As I crawled onto my yoga mat on Monday – I took a stroll down memory lane. It wasn’t intentional – alas, I started to think about the journey that I have been on with this yoga mat. This mat has become my security blanket – a refuge from life – the calmness and storms of life. A safe place for me to be still while the world spins around. Oh, the places I have gone on this yoga mat – both in physical form (as I landed on new terrains and explored new countries with my mat handing over my shoulder) to the mental places and feelings I have allowed myself to explore whilst being still on this mat.
Funny, I have crawled onto this very mat throughout the last 10 years of life – alas, on Monday, peering down from a downward dog stance – I noticed the indentions and the worn and tattered areas of my yoga mat. The place where my feet and hands land on the mat are worn almost to the ground. The corner of my mat is tattered and torn by one of the dogs who have accompanied me throughout life. There is an odor that comes from my mat – its not a good smell or a bad smell – perhaps a smell of all the sweat and at times tears that I have shed throughout the last ten years while being on this mat.
As I peered around at the other mats in the room – a splendor of colors and patterns, I thought – perhaps it is time for me to get a new yoga mat. Instantly, I changed my mind. I love the worn areas, the smells, the memories, the treks around the world – all of it done with this yoga mat hanging over my shoulder or on the floor of wherever I called home for that moment.
This yoga mat has been my security blanket – the place where I allowed myself to feel all the emotions of life – the place where I have allowed myself to dream of what life could be – the place I always yearn for when the world is spinning and spiraling around. I feel safe allowing myself to dream, discover, and explore on my yoga mat.
My world took a new shape in 2007. It started when I climbed on a yoga mat in a studio. The world slowed down. For the first time in a long time – I could hear myself think. And, I didn’t run from hearing myself for the first time in my life while on that yoga mat. The world slowed down for that one hour when I crawled on the mat. I kept going back for more. I allowed all the necessary yearnings to come forward. From that place, I made one of the hardest decisions of my life.
Instead of looking at all the external factors of my life (which is where I tried to find my happiness) – the yoga mat allowed me to really feel and hear the internal factors of my life – which was a place I equally feared and yearned for. I was afraid to look inside and listen to what my heart and soul was searching for.
Intuitively, I knew that I was about to go on a journey of the soul – yet, I had no idea where that journey would take me. Alas, I knew I had to go and explore. I lived at the crossroad whilst I tried to figure out which road to take – always going back to my mat to find refuge from the storm.
In 2007, I embarked upon a journey of healing. I started to heal from years of major and great losses in my life on the heels of the most pressing loss – which was a divorce. My family had lost so many people in our immediate family to tragic and immediate deaths – we walked around numb, shocked, and yet scared to death of who might be next. I had no idea how those deaths had touched my life. I had no idea how I changed the course of my life to try and find stability, balance, and structure after each of the losses. My family is strong. We were taught to be strong. To get up and to move on. In 2007, it all fell apart.
The grief came out like a volcano erupting. I was scared to death – but knew I had to face and go through the process to come out on the other side. My yoga mat was the place where I allowed myself to feel those feelings. The place where I allowed those feelings to make themselves known. I cried on that mat. I felt the sadness for the loss. And, I also allowed myself to start dreaming on this yoga mat (this is where my first seed of travel was planted).
In the years that followed, I left my corporate job to return to school full-time. I was determined to go back and live the experiences that I missed out on whilst dealing with life and loss. Again, I found comfort on this yoga mat. Eventually, I sold most of my possessions and boarded a plane to a foreign county.
At each of these twists and turns – when the world was spinning around me – I always went back to my yoga mat.
So, I have decided to keep this warn and tattered yoga mat. It has and will always represent a place of comfort. A place where I can allow myself to dream, slow down, and be where my feet are.
Yes, all this occurred in a 60 minute class! This. This is why I have such a special place for this old yoga mat.