’t always make our hands reach the floor), recruit a block or two to lend support. 

3.  STRAP

What it is:

A yoga strap is long, belt-like length of nylon, cotton or blend that has some type of buckle or cinch attached to the end.

Why We Use it:

Use a strap to deepen poses and achieve proper alignment.

Try it:

Hand to foot pose (standing, seated or reclined) is prime candidate for strapping. Practice using a strap in seated with one leg extended. Use buckle at the end of strap to create a loop just big enough to slide over toes. Position the strap on the ball of your extended foot. Firm top of extended thigh, find length in the spine, and gently pull on the long end of the strap to draw toes toward knee. Try in reclined and standing as well, and feel how the strap aids in straightening the spine.

Superhero Warrior II pose by positioning loop around the upper front thigh, tail of strap facing out. Create tension in strap with front hand. Guide strap toward butt to use as leverage to exaggerate external rotation in thigh bone, and feel a deepening into your lunge.

 

4.  BLANKET

What it is:

A yoga blanket is a woven 88 inch x 65 inch blanket made of a variety of materials (typically cotton, wool or synthetics) and is available in a variety of colors and patterns.

Why We Use it:

Yoga blankets are no one-trick ponies. Blankets are used to give us extra padding (think kneeling poses), to relieve pressure on joints, and help us deepen into our poses.

Try it:

Blankets can be folded and rolled nearly every which way. Enjoy blankets in one of three ways during Savasana:

-roll blanket up entirely from shoulder-stand height and place under knees for support,

-fold blanket in three (keep the folded edge long) to place under shoulder blades to create opening in the chest,

-or open blanket up entirely to stay toasty warm by covering your body completely.

Yoga props exist all around us. Walls, chairs, even other people can and are used as props in getting the most from our practice. A well-trained teacher, like the ones you’ll find on Yoga Travel Tree retreats and teacher trainings, can help guide you through the many uses and applications of props. By incorporating props into practice, we can safely support, deepen and refine poses while building strength and flexibility along the way.

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Explore Turkey and Get Your Yoga On Along the Way!

Image credit: Matthias Rhomberg


 

Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey offers a unique spiritual journey for yoga enthusiasts.  I, along with a group of almost 30 individuals, experienced that unique spiritual journey first-hand on a yoga retreat organized last summer by Sun & Moon Yoga Studio in Arlington, Virginia.

Infused with centuries-old history, diverse cultural heritage and a beautiful landscape, our more than 1,600-mile journey took us to several amazing places, but I’ve listed below the top 6 destinations as a sample itinerary so you can explore Turkey for your next yoga adventure.

Image: Filip Knežić

1.  Start your journey in Istanbul

A natural bridge between East and West, Istanbul has been home to many civilizations, from Romans to Byzantines to Ottomans. Imprints of these diverse civilizations makes the Istanbul skyline an ideal backdrop for outdoor yoga sessions. When arriving in Istanbul, don’t forget to cruise the Bosphorus, a great way to adjust to a new time zone. After a morning yoga session, start your day with a visit to Spice Bazaar and awaken your senses further with hundreds of colorful flavors from all over the world. Complete your cultural immersion by visiting one of the many historical mosques.

2.  Gallipoli

Gallipoli is right at the Dardanelles Straits, which is also an important site for Australians and New Zealanders whose family members fought there during the First World War. Surrounded by ancient and contemporary history, our group held a sunset meditation for world peace and harmony atop remnants of a Turkish bunker at the tip of Eastern Europe right where the Dardanelles meet the Aegean Sea. 2015 is the 100th year Anniversary of Gallipoli Campaign, a perfect opportunity to wish for peace and harmony through yoga.

Once you are in Gallipoli, cross the Dardanelles by ferry to Asia and check out the site of the legendary city of Troy, an ideal location to have another yoga session on the soil on which Helen once lived!

