As I was resting between Series B salutations in downward dog, I noticed the grey stains on my yellow yoga mat which I received a year ago. A large grey stain at the top where my hands were and one at the bottom where my feet were. You’d think I’d be a little sad that my favorite mellow yellow yoga mat had these two large stains, but I’m not. No, not at all. Instead these stains made me think back and reflect. An entire year of practice happened on this very yoga mat.
Those stains are more than dirt and sweat. They are symbols of dedication, tears, release, and strength. That mat and those stains have a story to tell. The story of its owner that came to the mat everyday. The comfy cushion and support it gave both physically and mentally. There is not a day that goes by where my body does not connect with my yoga mat. Every time it does, it imparts more stains, more imprints of the story of my life to be absorbed.
My yoga mat comes with me everywhere. On quick trips, to flights on a plane. It has been that one piece of soft comfort in a place far from home. The stains it has accumulated over the year tell a story not only of a yoga practice, but of a journey. Each day more of that journey gets pressed into the mat. The first thing my body touches as I get out of bed is my unrolled yellow yoga mat. Of course it becomes stained. It has seen it all. From my yoga practice and at-home lifting, to simply lying down flat on my back, relishing its safe rectangle.
Those stains on the top and bottom of my yoga mat are pieces of artwork from the journey of my year. Artwork made from tears, frustration, pain, and anger. Also love, pride, joy, strength, comfort, and beauty. No journey is ever going to stay neat and clean. It develops stains, dirt, and use. There should be these marks; these marks are representations that living and growth took place. They are marks that say a journey took place here and there is a story that can be told.
Those stains under my hands and feet, the connection between my yellow yoga mat and I. The words I have given it, the story it tells. An outsider may look at those dirty stains and see flaws, but I see a unique life. That life and that story will only ever be fully known by my yellow yoga mat and I. My mat has accepted me and was willing to be the base of my story, my journey. It never judged, it allowed space to growth, space to cry, and space to thrive.
I take pride in those grey stains. Two beautiful marks of life. I smile when I see them, upside down or centimeters from my face as I practice inversions. I smile when my hands and feet connect with those two spots. The base for my of my story to be written. Unjudged and always welcoming, no matter what I have to say, no matter what I bring with me to the mat, or where I pick up that mat and go. My yellow yoga mat and those stains are a part of my journey. A part of my story. They will grow and absorb it all. Every imperfect and every moment of my story.
So tell me:
+ Do the stains on your yoga mat tell a story?
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