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The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 21 and 22

26 Jun

I’ve been so hopped up on Sudafed that I forgot to actually write about day 21 in my last post. That’s okay, since both of these lessons ended in the same way (badly), they probably belong together.

Day 21: Hatha 1

On Sunday I had my favorite special guest join me for yoga. Not only is he handsome, but he’s bendy too:

Me and Donnie

I was excited for Donnie to try this class because it is taught by one of my fave instructors (the one that hands out hugs after class). Also, I didn’t mind seeing him sweat his way through the class. 😉

The practice was tough and amazing and somehow I managed to keep my sniffling to a minimum. When it came time for shavasana, our instructor told us she would be leading us through a guided meditation, so our rest would be 30-minutes. At first I was excited for the opportunity.

But then as we began our meditation I felt it, the tingle in the back of my throat. You know, the one that says, “Hey you… You need to cough.” I tried to shake it, but realized it wasn’t going anywhere. I grabbed my water bottle and stepped out of the classroom and walked outside into the rain to cough freely.

I stood outside for about 15 minutes, coughing and drinking water, until I felt confident that I was over my coughing fit. I rejoined the class at the perfect time (they were making noises) and was at least able to join the guided meditation halfway through.

Afterwards we grabbed a bite to eat and headed off to pick up one of my pugs from the vet. To keep this as clean as possible, I’ll leave it at “Rex had some anal gland issues.”

Here’s Rex recovering (and looking like a sad little sumo wrestler):

Yes, that’s an old 5k race t-shirt wrapped around his bottom. Gotta use them somehow!

I spent the rest of the rainy day coughing, sniffling and reading.

Day 22: Ashtanga Basics

Throughout this challenge there have been days where I just didn’t feel like going to yoga. Monday was the worst of these days. Tropical Storm Debby was reaping havoc outside, I had a long day at work and I was feeling like crud. I wanted nothing more than to lay on the couch and let Donnie take care of me. But with only a limited schedule to hit my 26 days of the 30-day challenge, I knew I had to go.

My poor instructor. I walked in and he was a ray of sunshine. I was that dark cloud that kills the sunshine.

As we worked into our practice I started to feel better and my mood started to shift. I was taking the higher difficulty options for poses and was feeling stronger than I thought I would. By the time Shavasana rolled around, I was feeling proud of myself for a good practice.

I was just shy of patting myself on my back (in my head, of course) when I felt it. The tingle in the back of my throat. Dangit, what is it about laying down on my back that makes me have to cough? I tried to fight it, but it wasn’t going to fly out of my mouth. Instead I ran out of the studio and tried to make it outside but the door was locked. I almost kicked the door open, but thankfully someone unlocked it for me. I ran out into the light drizzle and started coughing like a wild woman. Thank God for my instructor, who brought me a bottle of water or I might still be sitting out there coughing.

There was no getting to go back and enjoy the second half of rest this time. I missed it all. I’ll tell you what, yoga practice seems so incomplete without shavasana.

Tonight I had a scheduled hair appointment, so no yoga for me. I now have the rest of this week (Saturday being the last day) to complete the challenge.

I sure do hope I don’t cough my way through it.

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 19, 20 and 21

24 Jun

Sniffle … cough … sniffle … sniffle …

This is what I currently sound like.

It seems that the month of June 2012, and all that I tried to accomplish in it, has finally caught up to me in the way of a head cold. I suppose it could be worse.

On Thursday I woke up with a slightly sore throat, but thought it was just a little dry from the AC. However, when I woke up on Friday, my throat felt like someone has taken a Brillo pad to it in my sleep.

I rarely get sick. I attribute this to my strong Puerto Rican genes, running and not having kids. The not having kids part seems to be very important. All of my friends that have them are always sick. Apparently kids are a cesspool of germs and I shall remember this for all future consideration of baby-making. 🙂

However, I’m not running and yoga does not seem to have the same germ-fighting effects on me, so alas I have a head cold.

Sniffle … sniffle …

Here’s how the last three days of the 30-day yoga challenge went:

Ashtanga 1

Thursday night I headed off to class feeling tired, but encouraged by the knowledge that a rest day was just hours away. Since I got there early, I was able to choose my favorite spot: next to a wall, halfway between the front and the back of the class.

