on the mat is a state of mind
In keeping with my earlier post about naming what we are not in order to get down to who we are, I inadvertently conducted a little experiment. Dissatisfied with my mat, I purchased a new one. Convinced that it would solve all the world’s problems, I took it with me to class last night. After slipping all over the place, covering myself in a rubbery smelling funk, and reawakening the excitement that is a latex allergy, I had only solved one problem: my dissatisfaction with my (read: super sticky, super cushy, totally latex-free) mat (of amazement).
Two big lessons here. The first, sometimes you don’t know how good you have it. That old adage, the grass is always greener? Well, as per yoga and as per my class last night, the mat is not always stickier. A stickier mat isn’t the solution to my asana issues anyway, a stronger set of arms is, and that’s on me, not Manduka. Second lesson, you may look across the room and see someone else’s mat / practice / etc. and think ‘I want that.’ But the part you don’t see, is what got them there – the history behind their behind, if that’s what you’re coveting. I’ve seen plenty of people with the ‘new mat’ that was to be my savior, but it wasn’t really the mat that I wanted, it was the perfect ardha chandrasana. How could I know that the reason they could stand facing their future and supported by their past, in perfect alignment with the present of the pose had nothing to do with the thin layer of rubber beneath their feet? (I’m exaggerating, but you get my point). We all come to our mats from a unique set of experiences that no one else has. What I learned last night was that no matter how much I’d like to do a handstand right now, that’s just not where I am and wishing that I could trade places with someone who is there, who can kick right up into some crazy pose, well, a lifetime of work for five breaths upside down? that doesn’t exactly seem like a fair trade.
So today, I return the mat-that-would-solve-all-my-problems, and go back to working on my down dog, and myself, one day at a time.