Photo Credit: Lincoln McCurdy

3.  Temple of Athena

Assos, home of the Temple of Athena is just an hour drive from Troy. Our group visited the Temple of Athena right before the sunset. We held a meditation near the Temple of Athena, overlooking Edremit Bay and the Greek Island of Lesbos. Following our yoga session, we swam in the enchanting waters of the Aegean Sea.

4.  Hot springs in Pamukkale

Translating to “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, Pamukkale is one of the most fascinating destinations in Turkey with its white terraces filled with thermal water. Together with the nearby ancient city of Hierapolis, Pamukkale is a World Heritage Site. The ancient Roman baths in Pamukkale, where Cleopatra is

Image: Lincoln McCurdy

reputed to have swum, turned out to be the perfect spot for our group to experience how the thermal hot springs provide buoyancy to the body and ease the stretches of some favorite yoga poses.

5.  Cappadocia

Our group continued from the Aegean Coast to the mystical lunar landscape in Cappadocia in central Anatolia after passing through Konya, where 13th century poet and Sufi mystic Rumi’s tomb is located. Our meditation sessions throughout central Anatolia embraced Rumi’s peaceful poetry and philosophy, and we were able to squeeze in a live performance of whirling dervishes.

6.  Back to Istanbul

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 11.32.53 AM

To recover from the last bus ride, start your day in Istanbul with a restorative yoga session facing the beautiful skyline view of old Istanbul from a rooftop near the Golden Horn.

Continue your Istanbul tour at the magnificent Hagia Sophia, a true fusion of East and West. The symbols of Christianity and Islam adorn the walls of Hagia Sophia, which is now a museum. Topkapi Palace is another must see before departing Istanbul. Check out the living quarters occupied by Ottoman Sultans for nearly 400 years. Then experience centuries-old Ottoman culture at the Blue Mosque through the bright blue tiles that give the historic structure its name. After tasting Ottoman cuisine in Nar Restaurant, shop your way through Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest and oldest covered markets with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops. Before relaxing with an afternoon yoga session, visit the Basilica Cistern from the 6th century and wonder how and why one of the Medusa pillars was placed upside down. End your day with a rooftop meditation listening to the night-time sounds of Istanbul. On the day of your departure, relax in a Turkish bath and enjoy a massage.

Air travel for the entire group was made on Turkish Airlines, which has been voted as the number one airline in Europe. Turkish Airlines offers direct flights from several points in the U.S. to Istanbul.

 

Amir Tahami and Annie Moyer, directors/instructors at Sun & Moon Studio, in collaboration with Lincoln McCurdy, a dedicated yogi and president of the Turkish Coalition of America, organized the spiritual trip through Turkey in the Summer of 2014.

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How Much Should You Spend on a Yoga Teacher Training?

  It seems like there are hundreds of Yoga Teacher Trainings to choose from these days, all over the world! It can be very tricky to determine the value of these trainings and to decide which is the best training for you. Before you continue on, consider what your goals for taking the training are, and what your dream job would be. Do you want to teach at your local studio, do you want to travel and teach retreats, do you want to teach at big-name studios, and/or do you want to teach workshops around the world? Perhaps you want to teach at yoga festivals or perhaps you simply want to learn more about yoga! It’s important to be clear on what you’d like to accomplish, so you can make an informed decision when choosing your training. Using a similar scoring system that we used to help us gauge the value of a yoga retreat, below are 6 contributing factors to help you pick the right teacher training program for you! [wp_ad_camp_1]

 

1. The Trainer(s)

The trainer(s) of the teacher training program will have a large influence on the price of the training. There are many “big” names in yoga nowadays, and that can be important for you based on your goals with your teaching. If you have big dreams to become a world-renowned yoga instructor, it might be important for you to seek out a training with a well-known, or well-trained teacher who has studied with top yogis and/or who has many credentials/trainings under their belt. Alternatively, you may just be interested in teaching locally where you live or learning more about the practice of yoga itself, in which case the “name” behind the training won’t be as important, but always make sure your trainers have the right credentials! The more hours, the better.

