Yoga on The Farm

Yoga on The Farm, three days into summer

The past few days have been scorchers. 104* yesterday afternoon. Typical Texas summer, really. It was already in the eighties when I arrived at the farm this morning, a little past 8am, and the overcast sky was welcome.

Class featured a sun salutation, with a cooling moon salutation to balance. It was a challenging practice and my students were up for it. We had a great time. It was beautiful!

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Gear Review, Highly Recommend

To B or not to B (Mat), gear review

I have nothing to do with B Yoga, and am not really here to do gear reviews. However, when I was shopping for mats there weren’t a lot of reviews for the B Mat out there, so I would like to put this out there for anyone who wants a lightweight, durable, never stretchy yoga mat for daily use.

I have had the B Mat Strong in Ocean Green since March, have been practicing on it daily. I am 100% satisfied. Here is what I was looking for in a mat, and how the B Mat Strong delivers:

Stickiness. I will only use sticky mats. Very sticky mats. I have owned a lot of mats in a lot of brands, used mats of many pro brands, and so far, the B Mat is the stickiest. I may never be able to use another brand of mat regularly again, because the B Mat is the ideal level of stickiness for the majority of my Hatha practice.

Support/Thickness. I was coming off of a very worn 5mm Gaiam Sol Grip mat when my friend loaned me a Jade Fusion. Super thick. It was nice, but it was an older, degraded mat and was stretchy. I decided to find something that was at least 6mm. The B Mat Strong is 6mm. It feels like much more, but with the firmness of a leaner mat. You have to try it to understand. This mat is supportive enough for long holds of one legged balancing poses. I love it.

Mid to light weight. I did not want a mat that was a slog to drag around. This mat is very light for how thick it is. It is a dense, lightweight rubber mat.

Color. I wanted a green mat. The B Mat jewel tones were right up my alley. I actually was very close to getting the yellow B Mat because it is gorgeous, even more gorgeous in person. But I had read that the lighter colored B Mats might show more dirt.

Which is a decent segue way into the not as perfect but not deal-breaking qualities of the B Mat Strong.

It can look dirty. Three minutes after cleaning my mat, it looks a bit dull. After a practice it can look kind of dusty. It’s like the mat is sooooo sticky, skin cells and lint are attracted to this mat. Now that I’ve typed that out it seems bad but it’s not really that bad. A friend of mine who is 500 RYT, in fact, that friend that loaned me the Jade Fusion, bought a B Mat Strong in yellow after seeing my mat. She loves the mat, but she carries it uncovered and rolled in her car, and her dog’s hair sticks to it. I have never noticed her mat looking dirty, but she sees it. It’s OK with the green mat, I can live with it. It is the price I pay for the stickiness.

Price. I wish yoga mats didn’t cost as much. I bought my B Mat from an online retailer, using percentage off coupons. It was worth it, but this mat is expensive for most folks.

Rolling / Storage. The B Mat must be rolled a particular way; logo out, from the top of the mat to the bottom. If you roll the mat in the opposite direction, it can crease and affect the ability of the mat to lie flat. It’s not a big deal.

Conclusion: I highly recommend the B Mat, it is perfect for anyone with an indoor practice. I would not recommend this mat for someone with a regular outdoor practice (I use my old Sol for that). Another caveat, if you’re looking for a mat that is always camera ready, you would probably be cleaning the mat multiple times a day, or using a lot of filters to buff away the dust.

My YTT, Yoga on The Farm

Learning to stand

I taught my first public yoga class this past weekend, on the farm! It was early, not too hot, and just the right amount of “roughing it.” I had six attendees, including my friend J (a fellow student in my yoga teacher training program) who helped me set up and break down.

If reading about yoga bores you to tears, I will only say this: It was awesome! We had a ton of fun. My nerves melted away once we got started, and the environment was delightful and inspiring, and I can’t wait until the next class! If you would compare the concept of sea legs to “yoga legs,” I think I’m developing my yoga teaching legs. I’m learning to stand!

