Letting Go of My Cool Blue Yoga Mat

yoga matMy favorite blue yoga mat with the great grip and the cool pattern that everyone compliments? Well, it’s disintegrating before my very eyes. The rubber is actually crumbling in little balls and, tonight, after class, I noticed my cheeks were smeared with something like blue sugar granules.

As I was wiping up the sweat (and blue crumbs) from around my mat, it became clear that this was our last class together.

“Time for a new mat?” my neighbor asks me kindly in a pretty British accent.

“Yeah, it is. I know it is. It’s just that this is my very favorite mat,” I say. I don’t know her well enough to explain how hard it’s been for me to give it up.

Months ago, my yoga mat was done for, with its marble-sized holes. Even so, it was still awesome because it had a great grip, which made me feel safe, like it wouldn’t let me lose my footing. It had sweat from hundreds of practices—both yin and flow. I have let go of a lot of spillage from my overactive brain on this beautiful blue swath of rubber. When I kneel down on it, the comfort and familiarity are like the feeling you get when you walk into a bookstore or a church.

I’ve bought other replacement mats, used them even. No grip or texture, no personality, no connection—if such things can be felt about inanimate objects.

Now, I don’t know the protocol for retiring old yoga mats. But I’ll start by rolling it up and putting it in a place out of sight and hard to reach so that I am not tempted. (You probably can’t burn, bury, or recycle yoga mat rubber.) I’ll finally, finally stop taking it to the studio (you shouldn’t have to clean up after your yoga mat like you would a pet).

I was trying to think of the perfect replacement, but there really isn’t one. The time we had together was awesome, ours alone, singular, and past.

I may miss my so so cool blue yoga mat tomorrow in my practice; I’m sure it will cross my mind. But over enough time—this summer, for instance—I will have spent many, many more hours on some other yoga mats. And more life and people and events and thoughts and emotions will have been worked over and let go on some other flat piece of rubber. There will be distance by then, and thoughts of my mat will occur to me less often.

And then one day, maybe this fall—if I practice this right—the thought of my very favorite blue yoga mat will be buried so far in the past that I can’t visualize it or remember it at all.

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