Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Anthropomorphizing a Yoga Mat

Do you ever think of the significance of your yoga mat?  Of all that it endures, day in and day out, as your partner in your practice?  Probably not.  I started thinking about it this morning when I walked into the room to discover my cat, who is NOT declawed, lazily reclined on top of my mat in a solitary patch of sunlight that was streaming through the window.  I’m not sure I’ve experienced that type of sheer terror before, and I froze for a split second before letting out the shrillest “GET OFF!!!” I’ve ever yelled.  Alley, stubborn cat that she is, isn’t one to follow directions but she knew I meant business and – thank heavens – very gingerly padded off my mat and ran for the hills (er, stairs.)  I was convinced I’d find scratch marks on my precious, expensive mat but alas, it was as smooth and unharmed as I could’ve hoped.  *Insert sigh of relief here.*

I began thinking not only of the fact that I really don’t have the money to replace said expensive mat, but that I really don’t WANT to replace my mat with a shiny, unblemished new one.  I’ve had my mat for less than a year but relative to my yoga journey, she and I go way back.  First, my mat is often my muse.  It’s this serene bluish-greenish-seafoam color that reminds me of sea glass, which reminds me of the beach.  Particularly the beaches and communities along 30-A in the Florida Panhandle, one of my favorite geographic locations on the planet.  So, no matter in what frame of mind I come to my mat, I am always greeted with a beautiful sensory experience that instantly transports me to a happy place – MY happy place.

Second, my mat is my confidante.  As I sit on it at the beginning of practice and lay on it at the end in savasana, I share with it thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities that I may not share with anyone else.  What thoughts transfer to the mat, stay on the mat.  Isn’t that the old saying?

Third, my mat is my repository for negativity.  Often times when I first come to the mat, there are things bubbling around inside of me like stress, pressure, doubt, impatience and anger.  Throughout my practice I am able to shed those things and they are absorbed by my mat, washed away from me so that only goodness and positivity remain.  It’s almost a magical quality of my mat – and probably your mat, too.

It’s fascinating to me how I’ve become so attached to a rectangular piece of polyurethane.  My purchase intention was merely to buy the cushiest, grippiest, no-slip mat out there but my mat clearly has a strong grip on me.  I’m happy to have it as my #1 partner in my yoga teacher training journey, and I’m hoping we'll share many years together.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolutions, shmezolutions. But check out my challenges!

I am not a big fan of New Year's resolutions.  I've made them in the past - many, many times, and then disappointed myself when I didn't fulfill them.  Maybe I didn't try hard enough, but I feel like it's difficult to make promises, with the utmost confidence and resolve, that you are supposed to keep ALL YEAR LONG when the reality is that things change.  Situations change. Life gets in the way.  That's not a cop out, at least not to me.  So instead of making resolutions and setting myself up for disappointment, I am giving myself some personal challenges for 2013.  I do better at challenges anyway.  I'll chalk it up to my highly competitive (with myself) nature and see how many I can meet over the coming year.  Bring it on, 2013!

1. I will complete my 200 hour yoga teacher training program.

2. I will begin teaching yoga this year in some capacity.

3. I will continue to run 2-3 times per week. (Flexibility here is the key for me, especially in the first half of the year while I'm focusing on the yoga training.)

4. I will make healthy choices EVERY SINGLE DAY. This applies to food, exercise, rest, and whatever my body and mind needs.

5. I will get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night - preferably 9. I've learned the hard way that my body needs at least 8 hours to function at max capacity.

6. I will strive to always be a positive influence on those around me, and remember to be supportive, encouraging, empathetic and grateful.

2012 is going to be very hard to beat, but I have a feeling that 2013 just might be one of the best years, ever.  I am looking forward to some huge personal growth with my yoga teacher training, and I'm REALLY looking forward to sharing the gift of yoga with some of you in the 2nd half of the year.  Happy New Year!