Do you know the difference between yoga mats that are available to you? If you have ever had a cheaper mat, or a loaner mat at most studios, you will find that the mat stretches as you put pressure on it in two different directions, for example Downward Dog or Warrior 2. Also, your feet and hands are more likely to slide. This makes a huge difference in the quality of your practice! If you are just beginning in your yoga practice, it is hard to spend $40-50 on a yoga mat, when you are not sure you will stick with it. However, not spending $40-50 on a good mat will quickly lead to your frustration with yoga and giving it up anyway. Since we go barefoot in class, and it is the only prop that you need to purchase, think of your mat as a good pair of tennis shoes. Would you spend only $10 on your tennis shoes, if you were about to start a new exercise program?
There are two yoga mats that are top of the line. Manduka and Jade Mats are the most sought out ones. The difference between the two comes down to how they are made. Manduka is made with a closed cell structure. This means that if you sweat all over it, the sweat wipes off and does not soak into your mat. This is a great selling point, as you are not carrying around a mat that smells like all of your yoga practices. Manduka's can also be easily hosed off in the shower to be cleaned. Just throw it over the shower, use a body puff with a little bit of dish soap and give it a good scrubbing. Rinse it off when you are done. Jade on the other hand has an open cell. It is like a sponge. It will soak up any sweat or liquids. What I have seen is that Manduka's can honestly last you a lifetime. I have had mine for 6 years, with a daily practice, and it still looks almost brand new. Jade mat's however will need to be replaced every few years.
As for different versions of the Manduka mats, I prefer my Pro-Lite mat over the Pro Black series. The Pro-Lite is lighter and easier to take with me to classes, but thick enough for padding under my knees. The Pro-Lite weighs 4lbs compared to the Pro weighing 7lbs.
Who is feeling their core this morning after yesterday's class? Wasn't that an awesome way to get into the deep core?
It was an excellent exercise for toning your core, but also for self confidence and owning who you are. It's all about self power and self worth. So if you are feeling more confident and "worthy" today, practice some more at home.
If you missed class and want to give it a try, put a folded up towel off the end of your mat (or 2 paper plates/furniture sliders if you are on carpet). Stand on the towel/paper plates and do a Forward Fold placing your hands down on your mat. Using your core, slide your feet out to Downward Dog. Slide them back in to a Forward Fold. If that was easy, next time slide your feet out to Plank. ;). Don't understand? Come ask me in class. I can walk you through it.
San Antonio Yoga Center is still under renovations. I will post and let everyone know when we have a firm open date. Until then, come to class at 9 am on Saturdays at Yoga Sanctuary. See you there!
When the challenges in your practice, or your life, seem insurmountable, let this inspire you. Yoga is an amazing gift for us all!
"If you are not taking care of you, you're not in a position to help anyone else. You can't give what you don't have."
So, comment below and let me know what you have done today for you...
The move is on! San Antonio Yoga Studio is officially closed. This beautiful studio is going to be picked up and moved to it's new location at:
11011 Shaenfield Road, San Antonio, TX 78254
*Will let everyone know when studio re-opens!
Let me lead you through a practice at home.
There is a wonderful verse in the Tao Te Ching, chapter 76. This was written by Lao Tzu sometime around 600-500 BC.
"When life begins
we are tender and weak
When life ends
we are stiff and rigid
All things, including the grass and trees,
are soft and pliable in life
dry and brittle in death
So the soft and supple
are the companions of life
While the stiff and unyielding
are the companions of death
An army that cannot yield
will be defeated
A tree that cannot bend
will crack in the wind
Thus by Nature’s decree
the hard and strong are defeated
while the soft and gentle are triumphant"
This verse speaks of our flexibility being the key to life. At first glance, it is easy to think that it is talking about our physical flexibility, which is something that we strive towards with our yoga practice. However, after considering it for a little longer, it might become to open up with more meaning. Lao Tzu, the author, was not talking about physical flexibility, but instead how we face the world around us. Are we stiff and unyielding? Are we able to listen to other's ideas? Although we know what is best for us, do we often try to push our beliefs on others? Is it possible instead to be soft and yielding to those around us? To allow them to be who they are and not try to force them onto a path that looks like our own?
As parents, how many times have we told our children what to do? Of course they need guidance! It is how we do it though. How often does the conversation end with, "because I said so" or "because I am in charge"? Let me give you a better example with the age-old fight of trying to get our children to eat their vegetables. Of course, we can try to do this by forcing them to sit at the table and telling them that that they WILL eat them or there will be_____ (no dessert, an early bedtime, more veggies tomorrow,...). How effective would this hard, strong, unyielding approach be if you were the child in this example? What if instead we entered into a conversation with the child. Listening to them from OUR heart, maybe we talk to them about how the vegetables are grown and encourage them to take a few bites before completely dismissing them. Instead of trying to force them with our mind (ego), we approach them with our heart. This is the much softer approach that Lao Tzu was talking about.
How about in our workplace? How many times have we insisted that we knew the right answer to a problem we were facing and that there was no other way? And our boss or co-worker was a complete "jerk" for thinking it could be a different way? Maybe instead we could come to the realization that they have had a different experience in life and could have some very valuable insight, if we would just listen. Eventually we might come to the realization that they might even be right. Regardless, by listening to them we are able to open our heart more and learn a very valuable lesson in our lives.
In China, bamboo is a symbol for flexibility and a long life. In our lives, we often try to be the mighty and strong oak tree, instead of the flexible and swaying bamboo. The oak is easily broken down by a hard force, but the bamboo is soft and easy to bend out of the way . In yoga, Tree Pose is a perfect example of this. If we try to force Tree Pose and be hard and stiff, it takes very little force, or imbalance, for us to fall over. However, if we are able to be flexible and soft, Tree Pose becomes much easier.
In your life, which type of people do you prefer surround yourself with? The oak or the bamboo?
If you haven't seen it already, checkout the new San Antonio Yoga Hub
. It is a wonderful resource of all of the Yoga Events, Classes & Teachers in San Antonio! If you haven't been added to it yet, just use the Contact Form and let them know that you want to be on there too!
Our lives are always unpredictable and can sometimes be very hectic. However, I notice on a daily basis how this affect my students yoga practice. Typically when life gets crazy, the first thing that we let go of are the "extras" so that we can deal with whatever the biggest thing on our plate is. This is a good strategy, but really it comes down to whether or not you think that your yoga practice is an "extra". If it is, then it is seems easy to skip practice that day and instead deal with the stress in your life head-on. However, I would like you to consider if an hour of practice would instead help you face the challenges with a clearer mind?
Our yoga practice helps pull us through those hard times. We would not, hopefully, skip brushing our teeth or our hair - even during these stressful times. Why would be put yoga in a separate category? Isn't it just as important in your life as having clean teeth? What about a clean and calm mind? An open heart?
Our yoga practice is similar to building a brick wall. Each day that we come into practice, we put another brick on that wall, getting a closer glimpse of where we are headed and just how big this experience really can be. Yoga is like the other things in your life, in order to get there, you have to keep moving towards the goal and putting each brick down securely.