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  • Don’t fuck on/with my yoga mat

    9 comments Published Aug 1, 11 AM
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    By Liberty Bell

    Last week I bought the BMW of yoga mats.

    Now, as a recovering yogi, I usually hold a “holier-than-thou-I-don’t-need-no branded-yoga-gear-to-get-my OM-on” attitude, but this purchase was therapeutic.

    Let me explain.

    Last summer I met the (MHME). He was creative and funny, loved kids, and was exceptional at home organization. He was perfect. Like me, the MHME was an avid practicer of the asana arts. I am an on again/off again Ashtangi; he, a beginner Bikram student (yes, red flag). Because of his lineage, MHME was unfamiliar with a great many postures. I took it upon myself to enlighten him in my home studio, or “shala.”

    On a sunny Saturday morning, with little instruction from me, MHME sailed up into Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel). Pure beauty. His stylish t-shirt crawled up, exposing lightly chiseled hipbones and soft skin. This posture had been near impossible for me for an embarrassing amount of time. It was now my turn, and the pressure was on. I planted my hands, pushed into my legs, and up I went. The cage that had long held captive my fourth chakra released, and out poured radiant love (or something as equally intense, yet generic).

    I came down gracefully and met eyes with a smiling MHME. At this point, my mat—an affordable mid-line variety—became the backdrop of a primal scene [1]. That summer, “mat work” was part of most of his visits to my house. He perfected headstand. I perfected things that cannot be published on the Internet without compromising my career.

    As the summer went on, I would learn that MHME wasn’t ready to have only one yogini in his life (at least not this one)—I blamed it on the Bikram. I was hit hard. Hard as in: lie on the couch and drink gin and diet sports drinks [2], smoke cigarettes and listen to Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” on repeat, kind of hard.

    At this point I was on a semi-break from yoga [3] and practicing at home. But now the mat, alone in the unfurnished room I called my shala so I looked cool rather than broke, was no place of peace.  There were several stains on the mat. This evidence of our DNA’s intermingling kept me thinking that an infant might sprout from the mat— like a baby yoga-Jesus or a New Age Cabbage Patch doll.

    My heart ached every time I saw the mat, so I kept the studio door closed at a time when practice may have actually helped.

    A month ago I tossed the mat. Well, not exactly. I cleaned it with some eco-friendly hippy mat cleaner bullshit and sent it off to some “recycled yoga mats will save the world” program. Next, I went out and bought myself the BMW of mats.

    I went from being dead against the idea of a $100 piece of rubber to embracing it. The purchase was not to fit in with the “it” crowd at my studio, but was rather a precautionary measure. Like wearing your worst underpants out to the bar as a way to help curb your sexual enthusiasm, my $100 mat would help me to keep my practice clean. No one would be coming up in my tantric treehouse without being for realz (and hopefully never saying shit like “for realz”). From now on, no one will fuck on, or with, my yoga mat.

    [1 primal scene

    [2 diet sports drinks

    [3 semi break up

    Liberty BellAbout Liberty Bell

    Liberty Bell is an academic gone wild. She holds a PhD from a Canadian University that shall not be named, where she currently teaches Anthropology and Women & Gender Studies. Liberty has a hard time knowing when to call it quits and is now back on her swanky mat in Toronto and Santa Fe. She thinks and writes in the areas of Arctic studies, affect, addiction, adultery and Ashtanga, but mostly about alliteration. Last week she met the love of her life. You can find her on Twitter @DrLibertyBell.