The yoga newcomer grabs a mat off the stack at the studio. Her yoga journey as such has only begun, and she is not sold on the practice. She might call the whole thing off. The mats at the studio are the same shade of periwinkle as those carried by other class participants. These mats are fine, thinks the yoga newcomer. Didn’t the gym authority figure describe the strict sanitary procedures for cleaning these mats? Nevertheless, the yoga newcomer observes the care the other classmates take with their mats. She watches them tote their mats to and from class and decides this activity is too much of an investment in the practice of yoga for her. She cannot see the point. She is not that woman—the mat-carrier—and nor does she care to be. The yoga newcomer is not the type to gossip, but she suspects the mat-carriers carry the mats so that the others might see them carry their mats, and know they are on their way to yoga.
Several weeks pass. The yoga newcomer is no longer new, and nobody is more surprised than she. Whilst in the corpse pose, a vivid picture presents itself to her of the tens, or hundreds of pairs of bare, sweaty, possibly ringworm-laden feet that stand on the very mat where her not-so-new-to-yoga head now rests. She worries over the feet of multitudes when she should be surrendering all thoughts of her day, casting aside worry, and achieving a quiet neutrality.
The yoga no-longer-newcomer shall buy herself a mat. At a big box store, the yoga no-longer newcomer spies a slice of tell-tale periwinkle mixed in with carabiner clips and hand weights. The price is not bad. Not bad, that is, if you aren’t morally opposed to buying a personal yoga mat. And yet the yoga no-longer-newcomer buys the mat, and brings it along to class, chagrined to have at long last become one of the mat-carriers after all. She is, as it turns out, that woman.
The yoga no-longer-newcomer, assuming her mat troubles are over, skips along to class, mat-in-hand.
Poor yoga no-longer-newcomer! She knows nothing of the hierarchy of mats, the mat break-in period, or the towel-over-mat practice, and soon finds herself slick with sweat, slipping off her mat in the middle of a difficult floor pose. The sweat worries the yoga no-longer-newcomer. She’s distracted—she knows she’s losing her grip. She knows she will fall.
Had the yoga no-longer-newcomer humbled herself in front of one of those mat carriers, she might have learned something. She might have known that, even allowing for a period of time to break-in a mat, some mats maintain better grip than others. One of the mat-carriers might have clued her in to the towel-over-the-mat practice or told her about the rubberized towels that provide extra traction. She might have heard solutions for fixing the mat free of charge.
The yoga newcomer was arrogant. Don’t be like this poor yoga newcomer.