Opinion-Thinking Outside The Box of Chocolates For Valentine's Day

Libby Shively McAvoy
Photo byPhoto By Yoga Design Lab

Looking For A Gift of Love?

Candles, chocolates, flowers, and jewelry are among the most common Valentine’s Day gifts. But do you want to be ordinary? I think it is time to think outside the box.

Are you looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift for yourself or someone you love? What could be more thoughtful than a gift that encourages heart opening? Whether you are practicing self-love or in a healthy relationship, encouraging the practice of vulnerability and open-heartedness can transform life.

Yoga is a great practice to prepare you for romance. It creates awareness on the mat that carries off the mat and into every aspect of life. It physically activates prana, life-force energy, through breath. Heart opening poses can make space through the ribs, the cage that holds the heart.

Restoring balance to the body and mind is a priceless gift. Consider giving the gift of a yoga mat so you or your loved one can practice yoga in the comfort of your home or attend classes. If you are in a relationship, practice together to strengthen your bond. Couples, or partner yoga, can be very sensual.

Photo byPhoto by Yoga Design Lab

What to Look For When Choosing a Mat

A high-quality yoga mat is essential for safe practice to prevent slipping, add cushion, maintain balance, and be hygienic. They can be expensive, so it is helpful to know a few things before making a purchase. Many choices and brands are available, so I will share my experience and knowledge after practicing for fifteen years with you, but you have to decide what is best for your needs.

When I first practiced hot yoga, I had no idea that a conventional mat would not be functional. I slipped all over the place. After class, I learned to put a towel on top of my mat to absorb sweat and prevent slipping. They make specific yoga towels to fit the mat, but you can also you a beach towel. I liked that concept because I could wash the towel after each class, but it was a bit high maintenance.

The weight of the mat is essential for two reasons, the cushion it provides and how heavy it is to handle. The thick mats I have from Lululemon are far too heavy for me to take to class. They work fine at home and are very nice on hard surfaces, like when I practice outdoors. But, they do not resolve the slipping problem, and I still have to cover the mat with a towel. I also feel Lululeemon has a limited design, with only solid mats available.

My Giam mats are a nice weight, and sometimes I will even layer two on top of each other to pad my hips and knees. They offer an excellent array of colors and designs.

Photo byPhoto by Yoga Design Lab

My Favorite Mat

When I discovered Yoga Lab Design, I found my ideal mat. It was named “18 best Yoga Mats in 2022” by Vogue Magazine, and now I know why.

Yoga Lab Design is both functional and stylish. They have several options, but my favorite is The Combo Mat. The mat has a built-in towel that is moisture activated, which means the more you sweat, the more grip you feel. They are machine washable, come in various vibrant colors and designs, and are sure to inspire your practice. The built-in towel is soft and feels great on my hands and feet.

From what I could find on their website, the Combo Mat ranges from $50–105 dollars depending on design and thickness. My mat is 3.5mm, providing ample padding, and is not too heavy.

Their products are eco-friendly and earth conscious, made partially from recycled water bottles. The base is 100% natural non-Amazonian tree rubber. The towel portion is recycled PET microfiber. All designs are printed with water-based inc. They are Phthalate, silicone, and toxin-free.

Heart Openers

Many poses allow us to open and soften the heart. Backbends, camel pose, and even lunges where you arch backwards create more space. Each time we create space, we allow for healing and growing into the best version of ourselves. Exposing our hearts takes courage, and I have seen people cry in my yoga classes as they start to open up. That's okay; tears are cleansing. 

I cannot imagine a better investment in yourself or someone you love than to encourage self-study, open your heart, and care about your health and wellness. 

Please consider giving yourself or a loved one this beautiful gift that will continue to provide you with many years of wellness.

I wish you all a loving and healing Valentine’s Day.

P.S. I am not an affiliate; I am simply sharing my knowledge and love for this product after trying many different brands.

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Libby is a Personal Development and Relationship coach specializing in emotional intelligence. By blending motivational speaking, leading yoga and wellness retreats, and writing, she has mastered the art of living her best life while helping others.

Cincinnati, OH

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