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.

Yoga Makes Me Happy

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Over the years, I’ve read or heard people’s stories on how yoga changed their life. Yogis have shared how yoga helped them through a divorce or recover from an eating disorder or through another addiction. I often felt envious of these stories, as crazy as that sounds. I never felt that yoga impacted me in such a dramatic way. Yes, practicing yoga made me feel happier and I often felt better after practicing but I couldn’t relate a huge shift due to practicing yoga. 

In class this morning, my teacher shared how one of her daughters got injured and how she handled the situation very calmly. She said she was able to be so calm because of yoga. It made me think, yet again, if there was anything that I could attribute to yoga other than my defined shoulders (my teacher commented on the muscle tone in my shoulders but honestly, I just have wide shoulders).

As I practiced, I realized that while I could not, at this time, come up with something big and dramatic, yoga has positively affected my life in subtle and not so subtle ways:

1) I am a much happier person (usually) after I practice.

2) Yoga introduced me to India. And some pretty amazing yoga teachers. And the Yoga Sutras and the Gita. And Sanskrit. And Hindu gods and goddesses such as Ganesha and Kali. Jai! And the positive effects lululemon wunder unders. Hell, even my husband, is thrilled with that discovery.

3) Practicing yoga in a group setting, whether it is at one of my local studios or in Times Square during the Summer Solstice (I am so very excited to participate again on Friday) or during a jam packed class at the Yoga Journal Conference, makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than me, a community, a sangha, even if I never see these people again.

4) Yoga has taught me about santosha, aka, contentment. I do my best to incorporate ahimsa, the act of non-violence through my thoughts, words and deeds in my life. I try to cultivate the practice of non-attachment (and it’s hard. Really, really hard). Learning about karma, spending hours discussing karma during my yoga teacher training, changed the way I viewed life. Karma makes sense to me (most of the time). Yoga has provided me some guidelines, or the yamas and niyamas, as a way to live a happier life. I grew up believing in the 10 Commandments but the yamas and niyamas just feel different to me. 

5) Yoga has also aided in my self realization. Despite my attempts to practice non-attachment, I am attached to certain “spots” in a yoga class, mainly being towards the back and against the wall. I often force myself to be in the front but still against the wall. I need to slowly work myself to practice sandwiched between other students (gasp). My mind often wanders during yoga class. I compare myself to others. Yoga has made it clear to me that I have tight hamstrings but strong shoulders and I can get into crow. 

Yoga has probably affected me in more ways than I even realize. Does it even matter, though? Yoga makes me feel good. It helps keep me calm and sane. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Namaste.

Yoga Journal

Yesterday on Facebook, a friend posted a link to an article that was featured on Yoga Journal’s site.  (It was about lululemon’s CEO.  Quite an interesting read, especially the comments on their Facebook page!!). I immediately Liked the page. I’m not sure why I hadn’t done it sooner. I love the magazine.

I also love reading the online articles and blogs.  You should check them out.

Namaste.

Should I buy Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis Series?

I belong to a couple of lululemon boards on Facebook. One of the boards is especially great because it’s not solely focused on lulu. People talk about health and fitness. I love it.

Yesterday a woman bravely posted photos of herself in a freaking bikini. She said that she did 40 days of Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis Series. The before and after photos were unbelievable. Check them out. The woman, who is also a mom, received tons of compliments. And, no surprise, people wanted to find out more about the dvd. Especially after she posted her stats, which were very impressive.  Continue reading

My Time Is Running Out At The Bar Method

I have one week left at The Bar Method. I’ve been going each week 4x a week. I am loving it. I am not missing the gym at all. I do miss yoga but I also know that I am going to be practicing yoga so much this summer that I’m ok with taking a break before I begin my summer intensive training next weekend.

One of my friends, M, asked to join me at a class. She said she had always wanted to check it out but was nervous to go alone. (Side note: I am so different. I love checking out new classes and studios alone.)

M joined me on class on Thursday. And Friday. Continue reading

CooCoo For lulu

Since my interest in lululemon has re-emerged, I’ve been back to checking out various lululemon blogs. There are also a few groups on Facebook, one being an Exchange board. I love this board. The members with lulu obsessed fans who buy, sell and trade their lulu attire. When my husband first learned of it, he was disgusted. He thought it was really gross that women would buy used work out clothes. Yeah, when he put it that way I agreed with him.

However, many times women will sell items new with tags. Plus you can find some great deals and with lulu being so expensive, it’s not surprising to learn that they are over 6,000 members on one of the boards alone! There are even lulu angels who will go to a store for you to buy something on your behalf. I’ve been amazed.

Last week I noticed a flurry of posts. When I began to read what was going on, I felt sick. Apparently there was a woman who traded thousands and thousands of dollars worth of lulu, except that she didn’t live up to her side of the bargain. There are tons of women who sent her their stuff and haven’t received anything back. Apparently she was also selling on ebay and the suspicion is she was taking all the stuff she received and reselling it on ebay.

Sick, huh? I haven’t kept up with the posts. They just go on and on. Last I read the police are now involved. I feel so awful for anyone got swindled by this woman. I hope this is just some weird misunderstanding and that there’s a happily ever after ending.

Back To The Bar Method!

The other day I posted how one of my old obsessions, lululemon, has come back to my consciousness. Yesterday, someone I know emailed me and asked about The Bar Method. She said she’s looking for quick results and was seeking my opinion.

I went on and on about how much I love The Bar Method and how when I took 4 classes a week for one month, I saw significant body changes. And it wasn’t just me. Last summer, quite a few people commented on my physique. I haven’t kept up with it because I have a gym membership and I also practice yoga. There’s only so much I can do and afford.

However, Mother’s Day is coming up. My husband has been asking me what I want. I’ve been rather unhappy with my body recently because I put on some weight over the winter and I haven’t been able to release it. I’ve been feeling very frustrated, fat and ugly.

The timing could not be better. I am most likely going to start an intensive yoga teacher training program at the end of May. In the meantime, I can devote all my energy at The Bar.

I am so freaking excited but I’m also scared. It’s been so, so long since I have taken a class. I’m sure I will rebuild my momentum in no time, but I will have to keep reminding myself that it will take a few classes.

Let the transformation begin!!

Oh, PS, one of the best things is that my studio also sells lululemon. But please don’t tell my husband!