I have always been intrigued by yoga. Indeed, I have always wanted a "yoga body" whatever that is. I define a yoga body as being comfortable in my movement, having good posture and having excellent flexibility. It is not dependent on size or weight.
I am also always motivated by new fitness equipment and clothes. They provide a boost as I anticipate using my new shoes, wearing my new fitness pants, using my new weights, etc.
Recently, I took the plunge and purchased a new yoga mat. It was a special mat which I had eyed for years and finally decided was worth the expense, especially if it motivated me to get back into practicing yoga again.
I say "took the plunge" because it was no ordinary yoga mat. This was a mandala yoga mat, six-feet in diameter, embossed with a mandala to keep one centered on the mat. It was also $60.00, nearly five times what I'd ever previously paid for a yoga mat. I saved and finally purchased this inspirational yoga mat.
I waited with baited breath for the shipping notification. My anticipation grew as I would track the shipment of my new extra-special yoga mat on its journey to me. When it finally arrived I felt the same joy and excitement of opening the box as I had when I was a child opening a present on Christmas. This was it! This was the yoga mat that would finally help me get my yoga body.
I carefully laid the mat flat on the floor to allow it to breathe and let the shipping folds relax (mats are often shipped folded for convenience, but true yoginis know that you should roll your mat up after practice.) I sat there, on my mat, admiring its beauty while my son played on it.
I was still in the rosy haze of the new mat when our large cat, Bingo, walked onto the mat, stretched, and proceeded to gouge the mat with his claws.
I was devastated. Tears welled in my eyes as thoughts of "why can't I have anything nice" and "oh my gods, it's ruined" flooded my mind. I sobbed for the loss of that first perfect practice on this perfect mat as I hastily rolled up the mat to prevent further damage. I cried for the loss of my yoga body. Part of me realized that it was just a yoga mat, but in that moment none of that mattered.
This weekend I unrolled by round, green yoga mat and had my first practice. I let the mandala center me and guide my practice. I barely noticed the claw marks on the mat as I practiced. I realized that I am not my yoga mat. I realized that like me, the mat could never be perfect, and that was OK. That the mat was not perfect was not an omen or a sign that I could never achieve my yoga body. It just said that I have a cat whose claws are badly in need of a trim.