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.


Staying Grounded

Recently, my Manduka ProLite  yoga mat has been failing on me. My hands and feet have been slipping while in downdog. It’s been hard to maintain my balance in Virabhadrasana II when I feel like I’m going to collapse. Granted, I know there are far worse struggles going on in the world, but if you don’t feel safe and balanced on your yoga mat, how can you expect to feel safe and balanced off the mat and in the world?

I turned to Facebook to see what types of mats my yoga teachers and friends were using. I found out some interesting things:

1) Most yogis have more than one yoga mat. Doh! This never, ever occurred to me. I love my purple Manduka so why on earth would I need/want others?

2) There seems to be a Jade vs Manduka thing going on. Some prefer the spongey feel of the Jade while others prefer the hardness of the Manduka. I have never practiced on a Jade mat before so I have not idea if I prefer spongey.

3) Most yogis are very passionate about their mats. I also posted this question on one of the lululemon Facebook boards. Everyone seemed to love The Mat.

So, I decided to give my Manduka a good scrubbing and will test to see if it’s stickier now. I’m also leaning towards purchasing a purple Jade.

What’s your favorite mat?