There is a sacred space in my world. A space of calm and quietness, filled with inspiration and wonder. A space where I can be myself. Unapologetically. Raw, vulnerable, real. Measuring 24 inches wide and 68 inches long, that space is my yoga mat.
I can take it everywhere I go, and as soon as I role it out on the floor and step onto the cold, soft fabric, feet bare, heart wide open, I feel at home. And I remember who I am.
The other day, my mat got very dirty. Frank had to use it as an underlay to fix a leak in Ellie, the Defender (classic Land Rover: always sick, but never dies…). I didn’t like it. The mat has become so much more to me than just an object you can use.
It has become a friend.
For those of you who do yoga: I know you know exactly what I mean – and most likely so much more about all of this than me at this point. I have gone back to a beginners mindset. Oh how wonderful! The last time I felt this way was when I left for South Africa to train as a safari guide. In so many ways, I feel Yoga is the perfect fit and addition to my education in Nature and Wilderness during my guide training. I feel like a fish in water.
And here I never EVER thought this was for me.
Being as tall as I am, I always told myself “I’m not flexible enough” or “I can’t hold my balance.” Turns out: Yoga is not about that at all. I will probably look back on this post a few years from now and smile about how little I knew when I wrote this. But that is okay. My journey has always been imperfect and I share it openly with you because I believe that is how we can all grow together.
I used to look at Yogis and secretly roll my eyes. Today I know, I was just jealous. And now that I’ve finally let down my walls, let go of my cynicism and my prejudice, I am glad to admit that I needed this space more than anything in the world.
I notice the extreme difference between a yoga-day and a non-yoga-day immediately. The difference is actually so profound that I don’t want to face any day or any other person any more without first checking in with myself on the mat and having my act together.
Acting from the mat,
…meaning: starting the day from that space of peace and quiet, with that intuitive movement of the body, that feeling into the inside, has become priority number one in life. It doesn’t even have to be long. It just has to happen daily.
And the more I wander down this wonderful wild path, the more I realise that joy is no coincidence, nor is it just a state of mind you decide you want to be in from now on. The latter seems most definitely to be the first step: Deciding to be joyful, with every new day, as joyful as possible in that moment in time. What follows then, however, is simply practice. Continuity. To show up on that mat (or wherever that space may be for you). Breathe in, breathe out. Get your act together. Strengthen the body and the mind. Vibrate in a hymn of magic and clarity. And if you’re lucky, get a glimpse of silence.
A day that starts on the mat might never be free from challenges – in fact, such a day might not even exist. But it will always beat a day that started anywhere other than the mat. Needless to say: I encourage you to try it out and embark on that journey, if you haven’t already…
Lots of love,