Zen is a Japanese term that explores the values of meditation and intuition to achieve and enlightenment in which there is no consciousness of self. In today’s fitness frenzied society, the word Zen pops up pretty frequently with exercise classes titled Zen Combat (Equinox), Zenergy (ZenRide Cycling) and blogs titled Zen Barbell and Zen to Fitness.
So how do we take such a deeply spiritual and seemingly complex concept and translate it into something we can experience as part of our daily or weekly workout routine?
In the fitness industry, Zen has come to represent an overarching theme of peace, tranquility, calm and relaxation; these concepts are the perfect compliments to some of the more aggressive and high intensity fitness terms like power, cardio, strength, warrior and boot camp. The balance of these two opposites are important because together they allow us to explore the physical exertion of exercise and the mental exertion of meditation or calmness.
Noli Yoga’s Zen Legging is inspired by the calmness of water garden creeks and features cascading water lilies that are brightened by the aquatic, muted grey background. Designed with versatility in mind, these leggings work great for yoga, pilates, barre, spin and anything else that gets your heart pumping. These mid-rise, ankle-length Zen leggings will make you want to throw up a peace sign to every passerby.
According to Yoga Journal, the word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, meaning to yoke or bind. It is often interpreted as union. In a yoga practice, practitioners follow a discipline that helps them unite the mental, physical and metaphysical.
While this union is at the root of a complex practice, the meaning of each yogi’s experience is personal and unique. Yoga Journal recently published an article entitled Inspiration Flipbook: 21 Yoga Photos To Get You On Your Mat. It features 21 inspiring photographs from famed yoga photographer Robert Sturman and gives us insight into what yoga means to each of the practitioners featured. Now we - Noli Yoga - want to know what yoga means to you. We hope you’ll share your experience in the comments below.
To kick things off, below is how I arrived at my meaning of yoga.
I came to yoga out of pure desperation. I was a first time, stay at home mom who, while madly in love with my baby girl, was at a low point in my life. I was uninspired, lonely and my self-esteem had plummeted. I looked back at my life and was unable to see the value I had brought to this world. I felt I lacked depth. When I tried to search for who I was, apart from “mom”, I couldn’t answer the question. I was afraid. Afraid for my daughter, that I was not good enough.
All I knew about yoga was that there would be a lot of stretching. I was intimidated by the idea of interacting with a bunch of happy, fit people saying “Namaste” to each other. I went. Desperation sometimes has a way of making people do crazy things. I showed up to that first yoga class, and I stayed. Six years later, I am still here – still practicing, still learning, still becoming the best version of myself.
Very quickly, yoga became an essential part of my life. It was where I could confront hardship, self-esteem issues, honesty, compassion, and responsibility. As I practiced more and more, my body grew stronger. So did my mind. I engaged my muscles while working through my asana practice and found myself more engaged off the mat. My relationships blossomed, my focus grew, I sought answers to questions – my entire worldview began to morph. I thought about things differently as I became empowered to change my life and positively impact the lives of those around me. In the process of my yogic revolution, I became a better mother, wife, friend and student.
Sometimes it was hard to roll out my mat, but I did. I learned to be disciplined and realized that the measure of my practice did not exist in the hour and a half practices, or in quiet rooms. The measure of my practice was my continue dedication. Even if it involved a one-year-old crawling all over me while I moved. Or eventually, two children screeching for my attention.
To me, yoga is my compass. It guides me through the obstacles that come my way. I continue to grow and open and discover more love and compassion than I thought possible. Yoga is my companion on a path with lots of rocks and twisted roots. Yoga is a friend that encourages me to choose the path less traveled so that I may experience tremendous growth.
Now it’s your turn - what does yoga mean to you?
We'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! May this year be healthy, happy, and full of joy! We are so grateful to everyone who has made Noli's first year such a success and to the amazing relationships we've built with our customers. Without your support and love we wouldn't be here.
With the calendar changing to 2016, Noli is changing with it. We are debuting part of our Spring 2016 Collection with many more exciting pieces coming soon! A new line of prints, tops, and more are on their way!
Thank you again and have a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Being able to match comfort with style isn’t something women have been able to do for very long. Workout gear used to consist of baggy sweats and old tee shirts. It was unheard of to wear these items anywhere but the gym. Additionally, most of us have sacrificed comfort for fashion. Insanely tight jeans, constricting tops, and sky-high heels have left us aching.
Comfort no longer sacrifices fashion. Fashion no longer sacrifices comfort. With the emergence of companies such as Noli Yoga, fashion and comfort become one. Dedication to style and movability drives Noli to create eco-friendly artistic clothing that takes you through your busy life.
The demand for fashion and comfort to co-exist has even created a new term in the fashion world - athleisure. The athleisure movement means “workout” clothes are not just for the gym anymore.