Give the training...

  • 2 points - if the training is held by a well-known name in yoga or has 800+ hours of training.

2. Yoga Alliance Registered

Many studios require that you do your training with a Yoga Alliance Registered School. The Yoga Alliance has specific curriculum standards for programs to meet this registration, and you will be registered with the Yoga Alliance as a teacher if you go through such a program. It's a standard for yoga teachers and is said to increase credibility for teachers. This may be important for you, depending on your overall goals. Determine if this registration will aid you in your career.

  • 2 points - if the training is a Yoga Alliance Registered Program.

3. Location

How Much Should Your Yoga Teacher Training Cost? - www.YogaTravelTree.com

Some trainings like to combine travel with the program. This can be a fun way to step outside of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in your program and your surroundings. You'll have to make sure you can afford to spend this time away from work and home, of course, which can be tricky! If you'd love to visit Bali or Costa Rica for an extended period of time, a teacher training program abroad might be perfect for you. It's important to determine what the overall costs of your time abroad will be, including the training itself, accommodations and lodging, travel there/back and within the country, and food/drinks. Is any of this included? That will bump up the price, of course! If these factors aren't included, the training itself might still be more based on the novelty of such a training. Determine is this is desirable for you!

  • 3 points - Training is in an exotic vacation location & includes lodging or other things in the price,
  • 2 points - Training is in an exotic vacation location but doesn't include anything else in the price, or training is in a well-known city that could help foster connections.
  • 0 points - Training is close to home and doesn't incorporate vacation.

 

4. Reputation of the Studio & School

Is the reputation of the studio and the school important for your needs? Trainings at places like YogaWorks, for example, enable you to teach at many studios and come backed by the reputation of the studio. In fact, you can only teach at YogaWorks if you've done their training, because of their high standards and focus on alignment and safety. If you're not certified by them but want to teach there, you would have to take a bridge program or retake their training to qualify. This could get even pricier than opting for their training in the first place, so it's important to consider where you want to teach. Do research on the places you're considering and seek out reviews from past students, or find out what past students are doing now. The bigger the name of the studio, the costlier the training will be, and with good reason! It's like with universities and colleges - you may pay more to attend a big name university, but being an alumni of that university may carry perks for your entire career.

  • 3 points - studio and school are well-known internationally and you can teach almost anywhere if you take their training,
  • 2 points - studio has high standards, but may not be internationally known or may only have one studio,
  • 1 point - studio and/or training program are new and not as known/recognized.

 

5. 200, 300, or 500 Hour Training

As far as the standard for yoga teacher trainings go, there are different levels that you can take. You can do a 200 hour, a 300 hour, or a 500 hour training. While there are many different kinds and focuses of trainings that you can do, these are the main ways that the trainings are categorized. A 200 hour is a great introduction to teaching and will enable to teach at many locals studios. To teach at the well-known studios, most require a 500 hour training program, which you can do all at once if you're able to. Or you can break it up and do the 200 hour first, then a 300 hour later to equal to a 500 hour program.

  • 3 points - 500 hour teacher training,
  • 2 points - 300 hour teacher training,
  • 1 point - 200 hour teacher training.

 

6. Special Niche or Specific Type of Yoga

How Much Should Your Yoga Teacher Training Cost? - www.YogaTravelTree.com

The final thing I would consider when determining how much I should spend on a teacher training is what the focus of the training will be. There are many different schools of Yoga these days that offer trainings to get into their studio, and you must determine if this is important to you. The sticker price on these specialized trainings can increase dramatically depending on what it is, so be sure this is in line with what you want to teach or learn moving forward. For instance, the program may be focused on yoga for pregnant women, on the psychology of yoga, on Jivamukti Yoga, and more!

