The Power of Your Own Mat
February 14, 2019
My journey into having my own mat was a long one. I only purchased a mat for when I was traveling and didn’t know if the studios I visited would have a good quality “borrow” mat.
When I went to my home yoga studio in Dallas, I still borrowed theirs. Why not? They are free to use.
It wasn’t until I took over Uptown Yoga that I found the importance of having my own mat. But wait, even then I didn’t purchase one.
There was a lonely Manduka Pro that had been left in the lost and found for at least 6 months. It had been broken in well; made soft and pliable.
Someone had loved it; this was not from a casual practitioner. But there was no name, and no identification to return it to its original owner.
Much like the orphaned kitties on the streets of Zanzibar, I couldn’t just leave it there.
I took it in.
Back in the day, a Manduka Pro mat was a status symbol in the Dallas Yoga Studio world. When you see one at a yoga class in Dallas, it means that person is dedicated. For the most part, only teachers and every day practitioners had them.
This was probably due to the higher price tag. (I mean, $100 for a mat ??) Now more and more students are seeing the benefits of having their own equipment and investing in themselves.
Some of the benefits:
It’s more hygienic.
Yes, borrow mats are cleaned. But still, think about where you are placing your face.
“Lie down and relax the right side of your face to the mat”.
No, thank you.
I can’t stop thinking of all the feet that have been in the very same spot. Don’t get me started on where all the feet walked before they got there.
It fits you.
Mats come in all different thicknesses and textures. This can help address issues that can make your practice more comfortable.
Feet and hands that slip can be helped by a Manduka Eko Mat. Made of rubber, they have a nice cushion and grip to them.
Achy knees, ankles and wrists can be helped by a Manduka Pro. High density cushion provides relief and support to joints.
Learning how to place your feet? The Manduka Foundation mat is made with an alignment line down the center. This can help correct bad habits in the way we step and develop our muscles to support us in a better way.
The energy is all yours.
Every time we practice, we leave a bit of our energy on the mat. We lovingly call our mats our energetic dumping grounds.
Much like the feet that have walked on mats, I like to know what energetic footprints have been left.
A lot of yoga is realization of and letting go of patterns, thoughts and energy that has been holding us back. As we come to the realization of that energy, it no longer affects us or pulls us in.
Place a foreign energy in our path and it can throw us for a loop, much like an angry person walking into the room.
When we unroll our own mat, we welcome ourselves to pick up where we left off.
Our mat holds space for us to continue to let go and heal.
It creates a sacred space.
One of the biggest tools for transformation is taking us out of our “norm”. We can get stuck in our daily routine and our to do lists can consume our thoughts from morning to night.
If we continue in the same manner on our mat, we are never present and are never really giving yoga a chance to do its magic.
Unrolling our own mat becomes an invitation to discovery. It invites us to lift the veil off of a mundane existence, exposing a vivid way of experiencing this life.
So what has happened to that lonely Manduka Pro? 11 years later it is still with me.
It has held me as I’ve unfolded, it has absorbed many tears, and it has brought me back “home” over and over again.
Jennifer Chitwood is the owner of Uptown Yoga in Dallas. She currently lives in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Her love for creating beautiful experiences in the yoga room has expanded to further parts of the world.
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