A few people have been asking me about yoga mats recently (possibly in response to my endless encouragement for them to start a stretching routine!)
I was given my yoga mat 10 years ago by a friend. She taught me a little yoga routine at the same time and said “just do it….anywhere and as many days as you can. Just role out this mat (and she did a fantastic hand movement of a mat unrolling perfectly onto the ground), do this routine most days, and it’ll be your friend!”
I took her at her word and that mat has gone everywhere with me; right across the world to Bali and beaches in New Zealand, tiny hotel floors, my garden whenever its not raining and inside my house when it is. I love it. Sometimes I can just fit in 5 minutes before work (although I try for 10) but it always makes me feel better, physically and emotionally.
It’s not a particularly special mat although it’s a bit thicker than the cheap, thin ones available from most sport shops, but its yoga mat stickiness is crucial in helping some stretches work safely.
I’ve looked at mats online to recommend to people and I’d say find one that you love the look of, it’ll last for years and it’ll encourage you to roll it out and do something on it! It’s probably one of a very few pieces of equipment that I have that hasn’t ended up gathering dust after a brief love affair!
Stretching is a recommendation in Chinese medicine that fits so many bills. It helps relieve stress, aids digestion (not if you do it straight after a big meal of course!), helps sleep and helps nurture our connection with ourselves, other people and the world around us.
Stretching is particularly relevant at this, late Summer, time of year.
Yesterday, with the sun shining and dew still on the ground, it was heaven to be still, with my face level with the grass around me, listening to the bees buzzing and watching cabbage white butterflies circle my brassicas one more time!