Category Archives: Yoga With Louise

Why is Yoga an excellent stress reliever?

Stress is commonly defined as tension being applied to an object. Within the human body this can manifest emotionally, mentally, physically, or more often than not, all three. Stress is your body’s way of reacting to and coping (or not coping) with what it perceives as a threat – this could be an event (or events) or individual(s) that result in you feeling anxious, angry or frustrated.

Yoga is a fantastic and cost effective stress buster. While there are many strains of Yoga, most include a combination of physical poses (asanas), controlled breathing (pranayama) and guided relaxation (nidra) or meditation (Dhyna) to bring about a more harmonious mind-body connection. How important is this mind-body connection in stress alleviation?

When we are stressed our fight or flight reflexes kick in, knowingly or unknowingly draining the body as our Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) switches on and our adrenal glands begin running on high alert. Breathing is impacted when we are stressed – often becoming shallower, we may even momentarily stop breathing and then struggle to take big gulping recovery breaths, further exacerbating our anxiety and leaving us feeling drained on a physical and mental level.

By mindfully looking to establish a stronger more controlled harmony between movement and breath we can significantly reduce perceived stress, and even lower our blood pressure and heart rates, coaxing our Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) into action. The PNS has a wonderful counterbalancing effect on the drain of the SNS being on for often much longer periods than it should be. As the PNS kicks in, the body begins relaxing into the movement, our breathing deepens – calming us, while supplying more oxygen to the body, making for clearer thought and action.

As an added bonus Yoga is non-judgemental, so there is no added pressure making you feel that you need to compete – simply modify your movements as needed – almost anyone can do Yoga.

Consistent Yoga practice fosters greater body awareness, enabling us to identify the physical manifestations of stress and consciously allowing us to “let it go”. Yoga provides an excellent opportunity to learn to leave our worries behind while we focus on ourselves and what we are doing on the mat. Learning to be more in tune with yourself and your limitations, lets you work through discomfort with greater ease and makes success that much sweeter and better appreciated – this translates into everyday life (whether you are aware of it or not).

That’s it for now – see you all for playtime on the mat😉

Till next time – Keep it Light😘



How to keep your yoga mat clean?

What’s the best way to keep my yoga mat clean?”, “How often should I clean my yoga mat?” and “ How do I prevent my yoga mat from becoming stinky and tacky?” are questions I regularly get asked.

From a hygiene perspective, it’s obviously most beneficial to have your own personal yoga mat that only you use (as opposed to renting or using publicly accessible mats that most studios make available).

If you own the mat, you can ensure that it is in fact cleaned after each use (which cannot always be guaranteed in the studio environment) – this is the best way to ensure that your mat not only stays clean, but also odour and bacteria free.

So how to go about cleaning your mat?  The quickest and easiest method is to spray down and wipe off your mat after each use.  There are so many fantastic commercially produced yoga mat cleaning solvents that can be used  – alternately you can whip up a quick DIY preparation that costs next to nothing.

I like to use a solution of 100ml water to 100ml white vinegar (i.e. 1:1 water to vinegar ratio) and 10 -15 drops of tea tree (depending on how strong you like your brew). Both the vinegar and tea tree oil have excellent antibacterial and antifungal properties – keeping your mat clean and odour free.

I keep this preparation in a spritz bottle. I always have one bottle at hand in my home yoga space, and use a smaller travel size spritzer in my yoga bag when traveling between studios.Glass, is best, but a recyclable plastic spritz bottle will do in a pinch:-)

A quick shake and spray on the mat, and then wipe it off with a soft cloth (I keep a cotton face-cloth handy – make sure you launder it regularly), or use paper towel if you prefer. Leave your mat to air dry, before you roll it up.  Be sure to not only wipe the top side of your the mat, but the underside as well.

That’s it for now – see you all for playtime on the mat😉

Till next time – Keep it Light😘


The dawn of the Digital class

Learning to negotiate COVID-19 imposed measures around the world has shaken most of us to the very foundation. Many of us lost our jobs and had to scramble to find a means of earning a new income stream.  For me, the journey has been positive, allowing me to discover the true potential of what the digital class format can offer.

Having been previously deeply entrenched in the physical – I lived for the daily personal interaction of working with people – I expected to really struggle with transitioning to presenting classes in a digital format.  Yet, as with many things, perception (and more importantly preconceived notions) did not equal reality.  I quickly realised that it is all about mindset – how open you allow yourself to be to change.  Is this not the very pinnacle of yoga practice – to not limit yourself, to keep yourself receptive to change and growth?

Instead of trying to cram as many classes into one day as I could manage, just so I could get to all my students (often leading to intermittent burnout), I find myself much happier and  better balanced now that I can focus energy on class content and delivery.  While physical proximity and touch are fundamental for many of us, the digital format has definitely opened up a host of other alternatives and possibilities.

Even prior to the world-wide COVID-19 crisis, many people struggled getting to a studio to attend physical classes – time commitments, travel considerations, lack of budget, being self-conscious and often simply lazy, being just a few of the reasons.

In the aftermath of lockdown restrictions abating in many countries, people are still currently facing a host of new challenges thrown in the path of physical classes:

  • Having to be health scanned before even being allowed to enter a studio.
  • Facilities having to restrict the number of people they can accommodate at any one time.
  • Class rosters being severely cut to allow for deep cleaning rituals between classes.
  • Class capacity slashed to accommodate new social distancing measures.
  • Having to wear a mask the whole time you’re in public (even when exercising).
  • Equipment having to be continuously sterilized before and after each use, not only leaving sometimes soggy, tacky surfaces (this in itself opening up a host of potential liability issues), but also resulting in many people developing skin allergies to all the sterilizing sprays being utilised.
  • Fear of exposure to the virus, and possible contraction.
  • Loss of income suffered by many during (and even post) lockdown.

