Monday, February 1, 2016

4 Yoga Poses You Can Do Right Now

A new year, a new reason to restore.

When we think of the word restorative, we think of taking one really long, deep breath and letting go of everything giving us stress or anxiety in our day-to-day lives. That’s why we decided to highlight a few of our favorite restorative yoga poses throughout the month of January. The combination of deep breaths and even deeper stretches really help to relax the mind and body, allowing you to focus on what you need most in that moment.

Even if you’ve never practiced yoga before, these poses are a great snapshot of yoga basics you’ll find in any class. Try the poses out for yourself–you might be surprised at how these simple movements can help you feel more focused and restored in just a few minutes. If you like how you feel after doing these poses on your own, try jumping into a local yoga class to reap the full mind-body benefits of practicing yoga–we promise it won't disappoint. 

Sukhasana or Easy Pose

Sit on the floor with your legs crossed and your wrists resting on your knees with relaxed, open palms. Sit up straight, drop your shoulders and take in a deep breath in and out through your nose. Repeat breathing as needed to relax your mind and body.

Upward Facing Dog or Updog

Start by lying face down on your mat. Place your hands next to your waist with your palms down and fingertips pointed toward the top of the mat. Make sure your legs are extended straight back and your feet are a few inches apart, with the tops of your feet resting on your mat. Take a deep breath.
As you breath out, begin to gently press into your palms and extend your arms, lifting your torso and the tops of your thighs a few inches off the ground. Squeeze the muscles in your thighs and firm up the muscles in your back. Feel your chest open up and a deep stretch in your abdominal muscles and back. Release to the ground as you breathe in.

Anjali Mudra

Begin by sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position on the floor. Lengthen your spine. With open palms, bring your hands together in the center of your chest.
Anjali Mudra is a pose that shows up often in yoga practice. Whether you’re in mountain pose or Sukhasana (easy pose), you’ll find this pose is a centering and grounding experience.

Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II

Begin by standing tall in Mountain pose with your feet hips width apart. Take a deep breath and step your right foot back about 4 feet or a distance that is comfortable for you. Point your right foot out perpendicular to the mat at 90 degrees. Point your left foot straight up towards the top of the mat. Align your heels so they are in a straight line along your mat and firm your thighs.
Exhale and bend your left knee. Make sure your left knee is positioned above your left ankle so as to protect the knee. If you can, bring your left thigh parallel to the floor. Squeeze your right leg and firm up your entire body. Stretch your arms out so that they run parallel to your legs, with your left arm reaching over your left leg and your right arm reaching back over your right leg. Look towards your left hand fingers and firm up your entire body. Inhale and exhale a few times in this position.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Q+A with "Big Yoga for Less Stress" Author Meera Kerr

Stress can sneak up on us–and we might even be too stressed out to realize it! Demanding jobs, health issues, personal relationships and even your Facebook Newsfeed can be little daily sources of stress that build up over time. Meera Kerr, the author of the book Big Yoga for Less Stress, helps you tackle those daily stressors with her book–written for everyone, of any body shape or size–to learn how to reduce everyday anxiety through yoga stretches, practicing mindfulness and breathing techniques. Pick up a copy of Big Yoga for Less Stress and read our Q+A with the author herself.

1.     When did you start practicing yoga? 

I started experimenting with yoga in my 20s, around 1969, at a studio in Chicago owned by Swami Kriyananda, a devotee of The famous Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the classic "Autobiography of a Yogi."

2.     What inspired you to focus on yoga specifically for plus size women?   

I was always a little chubby, and most of the other yogis were slender.  As I got older, my body got bigger.  I began adapting my own poses for more comfort, and I realized there must be others like me who might be uncomfortable going to a regular yoga class, but would like to try yoga.

3.     What is your number 1 piece of advice for someone who has never practiced yoga before, or who might be scared to try something new? 