A new yoga friend set her mat down next to mine and we chit chatted a bit before class started. We wondered aloud if the giggling pre-teen girls from last week would be back.

Thursday’s practice was tough, and I felt amazing afterwards. So amazing that I considered coming back Friday for Power Yoga so I could have a rest day over the weekend.

But then I woke up Friday with my throat thing and I knew yoga that night would not be likely. Still I tossed my clothes and yoga mat in my car and hoped for the best. Sure enough, but the end of my Friday I wanted nothing more than to go home and lay down.

Beginner Hot Yoga

From Friday to Saturday, my sore throat progressed to the sniffles. Donnie suggested I should take a hot yoga class and sweat it all out.

There are a couple of reasons I hadn’t yet ventured into the hot yoga classes in the other studio. One of these reasons was not owning a yoga towel for my mat. Our studio is a nice studio and I always figured it would be frowned upon for me to show up with a beach towel. But I just can’t bring myself to spending $30 on a yoga towel. Not until I know whether I like it at least. Besides, I don’t even spend that much on my bath towels! However, Thursday night I noticed someone using a beach towel to cover their mat and made note of it.

I agreed with Donnie, that sweating it out would be a good idea. Plus, the hot yoga class was later, so I could enjoy my morning before I got my bendy on. Hot yoga it was!

Around 10:40 AM, I loaded up on Sudafed, grabbed my beach towel, water and yoga mat and headed to the studio. Without thinking, I tucked some tissue into my sports bra in case my nose got runny.

I was surprised to find a beginner class so packed. I arrived five minutes early and got the LAST spot in the room. I looked around and noted a couple other people using beach or bath towels on their mats. Whew!

I started to sweat the moment I stepped into the hot studio. It felt like a sauna day in that room. I took one last swig of water and prepared myself for my first hot yoga class.

Guess what? I LOVED IT!

I would say this was a more vinyasa-style class. We flowed from pose to pose, while the sweat rolled down my back. During my downward dogs I noticed the sweat dripping off my forehead. And by the time we entered Shavasana, I was pretty sure that my eyeballs were sweating. I looked as if I had just run 15-miles during the hottest part of a Florida summer day. I sweat pretty, alright!

On a side note, remember that tissue I stuffed into my sports bra in a moment of haste? Yeah, that soggy mess fell right onto my mat during one of my downward dogs. Ha!

Our instructor, who also owns the studio, was awesome and I stopped to thank her on my way out. I think I even got choked up doing so. Dang, my hot yoga was so awesome it made me emotional?? YES!!

I’ll definitely be hitting up some hot yoga classes again. However, it won’t be on any days that I’m not planning on washing my hair. I don’t think any amount of dry shampoo could salvage my hair after that class.

Speaking of dry shampoo, I already went through one container in just three weeks.

I can’t believe that this will be my final week of the challenge. Good luck to my friend Carolina from Peas in a Blog. Girl, this like is the final three miles of the marathon!

UPDATED AFTER POSTING:

I forgot to post about day 21… Hatha 1. I will include this in my next post!

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 16, 17 and 18

21 Jun

As I typed the title for this post, I couldn’t believe that I’ve already done 18 yoga practices this month. Goodness, it’s only June 21!

Day 16: Ashtanga Basics

When I checked in on Facebook for class, I had trouble remembering what day it is. It’s like when you get old… once you get over so many days you just forget. The studio owner confirmed it was day 16 for me and even let know how many hours I had practiced:

Yes, my profile pic is of me dressed like a zombie a couple of years ago. I put up the pic when all of the recent “zombie” attacks were going on. The last time I tried to change it, Facebook wouldn’t let me, so I’m stuck on zombie.

Monday was a long day at work, so the post-work decompress was nice. I’ve become familiar with the class and the instructor, so I can really focus on form and breathing.

Monday night there was an 8-year old boy (my non-parent guesstimate of his age) in attendance with his mom. I couldn’t help but think how awful it would be to get dragged to yoga as a kid with my mom, where everyone breathes funny and is so serious.

Day 17: Yoga Basics

I had wanted to try the Beginner Hot Yoga class at 5:30, but my work schedule was just too busy to make it. So instead I waited until the 8 PM Yoga Basics class, which happens to be taught by one of my fave instructors.