  • 3 points - training is highly specialized and can't be found in many places, and is required to teach a certain style or in a certain studio.
  • 2 points - training focuses on a specific skill or philosophy,
  • 1 point - training is a general, well-rounded curriculum.

 

Points Breakdown: How much should you be paying?

  • 0 – 4 = $999 – $1999 A training that gets 1 – 3 points using this system is perfect for the future teacher that might want to teach locally in their community, just learn about yoga, and/or is on a budget!
  • 5 – 7 = $2000 – $2999 A training that carries some special features but is still affordable for most!
  • 8 – 10 = $3000 – $3999 A training that is probably with a well-recognized school and/or a known teacher, or offers something unique in it's program.
  • 11 + = $4000 and up - I've seen trainings go for even $6500 - $10,000 so it can really vary based on your goals. If your potential program landed in this category, you most likely have specific goals and needs and probably know what you want to do with your training. Or perhaps you've taken a 200 hour training and want to invest in a better 300 / 500 hour training to take you further in your career, and so you're willing to invest a lot to go after it.

 

This system should be used as a guide to help understand the general value of teacher trainings. There are a variety of factors to consider when pricing a training and some aren’t mentioned here. This is a starting off point, and keep in mind that low scores don’t imply anything about the quality of the training or experience! All have something to offer, depending on your budget and preferences, so don’t be deterred by a “low score” using this scale.

 

Images via: @olya_barbie, @erikalimayoga

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Get Some Yoga Travel Tree Gear! On Sale Now!

Great news for travelers, yogis, and everyone in between! Now YOU can get your mitts on our official Yoga Travel Tree swag!

Previously only found on sweepstakes winners and the Yoga Travel Tree team, our performance tee's and luggage tags can now be yours!

We're debuting our shop on Etsy with a new addition: the "Will Travel for Yoga" Racerback Tank. We had originally planned to release it at the Wanderlust Festival in Squaw Valley, but we decided it's just too cool not to share right now!

Will Travel for Yoga Tank - www.YogaTravelTree.com

Made of 100% natural cotton, it's soft, breathable and versatile. Wear it on the mat, on the run, or out to lunch! And with three color combos, there's one that's sure to call your name.

 

Check out our new shop on Etsy for the latest gear. Show some yoga love and get you some! #findyouryoga

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10 Insider Tips for Getting the Best Flight Deal

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There is so much varying advice out there on how, when and where to purchase airfare online. It takes a lot of research to find consistent tips and even then it’s a game of roulette, playing the complicated and constantly changing algorithms. The best thing you can do for yourself when it comes to playing the online airfare game, is to bring patience and calm to the table. Here’s my advice for finding the best fare while maintaining some semblance of sanity and peace.

 

1. Collect Tips from Experienced Travelers

Start talking about your travel plans early and collecting tips from other travelers. Keep your ears open and listen for websites or travel planning methods you've never heard of or considered before. Keep a notebook with you or a memo pad in your phone dedicated to travel data collection.

 

2. Know Your Budget

Outline your total trip budget, including airfare. I always budget at least $1,000 for an international flight and about $400 for a domestic one. I’m usually able to meet those numbers, give or take, and any overage or underage comes from or gets added to my overall trip budget. This way you’re still on track with your budget even if your flight costs a little more than you anticipated; you’ll just have a little more or less to spend on Italian coffee.

 

3. Set Aside Time for Research

If you only have 15 minutes to peruse and compare the sites, you’re not going to get anywhere. Clear your computer’s desktop and close all the open tabs. Create space and time for your search (and for all those pop up search windows). Once you get serious, consciously set aside anywhere from one to three hours to comparison shop the sites and narrow down your flight options. Take notes on what site you found what fare on, or copy and paste the itinerary to a separate document so you remember what options you’re comparing. Get organized so you don’t go crazy. Be prepared to book when the reasonably priced, ideal fare within your budget comes along.

