What to Look for in a Quality Yoga Mat

Quality Yoga Mat

For the past year, I’ve gotten up early in the morning to do some relaxing yoga. This routine has been one of the best things for me, as someone who stresses out very easily, meditation and yoga has greatly helped in making me unwind and get into the proper mood before facing the challenges of the rest of the day. However, when I first started out, there was always one thing that made yoga a bit more burdensome than it should have been: the hard, wooden floor. Believe it or not, I used to do yoga without a mat, and when I did begin using a yoga mat, they weren’t the best. Needless to say, I often found bruises on my knees and legs after what was supposed to be an hour of relaxing yoga.

After deciding that enough was enough , I soon found myself scouring stores for a proper yoga matt, one that would help cushion the hard floor so that I could focus entirely on the yoga I was doing. The following are a few of the things I looked for to buy some of the best yoga mats I currently own.

Yoga MatThe first thing I made sure of when buying a yoga mat is ensuring that the material is right for me. And the best material, both in terms of providing great cushioning and reliability has been organic latex. Not only is it soft and comfortable, the material can also easily decompose, so if I choose to have it replaced, I can toss it out without worrying too much.

The next thing I looked for is ensuring that the size was right for me. The first mat that I ever got was a foot shorter than I was, so needless to say, it wasn’t effective in giving me the maximum comfort that I required. So ensuring that a yoga mat is the same size (often, maybe even a few inches longer) as you is extremely important.

The last thing I focused on was the texture of the mat. When doing yoga, I really want to focus on my own thoughts and the actions that I was doing, and not only the “feel” of the mat. That’s why it’s important to buy a mat that is both soft and natural feeling, but also one that provides good traction to support flexible yoga poses.

In the end, a single yoga mat isn’t right for everyone; buying that right mat really depends on a person to person basis so be sure to get one that fits your needs!

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Learning Gratitude with Yoga

Gratitude

Lately I have been trying to focus on the practice of gratitude, and yes, it is a PRACTICE.

The practice is as follows: wake up in the mornings and mindfully take your thoughts to all the things you are grateful for and do your best to carry this through your day. This is more difficult than it seems as I know my mind would prefer to linger over all the other “stuff” in my life…my “to do” list…work…chores…family…pets…and the list goes on and on. But I find that if I set the intention to let go of that thought process and instead focus on the gratitude I carry for all of the wonderful things in my life, not only do my mornings seem more bearable but my day becomes this beautiful way to experience all those things that so enrich my life.

I have heard that gratitude can make what little you have into more than enough and I find that to be true, because on days when the good stuff seems very thin and difficult to find, my practice of gratitude makes the good stuff more prominent.

Some mornings coming to my gratitude practice is more challenging, such as when the pipe under the kitchen sink bursts when I am hurrying to get my breakfast together before work, but then I am reminded of the good again when my husband graciously offers to clean up and fix it so I wont be late.

I have to say my yoga practice coincides wonderfully with my gratitude practice. If I have a difficult time finding or holding on to my gratitude, coming to my mat or even just coming to my breath brings me back. I hope to motivate and encourage my students to find their own practice of gratitude. Everyone has something to be grateful for no matter what is happening in their lives. Sometimes it is easy to find, like when amazing things are happening but other times it is more elusive and THAT is the practice, can you find gratitude no matter what? And if you can, can you hold on to it and let it turn what little you have into more than enough? I invite you to try this practice and see how it enriches not just your day but also your life.

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