An article in the Huffington Post, claims that according to new data “Athleisure first secured its lead in the market in 2014, when sales of leggings and yoga pants surpassed those of denim, which fell by 6 percent in the U.S.." Women are taking their workout clothes beyond the gym. Workout clothes are being worn to lunch, happy hour, and to work. Women are demanding that the gap between comfort and style be bridged.
Embrace your fashion sense with colorful prints and creative designs without sacrificing comfort. After all, the rest of the world is.
There is no doubt about it, life is full of transitions. We transition into and out of relationships, careers, arm balances, and backbends. We transition through seasons, moods, and energy levels. Transitions can be tricky to navigate both on and off our yoga mats.
This fall, you’ll want to surround yourself with red off and on your mat to discover more energy and warmth throughout the autumn transition. To help you reinvigorate your practice, Noli has released their new Red Buddha Leggings. As you move through your asana practice, bring the deep vibrant red of the leggings into your awareness and shift your mood in a more positive direction.
Color affects mood and energy. Some colors energize, others calm. Some induce happiness, others sadness. In the fall, when energy can begin to wane, we can seek the guidance of colors to energize us. In Chakra healing, an ancient Yogic tradition, it is believed that red can increase both alertness and circulation. It warms and awakens the body and mind. Red stimulates brain wave activity and increases your heart rate. On cooler days, red can evoke feelings of warmth.
With the transition from summer into fall, the days are growing steadily shorter and, for some of us, that means change. Some go from an active, social summer to a quieter, more sedentary autumn. Others can find it harder and harder to get ourselves to that post-work yoga class and would rather sleep in than roll out our mats before sunrise. While it can be comforting to pull back slightly from the demands of summer light, it is also essential to energize our bodies and spirits through transition. Yoga can be a necessary tool when navigating the obstacles that life throws at us. If you are struggling to show up for your yoga practice, the use of color can help re-focus your energy.
Art, in all its forms, is an expression of feelings, emotions, attitudes, experiences, accomplishments, failures, heartbreak, and love. Just as a painting, a mural of graffiti, sculpture, or dance demonstrates the artist’s experience, so does yoga.
Beyond the health benefits of an asana practice, the cathartic experiences that occur on the mat bring to life our struggles, hopes, and desires. In yoga, there is a quest to be better. There is a sense of purpose that each practitioner brings to his or her practice. The movement of asana is an offering that gives us the grounds to explore creativity by constricting and opening, grounding and lifting. We engage energetically with the mind, body, and soul to discover personal growth.
In a New York Times blog post entitled “Turning Yoga Into Art”, famed photographer Robert Sturman remarks on yoga as being a creative trigger for his work. He says, “Yoga offered me an opportunity to change my life, but it was also something that was so beautiful to study, the poetry of asana.”
For those of us who are avid yogis, the “poetry of asana” is not a new concept. We feel it in our practices and seek out that connection with others. Many of us peruse social media sites such as Instagram, intrigued by the artistic expression found in photos posted there. Just as some follow famous artists, we “follow” yogis we are drawn to, finding inspiration in their form. Their use of backdrop and light is engaging. It encourages us to explore new parts of our practice. We can relate to the “yogi artists” we see because we are on similar journeys. On yoga as an art subject, Sturman says why yoga appeals to him. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever seen that really shows humanity on its best behavior, of people aspiring to touch something bigger than themselves. They do it is a very pure, longing type of way. It embodies not only the joy of existence, but there is an element of embracing the suffering.”
The art of asana doesn’t just stay within the pose – the artistic expression extends to clothing the practitioner wears. The colors chosen, the style of clothing, the flow of the fabric against the skin – all lend to the emotion that the pose evokes. Noli’s Graffiti Yoga Pants were created with this in mind. Inspired by pictures of yogis in front of walls of graffiti, the leggings capture the artistic expression that is unique to each of our practices. They allow ease of movement that lends to our ability to explore and discover your creativity within the yoga.
Many come to yoga with a goal in mind. Some want a quick form of exercise. Others turn to yoga for it’s therapeutic benefits, seeking relief after years of wear and tear. The rest want that strength and conditioning. In the West, it is common for asana practice to serve as a doorway to the yogic journey. We come for the poses but stay for an entirely different reason.
In the asana practice of yoga, we work ourselves into these complicated, pretzel-like poses and are encouraged to keep our breath steady. Our minds fight against a ten breath Warrior II, and we learn to still our minds. Tight shoulders and backs resist Full Wheel, and we discover opening. Thoughts wander as we lay in Savasana, and we are encouraged to realign our focus. These physical movements transform our bodies and the lessons behind them help us realize the deeper aims in life.