 

4. When to Buy

Consistent advice says to book 6-8 weeks in advance. Don’t book too early and don't wait too long. The old rule about booking far out in advance is obsolete unless you're traveling during a holiday or at the height of peak season. In fact, ticket prices will be higher a year out than they will be as the flight gets closer. When it gets to be about a month from the flight, prices will either dip low or shoot up high. I prefer not to take the chance of rates going way up and miss my window for a reasonable fare, but that gamble can certainly pay off.

There is a lot of speculation about what day of the week to book your online ticket. I’ve read articles that say to book on Wednesday at 1am, to only book in the morning, to book on Tuesdays and even research as specific as recommending to book on Tuesdays at 3pm. The only consistent advice I've found, is to book midweek after the weekend rush. Tuesday through Thursday seems to be the best time to find good deals.

 

5. How & Where to Shop

Have a go-to first search, on a site like kayak.com. This is your comfort zone search and where you'll go to get a frame of reference. Choose an aggregator that will comparison shop for you. For instance, Kayak automatically compares with sites like Orbitz, Travelocity and Priceline among many others to bring up the best fares among that collection. Once you’ve identified the best fare on Kayak, you’ll have a place to begin your own comparison shopping.

For your next step, choose an international aggregator like Skyscanner or Momondo. This ensures your search will include international budget airlines like Ryan Air and others that don’t come up on US based booking sites. No booking sites offer all the information, so your best bet is to use several different engines.

 

6. Things to Know Before You Book

Once you've identified one airline as having the best fare, you should go directly to the airline’s website to compare. Often, that fare will be offered at the same price as the aggregator, possibly even cheaper. When booking directly through the airline website, I have found future communication and changes/cancellations easier to deal with. But even then, it’s a benefit I spring for only when it saves me money or costs the same as purchasing through the aggregator.

If you find two flights with the same or similar fares on different airlines, choose the airline that offers your miles or affiliate miles rewards program so you can get added frequent flyer benefits. Often airlines will have an alliance or family of different airlines whose miles can be used in tandem, for instance American Airlines miles can be accumulated when flying British Airways, etc.

 

7. Recommended Travel Sites

The following sites seem to be the most popular and, from my experience, the best to compare when booking international flights. Again, keep your ears open for sites friends have used and had success with and add them to your list:

 

8. Search Tools & Tricks

On Kayak and other sites, you can search itineraries with anywhere from zero to 2+ stops. Pay attention and make sure all options are checked to increase your fare options and comparisons. Sometimes flights with two or more stops are cheaper, sometimes they’re more expensive.

  • Most sites, including Kayak, allow you to search fares based on your flexibility with a fare calendar or +/-3 days option.
  • Kayak also offers advice and price trends, but remember, it's still a gamble. There is no sure way of predicting when trends will shift.
  • Make sure to check the option for nearby airports if you are at all flexible with your travel destination.
  • Plan your trip for the off-peak season.
  • Fly midweek, not on peak weekend travel days like Friday or Sunday.
  • Extend your long layovers to maximize time on the ground and see the cities in between your destinations.

 

9. Other Advice

Know how many stops your chosen itinerary has and make sure the cost of money versus time is worth it to you.

Pay attention to the number of travel hours on your itinerary. In one search I did, itineraries to and from the same destinations were anywhere from 16-42 hours. Even if the cost of the flight is much cheaper on the 42 hour journey, you may end up with an overnight layover and have to spring for transportation and hotel stay in your layover destination.

Budget airlines in Europe, like Ryan Air, offer very cheap flights but severely limit luggage allowances, sometimes only allowing one piece of specifically sized carry-on luggage. Make sure to check luggage regulations and pack/prepare accordingly.

I find it worthwhile to compare one-way tickets against round trip fares. I highly recommend searching one-way tickets, but know that you may be selected for additional security screening on a one-way ticket and plan accordingly.

