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I’ve always loved the idea of doing yoga, but the reality of doing it was just never as appealing.
I was under the impression that I had to go early (I thought all yogies were up at the crack of dawn), get on a bus before work and awkwardly twist and turn myself in the middle of a room full of others who all seemed much better.
I’ve always struggled with a knee problem and so I’d spend a big chunk of the class having to figure out other variations or clock-watching while others seemed to be able to hold a position for what felt like an eternity.
It never occurred to me that I could make up my own sequences and still allow my body to stretch and give my mind a break or find a YouTube version that was specially geared towards my needs... until lockdown.
I, like lots of others up and down the country, have been hit by the lockdown fitness bug. I do HIIT workouts in my living room and runs around my local park, but the best part of it all, by far, has been rediscovering yoga.
As soon as the government informed us we were allowed to do all kinds of exercise outside, rather than just a run or walk, I knew I wanted to take my blossoming yoga practice outdoors, and make the most of the fresh air during my hour of calm for the day.
There’s something magical about the light, the air and the blossoming plantlife around you, mixed in with the gratitude I feel for finally be able to stay outside for longer than one hour.
I began lugging my old yoga mat out into the park with me but I soon found that carrying my phone, my water, resistance bands to help me stretch properly and a yoga mat was no easy feat.
I wanted to feel zen but instead I felt irritated as I tried, and often failed, to keep everything balanced and in hand.
Finally, I decided to upgrade to a KG Physio Yoga Mat with a strap. I’d been recommended to it by a friend who has, for years, taken her own mat to yoga classes and hailed it “a godsend”.
The mat features a non-slip, sweat-proof surface, meaning it’s excellent for holding postures in yoga or pilates and is made of premium quality cushioning to absorb impact, meaning it’s brilliant for anyone for joint problems, like myself.
But best of all, the mat came with a carry strap that you can easily slot the rolled-up mat into and carry over your shoulder or across your back.
Plus, it means your mat stays rolled up when you store it away at home.
Buy it: KG Physio Yoga Mat | £23.99 from Amazon
One look at the reviews - of which there are almost 4,000 - tells you that other people feel just as strongly about this mat as I do.
“After years of doing yoga on a standard mat, I decided to try out a thicker mat as I get a bad back and sore knees so I thought this might help me. It's so much comfier, and the quality of the mat is excellent too,” wrote one stretchy shopper.
Another added: “There's a mind-boggling array of mats out there so I asked my gym buddies and checked out the options available. My body balance and Pilates instructor had this very mat so that swung it for me. I use it for those classes and it's very comfortable.”
Finally, I understand the allure of mat practice, though I still can’t do a handstand.