I'm not a New Year's resolution person, but I did give myself one goal this year: Move around more—and, most importantly, find joy in that movement. I've made sure to carve out at least an hour-and-a-half each day to walk my dogs, and a few weeks ago, I reached for my wallet and purchased a yoga studio membership. Which, after two years of no in-person classes, felt weird and intimidating and exciting—but I wanted change and challenge, so away we went!
I practiced yoga years ago, and I was terrible at it. I couldn't focus enough to hold each position, and I got easily frustrated. "I'm too anxious and impatient to like yoga," I told myself, after too many Savasanas that left me making mental bullet points of all the things I needed to do or worry about, instead of being "present" and "letting go." So, I'm not saying a yoga mat helped me learn to love yoga, but I'm not not saying a yoga mat helped me learn to love yoga.
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It wasn't just the yoga mat—I made sure to sign up for classes that were more my speed, which meant trying out "sculpt" sessions that integrate more cardio and core strengthening. They've been challenging and fun, and I've had no choice but to let go of all my anxieties and focus entirely on deep breaths and form (and sure, not passing out). What's gotten me through these classes (and what's encouraged me to keep going back, even though I still kind of suck) is my new yoga mat: Yogi Bare Paws, an extra grippy yoga mat that will not let you slip, no matter how much sweat pours from your body.
Made from eco-friendly rubber, this mat ensures that your feet and hands stay put. I've done planks (and side planks with sweaty feet, sorry if that's TMI!), warrior poses with weights, squats, downward dogs, and that thing you do when you're in downward dog position, extend your leg up, and bring it in and do the "windshield wiper" (I'm new at this, bear with me), and I've never once lost my balance due to sweat and/or friction. All while looking like I just stepped out of the pool.
Aside from its intense grippy-ness, it's also plush and soft enough for your Savasana (and crunches), so you're not left with a sore spine. I've used this mat for at-home core work, and appreciate how comfortable it is on my hard floors. Also, I know this may sound like a superficial thing to say, but it's just so pretty. I have an all-black one, but Yogi Bare offers various colors and patterns, like ocean waves.
I may be a few weeks into this new yoga journey, but I keep booking classes. And I keep going back. And most importantly? I keep feeling excited about it. I've gotta give credit where credit's due, and that's for my sidekick yoga mat—she's been one of the best cheerleaders a gal like me could have.
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