Home on the Yoga Mat
Mine is purple, made of jute and recycled rubber and a gift from a yogi friend. When my mat is cold, my hands and feet slide in Downward Dog. This mat needs to warm up, mimicking me at the start of a yoga practice. I love my yoga mat because it reminds me of the simplest expression of home. The four corners define my space. It is the essence of what I need to sit, lay or stand for some period of time.
I have a yoga instructor who says, “What you need to worry about is only you and your mat, everything else around you is none of your business.” There are times I have been to that class where you are packed in like sardines. Yes, I worry about how we are all going to “Flip the Dog” and not clobber your neighbor from legs flying through the air. And the guy next to me seems to be breathing particularly loud today. How will I focus?
Stephanie, my yogi friend who gifted the purple mat, is a busy career mom. She works all day in a high stressed job, commutes an hour each way and juggles the needs of husband and two-year old daughter. When her ten minutes of “me” time arrives, Stephanie finds her mat. It’s the mere landing on her yoga mat that immediately returns her to a spot of comfort and restoration. How can a thin-film of material provide such fulfilling experience? Years ago, I wondered myself before I start to dedicate to a weekly yoga practice.
In thinking more about feeling at home, I look up the definition of home:
1. A place where one lives;
2. A familiar or usual setting;
I research thoughts on home and find Maya Angelou saying, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. “ In design school, I remember a challenging home design assignment that stretched our definition and imagination. My final “home” project was a simple high performance blanket that was packable, portable and offered warmth and shelter at end of a day. I liked the idea of finding minimal definitions for home.
I needed something different when I started yoga. It was a way to use physical movements to connect from the inside out. In the beginning, the poses were weird and hard. I did not breath at the right time. Every pose seemed to be named something +“asana.” They all sounded the same to me! Slowly things started to shift and I found myself getting grounded and centered. Leaving a yoga studio, I always left feeling better than my beginning state no matter what it was.
So I return to the mat. It is a place of home, a place to center and reclaim. I highly recommend that you buy your own mat and carry it with you for your practice. Make the mat a statement of your space. What color speaks to you? Is there a texture or weight that appeals to your inner senses? Do you need a tote bag or strap to carry or just in the palms of your hands? It’s been four years since I started yoga and I now understand why Stephanie can step onto her mat and feel at home.
Try some Yoga at Home through YogaGlo…. Namaste!