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Tears on the Mat

I’m sure this mat will be a place to shed all my blood, sweat and tears.

That’s the thought I had when I bought my first good quality Yoga mat.

My new mat easily received sweat. I assumed I should alter my thoughts about it receiving blood. I kept imagining falling face first and breaking my nose to achieve this. What did end up happening is a tampon dislocated in an arm balance, which at least was less painful than a face plant. The tears the mat would receive became the most special moments on the mat.

I knew I was always welcome to my Yoga practice, no matter my disposition. On the days I arrived in class heavy with sadness, I unrolled my mat at the back of the room, tucked in a corner. As if to say to the instructor, I’m here but I’m fragile. I’ve had many tearful Child’s poses. Unabashedly letting the tears mingle with the sweat and roll down my nose to make little splats of wetness. Sometimes it was a song that moved me, or a reading, or recognizing that I’m in a room full of people who are all seeking peace. The mat has always been a safe space to release the weight of the world. A place to change perceptions, find a little extra love, and come back to my truest self.

My most recent experience of a tearful practice happened a few weeks ago in Costa Rica. We were in a small surfing town called Dominical.  No car, just hanging out. Plenty of happy things filled my heart, but one thing jabbed at me strongly and persistently: this town full of models. It’s not an exaggeration to say that about 90% of people there were thin and/or super fit. It was making me feel extremely large in comparison. It was top of mind and making my heart sad. I was struggling to remember who I was and what really mattered. All I could think of is why I hadn’t exercised more and if there was any chance my husband could still find me attractive amongst the slim beauties.

At last, we went to a Yoga class. I tuned all exterior noise out and started to breathe consciously. That simple act moved me to tears, breathing consciously on my mat felt like I’d come Home.

And as I continued to breathe deeply, I thought, I owe you the biggest apology body. I haven’t been speaking to you kindly. I’ve been vicious and all you do is support me. I’m so sorry.

The class was fast moving and demanding. I felt strong and capable. I knew this. Knew how to do this.

As we wound down with some twists, a song came on that invited a full-on cry. I haven’t had a good cry on the mat for a while. It felt so good. I let all that shit go.

Your Yoga mat can be a sacred space to hold you. You can feel any and all emotions there. You can push yourself or find ease. You can show up as often as you want and remember your way Home.

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