Friday, 2 September 2011

Yoga Surfaces

 Recently I was on a camping holiday in Spain. Early each morning I went down to the beach to do my yoga practice. (I know! I am writing this with a big grin on my face, so great it was!)
 I am generally not a big fan to outdoor yoga, due to the many distractions, weather moods and occasional spectators, this was different. I went early enough to be alone, or pretty much alone on the beach, apart from the birds and one or two dog walkers. The sun was still gentle and I tried to align my breath and the Vinyasa of my practice to the the Vinyasa of the sea. But the best thing of all was the grainy sand or small pebbled surface I was on. On top of the ground I had my ashtanga mat, one of the porous, thin, floppy ones, and I felt I never practiced better than on these various beaches. With the help of rocks and little piles of sand I was creating little bolsters and lifts, just as I needed them at the moment. I got sidetracked by the beauty and diversity of these million little pieces of silicia minerals, but since I was on holidays, I didn’t have any time restrictions. 
While I was practicing my standing postures, I was amazed how giving and flexible the ground below me was, adapting to my weight, but at the same time gently holding and supporting my feet. I felt very much connected and supported by the ground, much more so  than in a studio or at home.  Could that be an idea of how to equip a yoga studio? Beach Yoga Studio Dublin, how does that sound? We might have a little problem with hygiene though, but so does the damp carpet in a Bikram studio, or rental mats, for that matter.
A nice, wooden floor with underfloor heating has advantages of course, especially here in breezy Dublin.
Some swear by sprung flooring, like in a dance studio, to have a bit of give and shock adsorbing during practice, especially, I might imagine, those yogis that don’t have the well sufficient  amount of natural body-padding, that I am carrying around, ha! Some like to have two mats, piled on top of each other, especially in colder rooms.
I also have this insanely expensive, ecological sound mat, with a fancy pattern and different colour on each side, it feels very nice, is extremely slip resistant, and my cat loves it too, I often see him burying his claws or teeth into the mat, with obvious pleasure, but there is one big disadvantage: the mat is elastic! Whenever I stand in a wide legged posture or in downward dog, slowly my extremities drift apart, not a good thing, so don’t use it that often!
Still, my favourite is my worn old, purple, totally unglamorous ashtanga mat.  On a sunny beach.  In Spain. What is yours?

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