I bow to thank my mat before and after every practice. It is a part of my balancing – my mother – in her born again wisdom would call this some form of idol worship…I simply call it a part of my movement to wholeness. This act allows for me to harmonize with my body and more importantly allows a safe space for me to reach into my depths and do work.
Soul work is a funny creature because it comes and goes. I cannot ask for it. I cannot demand it. It just is when it is and that’s that. It settles me knowing that I have a space that will support me when the time does come for me to open and fall deep inside. Have you ever had a depth of self moment in the middle of a power yoga class? I have and it was fucking awesome and scary and tearful.
What it was not was shameful.
Not that I don’t experience shame. I do. I simply refuse to experience shame on my mat because to do so would take away the sacredness and grounding that lives in that little piece of green rubber separating me from the chaos of the rest of the world.
No shame is a set intention: No shame and No guilt.
Those are the only real rules surrounding my mat though admittedly I do have a few mat quirks…like I get to flog you if you walk across it with shoes or non attentiveness. Walk on it and you’re walking on me.
My mat is as much a part of me as it is a representation of my grounding, my intention, my dreams and perhaps the only item in existence that could- if animate – explain the true quality of my emotions.
When I am face down, belly, toes and hips pressing into the mat’s surface I imagine how much of my sweat and tears and energy have seeped into the spaces between spaces and filled them with aspects of myself. I wonder if I stayed long enough on its surface if there could be some kind of reverse transfer – if my memories could wash over me in a wave and take me to places that I’ve forgotten. I wonder if someone took this mat and slivered it apart layer by layer if they would find a timeline of my life etched in between the fibers.
I have had this mat 9 years. 9 years of my palms and feet rising and falling and settling onto the surface. 9 years of my poses adjusting as I moved from beginner to teacher and back again to student. 9 years of memories. My mat is me , as much as my breath is me. The surface holds so many breaths – enough for a second life or the fullness of the one, my own.
My partner, used to laugh at me when I asked him to thank my mat after practicing on it – not understanding the sacred quality that comes to the spaces where intentions are constantly laid bare. Not knowing that my allowing his sweat and dreams to mingle with mine was and is one of the most loving and compassionate things I can offer him. I dunno, maybe it is idol worship or some sort of deflection or transference – I find that it is a normal experience to form a tight bond with the space where I connect to the greater universe and to the greatest parts of myself. . . But I am a lil’ odd… Unabashedly so…
- Discovering the Lesson in a Plumb Line. (ahimsamaven.wordpress.com)
- Question: Just what’s living on your yoga mat? (theconfluencecountdown.com)
- Yoga Challenge Preparations (inspirationlocation.com)