The Best Gifts that Cost Nothing at All

It’s getting down to the wire for the 2014 holiday season and many of us are still stressing over that last gift we need to buy (true confession: us too).

While the list-making and gift-buying process can be a lot of fun, we think it’s important to remember that often the most meaningful gifts don’t have a price tag.

Last week we asked you about your favourite gifts to give (or receive) that cost nothing at all. We were touched and inspired by your responses. And naturally, we couldn’t help but share them.

In no particular order, here are your favourite cost-free gifts:

1. Acknowledgement

So many of us go through our days wondering whether what we do, or who we are, is noticed or appreciated. It’s no surprise that many of you expressed how much you enjoy giving and receiving words of acknowledgement and gratitude.

Give It: Rather than simply signing your Christmas cards, take a moment to write a note of gratitude to the recipient, or to acknowledge a quality in them that you appreciate. The more specific the better!

2. Help

In this busy world we can all use a helping hand every now and then. And there’s no feeling quite like lightening the load of someone in need.

Give It: The world is full of opportunities to help. You provided so many beautiful examples: babysitting, donating blood, shovelling a driveway, or cleaning a kitchen. Don’t wait for the “perfect” opportunity.. just get out there and lend a hand!

3. Something Handmade

There’s something extra-special about giving or receiving something made by hand. Whether it’s a homemade meal, hand-knitted scarf, or written-just-for-you poem. You can’t help but feel the love in every bite, stitch, or word.

Give It: What do you love to create? Your handmade gift doesn’t have to be predictable. One contributor makes homemade tinctures, another bouquets of dried flowers, and another art pieces with found objects. This deeply personal gift is all about sharing your unique skills and creativity.

4. Connection

In a world that’s increasingly virtual and impersonal, we weren’t surprised that many of you loved to give and receive gifts of connection.

Give It: Share hugs and kisses with those you love, or a smile and a friendly word with a stranger. It’s up to you to choose the level of connection you want to share, and with whom. And don’t underestimate the power of simple eye contact.

5. Time

Time was by far your favourite cost-free gift to give and receive. Whether that time was spent talking, laughing, hiking, or simply listening… what was most important was simply being present with those you love.

Give It: Who needs to feel your presence this holiday season? Set a date, remove distractions and spend time together doing whatever you love to do. Your undivided attention is one of the most precious gifts you can give.

We hope this list inspires you as much as it inspires us. Thank you so much for these reminders that giving of yourself is more meaningful than any gift you can buy in a store.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays!

Halfmoon Goes to Taiwan

After several years of working with our Taiwan partners and never meeting face to face, we decided that 2014 was the year. Flights and hotels were booked, factory tours were arranged and we set off to put faces to names and to see Halfmoon’s overseas operations firsthand.

We arrived appropriately jetlagged in Taipei after multiple hours of flying. And one night and a questionable hotel meal later, we were off to Taichung at 300 kilometres an hour via Taiwan High Speed Rail.

Suri, our hostess with the mostest (and more officially, our main contact), picked us up at the train station. First order of business: Check in at hotel. Second order of business: A presentation and meet and greet at our Taiwan partners’ office. Taiwan-Image-8

At the office we put faces to names we’d previously seen only on emails. We learned more about the company. And we participated in what we came to understand as Taiwan’s national pass-time: eating.

I found food in Taiwan delicious, plentiful and definitely different. Pictured on the right is a tomato smoothie. It’s considered a dessert and is served sweetened with honey. My tastebuds were both delighted and confused with every sip.

When we weren’t eating, we learned all about how Halfmoon’s many overseas-sourced items are made. We watched giant rolls of yoga mat scroll overhead before being cut down into the familiar 72” x 24” sizes we’ve all come to know and love. The finished mats were then rolled, labelled, and packaged by hand.

Skeins of thread are separated into strands, which will then be woven into yoga straps.

We watched skeins of thread weave themselves into webbing and the factory-owner’s sister hand-cut and hand-finish that webbing into yoga straps.

We watched yoga blocks emerge from large pieces of technicolour foam as they passed from one set of hands to another. Cut to size. Edges bevelled. Packaged. And placed in boxes to be shipped all over the world.


You’ll notice that I used the word “hand” a lot. And that’s because there were a lot of them involved. One of the biggest (and coolest) learnings for us was that, just like at Halfmoon’s factory in Vancouver, much of the manufacturing of our products in Taiwan was done by hand by real people. In fact, any one of the factories we visited could have been picked up and plunked next to our Vancouver manufacturing floor. It would have fit right in!

We were also thrilled to learn that the majority of our factory partners in Taiwan are family-owned and family-operated. Given Halfmoon’s roots as a family business (the owners’ daughter Adya still runs our factory and warehouse in Vancouver), this place of alignment had a special place in our hearts.