The asana practice is just a small piece of a larger, complex study. In its various parts, the practice of yoga is designed to help us live the best life possible. The surface benefits, become secondary as we realize what really matters. Yoga teaches us to let go, to get a handle on our emotions, to consider our perspective, and to face our fears. It encourages us to develop a deeper understanding of ourselves. Yoga helps us see that there are no perfect poses, or perfect people. It helps us realize what we want out of life. It strengthens us as we discover the extent of the power we hold.
As we begin to experience an awakening in our bodies, a fire is ignited in our souls. What we do begins to change. The food we eat, the routines we keep, and the articles we read. We gravitate toward what makes us happy. We begin to realize the symbolism in repeated Chaturanga-Planks and learn to be strong in the face of hardship. We unlock our true potential.
Don’t we all wish we could spend our lives in comfort? Unrestrictive clothing that can take you through your busy day is more appealing than the traditional suit or pair of jeans.
Luckily, the days of restrictive suits and uncomfortable fashion are coming to an end. With the introduction of an entirely new fashion movement called athleisure, yoga attire is becoming acceptable for multiple occasions. While it might not be appropriate to don your leggings and sports bra to the office, there are modifications you can make.
Try any of these athleisure inspired outfits to make your yoga wear suitable for your life.
While all of these options are suitable for many occasions, it is important to consider the sweat factor. If you’re taking a Bikram or Hot Yoga class and leave class looking like you’ve been sprayed with a fire hose, it's probably a good idea to have a change of clothes. But if your workout leaves you dewy, not drenched, then rock that yoga ensemble.
If we were a “favorites” kind of a shop, the Tree of Life legging would be it. By now you know looking great while feeling even better is a Noli standard. That said, there must be something extra special about this pair. You’re right, there is. These pants house more than just your petty little limbs. Their symbolism alone makes your closet radiate good vibes.
We’ve all seen this Tree of Life at some point whether you know it or not. I don’t mean as an Alex & Ani charm bracelet. I mean in the context of biology, religion, philosophy, mythology, etc. To sum it up, the tree of life can be translated in a variety of ways but to put it simply, it alludes to the interconnection of all things living.
Noli is a huge supporter of Trees for the Future. So much so that $1 of every pair sold goes directly to Trees for the Future. That’s on top of what Noli already contributes every year to charity — which is 5% of all yearly profit. Pretty selfless, right? I agree.
WHile the design of these pants grabbed my attention first, once I learned the insanely positive impact this organization has on our environment, it was a game changer. I had to own the pants!
I’ll walk you through the onset of my bottomless appreciation for these. Sound good?
Trees heal the land. They serve as the anchor point to our ecosystem. Trees for the Future alone has planted more than 50 million trees! Hold on, that sounds like an exuberant amount until you realize we actually lose 100,000 acres of forest every day. EVERY DAY. Here’s the thing, when you plant trees, you’re doing more than just planting trees. You’re stimulating dormant roots of plant species that once existed. Plant species that certain wildlife needed for survival. When one essential piece is eliminated, so are those that relied on it. Inversely, think about what happens when something unknowingly essential blossoms. What can that create?
Doesn’t this sound like our practice? Our every day lives? Countless seeds exist beneath our feet and all we need to do is set our anchors to spark new unexpected growth. That’s what we at Noli strive to be for our community. To be one of the many seeds that helps facilitate organic growth and diverse expansion of all things wonderful. To me, that’s what makes wearing these leggings different. They remind me what I’m capable of that I have yet to even know.
I saved the best part for last. It takes Trees for the Future 10 cents to plant a single tree. That means every pair of leggings purchased is literally a donation of 10 trees! YOU are the reason for 10 new trees on this planet! TEN. That’s a lot of trees. Continue doing the math. 100 pairs of leggings plants an entire forest. It’s exciting to think about, isn’t it? Why don’t we do it? Let’s plant a forest! Here’s how. Strike a tree pose while wearing your Tree of Life leggings, take a picture, and share it on Instagram with hashtag #NoliForest. Each month, we’ll select a winner who will receive a Tree of Life legging in the color of your choice on us! You heard me, this forest is about to explode with vibrance. New colors are coming!
The days of bland cotton-spandex workout gear are over. We owe it to the growing popularity of alternative fitness methods like yoga for FINALLY bringing style to the game. We here at Noli find an unshakable pride in making you look awesome while you sweat. What you didn’t know is that we take even more pride in making you FEEL awesome while you sweat. That is what it’s all about after all, right? Don’t get us wrong, we are crazed hot-pant junkies all day, but it’s for a good reason. It’s important for you to know the reasoning since you’re a contributor of the goodness. Here are five of the many feel-goods we want your Noli gear to remind you of.