On the mat: yoga on the road

Oh god, I miss the studio.

I even miss myyogaonline.

Something, anything, with a teacher. For variety, challenge, growth.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve embraced the “home” (aka hotel) practice, ever since I got the trailer, and spent so many months in Calgary, without my Semperviva. I adapted, let go of the classes (though still joined the odd one here or there when I was home), and started building my own practice. It was actually really easy with MYO, because I had so many options for style, length, intensity, etc. (though one could say there might be a little too much choice). As well, I could still practice with some of the same teachers from home (ie. the lovely Cameron Gilley), which helped to give some familiarity and grounding to whatever impersonal space I found myself in.

Sometimes I missed the instant calming effect of the studio; all that energy created by all those mindful yogis has a way of making it so easy to find stillness. But with a teachers’ guidance, the gentle reminders to return to the breath, using MYO it still felt as if I was pretty much getting the real-deal (even if I was still in my pyjamas).

Eventually, though, in this trip, I’ve apparently ventured far enough away from the beaten path to lose a good enough wifi connected to make even the impossibly cheap MYO membership not worth the while. So, I cancelled that, and dove into the world of unguided practice. Just me and the mat*.

And it’s been good, believe it or not. There really is power in sitting down, asking yourself what you need, and allowing yourself to find the answers. The style, the postures, the rhythm; it’s all up to you, and your body will actually tell you if you take the time to listen. And many times, it just comes. Start in with a few rounds of sun salutations, and your body will naturally start flowing towards where it needs to go.

Until you get bored. You’ve gone through your entire library of postures and there’s nothing new left on the shelves.

Which is exactly where I’m at.

I need some inspiration. I wrack my brain trying to remember different poses and sequences I’ve done in class, but I’m so stuck! I can’t comprehend the written explanations when I try to look up different things to try, so I haven’t had anything new to incorporate in what feels like ages, my practice is feeling that stale.

I hope I find some inspiration soon. Or a class that doesn’t blow an entire days’ budget in an hour (I’m looking at you, Accra!).

Until then, I’ll just keep coming back to what I know…

*a note on mats: I have with me the Manduka eKO SuperLite travel mat. I picked it up at the Kits beach Semperviva studio in November 2013 for $45+tax.

It’s a little on the heavy side, relative to other foam-based mats, but it is very grippy, extremely durable, and made from natural, biodegradable, and sustainably-harvested sources.

I met a lady travelling who had a half-moon travel mat, which was much lighter, but not nearly as sticky, so I don’t think I would opt for that one. The Gaiam travel mat looks like it might be worth investigating though, if for some reason I needed to replace the one I have (unlikely, this guy feels built to last!)

My only real complaint (though hardly a complaint at all) would be that because it is so thin and pliable enough to fold up (a definite plus-factor if you’re fitting it inside a suitcase or small bag), it actually does not have enough rigidity to support itself while rolled up. I can’t lean it against the wall, or strap it to the side of my bag on its own, as it just sort of slumps over (and would either unroll or get caught on all sorts of things if left like that).

Related to that, and again, sort of a necessary compromise, is that man, do you really feel the earth (or concrete floor, in many cases) with this mat. It’s barely even there, which is, I guess, the point.

So all in all, I’m pretty happy with my little companion.

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