Day 18. #OctPhotoChallenge. Shoes.
Without even realising, many of us instinctively prepare for practice by pulling on a pair of running shoes, or rolling out a yoga mat all in the blink of an eye. It becomes a second nature. And before you know it a certain pair of shoes might transform in to favorites, or a mat will start to feel like a small rectangular sanctuary!
But what if someone, somehow took them away? How would you cope? Have we grown accustomed to thinking that running shoes and yoga mats are essential? Of course, you can run with bare feet, and a mat is not actually necessary, even for a head stand, but both sneakers and mats make surfaces more tolerable, even acceptable, and save the condition of our bodies. The use of such equipment seems to be the path most of us are taking, but there are alternative routes well worth exploring. Barefoot running is now a full blown pursuit with thousands of followers, and outdoor, mat-free yoga is all around, especially in summer months.
All equipment eventually suffers from wear and tear. The recommended amount of time one should use trainers or sneakers for is roughly 300-400 miles of running. When it comes to yoga mats it mostly depends on personal preference, you will probably know when it is time for a new mat. Even with running shoes, it varies between brands and individuals as to how long a pair of shoes will last. Finding a good fit is essential. If you do decide to start running barefoot, take your time and follow a few suggestions from the experts. Likewise, without a yoga mat you may find more frequent bodily adjustments are needed to maintain stability in a pose, but, as with barefoot running, it can only heighten awareness and focus attention even more than if using a cushioning mat.
The next question is what to do when equipment starts wearing out and needs replacing? Where shall we take our old, ex-running shoes and yoga gear? If the soles of sneakers aren’t too thin (and have at least another 100 miles left in them) then pairs can be sent to Shoe 4 Africa, who pass on shoes to school children. And there are hundreds of ways to recycle yoga mats! Mat makers Gaiam list 50 suggestions for recycling on their website.
Essentially it’s personal decision, whether to use ‘equipment’ or not. Running and yoga are both pretty low-maintenance when it comes to gear – but there is plenty of it out there, so make wise, informed choices and next time you pull on a pair of sneakers, or roll out a mat, you won’t be disappointed.
When you prepare for running or yoga what is essential? Maybe it has nothing to do with equipment, but the time and the space are vital? Or do you have a favorite piece of ‘equipment’ that is an essential part of your practice?
Day 11. #OctPhotoChallenge. Something blue.