From the moment I found you, sticking out among the rolled up mats on a bottom shelf, I knew we would have this beautiful connection. I bought you a sling so you could feel comfortable as I lugged you from studio to studio and on public transportation and through the city streets. I cleaned you with a lavender spray after every use because all good mats are an extension of a practicing yogi. You became another limb.
At our first class together, I was terrified and excited and coming out of a long-term relationship. I didn’t know what to expect for the full 60 minutes. All I knew was I needed support and you were it, carrying my entire body weight for an hour or two (or sometimes three on those extra rough days).
For three years, I have spent a good chunk of time with you. You have seen me at my most vulnerable and watched my triumph over Crow Pose. You have seen me topple over into other yogis while attempting a tripod headstand and you have been served as the ground for which my roots could grow in during Tree Pose. I have crashed into mirrors, walls, and couches while practicing on you for hours and you never once told me, “Oh, just give up already.”
For the last 3 months, you have witnessed my transformation during teacher training. You spent 200+ hours with me as we ate, slept, and breathed yoga. You even served as my makeshift bed on Tuesday evenings in between work, class, and yoga lectures–affording me a few minutes of sleep or a place to just rest my head and meditate. You were with me when I took my final exam, when I taught a section of a sequence during our “Bring A Beginner” day, when I broke down and cried on the last day of teacher training.
You let me sweat profusely and never complained when I dug my palms into your surface while holding high plank pose. You let my calloused feet walk all over you, grip you tightly, land loudly on you when coming out of a handstand. You’ve also been on more planes than some people will ever be on over the course of their life…because you go where I go.
I have left you behind inside a locker room where, within just steps of realizing what I had done, you waited patiently for my return. You have also stayed rolled up for days when I just couldn’t bring myself to practice. And that was fine. You knew I would come back to you when the timing was right. And like always, after a week off, I would look at you and dash out the door with you under my arm to the nearest studio.
But most of all, you have helped me feel beautiful. You have given me confidence to stand on my own two feet. You have made me look in the mirror and see strength. You have taught me the secret of self-discipline, the art of coming back to my practice because I not only love it but I need it. You recognized my potential and dedicated yourself to being my foundation from which I could stand on and feel powerful. You brought me a yoga family of sisters and brothers, children of the universe, lovers of light and grace. With that, you made me feel like I wasn’t so alone or different from others. You made me love myself which is the greatest gift of all.
So here’s to you, my faithful yoga mat. To many more adventures and self discoveries, to more Ohms and open chakras. While you may be just a piece of rubber to some, you are a rock in my eyes.