Try doing a yoga video first.  It will give you a chance to learn some of the basics, in the privacy of your own home.  Your local library has yoga videos, so look for one that's for beginners.  Or get my Big Yoga Flex-Ability video!  It will help you get in shape for a more strenuous practice.

4.     How has yoga changed your life? 

Yoga hasn't just changed my life--it IS my life.  Everything I do is based on the teachings of Yoga--not just the physical postures, but the ethical standards that it encompasses--the ideas of non-violence, compassion, equanimity etc.

5.     What is your favorite yoga pose? 

Sukhasana, simple sitting pose is my favorite.  It's just a simple cross-legged position that I use for meditation, contemplation, even watching TV.  It aligns the spine for good energy flow, and opens the hips for flexibility.

6.     When did you decide to write your first book, Big Yoga, and why did you write it? 

I began the Big Yoga project in 2001, when I was teaching yoga in California.  I had the idea to offer adapted poses for larger bodies, and suggested it to my boss at the Santa Monica Parks department where I was teaching.  She added Big Yoga to the schedule, and I wasn't even sure what it was going to be!  Folks who carry extra weight don't all carry it in the same place!  I had some people with most of their weight in the upper body, and others who were thick in the belly.  So we experimented together, and from that, I created the Big Yoga Hatha 1 DVD in 2002.  When that didn't set the world on fire I started working on my first book, to spread the idea that you don't have to be thin to enjoy the benefits of yoga.

7.     What inspired you to write Big Yoga for Less Stress? 

It seems that everyone is stretching themselves pretty thin these days, working 2--even 3 jobs-- to make ends meet.  Plus, we are sitting so much of the time. I wanted to offer something that could be done by anyone, regardless of age, fitness level, or physical challenges.  And I wanted to also offer more than just stretching exercises.  I wanted to incorporate some of the other stress busting techniques that Yoga offers--breathing practices, guided relaxation, and meditation.

8.     How can someone expect to feel after their first ever yoga class? 

If you're lucky enough to find a teacher who understands how to adapt yoga for the larger body (or whatever your issue is), you will feel fantastic--relaxed in a way you may have forgotten is possible. 

9.     What type of class would you recommend for beginners? 

Look for a class that offers more than just asanas (poses).  Find someone who also teaches the guided relaxation and even better, some pranayama, the breath work.  This is the perfect combination for a great result.

10. Describe yoga in 3 words.  

Peace, Self-love, Joy.

11. What else would you like people to know about yoga?

We all have to start somewhere, even if we're out of shape. I remember after I had a couple kids and hadn't done yoga for a few years, getting back to it was a slow process.  But start with simple poses, ease into your yoga practice with great self-love.  If all you want is a fitness program, yoga is there for you.  If you want more than that, yoga can take you deep into your self where you will discover an inner world of freedom, contentment, inspiration and unbounded joy!

Pick up a copy of Meera's book Big Yoga for Less Stress here

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Your New Favorite Plus Size Activewear

When JunoActive was founded back in the mid-nineties, there weren’t many activewear options available for plus size women.  Sure, you could work out in a cotton t-shirt that might be dripping with sweat after an intense aerobics class. (How fun!) But when it came to plus size activewear that was made from innovative, high tech fabrics, there were none to be found. It didn’t make sense to our founder Anne Kelly that this demographic wasn’t able to buy quality, high performance activewear. After finishing her business degree in London, she met with designers at the University of Minnesota to create designs for the active plus size woman that included high tech fabrics, tailoring for diverse plus size bodies and–of course– style that works on the move!

High Tech Fabrics

One of the best innovations in activewear is sweat wicking fabric. If you’ve never tried exercising in moisture wicking activewear, you are in for a real treat. Forget being extremely sweaty and cold after your workouts. Our QuikWik fabric wicks away sweat keeping you dry, cool and comfortable throughout any activity. Our second sweat-wicking fabric, SoftWik , delivers the same performance power of QuikWik but with the softest fabric ever. Really. It’s truly something you have to feel on your skin to believe. We’ve had so many happy customers tell us how much they love living an active life in SoftWik :

SoftWik, August 18, 2015  By Anonymous (Chillicothe, OH)
I love love love the SoftWik V Neck Tees! I have never worn such a soft, comfortable tee. I initially ordered two colors and went back for the other two. I was not disappointed. I washed them in cold water and hung to dry. They looked new again. No ironing needed. More colors please!

