Recently, during a break in a teacher training weekend, a group of us sat in the Yoga Nook garden, sipping our coffee and enjoying the early morning sun. One of the participants stretched out on her mat.
“That looks comfortable,” I said.
She smiled. “I love my mat,” she said. Then she sat up.
“You know, this mat is my go-to place. If I’m feeling down, I find it and lay on it. It brings me peace. If I’m stressed, it calms me. If I’m distracted, it brings me focus. Just recently we put our dog to sleep, and I spent the last few hours lying on my mat with him by side.”
She stroked the mat affectionately. “I’ve been through a lot on this mat.”
This conversation got me thinking about other teachers I know who have used the same mat for decades, even though it didn’t perform as well as a new one. For some, it has become “the lucky mat,” a talisman for teaching great classes. For others, it’s been a safe haven in the midst of the frenetic world we live in.
Perhaps we become attached to this slim rubber prop because it remains a constant in our lives, absorbing our joys and sorrows without judgment.
One of my students once told me about a time her car got well and truly stuck in a ditch after she’d swerved to avoid another motorist. Luckily she had her mat in the trunk, so she slid it under the back wheels and was soon on her way home.
Mats have other uses, too. If you look closely in the Yoga Nook garden, you’ll find some old mats being put to good use. Here are some other ideas for how to use your retired yoga mats:
- Use your old mat in place of a rug liner to keep area rugs in place and prevent slipping.
- Cut the mat into 1″ strips — they make great ties for large shrubs or trees in the garden.
- Cut your mat to fit your trunk. It’s a great non-slip surface to keep grocery bags from sliding around.
- Cut a small square or rectangle from an old mat (or get creative and cut out a pose silhouette), and use it as a mouse pad.
- Typically mats will wear most at either end, leaving the middle section in relatively good condition. Cut off the worn areas and offer the mat to a child interested in starting yoga. Kids and grandkids love to have their own props.
- Use two mats for your workout, one on top of the other. It pads the knees and sit bones a little more comfortably.
Do you have an unusual use for one of your old mats? Or maybe you have a great yoga mat story. Let us know — leave a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image credit: Werner Moser via Flickr (CC)