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The Life of a Traveling Yogi – When just any mat won’t cut it.
Posted on May 02 2018,
Guest Blogger – Samantha Eve Kennedy
I recently wrote a blog for Kulae after interviewing the amazing Tommy Antoon during a trip to San Francisco. When I returned home, I was stoked to find three fabulous Kulae yoga products in my mailbox:
-tpECOmat (3mm) blue shamrock
-tpECOmat Plus (5mm) lilac birch
-zuSKa Towel tangerine
About to take off on a global adventure, I had been testing out yoga mats for travel. I positively loved the lilac mat for my daily practice but it was a bit thick for the traveling I was about to embark on, and for the length of time I would be away.
After bringing the blue shamrock mat with me to the studio, the beach, a rooftop, and a park, it became obvious that this mat – while not the thinnest or most compact mat I had tried – was still the hands down(ward dog) winner for inclusion in my overseas adventure.
So here’s why you should take your own mat traveling with you (and bonus if it is a Kulae mat!):
Acts as a pillow on the plane
I was a bit skeptical when I saw the Kulae yoga 3mm mat billed as a travel mat. I had been testing out other travel mats and they were much thinner. However some mats were actually so thin that they provided no cushioning at all. For my longer practices, having some cushion is a major plus.
Note: Be kind to your bodies. As I tell my students all the time, we want to do yoga forever, not just for today!
My favorite part about the cushiness of this mat though is that when folded, it is comfortable enough to use as a pillow on a plane. Simply put it into a snug fitting bag or pillowcase and you have a great place to rest your head.
Note: The first time I have ever slept on a plane – for even a short nap – was on my recent 10 hour flight to Paris when I used the Kulae yoga 3mm mat as a pillow. Coincidence? You decide.
BONUS: Since I needed a towel for my travels, I decided to take the zuSKa Towel tangerine with me as well. Not only is it super absorbent for hot yoga, rocks as a shower towel, but it also acts as a wonderful blanket on the plane!
Travels Well and Doubles as Furniture
The mat itself is 3mm thick which is just thick enough to provide cushioning and stability, but not so thick that you can’t fold it tight or roll it snugly. And at only 2lbs, it won’t add a lot of weight to your luggage.
Note: I brought my mat on the plane but I could have checked it in with my luggage. Originally, using my yoga strap, I had tied the mat to my carry-on backpack so I could access it easily in the airport. Just before the flight, I folded it up and then transferred the mat to a small bag so I could use it as a pillow.
And although I truly am using it for yoga (I promise) so far on my overseas adventure I’ve also used my mat as a pillow, a picnic blanket, and a bed! (Okay I won’t promise you a pillow top plush experience but it beat sleeping on the floor because the thickness meant I didn’t feel the cold tile!)
Safety and Durability
It is not a requirement to ever use a yoga mat to practice yoga. Period.
Yet after practicing yoga off and on for 20+ years, I’ve discovered that I prefer to practice on a mat whenever possible…if nothing else than for the safety aspect. Not all venues where I practice or teach have yoga friendly flooring. For example, I recently led a class on an old tile floor of a castle because their studio is still being built out. (Very cool venue otherwise!) Doing downward dog on slippery tile is not a wise practice so I felt grateful to have my mat with me at that point.
Plus any mat I take around with me has to LAST. The last thing I want to do is worry about a mat wearing out or shredding while on the road. This mat is easy to clean (using Kulae spray or plain old soap and water), dries quickly (about 30 minutes), and stays free of odors due to really cool technology (yes I have used the mat in really sweaty classes…it lives up to its promise).
I love to travel. Going new places, meeting new people, trying new foods…all experiences welcome! However as extroverted as I am, I still crave a bit of space to myself now and again. Being a bit on the hyperactive side, I find that visual and audio cues often help me to meditate, center myself, and refresh. True I can create a space wherever I am, but having a familiar resource at my disposal – my travel mat – allows me to get into my groove a lot faster and with less work.
Try this as a meditation the next time you are traveling. Sit on your mat in a comfortable position with hands resting lightly on thighs or knees – palms up for receiving or palms down for grounding. Close your eyes or gently look down keeping your gaze soft:
I am safe and in my space
At any point I can return to this spot for calm and peace
I am open to new experiences
I come to my mat to renew and refresh
Looks and feels gorgeous when practicing
Okay, admit it. How many of you have stopped and taken a selfie on your mat to post to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc?
As a traveling yogi with a thriving modeling career and freelance writing business in addition to working with my yoga clients, I have to post to social media ALL THE TIME. It doesn’t hurt that this mat’s colors pop in pictures, and that they are pretty. (Plus my male clients are thrilled that I am finally not making them practice on a pink mat…Although it also comes in purple…hmmmm).
But even more importantly, I love how the mat feels texture wise. You know your mat is a solid buy when you don’t worry about slipping, it’s comfortable to lie down on, and drool and sweat don’t cause odor and deterioration. (Hey I love my restorative practice but I do have days where my body craves a little hardcore power vinyasa. And this yogi warrior can build heat quickly when in the groove…)
The Last Word and Full Disclosure
Yes, I recently became a DiploMAT for Kulae Yoga, and yes I did receive this mat for free from them. However I only agreed to become a DiploMAT for the brand after:
-I got to know their value system and people
-Tested out their products to see if they held up
-Learned about the community of people buying their products
-Discussed their core mission with the owner
-Tested out their products again.
My life now takes me on the road frequently – including longer and longer stints in foreign countries. Even when home in Southern California, I am typically traveling between counties to meet with private clients, teach at studios, pitch ideas for written pieces, and pose for photographers in fitness and clothing shoots. My personal practice is vital to keeping me happy and healthy, so having a mat I can rely on is one less thing I have to worry about while rocking my wanderlust lifestyle.
And that is something to celebrate.
Attention Kulae community: We want to hear from you! How have you used your Kulae yoga mats and accessories? Send us your pictures so we can post on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Author Bio – Samantha Eve Kennedy
Samantha Eve Kennedy is a 200 hour Kripalu certified yoga teacher, lifestyle blogger, model, and freelance writer based in Southern California. Traveling the world inspiring people to a life of joy on and off the mat, this whole foods vegan also creates delicious plant-centric meals to fuel her body for yoga, dancing, running, hiking, and kayaking.The founder of SamanthaEveYoga.com, connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.