Monday, January 25, 2010

If my mat could talk...



As I rested comfortably in child's pose - nose to the floor - I breathed cleansing breaths into my well-used yoga mat. I smiled to myself, thinking of how many years I'd been resting here. How many emotions were felt right here, on the yoga mat that could tell a thousand stories...

***

I was given the mat by a woman who came into my previous neighborhood, at my request, and offered yoga classes for me and my stay-at-home mom friends. I had one child and was considering trying for another one.

My friends and I couldn't take yoga seriously and giggled through most of the classes.

***

Years later, I pulled the mat out again. My husband seemed to be distant. I was pregnant and feeling very lonely. I went to a prenatal yoga class, where I met my BFF De. As I sat in cow face pose, eyes closed and my large 7 month pregnant belly resting on my thighs, De, my teacher said out loud, "My gosh you're beautiful."

I burst into tears. I hadn't been told that was beautiful in a very long time.

***

After Grace was born, I dragged the mat out yet again for Baby and Me yoga classes. She's my natural born yogini!! We would sing songs and my baby would smile and kick and exude such beautiful energy that I would weep with joy every. single. time.

***

When I could get to class without my new baby, I would use that time on the mat to escape from the pain of my husband's affair. I would breathe into every pose, allowing my body to feel the discomfort but not attaching a reaction to it. Then at the end, when my body would relax into a resting pose, the tears would come. That was when my fellow yogis and teachers would reach out across the small space between our mats and comfort me with a small touch. That was when, after class, I would be held in arms among people who didn't know me, didn't know what was happening in my life but offered me love and support anyway.

That's when I became addicted to yoga.

***

On that mat, I gradually built strength. I learned the phrase, "No pain, no pain". I learned to accept where I was and not think about tomorrow or yesterday. On that mat, I learned to forgive myself.

***

I can remember numerous times carrying my cell phone into class with me - a travesty to a yoga practice! But when you're waiting for a call from Baghdad that could come at any moment...

***

I can remember feeling my sexual self expand on that mat. I learned to remove myself from my body only to crawl back inside and experience every sensation as I hadn't before. Savasana became my friend.

***

On that mat, I have processed feelings about life, death, God, evil, deprivation, sex, divorce, marriage, expectation, disappointment, acceptance, my kids, the ex husband, Soldier, my Gentleman, sadness, happiness, frustration, pain, anger, hate, love, forgiveness and peace.

I could get a new one.... but nah, this one works just fine.

It knows me.

11 comments:

  1. Cow face pose when 7 months pregnant? I've NEVER been able to get into that pose!

    I got into yoga about 2 yrs ago and while I only practice once a week (with a group at work), I love it!

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  2. You made me want to get back into yoga. When I had more space, Rachel and I used to do it together. There is something about mommy and me yoga even when the me is 15. :)

    Definitely keep the mat. It knows where you've been and has enough life left in it to take you where you're going.

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  3. Thank you. I was seeking some answers...

    Namaste`

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  4. Yes! You are so right. Yoga has seen me through some serious ups and downs, and it's taught me to love my body in a wonderful way. I, too, have a ratty old mat that I can't part with!

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  5. That is *some* mat! ;)

    I get it. I love yoga too and wish I had more child-free time for it. I know I just need to make the time and make it a habit but damn, if that isn't hard to do!

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  6. You just made me realize how long I have been away from Yoga. I've been using my treadmill instead of my yoga DVDs. And now I realize that's what my bad attitude has been about. No meditation or yoga for over a month makes for a shitty shit attitude. Thanks for the wake up call.

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  7. The part about De saying you're beautiful, and you bursting into tears, resonated with me. I remember two years post divorce, a girlfriend helped pick out a jacket for me. It was the first time in 2 years anyone showed they cared, and that I didn't have to do every friggin' thing all by myself. I burst into tears, too. (How's that for a man moment)

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  8. lovely. that's how I feel about walking, especially around here where I live on the island. It represents alot, not only the physical beauty but it represents the new life I found for myself

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  9. I have always wanted to try yoga and Pilates, but for some reason I seem to be stuck in the comfort zone of a gym. Maybe this will get me to try it.

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  10. I love this, T. I feel the same way about yoga, although time constraints prohibit me from going as often as I'd like. But I too found inner strength and awareness in addition to the physical and spiritual benefits.

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  11. I LOVE yoga. I haven't made as much time as I should for it lately. I need to find a regular class again. Doing it alone, at home, just isn't the same.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

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