Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Yoga by Yourself

We travel a lot.  My boyfriend and I go from Italy to England to the U.S. every few months or so.

That can make practicing yoga at a studio a bit difficult.  There's not always a studio to be had--ie. rural Northwest England...

I've gotten used to setting up my mat in our living room in Italy or in my in-laws' computer room in the North of England and cranking the up volume on the iPad for a podcast.

So whether you're at home or on-the-go, here are some tips for practicing on your lonesome.

1.  Buy a thin mat.  No, it won't be as cushy, but it makes it so much easier to travel with and clean.  I've packed my Gaiam mat in my suitcase so many times without a problem.  Just fold it up!

And when you're home, you can clean the mat quite easily by leaving it to soak in a bathtub of water overnight.  In the morning, you get to see all that beautiful cloudy water that was once the filth on your mat!

When I started yoga in 2010, the first yoga mat I ever bought was a cheap Gaiam mat from Target.  I'm still using this mat today!

Gaiam Tree of Wisdom mat  $22

Here are other mats that are light and have good reputations:

Manduka PROlite  $78

Lululemon The Un Mat  $48

2.  Choose the right podcast.  I haven't tried a boatload of podcasts because I know what I like.  I practice more dynamic-type yoga (Baptiste Power, Vinyasa, Ashtanga), so my podcast recommendations are going to be for those who have experience in those styles. 

I've been lucky enough to find podcasts I like from the very beginning.  Here they are:

Dave Farmar
Pros:  Great free podcasts from classes he has taught throughout the world.  He will make you hold Utkatasana (chair pose) for a looong time! 
Cons:  He can be a bit talkative sometimes and he makes corny jokes, but he's a good teacher and has fun classes.  He's not for everyone. 

Kinndli McCollum
Pros:  Free podcasts with good flow.  Canadian accent (cracks me up every time!).
Cons:  Can also be a bit talkative at times.

Yoga to the People
Pros:  Free podcast.  Every one is taught by different teacher.
Con:  Some classes are a little slow for me.  Some teachers have slightly annoying voices/tendencies.

3.  Find a good surface.  I know you can't always find a nice wooden floor to practice on, but I've found that there are certain surfaces to avoid. 

Carpet is terrible.  I always end up bunching up my mat during sun salutations or warrior sequences.

Stone floors can be a bit uneven (as is the one in our apartment in Italy).  Try to find the most level spot.  I found this out when trying to balance in Bakasana (crow pose) and was tilting to one side. 

Now go and practice!
And if I've left anything out, please feel free to comment.

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