It was bound to happen.
Looking back at my sporting goods shopping habits, I’m convinced that my need to buy equipment and apparel has been my way of committing myself to a new sport. In other words, the more I buy, the more committed I am to getting better at the sport.
Take for example the time I decided I was going to take up running. Not only was I going to learn how to run around the block without getting winded, but I was going to train to run a marathon. My first investment was a pair of good running shoes, purchased from a reputable running shoe store. The salesperson made me run around in various shoe models, and when we agreed we had found the perfect pair, I handed over my credit card and he handed me my shoes. I was now an honest-to-goodness runner and had the shoes to prove it.
Then I started accumulating running clothes. First it was a basic pair of shorts, a singlet, and some sweat-wicking socks. Sensible stuff. Then I started “rewarding” myself whenever I’d sign up to run a race; I’d buy coordinating tops and bottoms, thinking that if I looked good, I’d probably run good, too. Eventually, as I traveled around the country to run marathons, I found I needed more stuff. Energy gels, water carriers, and anti-blister goop when I had to go the distance. Tights, long-sleeved shirts, jackets, gloves, and headgear when it was cold. Lightweight shirts, shorts, and visors when it was hot. And one must never forget the coordinating sports bras and socks!
The same thing happened when I took up skiing, although this time there were more things I needed to buy before my first trip up the slopes: parka, ski pants, thermal underwear, turtleneck shirts, ski socks, goggles, ski hat. After several trips using rented equipment, I decided to buy my own skis, boots, and poles. Ta-da!… Now I was a skiier! In time, I bought more tops, more bottoms, and more accessories as ski conditions (and fashion trends) dictated. I wore form-fitting lycra pants when they were trendy, then baggy insulated pants when everyone went grunge. My neck gaiters matched my knit hats, which matched my turtlenecks. I was finding it harder and harder to store all these acquisitions in my already cramped closet.
Or take the time when I decided to get scuba-certified. Again, this required that I purchase the bare necessities: a dive mask, snorkel, booties, and fins. I’d be able to rent the rest of the stuff I needed, but when I heard about what divers do inside their wetsuits, especially when it gets cold, I decided to buy my own. After going on a few dive trips, I’d accumulated a waterproof camera, a dive knife, a waterproof flashlight, ankle weights, and all kinds of doodads that I could conveniently hook on to myself while I swam around with the fishies. Thank goodness, however, that diving hadn’t become another regular habit. Otherwise, I’d probably have a BC, regulator, dive computer, and even more dive paraphernalia sitting in a bin in my garage!
As if that weren’t enough, I took up yet another sport a few months ago: golf! When I started taking lessons, my first few sessions with the instructor were with rented clubs, a pair of walking shorts, and a golf shirt that I bought from the pro shop (heaven forbid I wear a shirt that was intended for another sport!). Once I decided that golf and I got along well enough together, I headed for the equipment rack to buy golf clubs, again trying to get the biggest bang for my hard-earned buck. I steered clear of the popular Callaway and Titleist clubs and settled on a decent Wilson women’s beginner set from Wal-mart (it was the same set a women’s golf association was promoting, but at a lower price. So there!). And while I was at it, I got some golf shoes, shorts, pants, and shirts. It’s all about the look, you know…
So that brings me back to my obsession with all things yoga. Again, I started by investing in the basic needs: a mat, plus a couple of yoga pants and yoga tops. Decent quality stuff at a decent price. Then I started adding on more stuff. A mat bag, a microfiber mat towel, more clothes, even matching flipflops. My practice was looking better, so I wanted to make sure that I looked better, too.
I started taking note of what the more hardcore yogis were wearing. And as with all of the other sports I’d been involved in, there were name brands galore. Hard Tail roll-top yoga pants. Lululemon body-hugging cami tops. Be Present quick-dry cropped pants. There was such a variety of styles and colors, and I wanted it all! I even started collecting logo tees from the studios I practice at — Truyoga, Liberation, Rising Lotus, Santa Monica Power Yoga – as well as from the out-of-town yoga studios I’ve visited — Jivamukti in NYC, Flow Yoga Center in DC, Back Bay Yoga in Boston. But what gives me the biggest kick is when I travel in my Yoga Tribe and Culture Tanks with their yoga lifestyle graphics, such as Change Your Karma - Do Good, Off the Mat into the World, and Breathe the Change: Global Mala. Long-time yogis usually take one look at me and say “You’re from LA, aren’t you?”
I guess I’ve arrived; I’m now yogically-hip
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