My Sacred Yoga Mat: DO NOT TOUCH IT!

I have a very strong attachment to my yoga mat.  I don’t go so far as to name it but I wouldn’t be opposed to that per say.  I got my current mat several months ago from this studio.  I completed 10 Thursday classes in a row and got a mat! It is awesome and I love it.  I was apprehensive at first because I was so used to my previous sticky mat.  I didn’t want to let go of it. Sound ridiculous but it is true.  I still have the older mat and I use it on the rare occasion I do yoga at home (I really should do more yoga at home but that is another blog post….) My current mat took a while to break in but now I am fairly certain it is my favorite of the all the mats I have had.

A few weeks ago I came to the studio early and set up my mat in the empty room.  I always set up in the back of the class on days I check-in students.  That way, I don’t disturb the class too much when I walk in after it has started.  This particular Tuesday I set up in the back corner and put a set of blocks on my mat.  Then I went about checking in students on computer per usual.  The last people to come in were a couple who had not been to the studio before.  They asked if there were mats to use and I told them where they were.  I didn’t show them because the class had already started and I didn’t want to open door and disrupt but I told them where the mats and props were stored.  They went in.  A few minutes later I entered the class and walked to the corner to get on my mat and begin!  There was a man in the spot where I had placed my mat. Okay, no problem…they must have moved my….where is my …why that….OH No! This Man is ON MY MAT!!  I totally panicked…internally of course.  I didn’t know what to do.  I almost left the class because I was so confused by this.  It totally threw me for a loop.  Moments passed and I had to find a spot.  I grabbed a mat and tried to settle in.  I was already thrown off because I came in later than I normally do and now I am without my sticky mat.  This was going to be a strange class experience.

I had a clear view of the man on my mat and I became fixated on looking over to see what he was up to.  Even reading what I am writing seems absurd.  I was basically staring this dude down any chance I got.  I found myself hoping he didn’t sweat too much and being thankful he was wearing socks.  What the heck is wrong with me?  Why did I care so much?  It was a difficult class to get through at first and the thoughts never totally left my head.  I did manage to get through it though and finally enjoy the lovely class that was going in around me.  After class I was putting away the props and straightening up.  The man that had it came up with it rolled up backwards and tried to stuff it in with the others.  He was having trouble so I told him I would take care of it.  I still have no clue why he decided to use a mat that was already on the floor when he got there.  I am sure he didn’t think it belonged to someone else. It doesn’t really matter why he did it.  It only matters how I reacted to it….which was a bit neurotic I admit.

It certainly isn’t lost on me that part of practicing yoga means letting go.  I was unable to let go of my own mat for 75 minutes without feelings of anxiety creeping in.  Part of it probably had to do with the fact that I didn’t know this person. But mostly I felt like a part of me wasn’t fully participating in the class simply because I didn’t have a part of me that I feel is essential to my practice.  I think of my mat as an extension of myself in yoga.  It is my safety net and my home.  It is where I come to practice and where breathe.  I am grounded to it and extend out from it.  All of these things are true.  Yet, the reason I wasn’t fully present in that yoga class was because I didn’t allow myself to let go and be present.  My mat wasn’t destroyed or lost, it was just being borrowed.  I was still doing the poses and moving and breathing.  I was still safe.

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