Yoga mats are hard
It started with a cup of coffee while I was relaxing out back scrolling social media. Once I checked out my friend’s friend’s vacation I finally realized it was time to get up and get my daily dose of movement in. Since it was so beautiful out I opted for a work out in the sun by the pool. Beautiful fresh air, pool fountains in the background and lush Florida scenery. I prefer that to being indoors at the gym anytime.
Problem with working out at home has been that I usually get distracted and end up going into the other room for water, only to discover I forgot to fold some laundry and them 15 minutes later I remember I am working out. In the past, this would repeat itself a few times and my whole work out would get derailed and somehow the laundry wouldn’t get folded either. Now I set a timer, have my water and other necessities nearby and don’t leave the area I’m working out until my timer goes off.
When I work out at home I usually come up with a combination of body weight exercises that combine strength training, yoga, and Pilates. I’ve only been to a handful of Yoga classes, so I do my version of what I remember and always go to child’s pose when I am tired or at a loss for my next less than graceful Yoga pose. I was a Pilates instructor, so I throw a few spine loving, core building moves in there because who doesn’t need that. Then there may be a squat, a burpee or some leg raises to target the areas that I feel need some muscle toning. These target areas are usually determined by the last glimpse I got of myself in the mirror. That’s how my home-based work outs usually go. They also happen to fall into HIT training because I rest (usually in child’s pose) when my heart rate gets into the determined zone. Some days I spend more time in child’s pose than others. Thank goodness for whoever came up with child’s pose!!
So, on this day, I rolled out my TJ Maxx Yoga mat and started with some light stretching. That felt good as always. Nice deep breaths while releasing all my stiff muscles and joints. This is always a time I notice that life really is pretty good… the trees stand out a little more, the sun feels extra warming on my skin and I just seem to feel a little more in tune with my surroundings. Then I remembered some people on social media were doing a plank challenge. I hadn’t planked in a while, but it had me wondering how long I could hold a plank these days. Immediately I flipped over on to my stomach and into the plank on forearms position and pulled my belly to my spine with a slow, complete exhale. I tried to keep my back in perfect alignment engaging my core and my glutes. I felt pretty strong, like I could hold this far longer than the others in the challenge were up to.
That’s when it hit me “Holy cow this Yoga mat is doing absolutely nothing for me!” I might as well have been forearms to concrete! What in the heck did I buy for $9.99 anyway? I looked down and saw the Nike emblem in the corner of my purple mat and for a moment my elbows stopped burning because I knew it had to be a quality mat if Nike made it. I started thinking about what a great deal I got for a name brand Yoga mat, in fact I almost got the turquoise one that day too. Suddenly I could hardly stand the forearm pain. How could they think a mat this thin would ever do anything? I tried folding the end in half and repositioning my arms on the yoga mat sandwich I had made. It didn’t help much at all. I don’t care if they are Nike, they just really should have made this mat thicker! Now this was becoming the longest 2 minutes of my life. Not because of my shoulders, my abs or my glutes but because of my skinny, no good yoga mat. My elbow to forearm bone was killing me. I had however, planned to do 2 minutes of planking because that is what I had read the social media challenge group were currently doing. I stuck it out through the pain because that is the personal challenge that I had set for myself. If these social media ladies could do it then surely I could.
I finished the planking for 2.2 minutes and went directly into the child resting forearms pose for a few minutes wondering about what my Yoga mat was even made of. Moving forward I planked on my hands in the push up plank pose and continued on with my play it by ear work out. A few times I put myself into other uncomfortable paper mat on cement moves that put an imposition on my knees and even my butt. All uncomfortable, all making me want to go fold some laundry or see what my Facebook friends were up to. I remembered that I forgot to call one of my daughters back and considered this was a good time and my work out was probably enough for the day. I had my timer set though and continued to work out as planned, avoiding bone on mat positions as much as possible.
So, the point to this blog post is really not about cheap Yoga mats. Its about pushing through. Its about the time my client said she was working out to a video and it stopped working so she stopped and went and ate a sandwich. Or the time another client said she went to the gym and the machine she wanted to use was occupied by a sweaty man so she went home early. Even the times any of us just don’t want to get up and move at all. It’s not always comfortable to get up off the couch or to go to the gym instead of talking on the phone with a friend. There are times holding a yoga pose is uncomfortable or running the last 2 minutes takes everything you have. Not everyone enjoys everything all the time. I am a huge proponent of moving your bodies in ways that you love. If you love tennis, or roller blading or swimming do it. If nothing else, take a walk. Run the extra 2 minutes. Make your own work out up as you go if necessary. Life is not always comfortable. Remember the pay off. Remember why you started this. If you can’t remember, then you really need to take the time to right down all the reasons why and keep that list close at hand.
The truth is that no one has more motivation than another. My original motivator to move today was that I knew I would feel better after. I know that our bodies stagnate when they don’t move. I know that my mood is better when I move deliberately daily. I know that I will look better in a swimsuit and not feel self-conscious. I know that I don’t want to look like Sponge Bob and that’s how my body stores fat. These are all the reason I got up and started my work out. Once my forearms took the punishment of my cheap yoga mat I was motivated by my competitive nature. If these women were doing 2 minutes of planking today I knew I could do at least that many minutes, so I did 2 minutes and 2 seconds and felt like a winner. I didn’t put it on Facebook. I’m not even a part of their plank challenge. I was in competition with myself and that was good enough for me.
At the end of my 45-minute workout, my timer went off and I felt accomplished. It was another day that I did something good for my body. I did something that future self will thank me for. Michelle at the beach this summer will be glad that Michelle on the cheap yoga mat pressed on.
Its not always easy, its not always comfortable and sometimes you just gotta buy a better Yoga mat!