“Yoga Mat Culture” ~ On ElephantJournal.com
A yoga mat’s just a yoga mat, right? In my first article published on Elephant Journal, I explore the dynamic between a practitioner and their yoga mat. Is it just a piece of functional traction? An altar to the gods? And could it actually be a detriment to personal development to think of it as anything with meaning at all? Read the full article on Elephant Journal – and check out the first few paragraphs below . . .
Mat Gone AWOL!
“Your mat is your sanctuary,” whispers the dulcet-toned yoga instructor. “This is your space, your island in the sea of reality, where you are always welcome, where the anxieties and stress of the day are let go at the shore, and there is nothing left but you – and your practice.”
A wonderful analogy, so comforting in its familiarity. We’ve all imagined a getaway spot, where we can leave our worries behind. And if the mat is our getaway, well that’s a heck of a lot cheaper than flying to Hawaii every weekend!
In the West, the mat is commonly seen as a space of peace, and for some yogis, takes on a sacred meaning. If your practice is an offering to the Divine, the mat is much more than an escape route; the mat becomes your altar. A holy platform for your gift to the Universe, Truth, Love, or whatever linguistic manifestation of that Thang you believe in.
So what happens when your mat, your sanctuary, or even your altar – is taken away?
This was my first yogi challenge of 2011, when the infamous Air India lost my humble suitcase of chai masala, flowy new skirts, cleansing kriya tools, rare books, practice clothing, and a $70 eco-friendly Manduka mat I had just purchased last September. Ouch!
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What do you think?