By Anya Light
Yoga doesn’t have to be complicated. We can practice yoga in a simple, barebones fashion. We can go minimalist: with nothing but the green grass under our feet, the blue sky over our heads, and the inner wisdom of our heart to guide us.
Yoga is simple. Nevertheless, it sometimes can be super exciting to discover resources that open up new dimensions to the practice.
FINDING YOUR SOULMATE YOGA MAT
Lately I’ve been thinking about yoga mats. Because my hands and feet sweat super easily, the yoga mat I currently own (which I picked up for a few bucks at a grocery store) is not that wonderful. It’s a piece of crap, actually. I need better traction. It’s frustrating trying to hold downward dog correctly when my hands are slip-sliding all over the place!
Recently, the Universe magically brought me into a lovely email exchange with Jericka Lambourne, writer and researcher over at Reviews.com. And I discovered her recent geek-fest with yoga mats.
Seriously, someone should give this woman a PhD in Yoga Mats! She spent over fifty hours testing over thirty different mats in various temperatures and conditions, such as carpet and hardwood floor; interviewing yoga teachers and studio owners; and researching the technology and history of various brands.
If a yoga mat is on your Christmas list this year, I recommend checking out Jericka’s research. It’s pretty cool.
THE FALSE DISTINCTION BETWEEN SPIRITUALITY AND THE MUNDANE
Why the heck am I talking about yoga mats?
Am I getting distracted from more “spiritual” topics?
As you know, my friends, spirituality is my life. It’s what I eat, breathe, drink. It’s the reason I was able to heal myself from life-threatening chronic illnesses and dig myself out of the holes of PTSD and suicidal depression. However, I also have learned that some so-called spiritual teachings, spiritual teachers, and spiritual paths don’t always lead to the most fulfilling places. The spiritual landscape is not perfect here on this Earth. After some rather disheartening experiences, I am now quite vigilant about spotting fake gurus, false “feel good” materialistic teachings, and other detours. I’ve been fooled in the past and I don’t want to be fooled again.
With that having been said, I do believe there is a lovely balance that can be struck.
Too often in our spiritual journey we make the distinction between the mundane and the spiritual. Between the material and the spiritual. Real life versus everything else. Consensus reality versus higher ideals. 3D versus higher consciousness. And yet what does this categorizing really accomplish? Does it truly help us?
Sometimes these mental distinctions can actually get in the way of living our lives in the most authentic way possible. Sometimes these categorizations can actually block us from experiencing flow and harmony.
I honor and deeply appreciate how external “things” can often aid in the enjoyment of life. A shiny new outfit can bring a burst of confidence during a job interview. A new knife can bring an added sense of ease and harmony to the cooking process. A new pillow made with organic materials can bring higher vibrational dreams. Crystals in the home can serve to protect and rejuvenate empathic people. A quality yoga mat can help us hold certain postures more effectively, more deeply.
Is it materialistic to want a new yoga mat? No, not unless such a wanting takes over and becomes a compulsive obsession. Is it materialistic to want money or intimate relationships? No, not unless such preferences take you away from the enjoying the present moment of exactly where and how you are now.
THE AWESOMENESS OF EVERYDAY LIFE
In my view, the objects of “everyday life” can certainly be enjoyed, relished, and savored—with mindfulness.
Perhaps this is more of an advanced lesson than some would like. That’s okay. If what feels right to you at this time is shunning the entire monetary system altogether and making a beeline for the nearest commune, monastery or cave, that’s okay. But if you are where I am, maybe the thing for you to do is to strike that oh-so-delicate balance between “the mundane” and “the spiritual.”
When we think about the worth or value of an object like a yoga mat, we must remember that objects are not just objects…they are more. Every plant, animal, mineral, person, and supposedly “inanimate” object is made up of chiti (a Sanskrit term meaning consciousness). Everything is alive. Indigenous cultures have known this forever, and if you’ve ever participated in a plant medicine ceremony or a shamanic journey, you’ll have had direct experience with this truth.
Every part of the Universe, from the tiniest atom to the brightest star, is a living reflection of the Divine Source. Everything is God.
While it is certainly good to avoid being trapped by the shallow mindsets of our overly-materialist mainstream society, it can be just as detrimental to remain ignorant of the power that objects have to affect our consciousness. We are all energy. Each thing has life, a vibrational force that subtly (or greatly) affects us. For example: if we fail to take care of our possessions and allow our home to become dirty, dusty, and cluttered, we will feel this as a certain subtle heaviness in our daily lives, a certain sadness or dullness. If, on the other hand, we take care of our living environment with regular tidiness and cleaning, then there will be more flow, order, and peace in our daily lives.
The external is the internal; the internal is the external.
All is one.
Everything is spiritual.