Sharing a stein at a Munich beer hall Overall, we considered our trip to be an absolute success. Our relationships with Suri, Emma, and the team in Taiwan are now stronger than ever before — thanks to face-to-face contact and the magical sharing of meals (and beer). We now have a deeper understanding of the methods and materials used to make our fabulous products. And we’re confident in the working environment of the people creating Halfmoon yoga props half a world away.
Stay posted for upcoming blog posts on our Vancouver manufacturing team!

How To Safely Do Arm Balancing Poses

Arm balances have great allure and many benefits and need to be done safely. To find our balancing sweet spot we need face our fears head on and learn to fall so we can fly. Donna and Serah from The Seduction of Yoga teach us how to fall with the help of a Halfmoon bolster so we can master those challenging arm balances safely.

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How to Deepen Your Downward Facing Dog

Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is a pose found in every yoga class. It may be “basic” but it is often overlooked as a place to stay engaged and checked in. The Seduction of Yoga with Serah and Donna show us how to deepen our downward facing dog using a Halfmoon block to open the chest while keeping integrated shoulders. Check in on on your Ddog and go a little deeper:

Click Here to watch the Video!

Restorative Yoga For Insomnia

Restorative Yoga Practice for Insomnia

We have all experienced times of restless, even sleepless nights. Whether momentary or chronic Insomnia – Restorative Yoga Postures can support you into deep sleep.

We live in an Elastic Band Culture. Most of are  in full on action mode – until we reach complete exhaustion – at which point we swing directly into a crash mode. Sound familiar?

One of the many symptoms that can arise from this pace is disrupted sleep patterns naturally accompanied by an over active mind, tension in the body, or heightened emotional responses – all of which can interfere with our capacity to sleep with ease.

Setting aside time for REST (reduced external stimuli time) – often confused with sleep – is a highly effective remedy. Creating space to slow down, and calm our overloaded systems is essential for a regulated, healthy, balanced system.

Restorative Yoga is a space of REST. Simple, subtle, supported postures induce natural states of relaxation, while simultaneously restoring the systems of the body (nervous system, organ, endocrine, digestive and so on) preparing us to shift into sleep with more ease.

If your interest is peaked, we suggest checking out these postures. Like any therapeutic tool, it is ideal to be consistent with the exploration . Try one every evening for 10-20 minutes.

Waterfall – Legs Elevated Up the Wall – with Photo options


Gentle inversions initiate a state of relaxation by returning the fluid body, the breath, and awareness inward and toward the centre of body. With the legs and pelvis elevated, blood flow moves up to the brain, quieting the mind and giving the heart an opportunity rest. Alleviating the systemic effects of stress by slowing down as we shift from sympathetic (action) to parasympathetic (rest) – allows the body to settle and restore.

Props: Essential: 2 blankets (cotton or wool), an eye pillow, chip foam block

Optional: 10 pound sandbag, strap, bolster (prana or rectangle) **Always experience the height of all props, it is a very individual experience.

The History of the Legendary Halfmoon Bolster

Halfmoon’s bolsters are legendary, and while their exact design is as secret as McDonald’s Secret Sauce, we’d like to share some insider information with you.

In the 1980’s as the fledgling Vancouver yoga industry grew, the demand for yoga props grew with it. Halfmoon’s founder Beth McTavish began to branch out from making yoga mats & straps and began developing a line of bolsters using the knowledge she had gained from working at a futon shop several years earlier.


The first Cylindrical bolster was simply made with cotton batting within a zippered cotton casing.  Over time, feedback from clients, teachers & students alike, has resulted in enhancements and additions to the bolster line.

Yoga practices continued to diversify which led to the development of the rectangular and prana and mini bolster series. Over the years we have created new bolster styles, shapes and sizes for every need, and we can boast that we have one of the most diverse collections of bolsters available!


The construction of the bolster has evolved to ensure that your bolster will stand the test of time. We’re proud to say that our bolsters are used by the best studios and teachers for hours of classes daily. Year after year these bolsters are used, and still provide the perfect support for their classes.

Today Halfmoon’s bolsters have a removable, washable cover that is great not only for hygienic reasons, but they also allow you to dress your bolster in the season’s most fashionable styles!  We’re talking about bolsters that don’t need to be tucked away in the closet when friends come over. Our fabrics range from our durable Studio Line in a wide range of beautiful colours to our Deluxe fabrics that will look fabulous with your home decor.

Whatever your style of practice or lifestyle, we are sure that we have the bolster to support you.  Proudly made in Vancouver, Canada our bolsters are our claim to fame. We are sure that we can help you find your perfect bolster!

How to Master Chaturanga

Dear Yoga Community:

Chaturanga Dandasana needs your love and intention.

This challenging pose builds stability and strength that helps form a strong foundation for the rest of your practice. (Especially if arm balances are your thing.)

But its benefits are often “lost in transition.”

Chaturanga comes up and we think “dang… that’s hard!”

