I couldn't take it anymore. I finally broke down and bought a Manduka eQua 'yoga towel' to replace my threadbare and long suffering Mysore Rug.
My rug is on it's last legs and although I really love the bright vibrant colours, it's never been the greatest surface to practice on. I never even bother to unroll it over my mat until I get to the seated poses because it doesn't have enough traction for standing, which tends to break my flow.
I'm a bit sentimental about my rug - it has a history. I get a good a chuckle thinking about how and why I bought it. Two years ago, I was at a class at the new location of the studio I trained at (long since sold off to the highest bidder *sob*) while visiting Teacher M. I saw the rugs and thought "I should have one of those".
It was completely illogical because I really didn't have the $40 to spare and didn't practice Astanga. To be honest, I think the real draw was the bright colours and the fact that it was made in India. I just thought it was neat. It went into my pile of 'yoga props I never use'.
I think the first time I used it was at a Bikram Yoga class. But when I started exploring Astanga more seriously in 2007, the mat came into near daily use. Now, the Mysore rug I thought I'd 'never use' is rag tag and fraying.
I read reviews for both the YogiToes and eQua towels online and took note of Grimmly's thoughts on the products. I decided to opt for the eQua because of quality concerns. I wanted something with enough traction that I could use through the entire practice. I also wanted a towel that was easy to wash and *dry* (this has been a major issue with my traditional Mysore rug).
The only drawback to the eQua is the lack of pretty colours. Yes, I know it sounds trite, but colours are important to me. I was very keen for a bright turquoise or orange towel. I was very sad to discover that my colour choices were limited to hot pink, beige, army green, a blue so light it was almost white (I could just imagine how dirty it would get) and a bluish steel gray.
I went for the gray, thinking that it would stay cleaner, longer. And it probably will, but it makes me a little bit sad and a little bit regretful that I didn't go for a YogiToes towel after all. They do come in both orange and a vibrant turquoise blue. My eyes are hungry for a brighter colour.
I practised the full primary today with my new eQua today. I love how the eQua feels - it's soft and light with a texture like velvet. As Grimmly noted, you do need to spritz the mat before starting sun salutations in order to get a sufficient grip in downward dog and standing poses.
Once I got my heat up, my hands and feet (which tend to sweat a LOT) were naturally moist enough to keep me stable on the towel. The grip is really quite magical, given that the towel is smooth enough to drag feet through on a jump through. I did find that the towel bunched up a bit, especially during standing poses (I had to lean down and smooth it out).
Good practice today. I'm feeling much stronger. I really was tired yesterday and I could feel the difference as I moved through the second part of the practice. I had a moment of hesitation in headstand - any change to my environment tends to throw me off (New! Towel!), but I was fine. Silly brain!