I’ll admit it: I have a fiercely intense relationship with my yoga mat.
It might sound ridiculous, but it’s true. My mat might actually be my soul mate…like legit. And I’m damn proud of it.
This love affair/soul mate status has been building for a while now. But it wasn’t until recently, when I was in a child’s pose during my first really good practice after an extremely painful breakup, that I realized just how in love I am with my mat.
With my forehead and palms gently placed on the mat, I was focused on my breath when a sensation…no, more like energy, began to flow over, through and around me that was completely new—it was something I’ve never experienced before. I’d never felt this way before on my mat and almost immediately my eyes begin to well with tears.
A voice inside said “Just leave it all here, Allie. Just leave it all here.”
And without a second of hesitation, my mat lovingly replied, “Yes, just leave it all. This is exactly why I’m here.”
The journey with this stunning, navy blue object of my affection began three years ago.
Honestly, this is the longest relationship I’ve ever been in.
From the start, our connection has been powerful, full of both the pleasures and pains experienced in any relationship. My mat and I have shared joy and sorrow, inspiration, loss and growth and, most importantly, love.
Our beautiful bond began as normally as any other decision I’ve made in my life—over analyzed and questioned. (I’m a true Virgo and spending that much on a yoga mat was cause for analysis). It took me three days of back and forth.
“Should I get this? Shouldn’t I get this? Should I spend this money right now? Is yoga really my passion?” All those questions whirled in my head and finally, I just said yes to it all.
“Yes, yoga is my passion. Yes, I should get this. And the money thing…somehow it’ll be there.”
So, I jumped in head first and picked the mat I thought was most like me.
As I was walking away from the desk with my new most prized possession, one of the instructors’ commented, “Oh I love those mats, but give it about a month to really get it broken in.”
Little did I know neither what breaking it in really would mean nor what it would entail—not only in that first month, but in every month after.
Our journey together in the last three years has seen the best and worst of times. But, no matter what, my mat is always there in each and every moment—accepting me just as I am. Whether our time together is filled with smiles or tears, doubting and worry or excitement and joy, my mat is there through it all.
In the happiest of times, my mat has shared in the laughter and high fives busted out in the middle of class. It’s supported me through the year of practice it took until I nailed my first forearm stand. It’s encouraged me to travel and experience new teachers and studios throughout the country. It’s been with me through each long, exhausting and wonderful weekend of my first teacher training.
And, currently, my mat excitedly holds my hand as I discover my true calling in life and who I really am. My mat is always there, always there—day in and day out—reminding me that I’m worth all the amazement that the universe is offering to me.
But, it’s not always been sunshine and roses. We’ve experienced some seriously shitty times together too. My mat opened its arms to me when I burst into tears after my first heart-opening camel pose following my first ever broken heart. It held me ever so close in moments where I collapsed from the overwhelming thought that I can’t do this all by myself.
And it was there sitting quietly (and patiently) in the corner during a time when I lost myself to another. My mat is always there, always there ready to help take the pain away and teach me that those feelings aren’t meant to last for long.
My mat knows my deepest fears and doesn’t hesitate to make me face them head on. With my mat, I’ve transformed my ideas on vulnerability and being alone. Vulnerability to me is no longer a sign of weakness, but the most beautiful expression of my truest self.
And, the thought of being alone no longer terrifies me because I’ve come to really understand that I’ll never be alone. I’ll always have myself, and that’s all I actually really need.
It also knows all the things that make me come alive. It’s with my mat that I found healing, and connecting people through yoga is what brings the utmost joy to my life. My path in life is to be out in the world sharing myself and my experiences with others on and off my mat—not sitting behind a computer screen answering emails.
My relationship with my mat shows me all the things I never believed I had inside. It proves to me that I have an enormous amount of strength and courage to make it through this journey of life with my head held high. It affirms that I have a grace and poise that is well beyond my years. My mat shows me that I have the power to Let Go of people, places and things that no longer help my inner light burn brightly. But, above it all, my mat shows me that the greatest thing I have to offer is Love.
So, yep, I’ll admit that I have a fiercely intense relationship with my mat, and I’m damn proud of it.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Kerrie Shebiel/Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Lauren Rudick