Written by Karstee Davis of Purified Outlook
For the first time I’ve had to buy a new yoga mat; meaning that the first yoga mat I ever bought, my mat, has seen its final days, therefore requiring me to buy a “new” mat.
Last night I rolled out this new mat for the first time; I got on my knees, brought my big toes to touch,sank my hips back wide and stretched my arms long and finally brought my forehead to rest on this new yoga mat. There are the obvious differences, this mat smells different (akin to when you get a new car… it just doesn’t smell used & loved yet), it’s a different shade of purple, there are no more designs of lotuses, and this new mat was a whole lot pricier and trendier.
As I moved through my practice I found myself reflecting on how little I’ve changed since I’ve been doing yoga. I thought how strange that was… Here I’d been rolling out my mat for a little over a year and all I have to show for it is one crumbling, stinky old mat. I wouldn’t say that I am any more flexible, and I haven’t lost any weight…
As I mulled over these thoughts, I started remembering the places that I’d taken my old mat.
It all started one late Summer morning about a year and a half ago. I parked my car in the upper lot at Red Rocks just as the sun was starting to rise over the city below. The sun’s morning rays were painting everything in that light… You know the kind, I think some call it the golden hour. It was breathtaking. As I got into the venue and looked down below there were yogis as far as the eye could see, all of them sitting on their mats and “oohing” and “ahhing” at this miraculous sight that we all woke up intentionally for. As the class began, I tried to keep up with these unfamiliar poses that I’d never heard of before, and for an hour I just let go… If I could do it, I did it. If something was too hard, I didn’t beat myself up. Towards the end of the class, deep into a chaturanga, the teacher talked of gratitude. I was overcome with the deepest feelings of forgiveness; in that moment I forgave my ex-husband for giving up on a marriage and the way he did it. In that moment I forgave myself for all of the chipotle burritos I had been eating trying to fill up an empty space inside of me. I felt infinite love to him, to me, and oh so much gratitude. After class I drove down that little mountain reborn.
I thought of my old mat and the trip we took to Aspen for a festival that we weren’t quite ready for yet. I thought of the trip to Utah and getting to practice next to my favorite aunt!
I thought of when I got all star struck and got to practice with THE Rachel Brathen #yogaeverydamnday
I thought of me being brave enough to finally commit to a yoga studio as a member and all of the many moments I’d had on my mat in the very room that I was practicing in on this new mat.
I remembered the time that I was in a runners lunge and my favorite teacher massaged my neck as my head hung low, and how she said, “your mat is a fertile place where you can grow the person you want to be, the person you are becoming”. I nearly melted at all the many significant ways this message had meaning for me. I remembered getting out in the car that night and just letting the tears flow down as I sat in the parking lot.
I remembered a Supta Baddha Konasana with one hand on my heart and one hand on my belly and Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” reaching this line: "and every breath we drew was hallelujah" and thinking about how the Pope had touched down in DC that very day and how the world was coming to the overwhelming realization that we were facing a migration crisis that they said would define this decade.
I remembered the night that I dedicated my practice to the city of Baltimore as it rioted in a rage of unrest and heartbrokenness.
I remembered silently weeping on my mat after a heart opener in the dimly lit studio one rainy night, overcome with emotions and love for my nephews. For their mother who’s missing out on their beautiful little lives and how blessed I am that I get to witness them, and how ironically beautiful and cruel the whole messed up situation is.
I remembered summer nights and the start of school when I would leave the studio with my cup running over with love and appreciation for my whole life and every tiny thing in it.
It was then I realized, I might not have physically changed in the past year and a half, but my journey with that first mat might have had the bulk of the beauty of the transformation that this practice is doing to my life. That first mat brought me to forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, release, and so many other qualities that are probably still simmering beneath the surface.
For this new mat, I hope for more dedication, more strength training, being a little more bold and trying things that have scared me. I hope for more opportunities to receive and open than for praying and grasping just to be grounded.
I welcome this new season of my life.
The divine in me, honors the divine in you my friends.
About Karstee: Karstee Davis is a Colorado heartbeat, writer, yogi and hiker. She will be featured in Elizabeth Gilbert's 10 Year Anniversary Essays of Eat Pray Love sharing her own story.