Give Your Mat a Home (4:05 audio)
Step One - Give Your Yoga Mat a Home
Give your yoga mat a home. This can be as elaborate as building a separate yoga room into your house, or as simple as laying out your mat at the foot or side of your bed. I’ve done both.
When I first started a home practice, I was blessed to have a basement bedroom in my home that I outfitted with a special heater and stocked with an extensive prop closet. I hired a mural artiste to paint a metallic OM symbol on the wall. I installed an elaborate ancestor shrine, and created a fairy garden outside the window. I lined the walls with stones and crystals I had gathered over several years. I loved that room and the energy it held.
And then, my husband divorced me to become a monk. He got the house and the yoga room. I packed my life into my Prius and traveled the country for five years, essentially homeless.
While I never wanted for a place to lay my head every night, I did travel from place to place, sleeping in over 100 different beds in the course of one year. My yoga mat went everywhere I did. Unrolling it at the foot of the bed, wherever that was, became as habit as unpacking my toiletry kit in the guest bathroom and plugging my phone charger in next to the bed. I loved some of those bedside mat-homes far better than my elaborate yoga room I shared with my ex. One guest bedroom where I stayed housed the family’s Halloween decorations, so my practice was inspired by witches and black cats. Another guest bedroom had a giant window looking over a north-woods Minnesota lake, so my practice was serenaded by loons. And believe it or not, I discovered that practicing in the tiny hallway leading to the bathroom of a hotel room offered an opportunity to use walls on both sides for leverage and balance.
I have unrolled my mat for practice in hundreds of gorgeous places, including a beautiful mountain view lodge, an epic ocean view Mexican palapa, the clay-mud of the Badlands of South Dakota, creek-side deep in the wooded hiking trails of a Wisconsin nature preserve, and backyard fairy cottage tiny home. Of all the hundreds of homes my mat has found, my favorite of all time is my current yoga home, a long-narrow storage closet smack in the middle of my upstairs duplex apartment.
I call my current home the treehouse because the front windows all look out over a rather large maple tree. Smack in the center of the treehouse is a long narrow storage closet with one shelf and clothes rod at the far end. This is now my Yoga Hollow. To some it may seem claustrophobic, as it is only 2-3 inches wider and 2 feet longer than my mat. To me, my Yoga Hollow is PERFECT. I use the walls on both sides as leverage to push and pull myself deeper into stretches, or as a lean-support on those days where balance isn’t my best friend. It is a cozy little den where I can shut out the world, and closing the door is like closing myself up like a telescope.
My point here is that the size of the space you use doesn’t matter as much as actually having a space. I find that when my mat is unrolled, particularly in a place where I see it, it calls to me. If I didn’t unroll the mat as part of my unpacking in a new guest bedroom, I was far more likely to skip my practice. If I rolled up and put away my mat in the yoga prop closet, I was less likely to come back to it. But now, it stays unrolled in my yoga hollow, and it begs me to come play on it. I actually miss it on the days I skip practice.
Whether you choose to leave your mat along the side of your bed so you can literally roll out of bed onto your mat in child’s pose, or clear out a portion of a closet, or remodel your sun-room into a yoga room, find a space where you can unroll your mat, and leave it there most of the time. A space where you yoga energy can gather. A place your mat can call home.
What is your home practice space like? Please share in the comments below.