Can you believe I haven’t done a Hot Yoga class yet? I will get to one before the challenge is over! First I need a towel. Eek!

Class Tuesday night was good. I walked away feeling quiet, after a loud day.

Day 18: Hatha 1… Sort of

Our usual Hatha 1 instructor was out today, so we had a sub. At first I was nervous, because it was the same instructor I had for that dreaded Ying Yoga class I took at the start of the challenge. Our class was tiny, likely due to the rain so she asked if we wanted to relax, or sweat or both. We said both, and boy did we ever.

I would say the class ended up being more of a “flow” class and we did a lot of poses I hadn’t ever done, which really challenged me. At the end of the practice, I walked out of that room feeling like I had been rocked. I made a mental note to make a more concerted effort to try new instructors. The variation is a good workout!

Tonight’s day 19 with Ashtanga and then I get a rest day, though I’m thinking about taking a Friday Power Flow class so I can rest on Saturday instead.

Just eight more days of the challenge left! What will I do when it’s over?

I hope to try a test run soon… perhaps I can run a mile without pain!

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 14 and 15

18 Jun

Since the goal of the 30-day yoga challenge is to complete 26 classes of yoga during the month of June, that means I’m finally past the halfway point. Woohoo!

Let’s take a moment to look at the numbers:

  • How many loads of yoga laundry I’ve done: 3
  • How many times I’ve had to say “Oh, I would love to join you but I have yoga class” to my friends: 4
  • How many downward dogs I’ve done: 150 (estimate based on 10 per class)
  • How many times I’ve promised myself a cupcake if I make it through class: 10
  • How many cupcakes I’ve actually had: 1
  • How many times I’ve been late to class: 0 <– This is pretty amazing for a Puerto Rican!
  • How many days since my last run: 42 😦
  • How many times I’ve asked Donnie if my shoulders look stronger: 3 🙂

Friday was my rest day and it’s a good thing. When I got home from work, I was exhausted from my day. I did a couple of things around the house, then lay down for a “minute” around 6 PM. I slept until 9 PM on a Friday night and work up starving! Nothing California Burrito Express couldn’t resolve.

Saturday I woke up feeling exhausted. My original plan had been to hit up a morning Hatha 1 class before I headed off to a very special 2-year old’s birthday party, but I just couldn’t move off the couch or say goodbye to my cup of coffee. I decided to double up my yoga on Sunday and take a second rest day.

Willow Tree Cafe

After the birthday party, Donnie and I drove over to historic Sanford and hit up Willow Tree Cafe. Since we had a few snacks at the party, we each got a beer and split some sausage sliders and potato pancakes. We asked if they could serve the sliders in gluten free bread (for Donnie’s sake) and they were happy to oblige. I’m sad I didn’t get a pic before we dug in… each sausage was served in a mini loaf of gluten-free bread! It was pretty funny looking.

The gluten-free bread was okay, but it didn’t taste as good as the bread they served at the start of our meal, so I popped my sliders into the table bread. I heart gluten.

Willow Tree’s bread is made fresh

The potato pancakes were yummy. I topped mine with both sour cream and apple sauce:

Yum.

It was a much needed rest day and I took it with pleasure.

Day 14: Hatha 1

Sunday I woke up feeling ready for some yoga. My first class was at 11:30. I was running on Puerto Rican time since I’ve gotten some stuff done in the morning, but got there two minutes early. Carolina from Peas in a Blog was there so we caught up briefly.

What I love about taking so many different classes is that the instructors all have a different way to explain a  pose. It allows me the opportunity to take in all that information when I set up a pose. Our instructor that day has such a great way of explaining each pose, and it’s usually her voice I hear in my head when I get in position.

We seemed to have more core work than usual, which was torture awesome. That’s definitely a trouble spot for me, and a strong core is important for good running form so I tried not to curse in my head too much.

After class I headed home for lunch and to rest for a couple of hours.

Day 15: Yoga Basics

I arrived 10 minutes early for my 4 PM Yoga Basics class. I took those 10 minutes to do my ankle exercises. After the marathon I developed some tendonitis in my right foot and it seems the yoga has been exasperating it. No stranger to tendonitis in my feet, I started to do my exercises as soon as I noticed it getting worse.

