Today during my yoga practice, I suddenly was flooded with a completely fulfilling emotion of gratitude. I was standing in mountain pose at the top of my mat, looking down at the space between my toes, and realized how many times I’ve looked down at this view before. I realized that I don’t often think about my mat in a way that shows thankfulness and respect – yet, suddenly, I was overcome with this feeling of gratefulness for it, for all the ways that it has healed me. I realized just how much work has been done here on this mat, and all the iterations of mats before it.
I could see the layers upon layers of reflection, questioning, patience, struggle, hope, joy, challenge, improvement, growth, and most importantly, love. I felt its support, holding me up, and also it’s rooting connection to the earth below me, the people surrounding me, and the light within me. I was filled with love for this piece of material, as thin and insignificant as it may seem upon first glance, for all that it has taught me, and for all the places within myself that it has allowed me to explore.
I then began to realize – it’s not really the mat that I’m thankful for. Instead, it’s the work that I’ve done on that mat. It’s the places I’ve traveled to within my own soul. It’s the scars I’ve moved beyond, it’s the stress that I have let go, it’s the time I’ve given myself as a gift to allow myself to grow. It’s the patience, and the reminder that just by showing up, I am enough. It’s the effort I’ve put into a pose, and it’s giving myself permission to sit another one out when it’s just not doing it for me. It’s the space between the inhale and the exhale, that moment of pure love that surfaces. It’s realizing that no matter what my past has held, this moment, right here, is the only thing that matters. It’s coming to the understanding that each time I come to this mat, I’m allowing myself the opportunity to accept myself exactly as I am, nothing more and nothing less. I’m meeting myself where I’m truly at – without the expectations of the outside world.
It’s not really the mat that I’m grateful for. It’s me.
And then, all I felt was love. Pure, true, endless love. I laid down and let it wash over me, on my mat. It gently held me in space, limitlessly.