It’s just a purple Gaiam yoga mat, nothing special about it aside from the fact that it’s thicker than the Gaiam “original” model, and it has a lovely lavender side to complement the opposite deep purple side that is the typical yoga mat color. This purple Gaiam, slightly thicker, yoga mat stared at me from the offerings in the Target fitness aisle. Somehow, after my Monday night chemical dependency treatment process class, I found myself standing in front of this yoga mat priced at $29.99 with a strange pull to make the irrational purchase. And irrational it was because I was down to less than $200 in the checking account with the bevy of psychiatry appointments I’d had in the past 3 weeks, enough to add up to a car payment on a new fully loaded SUV. But payday was in close sight, and I had no idea why, but I needed this mat, and I needed it that very night. I don’t even recall how or what led me to this aisle, or even this store. My assessment is that the universe said to me, “Girl, you need this …” and so I heeded the directive, and purchased said yoga mat.
I had been staying at Dan’s place for nearly a month when I made that strange trip to Target to get a yoga mat. It started incongruously the day of my birthday party, the last Saturday in September. I went through all the motions at my party, talking to people, making myself not cry, not turn into a pile of goo. But at the end of the night, I said to Dan, “Can I come over?” And he said, “sure, but you need to give me a ride as well because I walked here.” I drove us to his place, and I barely remember putting myself down on the couch. Somehow, the sofa bed was opened, sheets were put on, and a pillow found it’s way under my head. One night became nearly a month.
Doc didn’t want to put me in the hospital because he feared it would do more damage than good. Yet, no one disagreed that I could not be home alone. So, there I was with my ex-boyfriend, on his couch on the eve of his annual gaming convention that he puts on every year. The timing could barely have been worse. Towards the end, I started to remember why we broke up in the first place. His place started to feel like less of a sanctuary, and more of a self-imposed halfway house of sorts.
At Dan’s place I immediately opened up the yoga mat, between the sofa bed and the tv in the living room, I was met with a most unwelcome chemical smell coming off the mat. Still though, I was undaunted, annoyed, but still undaunted. I had not been to a yoga class in more years than I could even quantify. I couldn’t recall a single thing from yoga class in that moment on that smelly mat. So I just moved. I moved and stretched, and tried will all my might to set an intention and focus on it all the while just moving, moving, moving .. just to do something. I desperately needed a something to do in my life as my job had gone to shit, and, at that moment, I was on medical leave.
I’ve always challenged myself, and I never fully realized, until this experience, that challenging myself is a a big part of who I am, and when I do not have this I am lost. I look back and realize that the best jobs I’ve had forced me out of my comfort zone, and pushed me to do better, and keep reaching outside of myself. Losing this with my job situation falling apart led me to the moment where I needed yoga. I needed something to do, and I needed to challenge myself again. In a way, yoga became my job when my actual job disintegrated in front of me.
Somehow, even with that yoga mat purchase, I did not expect in find myself in an actual yoga class. But, that’s exactly what happened. And so far it’s happened 11 times in 30 days. I’ll keep coming back with my smelly mat.