The class surprisingly went by quickly. I had imagined that it would drag on because I was doubling up. The class was taught by one of my favorite instructors (the same from earlier that day) and since it was a beginner’s class I focused on really breathing and getting good form in my positions.

After class I headed off to Whole Paycheck Foods to do some grocery shopping for the week. Fresh shrimp and coconut oil were both on sale, so I snapped them up. I’ll tell you about the delicious dinner I made with them later.

I also picked up this little reward:

My favorite things: peanuts and milk chocolate

I’ve had a sweet tooth lately and we have nothing in the house to appease it. I bought this bar and told myself I can only have two squares a day as dessert from dinner. I did good yesterday and only had two squares.

I’m off to start what will undoubtedly be another crazy week. I’m going to focus on trying to get enough sleep every night and drinking lots of water and eating clean. And coffee… but I will try not to increase my intake.

How do you get through busy weeks?

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 12 and 13

15 Jun

Making it through this week of the 30-Day Yoga Challenge was nothing short of a small feat for me. Every day I jammed plans between work and yoga with yesterday being the exception. Yesterday I had no time to get anything done in between.

Day 12: Hatha 1

I’m Puerto Rican and if you know anything about Puerto Rican time, you know that it’s usually at least 15 minutes after the rest of the world. And that’s on a good day. However, since the challenge started I’ve been pretty impressed with myself for showing up to class at least five minutes early. If you’re new to yoga, I suggest you arrive 15 minutes early… that’s what I strive for. “Strive” is the key word here.

Wednesday was not one of those days that I arrived early. Since I ran errands in between work and yoga, I skirted in just on time. To be honest, I didn’t want to go. I was kind of hoping I was late and the door would be locked. If only I had been caught at one extra stop light! Ha.

One of my favorite instructors (the one that hands out hugs) taught the class, so that helped work me out of my exhausted funk. Like the day before, I had trouble focusing on the practice itself. My body was moving slowly, but my mind was racing at 100 miles per hour. I found myself repeating the word “focus” in my head over and over again, but even then my mind would wander. On my way out I collected my  belongings and my hug and thanked my lucky stars that a rest day was just around the corner.

Day 13: Ashtanga 1

Last night was the opposite of Wednesday night: I arrived to class 45 minutes early. Of course, this was not on purpose. Silly me thought class started at 5:30 and I was 15 minutes early. Nope. Class started at 6 PM.

I picked my favorite spot: not all the way to the back of the class, but not in the front, and near a wall so I can save me from my falls.

The no judgement yoga zone.

And then I laid down and tried to daydream …

Day dreaming until yoga starts

Alas my mind wandered to my crazy to-do list and everything I could’ve done with these extra 30 minutes I had. So instead of day dreaming, I took to Facebook to distract my mind and posted this pic of my sweet, sweet reward from earlier that day:

A peanut butter cup chocolate cupcake from Sweet Traditions. Call it my little reward for making it through the week.

Yes, it was delicious. Yes, it was heavenly. And yes, it was worth the calories. It was a peanut butter cup chocolate cupcake from Sweet Traditions on Park Ave in Winter Park, FL. Me and my two friends snuck away during lunch to pick up an afternoon pick me up. 🙂

Class started to fill up so I moved closer to the wall. I had to ensure that handicap. 🙂

When I saw the early teenage girls shuffled into class by one of their mothers, I knew we were in for a treat. As a former teenage giggler myself, I can recognize one immediately.

For the next hour and a half these young, young ladies giggled their way through sun salutations and downward dogs and bridges. Our instructor was really great and started to issue separate instructions to his “new” friends (the gigglers) and his “old” friends (the rest of the class that could move at a faster pace). I think some of the more serious yogis were getting annoyed, but I loved  them. They reminded me of my besties at that age and kept my mind occupied with visions of how we too would’ve giggled our way through a yoga class, rather than that crazy to-do list in my head.

I almost started laughing along with them when they almost died stifling their giggles during shavasana. I definitely had a smile creep across my face. The gigglers took me to a happy place. As for those that were annoyed, sometimes we just have to remember to not take everything so seriously. Yes, yoga can be quiet and hard and zen. But it can also be fun. And God knows how many times I giggle in my head when someone in class farts or my instructor adjusts my position in a way that a 14-year old girl would find hilarious and boyfriends would find highly inappropriate. Ha!