Know the tourist visa guidelines and limitations in the country you are visiting. I once booked my travel for a 32 day stay in Bali and then found out my tourist landing visa was only good for 30 days. Overlooking things like this can end up being very expensive, even dangerous. It’s also important to know which countries, like India, require advance visas. You’ll need to have proof of a booked itinerary in order to procure these visas and you want to allow plenty of time for that process.

 

10. Don't Drive Yourself Crazy

10 Insider Tips for Getting the Best Flight Deal - www.YogaTravelTree.com

You've chosen travel as a way to enjoy and experience the world. Keep in mind that how you treat this process is the beginning of how your journey will unfold. Do your due diligence, find a great deal and pull the trigger. The sooner you buy your ticket, the sooner you get to move on to the fun part of planning your trip. So, if it's within your budget and doesn't cost you tens of hours in layovers, consider it a good deal, buy your ticket and start getting excited about your trip instead of spending hours on the internet playing this infuriating game.

Once you've booked your flight, stop looking. Know that there will always be cheaper flights, that's just the reality. Don't beat yourself up over it. Settle into your choice and head to the bookstore to begin your mission to find your destination's best travel guide…

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Kristin Daemon is a yoga teacher, freelance writer and owner of Seaside Yoga, the first yoga studio in the small town of Seaside, Oregon on the rugged, Pacific Northwest coast.  You can find and friend her on Facebook or check out and follow her blog, kristindaemon.com.

Images via: @dana_nicole11, @kinoyoga

5 Options for Healthcare You've Never Thought About

[wp_ad_camp_1] With recent changes in healthcare policies, many people are finding themselves unhappy with their options, confused about how their new policy works, or finding they are unable to get an appointment with their physician. Many people are still under the misconception they have no other alternatives to public healthcare. But in fact, there are other practices out there. Here are five viable options for alternative healthcare.

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific acupoints along the skin of the body that involves various methods such as:

  • Application of heat
  • Pressure points
  • Laser
  • Penetration of thin needles

A branch of traditional Chinese medicine, acutherapy is one of the most popular forms of alternative medicine. The ultimate goal with acupuncture is to stimulate the areas of pain and eventually heal them without needing scientific medicinal processes like surgery or prescription drugs.

2. Chiropractic

Chiropractic treatment is a form of alternative medicine that deals with the healing and prevention of mechanical disorders of the neuro-musculoskletal system. Chiropractors place an emphasis on manual therapy of spinal manipulation and other joint and soft tissue techniques. Like acupuncture, chiropractics are for the purpose of manipulating the muscles back into perfect order without needing surgery.

3. Concierge Medicine

Concierge medicine is a form of private healthcare where the patient pays an annual fee or retainer directly to the physician instead of the insurance company. One of the benefits of using concierge medicine is that the patient deals directly with the doctor; thus there is no insurance middleman.

Companies like MDVIP provide private healthcare for an affordable rate. MDVIP concierge doctors are able to develop a relationship with their patients because they are not inundated with patients like public healthcare doctors.

4. Direct Primary Healthcare

Similar to private concierge care, many doctors are either considering this route or have already chosen this option because it provides better care to their patients. Direct primary healthcare is a doctor-patient relationship where the patient pays an annual fee or monthly fee directly to the doctor without any insurance requirement because these doctors have decided to opt out of traditional healthcare or a government insurance exchange.

Not only can direct primary care, also known as DPC, turn out to be more affordable, but it also provides better care to the patient. This is because the doctors can know their patients on a more personal issue and spend plenty of time with each visit instead of having to cut appointments short because of an influx of patients and is available to their patients at any time.

5. Healthcare Sharing Ministry

This option is an alternative to a normal insurance policy and is a voluntary, charitable membership with different organizations that share medical expenses amongst the enrollees. Members of these organizations are exempt from paying the tax for being uninsured, and the cost tends to be about half that of Obamacare. These organizations are not government regulated and include names like:

  • Samaritan Ministries
  • Christian Healthcare Ministries
  • Christian Care Ministry
  • Liberty Health Share

From private healthcare to muscle manipulation there are plenty of public healthcare alternatives to suit anyone’s needs.

