Back On My Mat….Again

the mat

 

A few months ago, I wrote about renewing my love for yoga. After a while of not practicing, I felt great being back on my mat. I felt amazing. However, I spent most of my summer off the mat. I have my reasons, aka, excuses, of course. I gave tons of Reiki sessions. I started kickboxing. I did make it to a handful of classes. Some days I even managed a home practice.

But my heart wasn’t into it as it once was. I tried to be gentle and kind to myself. I knew this was only a phase. I knew it would pass. But it was still challenging for me. I didn’t feel like I was being who I was, if that makes any sense. I continually reminded myself that yoga is not just asana or yoga poses. I knew I would eventually find my way home again.

And I have. These past few weeks I’ve been taking more classes. I actually crave yoga. I think that is what was bothering me:  I was missing the desire for yoga. Without that desire, I felt off kilter. I did love kickboxing. I also love the other workout classes that I have been trying recently. The difference is that now I can’t wait to get back on my mat. I’m looking forward to practicing with my favorite teachers and practicing with new teachers and studios.

Speaking of mats, I also purchased a new mat. It’s called The Mat by lululemon. While I have heard great things about The Mat, I always shied away from it mainly because of the logo. I typically dress head to toe in lulu and I felt silly practicing with a lulu mat. Yet after reading rave review after rave review  (and seeing it released in the color Plum), I decided to purchase it.

I blogged about finding the perfect yoga mat over a year ago. That blog post is one of my most popular blog posts. Clearly there are many yogis in the same boat. Since writing that post, I have only been using my Jade Fusion mat. I find it cushiony and non-slippery. I either haven’t broken my Manduka Pro in or I have a defective one, but it’s so slippery. I just don’t reach for it since I hate slipping.

I’ve used The Mat at least three times. Pros: It’s very grippy and lighter weight than my Jade Fusion and Manduka Pro. Cons: It shows stains and it smells. When I first opened The Mat, I laid it out in my office with the windows open for a few days. My office still smells. The Mat still smells a tiny bit but it has gotten a lot better. The thing that bother me the most are the stains, aka, sweat. When I’m in child’s pose, my forehead leaves a stain on the mat. It does go away eventually, but it’s taking me some time to get used to seeing stains as I practice. That has never, ever happened to me in any of my years of owning a yoga mat.

I bet the black mat doesn’t show stains as much. If you know me, you know I love all things purple but I may get a black one next time. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my mat as much as possible, stains and all.

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Yin & Yang

cko

A few days ago, I chatted with an acquaintance about yoga. She had taken a class or two in the past and was excited about learning more. However, when she went to the class, she felt out of place. Disoriented. Out of sorts. She wasn’t familiar with the Sanskrit names for poses or even the “regular” names.

I could relate. Two weeks ago, I decided to check out a kickboxing studio in my town, CKO Kickboxing. While I love practicing yoga, I was also feeling a bit blah with my practice. I view yoga as my spiritual practice, not as exercise. It’s definitely challenging for sure, but my body was calling for a workout.  I decided to check out a class. The first class is free and I also had a coupon for a pair of free gloves so I had nothing to lose except a lot of sweat.

It helped that I know the owner, Tara. Her daughter had taken one of my kids yoga series. I got there early and she gave me an orientation. Upper cuts, jabs, round house kicks….. It was all greek to me.

As class began, I truly felt out of my element. I found the combinations hard!  Side note: when I came home, I told my husband, a purple belt in karate,  how I found it challenging to remember the sequences. He kindly informed me the correct term was combination. In yoga, we call it a sequence.

Nevertheless, I loved it. I loved the sweat. I loved the fact that I was challenging my body and my mind with something new. I realized that it had been a very long time since I tried something new. While I do try new exercise classes here and there, this class was truly out of my comfort zone.

I also think this is a great yang to my yin yoga practice.

lulu water bottle