Asanacation One Year Anniversary

url-11I realized a few days ago that it has basically been a year since my asana practice fell apart. I’ve maintained a practice of yoga in terms of learning, pranayama, and meditation, but asana has been rare. I don’t know exactly how I do/should feel about it, and I’m not sure where I’m going from here.

There are many reasons for the change, but mostly it comes back to health. A surgical procedure in October of 2013 went wrong, causing problems that built up over late 2013 into the first months of 2014. By April, I was miserable. Getting through a day of work was a challenge, and asana was right out. At the end of May, I had a more invasive surgery to correct the prior one. But, then that, and some serious complications during healing, necessitated a continued break from yoga until September 2013. I thought that, by September, I would be back on track. It just didn’t work out that way, as rheumatoid arthritis had other opinions. Work schedule contributed by making the new times at my home studio impossible for me most days, and my home practice commitment just wasn’t strong enough to make up the difference when demands of household and work call. And time passed, and here we are in April.

There are weeks that I manage two classes. Once in a while, it might be three. But, my asana isn’t what it was. Muscles and tendons are tight and constrained. I’m physically weaker. My core is tired and balance is off. Meh. Yet, the RA isn’t significantly worse than it was 18 months ago and I had a more regular practice then. On the other hand, then I wasn’t on particular medication that slows my heart rate to 58, making every moment seem like a good moment for a nap. HA! So, what and where from here?

I want to get back to a more regular asana practice. I know the tricks like putting it on my schedule (though that does no good if I can’t get home from work until 6:30 or later and class starts at 6:15) and using videos and podcasts for home encouragement. But, I knew those last month and the month before, so something has to make the difference. I’m aware that clinging to the idea of an asana practice in a way that makes me feel bad, guilty, ashamed isn’t a good idea. But, I like how I feel when I practice more and (in a non-yogic truth) my clothes also fit better.

This is going to be one of “those” posts, where I end with a question for which I have no answers. It makes me a very not helpful vegan yoga blogger, but it’s where I am right now. So, WWYYD? (what would you yogis do?)


Being Not Ok With It – or – Where Is My Equanimity?

Long time readers, if there are any of you left, have probably noticed my horrible lack of posting, and that almost no posts about yoga have happened for months (there have been a lot of posts about cookies, though, so that counts for something). The reason for my yoga silence is that I’m not in a good place in my own practice, and I don’t know what to say.

Starting in the spring, some medical problems beyond my usual rheumatoid arthritis began happening. They included a significant amount of pain and pretty much ground my asana practice to a halt. At the end of May, this culminated in surgery, and then almost 10 weeks of no-yoga restrictions.

By the end of the imposed restrictions, I had very little stamina and still had a good amount of discomfort, plus the surgical after-effects that had boosted the arthritis into high gear. But, I started slowly back into my practice.

And here we are in November. I expected that my practice would be fully back on track now, but it is not. I had to eliminate a major part of my RA medications after surgery due to some liver issues (yes, I am a mess, thanks for asking), so the arthritis won’t calm down and most weeks, there is one or more parts of my body that just won’t cooperate. This has been compounded by daily headaches – maybe sinus, maybe migraine, maybe cluster, maybe gremlins – that I often have at this time of year, but that have been particularly bad and hard to deal with on top of the RA pain.

And, even the act of writing this makes me feel like a crazy woman. When I go to practice and have to sit out poses again, I am sure I look lazy or like a hypochondriac. When I realize that I haven’t attempted wheel, and only rarely inversions, in months, I wonder if I am lazy or a hypochondriac. When I don’t go to practice because something hurts, I am sure I AM lazy or a hypochondriac.

This morning, I got up with a nasty headache. It hurt to open my eyes or breathe. Yoga class was right out. But, it was a class that I really really wanted to go to – the last class in the studio that has been my yoga home for as long as I’ve been doing yoga. I’m so very sad right now to have missed it. I feel like I let myself, my yoga mentor, and my community down.

I know that yoga isn’t just about asana. I know that practice doesn’t have to happen in a vigorous class. I know that I should let go of attachment to a certain schedule or particular poses. I do. I say these things often to students in my gentle class (and I’m not even going to go into my feelings about not deserving to teach when my own practice is such a mess). I know them, but I’m having much trouble feeling them.

I can’t find my equanimity about this. It’s in there, somewhere. But, I can’t access it.

So, yeah, I don’t have a big point to make here. I guess I am writing this partly because I’ve spoken to many people over the years who say that they can’t seem to get started in a yoga practice, or can’t seem to maintain one, or are so busy fighting their body demons that they can’t find the space for it. And, they look at me with guilt and shame in their eyes when they say it. But, they don’t have to – if it’s you, you don’t have to – because I understand.

I’m writing this partly to also explain why the blog has been quiet and focused on, well, cookies. I’m a little too mired down in my own yoga funk to have much good that I can add to anyone else’s contemplation of yoga. So, if you have hung in there waiting to read something interesting about yoga, I still hope it will be back, but I don’t know when. And, I thank you.



Hybrid Eco-Mat by Barefoot Yoga – A Good Choice for a Light Mat

IMG_1542aRecently, Barefoot Yoga offered to send me one of their products to review for you. I selected the Hybrid Eco Mat, since I’m always looking for environmentally friendly yoga products. My full review follows, but the bottom line on this mat is that it’s priced right, very light, and would be easy to tote around; however, if you like a really sticky mat or a lot of padding and don’t mind spending quite a bit more for something more hefty, it may not be for you.

The Hybrid Eco-Mat I received is a pretty color purple they called Violet. When I received the mat and took it out of the packaging the first thing that I noticed was a slight plasticky smell. This didn’t surprise me, as the mat is made of a poly resin. After I left the mat laying out for several days, the smell almost entirely dissipated.

I also quickly noted that the map was very light. It is certainly much lighter than the (far more pricey) Manduka black mat that I regularly use. This made the eco-mat more comfortable to tote to class, and I think if I was regularly taking public transportation to my yoga classes I might prefer a mat of this weight.

I’ve now used the mat for several vinyasa practices, including gentle and more vigorous sequences. The first use, I noticed that the mat was rather slippery when compared to the Manduka. My hands were sliding quite a bit in downward dog and I felt like I had to use extra effort just to keep them still. However, I’m sure this was excellent for my core! After a couple of uses, the mat seemed to become less slippery. So, I assume that part of the slipperiness at first was the coating of the new mat, which I didn’t wash off as the site advises (as I cleverly only looked after). After a few uses, while it still is less sticky than my usual mat, it is certainly acceptable.



Another difference between this mat and my standard mat is that the eco-mat is thinner. The Manduka is only about 2.5 mm thicker than the Eco Mat, but I do notice this difference. Because I have rheumatoid arthritis, I need some degree of padding between my hands and feet and the floor. So, I think if I were to use this mat regularly for an active practice, I would probably want to place a rug on top of it, particularly on days when the arthritis is worse.


Manduka Black Mat

While the reduction in thickness makes the mat somewhat less comfortable on sore joints, it does allow you to feel the floor beneath the mat during practice. This may make balancing poses easier and facilitate a greater connection to the ground.

The Hybrid Eco-Mat is made of Polyolefin, a poly resin. And, it is worth noting that Barefoot Yoga states that this mat is fully biodegradable.

The eco-mat runs at about $30 (currently on sale for $23!) for the standard 68 inch length, so it is very affordable, and shipping speed is quite fast. You can purchase the mat at

I hope this review has been helpful and feel free to let me know if you have additional questions about this mat.



I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are my own based on my experience with this product.