8 Reasons to Do Yoga in College

1. Finals

Yoga is a great stress reliever. Simple, beginner yoga poses like downward facing dog and childs pose help relieve tense muscles that carry a lot of stress like your neck, shoulders, and back. They also help loosen up parts of your body that you typically don’t focus on such as your face, jaw, fingers and wrists. Deep breathing, like you do when practicing yoga, can help reduce test anxiety. Just 30 minutes of yoga and breath work can ease stress level and help your mind function better.

 

2. Yoga Pants

A yogi always has a vast variety of comfortable yoga pants and adorable tops to throw on when you’re running late to class or work. These outfits are usually also very flattering so no need to worry about that big breakfast you just scarfed down. Plus, every guy enjoys watching a girl running late to class in yoga pants!

 

3. Summer is Coming!

Yoga is great way to get trimmed down for bikini season. It’s time to start knocking off that last beer bong you took last Friday night and start warrior posing back into that bikini bod. In a typical vinyasa yoga class, you can burn anywhere from 150-250calories per hour. By adding weights or heat to your practice, you can burn up to twice that amount! Yoga is also all about your core, so six pack abs here you come!

 

4. Detox

It’s been a long semester; college can take a tole on your body. Between stress, staying up late and eating only somewhat edible "food", any college body could use some cleansing. A buildup of toxins can lead to severe fatigue, muscle ache, joint pain, sinus congestion, heart burn, digestive complications, sleeping problems, and much more. Yoga, especially heated variations, is an excellent way to get rid of all those nasty toxins building up in your body.

 

5. Get Fit on Your Own Time

Don’t have time to fit a work out in with your hectic college lifestyle? That’s okay, who does? Between work, school, internships and a social life, it’s hard to find time to work out! The great thing about yoga is that you only really need your body, and you can practice just about anywhere. A mat would be helpful, but any old towel or the grass outside your calculus class will work too. Practice a few poses and try them in between classes or on your lunch break.

 

do yoga in college yogatraveltree

 

6. It Makes You Happy

Drinking, smoking, stress, less sleep, unhealthy, cheap meals: the college life, and a recipe for illness. Poor breathing has been highly correlated with heart disease and high blood pressure.Yoga can regulate your sleeping habits, increase blood flow, improve brain function, detox the body, and improve mood. Breathing is half of your yoga practice, and optimal breathing can decrease anxiety, depression and aide in weight loss. Being kind to your body influences your mind. When your body’s healthy, people are typically happier, more outgoing, worry-free, and clear-headed. 

 

7. Keep it Cheap

If you'd like to attend formal classes, many University campuses include recreation fees with tuition costs. Take advantage of any discounted yoga classes! Other affordable alternatives include home practice, online classes, or practicing with friends. All you really need to know is a few key poses and practice those as much as you'd like. Ask some friends to teach you a few of their favorites, or get online and take an online class. Push yourself and become your own instructor. You don’t need a fancy studio or gym to practice yoga.

 

8. Personal Time

It’s difficult to find time to focus on yourself with so much going on. Make yoga your escape from the world. Take just thirty minutes to relax, and have some you-time. For these few minutes, live in the present. Don’t let anything that happened to you that day or anything you have to get done later come into your mind. Meditate and find out something new about yourself. College is all about finding who you are, and learning more about who you want to be. Let yoga help you find your love and passion!

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Brittany Johnson is a spunky college student at Colorado State University studying marketing. When she's not doing yoga with her baby bunny, Flopsy, you can usually find her on the top of Horsetooth reservoir, sipping an espresso, or enjoying the beautiful Colorado weather on a patio in Fort Collins somewhere.  

Images via: University of Wisconsin, @thesophisticate