Performance Tailoring

Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. That’s why we constantly work on our designs to make sure we’re delivering quality activewear to plus size women of all shapes and heights! One of our latest tailored designs is our Pear Fit Packable Sport Pants. They compliment unique curves while giving you the freedom to choose between petite, average and tall pant lengths.

The pant I had been searchin for!, May 3, 2015  By Anonymous (Manville, RI)
I am not easy to fit because I am a "pear", but this "pair" of pants is perfect! Fabric is medium weight, light stretch, fits snug enough around the waist to keep them up, and loose enough around ankle for a nice silhouette. I will get multiple pairs of these. JunoActive...Please make them in shorts!!!

Style on the Move

Is there anything better than wearing yoga pants 24/7?! Maybe winning the lottery, but it’s a close second. If you’ve noticed over the past couple of years, wearing activewear everywhere you go has exploded. This mainstream leisurewear trend looks like it’s here to stay–and we’re definitely celebrating! Not only can you exercise in our activewear, but it’s also designed to be your go-to everyday outfit. Looking good on the move, whether you’re exercising or grocery shopping at your local co-op, is our number one priority. From yoga pants to light support bras to Softwik tees, we’ve got a lot of styles perfect for your Active. Life. Style.

Friday, December 4, 2015

All About Our Plus Size Intimates

Intimates are one of life’s great necessities, like water or singing your heart out to Adele. Sometimes you need intimates that go above and beyond keeping everything in place, and that’s where we come in. Our plus size intimates are designed with high-tech fabrics, performance tailoring for plus size bodies, and style on the move built to keep you cool and classy, no matter what you’re doing or where your day takes you.

High-tech fabrics

From basic, breathable cotton panties to sweat wicking QuikWik briefs, we’ve designed our intimates using a number of high quality and high functioning fabrics. One of our favorites is the QuikWik Comfort Brief. Our QuikWik fabric provides a really great four-way stretch that moves with you and full coverage so you can feel comfortable all day long. You’ll be amazed at how comfortable and dry you feel wearing QuikWik while you’re breaking a seriously good sweat.

I love these. These panties stay in place and give wonderful comfort for the most strenuous of exercise. I even like them for day to day. Bought some, bought some more and will buy again. –Goshen, Indiana

Performance Tailoring

Not all plus size intimates are created equal! We know how important it is for plus size women to wear clothes that actually fit them (Crazy idea, right?!). That’s why every single one of our plus size bras and underwear are designed and tailored specifically for plus size bodies. Our plus size bras and panties have been tried and tested by real plus size women who always let us know their opinions on design, fabric and overall style. Our most popular design is our Classic Briefs–we sell more of these than anything else because they’re just that comfortable.

The best part about our intimates? They all function as workout gear and your everyday go-to bras and panties.

This bra is great, comfortable and supportive. It's so comfortable I wear them as everyday bras, not just for workouts! Good support without "squishing"! –Redmond, WA on our QuikWik Soft Control Bra Top

Style on the Move

Although you’re probably not skipping around the gym in your underwear, it’s still fun to mix and match colors underneath your exercise clothes! Our Stretch Naturals bras are perfect for adding color to your workout wardrobe while delivering soft support for light activities. You can layer them over heavy-duty sports bras for a pop of color beneath shirts and extra support, wear them as everyday bras or use them while you’re sleeping for soft support. Choose between a scoop neck or a v-neck, or try them both. Mix, match and above all have fun with our colorful intimates!

Click here to read more about our high-tech fabrics, performance tailoring and style on the move. 

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