If you’re at all interested in yoga…

We started with a seated warm-up, then a slow puppy pose to a safely aligned Downward Facing Dog, then up to Tadasana (aka Mountain Pose). We learned a sequence I’d call the Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) “spin.” When we peaked at a squat, aka Malasana, I talked about how we have unlearned the squat in daily life. If you’ve spent any time around developing cultures, you have seen a lot of squatting. People squat to eat, to play cards, to complete their bodily functions (aka number II). Here I realized¬†the focus of the class was not really to learn to get to that peak pose, to squat. The focus of the practice was to learn to stand. Have you ever heard of the four corners of the feet? In yoga we use the four corners to ground ourselves, to anchor ourselves for balance in life and in asanas/poses. Early in the class I \ talked about the four corners, and continued to reference them and rely on them throughout the sequence of asanas.

We build our poses, our bodies, from the ground up. I’m starting my yoga teaching career from the ground up. Four corners of the feet. Grounding. Mountain Pose. Malasana. Learning to stand.

My YTT, Pondering

Early summer

We are in that sweet spot of summer here in Texas, where it is hot but not too hot; in fact, mornings are downright gorgeous. Everything is green and happy, kids are out of school… it feels so fresh. Early summer. I am starting to think of this as an entirely different season than the deep, scorching summers we endure in our part of the south.

I am deep in yoga teacher training and, as hippie dippy as this sounds, it feels like I am in early summer in terms of the seasons in life. I am green and happy, soaking it all in, just growing and starting to really root in.

I am teaching my first real yoga class this coming Saturday, and I am but a seedling.

Mothering, Yoga off the mat, Yoga on The Farm

This morning

It’s been nutty. My family has a pretty rugged virus that clobbered my husband and kids… fever, rash, I’ll spare you the gory details. Thankfully, I’ve remained healthy. The school year ends today, and as a mom and a PTA coordinator of things, this past month has been consuming. Our fridge died over Memorial Day weekend, and we’ve been eating out of a cooler for a week.

I have NOT been putting my oxygen mask on first, as they say. My cup is empty.

But today, this morning, there was a marked shift. Fevers are gone. It’s the last day of school! The loaner fridge arrives in 45 minutes.

AND, I went to the farm. My son and I met our friends M, the chickens, and Scout the yellow lab, and we talked. We played. We discovered chickens might (and do!) eat their own eggs if given the opportunity.

This is the land I will be teaching my first yoga series on. I tested my portable speaker. I waited for the heat to come, and it didn’t. It was shady, it was breezy, it was cool. There were birds singing. A crane hung out in the pond (pictured, look closely).

While there were no asanas / poses, there was no workout, this morning, I practiced yoga. I finally filled my cup. Breathed in that oxygen. Connected.

AND, I brought home some farm fresh eggs! Not a full dozen, though, because my son, the two year-old scientist, experimented and broke a few. How else would we have learned that chickens can be cannibals?

Pondering, Yoga off the mat

Impermanence

We try to be aware and accepting of impermanence. Tibetan sand mandalas are probably the most popular example of tangible impermanence, as well as practice in non-attachment.* These painstaking and beautiful pieces of art, created over hours of meditation, are simply blown away.

My toddler likes to “find the rainbows” that the morning light sometimes throws around our house. The spectrum shining on the carpet or the wall isn’t always there, and it always changes and disappears. So young, we begin training ourselves in impermanence.

These are two beautiful examples, but life is about balance. Sometimes things aren’t beautiful. Maybe you have knee pain. Or the world is caving in and it seems you’ve been dealt a “sh!t sandwich” as some might say. We need to remind ourselves that ugly, unpleasant things are also impermanent. Even our own negative thoughts, self-criticism… these moments, these feelings…

Whatever is. Whatever was. Nothing lasts forever.

Note: While I use the sand mandalas as an example to illustrate a point, we can’t forget that Buddhism and yoga are not the same thing.

 

Home yoga practice, Music and yoga, My YTT

Singing can be yoga

We had our May YTT intensive this past weekend. We sang a lot. We learned a ton. So, so much.

Just this morning, while doing laundry, I found myself singing while meditatively folding my family’s clothing into stacked bundles. I decided to go with it, and after singing / folding for about ten minutes, I found I’d worked up quite a bit of heat.

When I finished, I drank a glass of water and my two year-old and I shared a pear. These simple things felt like a full, gratifying morning.

Sometimes yoga is something other than a “workout.” Sometimes it is sitting with friends and and connecting by singing. Sometimes it is doing something for you, even while conducting the most commonplace tasks in life. Whistling while you work, so to speak.

“Don’t worry about how well you carry a tune or whether you know all the words… Come. Sing along. You’ll have the time of your life.” Melody Beattie,”Journey to the Heart,” page 147.