Class ended and off I went to start my 24 hours of rest. Dare I say my rest day tastes sweeter than that cupcake?

Do you ever giggle in yoga class? 

Yoga Zombie

12 Jun

With all the zombie stories in our headlines, I thought this video was rather fitting.

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 10 and 11

12 Jun

This past weekend was crazy busy, and this week hasn’t slowed down yet. I’ve been working my yoga in between work and appointments and friends and eating and sleeping. So while the yoga alone isn’t the only thing leaving me exhausted, combined with everything else it’s definitely a major factor.

Day 10: Ashtanga Basics

I met up with Carolina from Peas in a Blog and we started our week off sweating real pretty. Ten days into our 30-Day Challenge and we finally took our first class together! No pretty heart-shaped sweat marks on my back, but I did walk out of class with a giant frizz ball for a head. Funny, I walked into class with straight hair.

Day 11: Yoga Basics

I had an appointment between work and yoga and by the time it was yoga time, I wanted to bail. I tried to think of excuses to miss, but none convinced me enough to skip class. I wish I was a better liar. I totally would’ve lied to myself.

Instead I headed to class and breathed and moved and tried as hard as I could to relax. You may as well have asked me to do the  impossible . I tried to drown out the mental to-do lists in my head, but couldn’t stop thinking about them. And every time I did a downward dog I thought about how I was due for a pedi. Didn’t I just give myself one? Does yoga somehow make my nail polish last less time?? (Answer: Not directly, but I’ve been showering twice a day sometimes and all the showers do.)

I’m off to bed. I have some yoga to do at 6 AM. I’m already planning the different ways I can be glutenous in the evening!

How do you get yourself to work out when life is busy and you’re exhausted?

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 8 and 9

11 Jun

This weekend was packed from beginning to end, but I somehow found time to get my yoga on.

Day 8: Ashtanga 1

I was up bright and early for the eighth class of the 30-day yoga challenge. The class is quickly becoming one of my favorites. The pace is good for me (not too fast, not too slow) and I always leave feeling challenged, but not reconsidering my decision to participate in the challenge. Perfect.

On a side note, I went to class wearing a leotard used for my Black Swan costume last Halloween and some old Victoria Secret sweatpants. I should’ve popped on the Black Swan make-up, tutu and crown to complete the look:

Me and Donnie Halloween 2011

I was obviously overdue on doing my yoga laundry. I managed to squeeze in washing some clothes somewhere in my crazy busy Saturday. Otherwise I would’ve been doing yoga on Sunday in my old Adidas breakaways.

Day 9: Hatha 1

The slower pace of this class was perfect for winding down in the middle of a busy, busy weekend. And lucky for me, I had clean laundry!

The instructor for this class has been out of town the last couple of weeks but finally returned. As soon as I saw her face, a smile appeared on mine. I’ve only taken her classes a couple of times and hardly know her, but every time I see her I just feel warmth and happiness exuding from her. It’s hard for that to not be contagious.

After class she hands out hugs. I gladly took mine just before I headed off to meet my childhood besties for lunch.

IT Band Update

A few friends have asked how my IT band is doing. It no longer hurts to walk, or take the stairs, but I can tell that my right hip is much tighter than my left and I’m still aware of pressure by my right knee when I walk or sit a certain way. The yoga is certainly helping with the stretching and strength part, and I continue to roll my leg with both the foam roller and the stick. I’m still not running on it. I’m going to give it as much time as I can to heal so I can start my half marathon training session injury free (and hopefully stay that way).

Rest of the Body Update

Tonight’s class will be Day 10 of the challenge. I can’t believe it I’m so far in!

I spent my first week pretty much being sore everywhere, but now I just feel… stronger. My muscles everywhere are feeling it, which I find has me standing and sitting taller. I’m also feeling a bit drained, so I keep reminding myself to watch what I eat. The healthier option is always the better option when I’m going to spend my evening bending and twisting my body. 🙂

I’m off to start a busy week, planned around six yoga classes.

How are you sweating pretty this week?

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Day 7

8 Jun

Hoorah! Today is my first rest day since I began this 30-day Yoga Challenge on June 1st (and first day work-out free since May 28th). My body is rejoicing!

