One of the first questions people ask when starting out their yoga practice is, “What type of mat should I buy?” With so many types of yoga mats out there, and so many different styles of yoga, it can be hard to know! I found this great guide that breaks it all down for you. The folks who wrote this guide did a lot of research to help you pick the best mat for your needs. I love that all the mats they tested are eco-friendly and non-toxic. Personally, I plan to invest in the Tranquility Essentials cork mat as my next mat purchase. They say it’s a bit heavier than the other choices, but I like its eco-friendly rating and natural cork material. For studio practice, I’ll stick with my personal favorite that I've used for the past 9 years, the Jade Harmony mat.
Now, this article is cool because it also dives into a bit of the history of yoga mats. The idea of using a yoga mat is a relatively new concept. Ancient yogi’s didn’t use mats at all! They practiced in nature. Over time, people started using cloth rugs to practice on. Yoga practice used to be more about the seated practice, like meditation. Your modern yoga practice involves a lot more movement, poses, and let’s face it, sweat! That’s where these sticky, rubber mats came into play. To help prevent you from slipping and sliding during your practice. The problem is that many of the mats today use toxic chemicals. And, who wants to get all sweaty while doing something good for yourself on a toxic mat? Eek!
That’s where this guide comes in handy. They sent all the mats to a special lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan to test the materials. I’m interested to hear your thoughts after you read this guide. What’s been your favorite yoga mat? How has the info in this guide made you think differently about yoga mats? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Challenges are inevitable. Suffering is a choice.
This was the topic of a podcast I listened to recently. In it, Marie Forleo interviewed Krishnaji and Preethaji. Marie Forleo, if you’re not familiar, is an amazing entrepreneur, business and life coach. Krishnaji and Preethaji are the founders of an organization called O&O academy. So, in this interview, they talked about the difference between challenges and suffering. Life will always present you with challenges. But, suffering, they say, is a choice. Challenges are the actual situation. Suffering is your reaction to the situation. Suffering comes from your mind’s thoughts and the emotions that those thoughts evoke.
So, how can you move through life’s challenges without suffering? I’ll be upfront about this. It’s not easy. There’s the day to day challenges. Things like getting to work on time, getting your kids ready for school, or dealing with traffic. Then, there’s the bigger challenges that life throws at you. Things like the loss of a loved one, a new diagnosis, or a career change. It maybe that a completely enlightened person would be able to move through these situations without suffering. But, for the rest of us, I think it’s possible to at least minimize our suffering. To find some sort of peace and acceptance within those challenges. Possibly even find happiness and gratitude.
The first step is awareness. Recognize that you’re suffering. Acknowledge the suffering. Maybe even start a conversation with it. Your feelings are valid. They usually show up as a message. So, ask it: "Suffering, what are you hear to teach me? What’s the lesson I need to learn here?"
And then, sit still. Let the light enter those dark spaces. By asking those questions and being open to what arises, you’re letting the light in. The light of guidance and wisdom. It may be subtle as a little whisper from your inner voice. Or, it may be more obvious, like a blog post, book, or social media post that you stumble upon.
If you find it hard to sit still, then try journaling. I meditate daily, which helps me tune in. But, journaling is actually the way I most easily tune into these messages. So, if meditation seems impossible, try sitting down with a pen and paper. Write down these questions: "Suffering, what are you hear to teach me? What’s the lesson I need to learn here?"
Then, let your pen move. Free flow. Whatever comes out, let it be. And, then go back and read what you wrote. You might be surprised what you find. There may be a new perspective, a solution, or a lesson in what you wrote.
I’m interested to hear what you think of this idea of suffering being a choice. And, what you discover when you try out these practices! Leave a comment below to let me know!