So we transition to our next pose as fast as we can, instead of approaching Chaturanga with intention and mindfulness it deserves.

In this video, Donna Wilding and Serah Ruth Goldberg of The Seduction of Yoga teach us how to master Chaturanga. They break it down step-by-step, adding props to help us build strength in those challenging, sticky spots.

Give it a try! Your practice (and core) will thank you for it.

Here’s what you’ll need…

Halfmoon’s Partnership with Tonic Clothing

Halfmoon has partnered with TONIC Lifestyle Apparel- a great “made in Canada” clothing manufacturer.

You can find a selection of TONIC’s Elements Line at


Inspired by the growing yoga community in the west coast of BC, TONIC began designing apparel for the modern, active woman in 2004. TONIC pieces have always been designed and manufactured in Vancouver, Canada.

TONIC is perfect complement to your yoga practice. A celebration of women by women, TONIC clothing marries a simple, clean esthetic with exceptional fit and functionality.

TONIC now designs with more than the yoga studio in mind. You can find their fashionable and functional pieces on the street, the dance floor, the tennis court, the gym, and the coffee shop on a Sunday morning.


We are thrilled that we can offer everything you need for your health and wellness lifestyle by joining with TONIC. We trust that you will enjoy their exceptional and thoughtfully designed active wear as much as we do!

Questions? We’d love to hear from you! Please contact us at 1-877-731-7099 Ext. 101

The Secret To Loving your Body At Any Age


The true beauty of Yoga is that it can benefit anyone at any age. The practice of yoga can help us to tap into the wisdom of our bodies and learn to be our best selves. This week’s guest blogger Paula Tursi, the founder of Reflections Yoga, sheds light on how yoga can help us to be our own best teacher with respect to body image, true health, and self-love.


Bio-Photo-Paula-TursiI have been doing yoga for a good, long time, but it wasn’t until I hit my 40’s that I really found what I believe to be the truth of the practice. The older, and perhaps wiser I became, the more I understood the innate beauty of this ancient practice.

It seems to me that we spend a lifetime trying to attain the perfect size and shape. It is one of the things we think about a good part of our day and typically, we don’t like the results! What yoga and the deeper practices can teach us is not about being thin, but being healthy — when we are healthy, we are always the perfect shape!

By being connected to our bodies, we stop eating what is bad for us because it just doesn’t taste or feel right. We learn what is good for us by listening to how we feel after we eat. Do we feel energized and light? Or heavy and tired? Our food should nourish us and make us feel vibrant.Levi Photo Shoot 414

Yoga teaches us how to pause, accept, and love ourselves as who we are. Yoga asks us to appreciate everything exactly as it is, because it is as it should be. Us included…


 Paula holds a Masters degree in Psychology from Columbia University and a Masters degree in Education from Hunter College. She did her clinical post-graduate training at the Milton H. Erickson Society for Psychotherapy and Hypnosis. Paula conducts biannual Teacher’s Trainings in New York City and Latin America, teaches workshops nationwide and in Europe. She teaches on going classes, holds corporate workshops and offers individual instruction in meditation, breath awareness, soulful relationships as well as yoga and yoga as therapy.



Feeling stressed? Two simple ways to find relief

Stress and Health

Let’s face it, we all have to deal with stress. Stress can be triggered by events like  financial troubles or being stuck in traffic, or a tight deadline at work. Many of us deal with stress by reaching for “quick fixes” such as smoking, drinking, or eating that become to health problems down the road. Over time, stress creates strain on our body, which can cause many health issues which ultimately lead to premature aging, disease, and illness (Iyengar,2001)


How a bolster can help you de-stress

Learning how to deal with stress properly is the key to a healthy life. Spending 10 minutes a day on a bolster will help you unwind from your day, and increase your quality of life by calming your nervous system and bringing your body back into balance (Iyengar, 2001)

Downward facing hero posture (child’s pose):

Spend 5 minutes in this restful pose as it calms the mind, reduces stress, and soothes the eyes and nervous system.


Sit on your heels with your knees slightly wider than your hips. Place a bolsters in between your knees with one end tucked in close to your body. Exhale and stretch your torso foreword onto the bolster. Drape your arms off on either side of the bolster. Note: If it is uncomfortable to sit on your heels place a blanket between your sitting bones and heels. Breathe and relax for 5 minutes

Savasana with chest opening

Unwind for 5 minutes in this classic pose. Savasana is known for bringing energy back into the body, reducing stress and calming the mind.

Recline onto the bolster on vertebrae at a time until you are fully reclined. Breathe deeply and enjoy the feeling of the bolster gently opening your chest and expanding your ribcage for deeper breathing. Note: if you find that the curve in your low back is too much, try placing a blanket or a chip foam block under your sacrum. 

For those of you who do not have a bolster, you can use a standard pillow folded in half  in place of a bolster.

If you have had a rough day, or are just looking to unwind, spend some time on a bolster to calm your body and mind.