This makes the whole current physical class experience less than ideal for many.

I believe the digital class is the way of the future.  It’s convenient in that it allows you to exercise at any time of the day, when it suits you best, even when travelling (so trying to accommodate class rosters becomes void).  You eliminate travel and parking considerations, as you can exercise wherever you are (just find a quiet spot and roll out your mat).  The cost is usually a fraction of physical classes.  Even once the world goes back to “normal” you still have the convenience of always having a class on hand – pop in your earbuds, hook up your phone (or device of your choice) and you’re good to go.

For me, the live-stream format has made it possible to provide a unique class DAILY to multiple individuals (all over the world) at the same time – this is just not possible in the physical world.  I am enjoying so much creative fun.  As a small business entity (literally a one-woman show) creating something new daily takes time, planning and resources. Yet, I firmly believe that the cost versus value proposition of “Yoga with Louise Live Stream” is currently pretty unique in terms of what it actually offers: something new each day (who wants to keep doing the same routine over and over) to keep you inspired, motivated and moving forward.  My live-stream daily classes will undoubtedly be my key focus moving forward.

That’s it for now – see you all for playtime on the mat😉

Till next time – Keep it Light😘

You can contact Louise directly on

What is the best Yoga & Pilates mat to use?

I often get asked what mat I use for Yoga and Pilates? Students wanting to know what the best mat is to use and what they should look out for in a good quality mat?

I don’t believe that there’s a right or wrong here, it’s all really about personal preference. Yoga mats range in thickness: typically on the thinner end of the scale between 3-4mm, and on the thicker end between 5 – 6mm.  I found that when I started yoga my preference was for a thinner mat – I just felt more grounded and secure on the mat, but this changed as my practice deepended.  The more time I spent on the mat, the longer I started playing and the more adventurous I got on the mat, the more I started feeling my bones (think knees, elbows, hip & bum bones, even my the vertebrae – especially during spinal rolls) – a bit more padding was required.

Unfortunately when transitioning to a thicker mat, I found balancing poses a lot more challenging – I often felt like I was sinking into the thick end of a plush carpet and struggled to find my grounding.  I tried out a host of mats over the years, and the problem I found with a lot of them, is that as soon as I started gripping into the mat, they would start flaking and peeling – leaving me with a sorry-ass looking mat that looked like a mouse had been nibbling at it.  This resulted in an often uncomfortable wobbly ride, which only worsened as I started sweating on the mat during more rigorous routines – slip and slide (and not in a good way).

Finding the Manduka Pro mat was like coming home for me – I finally found a mat that checked all my boxes:

This 6mm mat not only provided the cushioning I was looking for (doubling up perfectly for both Yoga and Pilates), but the dense rubber weave still felt like solid “ground” beneath me – balancing poses felt a lot more intuitive.

The mat’s closed-cell surface makes cleaning a breeze, but also appeals to the OCD germaphobe in me – it keeps moisture (think sweat and water when cleaning) from seeping into the mat and providing a breeding ground for bacteria.

This mat has incredible grip! Not only in terms of the mat itself not moving around on the floor once you’ve laid it out, but also in terms of how secure you actually feel on the mat as you begin moving around and sweating on it – the more you use the mat the better the grip becomes.

This mat comes with a lifetime guarantee to not fade, flake or peel.  Sure, I had to spend a bit more but it’s an investment I was more than happy to make.

When I recently started looking around local for suppliers of Manduka I was pleasantly surprised to discover Yoga Essentials. Their pricing was reasonable and didn’t sky-rocket, as did a lot of suppliers, post COVID-19 lockdown.  Their service was friendly, helpful  and super efficient.  In fact I was a little blown away by how fast I received my product. As they are an online service based in Durban, and I’m situated in Cape Town,  I thought it was going to be an uphill battle to receive my order.  I placed my order late on a Friday afternoon and imagine my surprise when I received it first thing Monday morning. I was also able to track my parcel the whole time from pick-up to delivery – great for peace of mind.

If you are serious about your playtime on the mat, I would definitely recommend checking out Manduka (it’s the only mat I use).  They have a host of mat options to choose from, even providing a “Long” length mat for those graced with taller frames:-)

That’s it for now – see you all for playtime on the mat😉

Till next time – Keep it Light😘

Welcome Louise!

We are super happy to announce that Louise of  ‘Yoga with Louise Live Stream’ is joining us as a Brand Ambassador for Yoga Essentials (in fact we were doing extra Sun Salutations in the office this morning!), she is a great asset to our team.
Louise is a seasoned Yoga and Pilates teacher who teaches a fusion of Hatha, Kripalu, Vini and Vinyasa (infused with core Pilates principles). She has 25 years of experience on the Yoga mat. Louise is a firm believer that you must “play where you are”, finding what works best for you and never comparing yourself to anyone else as we are all unique. She encourages students to progress at their own pace, exploring their own boundaries, whilst honouring their own body’s need in each moment.

She admits to being a perpetual yoga student, who loves mindful movement and the physical and mental benefits that it brings!

Louise has an established online Live-Stream daily class service where students can participate in real time or simply catch up later (classes are available 24/7 to do in your own time). She is also available for private classes. You can find out more on her website Yoga With Louise

We will be featuring her with her own section on our Two Cats blog, where we will post news and updates, including product reviews.

We noticed a rather playful and sometimes ‘wicked’ sense of humour that Louise has, so you have been warned!

You can  find her on Facebook, Instagram (, YouTube and Website at :


So welcome Louise –  from all of us at Yoga Essentials and the Yogiverse!

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