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Sometimes we need to be led

I’m a yoga teacher now, but I still want to go to other teacher’s classes. Now more than ever I dare say. In my personal yoga practice, I have a tendency to end up in my favorite postures or flows. Or I might get a little too comfortable, a little lazy. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Today I attended an all-levels class taught by my mentor and friend. Attendance was on the low side (not a bad thing on an Election Day if you ask me) so she led us into some reverse binds. It was a challenging class. The kind where cues to downward facing dog were met with sighs and groans of relief.

I like binding. Completing that circle, however it can be done, feels good. But I tend overlook binds in my personal practice. Not for any reason other than I don’t often consider them. But that might have changed today.

Challenge can be good. Reaching outside your comfort zone and finding that other hand is so rewarding. In many cases being a follower isn’t the best thing. (Ahem. Election Day). But as a committed student and practitioner of yoga, it can be good to be led.

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Pondering, Yoga off the mat

Flexibility, fostering growth

I was talking to a friend about her knee pain, suggesting she stretch because sometimes knee pain means tight hamstrings, quads, or even the hips, the back…

“A little every day is better than a lot one day. Build up to longer holds and deeper stretches…” quoting myself here.

It occurred to me this is a good mantra for most days. A little every day is better than too much. Don’t expect too much right away. Learn to pause, be still, take time, be now.

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.

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.