I woke up this morning sooooooo tired. I think I muttered “coffee” to the boyfriend, but he still hasn’t brewed it yet. I will try extra hard to avoid spelling errors.

Yesterday was Day 7 of the yoga challenge and I was dragging. The rain that fell heavily while I was driving to the studio was rather telling of my mood. I wanted to drive home and lay on the couch instead. Preferably with some ice cream. Or a bag of chips. Or both. Instead I made a dash into the studio.

Yesterday’s class was an Ashtanga 1 class. Somewhere between child’s pose and shavasana I slowly forgot about my aspirations of being a couch potato. I took advantage of the slower pace to really focus on my poses. I don’t know how many times I had to remind myself to drop my shoulders, but it was up there. I could tell that I had a stressful day at work because my shoulders were so tense.

I’m going to enjoy my day off of yoga today. I almost wish I could double up either tomorrow or Sunday so that I could have a second rest day, but my weekend is just too busy. Rather than let myself feel overwhelmed by all of my plans this weekend, I’m going to try and focus on enjoying every activity and stay in the moment.

And I really hope one of those moments involves a cupcake of sorts. 🙂

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 5 and 6

7 Jun

I seriously think my lungs are sore from yoga breathing. When I decided to take on the 30-Day Yoga Challenge, I never considered this as a possible ailment. I’m also sitting and standing up taller. This new amazing posture makes me feel a little snooty so I occasionally find myself slumping over on purpose.

Here’s how I’ve been spending my free time lately.

Day 5: Yoga Basics

This was an 8 PM Tuesday night class and I was dragging. All of these days in a row of yoga were getting to me. Also, earlier in the day I had what I had been craving for over a week: delicious french fries.

Hello you yummy golden, waffle fries.

Sadly I think this is what caused my belly ache as I headed into my basics class. I made a note to avoid fried foods on yoga days (which is like… every day… so sad).

This was the first class that was relatively empty, and I think it’s because the usual teacher was out on vacation. I finally got to set up shop towards the back of the class, what I like to call “the judgement-free zone.”

I think I’m starting to get a hand on the basics because I actually found myself bored. I spent quite some time thinking about dinner.  Yes, my belly ache disappeared 20 minutes into practice again.

I also spent some time wondering where I could buy decent cheap yoga pants that aren’t see-through. You see, I’ve been using my running tights for practices. Guess what running tights do? The waist starts to roll down slowly until you have to pull your pants back up. Anyone have any suggestions?

Day 6: Rise & Shine Flow 1/2

Since I’m used to waking up and running before work, I was disappointed to find out that my studio only offers one class during the work week that I can take before work. Our studio’s website describes this class as such:

This early morning 75 minute session begins with gentle “wake up” stretches, builds to a sweaty level of vigor and ends with deep seated stretches. Modifications are provided.

If I would’ve written the description, it might read a little more like this:

This early morning 75 minute session will rock your pants off while sweating and crying out in pain, all before you’ve had a cup of coffee.

I looked forward to the challenge and headed into class. Remember how I mentioned classes have been packed since the start of the challenge? This one was the worst. Rather than our mats facing the front of the class, we all had to turn our mats to face the side of the class and scooch in nice and close to those around us. There was a lot of coordinating with your neighbors on positions. I found myself spending too much time focusing on not punching my neighbor in the face (which I’m sure my neighbors appreciated). That was when I wasn’t focused on trying to follow the flow of the moves. Or remember which leg was my right leg.

I also made a mental note to go buy a yoga towel. Yes, I sweat pretty.  And my hands and feet get slippery. My downward dogs would slowly turn into planks if I had to hold them too long.

The studio provided free coffee and bagels after the practice. This is good because coffee eases all pain.

I grabbed my coffee and bagel and jumped in my car to head home. But first, I did the oddest thing. I searched through my iPod for some John Mayer and started to blast it. Does Flow Yoga make you want to listen to John Mayer? Upon further thought, I think John Mayer was playing during practice. It might be that I was just so excited to listen to “normal” music and not “yoga” music that I had to have more. Regardless, me and John rode home together happy and sweaty.

Any tips on yoga pants and mat towels that won’t break my bank?