Coming to the Mat

I’d tried yoga. I’d done a few classes here and there along the way. Once I even did a 90 minute yoga video in my living room because I thought I was going to get laid afterward (who knew that “let’s go to your place and do yoga” was NOT a euphemism?). Yoga has just never caught on for me. I found pilates years ago and it just made sense, and continues to make sense for my body. I love pilates and plan to practice it always. Over the past few months though I started to think about something… else.

Enter Marianne Elliott. Marianne’s name and her 30 Days of Yoga course kept coming up among Unravellers and others in my Twitter stream/blogsphere. I’d been reading her blog for ages and admiring her work, her writing and most of all her passion. I had perused the 30 Days of Yoga site a number of times. Then one day I decided to pull the trigger.  I decided that the woman who made this video (scroll down and double-click on the photo) was the woman to get me into yoga. And in fact I was right. The course is aimed at helping people develop an at-home yoga practice. It includes video and the most awesome daily e-mails from Marianne. Somehow these e-mails always and without fail contained EXACTLY what I needed to hear at that moment. Marianne is magic.

There had to be some magic at work because I did yoga every day for 30 days and for several days after that, mostly at 6:15 in the morning. It was exactly what I needed. It combined meditative thought and mindfulness with movement in just the way I wanted. During that month my daily practice included moments that were sweet (when Treat would come and lie down beside me during savasana) and some that were sublime (breathing in cobra pose and smelling the flowers outside the window). Mostly it just felt good. And right.

And then I stopped. I went a lot of few weeks without getting on the mat. I was tired. I was busy. I was sore. I was full of bullshit excuses. But Marianne taught me well and because of that I know that the mat doesn’t judge me. The mat doesn’t care how long I’ve been away or how long I stay. And when I come to the mat I embody these qualities. I don’t judge myself for the days I’ve missed. I don’t judge my body for the ways it doesn’t bend or the length of time it can hold a pose. On the mat I listen to my body. I challenge it’s limits but don’t judge the results. On the mat I breathe and I bend and I try to stay present in every moment.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I owed you a post on yoga. Well, I couldn’t write it until now because I had stopped practicing. Today I came to the mat. And the feeling I had there will carry me back there tomorrow.

But for now I’m going to take Marianne’s other advice and get off the effing computer and go for an effing walk!

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About Debra Cowie

Debra is a photographer and visual storyteller based in Ottawa, Canada. She is an explorer at heart, whose passion for photography was born in travel and has been carried with her to more than 30 countries so far. Debra is also an avid cook and baker and much of her current work focuses on food styling and photography in her serendipitously beautifully lit kitchen. She has flirted with Polaroid and 35mm film photography but her true love is her DSLR (aka "Boyfriend Mark").
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One Response to Coming to the Mat

  1. toemailer says:

    I keep putting off getting into yoga myself, gee, 🙂

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