Alice’s Perfect Yoga Mat
What would your perfect yoga mat look like? Would it be your favorite color? What material would it be made out of?
Taking a moment to consider what you find appealing in a yoga mat will help you get some ideas going. The goal of this process isn’t to create a new mat to practice yoga on. I have learned from this prompt what I believe is foundational to my yoga practice, in both a figurative and literal sense. Writing this blog required an internal search of what I find to be most important in my practice and how it is reflected by the main tool I use while practicing.
I have created a foundation for my practice designing a mat that honors conscious breathing through images and words. “…Inhale…Exhale…” are valuable words that work as a powerful reminder to focus on my breath during yoga. In the form of a command, this phrase helps me concentrate and strengthen my mind-body connection while I practice. The image of lungs in the shape of tree branches speaks to my natural side. Understanding the interconnectedness of all things, in this case the relationship between trees and the ability to breathe, shows me how grand the global ecosystem truly is and the small part I play in experiencing it. Refreshing the body with newly oxygenated blood feels wonderful and fills me with gratitude for such a simple and rewarding experience. The images of the sun and moon remind me of the cosmic forces that are always at play and gives me a more grand perspective of the relationship between space, the earth, the animals, the human race, and my individual human experience. The mat would be 24 inches X 68 inches and weigh approximately 7 pounds, which is standard. It would be about ½ an inch thick. Similar to Jade Yoga mats, it would be made out of rubber, to ensure good grip and comfort. Ideally, it would be created with a sustainable process to plant a tree for every mat sold to prevent deforestation of rubber trees.
This yoga mat is perfect, for me. I have realized that conscious breathing is foundational to my yoga practice and that is reflected through the phrase “…Inhale…Exhale…”, the image of tree branches in the shape of lungs, and the shapes of the sun and moon. As my practice grows, and at times becomes more challenging, I am constantly reminded of the foundation it is built upon. In this way, I believe that I haven’t experienced a “bad” practice. When I start to feel frustrated, I observe the sensation and return to conscious breathing. It is in those moments where I feel the most present, most calm, most grateful, and most empowered. I feel supported by this foundation, and using it as a surface to physically practice on would serve as a constant reminder of this support that is generated internally.
With that being said, every person’s experience with yoga is subjective and unique. There may be other aspects of your practice that you find more important, inspiring, and/or motivating. Use what others do as a jumping off point to create or incorporate your own ideas. It’s a valuable experience to build your own foundation to stand on. Trust yourself, respect your choices, and remember to leave room for more change and more growth.
You don’t necessarily have to create your own yoga mat. Perhaps just a list of ideas will point you in the direction of what is most valuable to you. Think about what’s most important to you in your yoga practice. What words, images, quotes, and/or materials would you combine to motivate and inspire you? Consider what foundation you would build for yourself to grow from each time you got on your mat.