giveaway! what does your yoga mat mean to you? (win a manduka eko mat)

Yoga mats at #occupywallstreet: a symbol of solidarity & unity? photo by J.T. Liss via

The yoga mat: ubiquitous signifier of the yoga practitioner. All those other signs (stretchy pants, Krishna shirts, Om tattoos) don’t really mean anything, but how often do you find yourself smiling at someone on the street just because they have a mat slung over their shoulder? Or excusing someone’s blissed out daze because their mat indicates they may have just come from the studio? Of course, with price tags of $75US and up, the yoga mat has also become a status symbol and, at times, indication of one’s place in the exclusive “yoga club.” But maybe there’s more to it than that.

Earlier this week, at Seane Corn’s appearance at Occupy Wall Street, the yoga mat took on another meaning. While Seane spoke, people raised their mats in the air in an apparent gesture of solidarity and unity. For the first time in history, the yoga mat became a symbol of protest and a demand for change.

In honour of the evolution of the yoga mat, I’m happy to do a little giveaway of said product. Manduka contacted me about their new line of “fall colours,” and while I’m not sure what means (can we expect more seasonal colour variations? pleasant pastels for spring, perhaps?), it’s a welcome change from the dreary old black Manduka Pro. And I love giving away stuff!

So, I have one eKO Mat, made of biodegradable natural rubber, for a lucky IAYB reader. All you have to is answer the following question: What does your yoga mat mean to you? Is it your sacred space, a holding place for your intentions, your daily foundation? Is it simply some cushioning between your knees and the hard floor? Do you have a story about your current mat? Where have you taken it?

Write your response in the comment section before 9am EST, Monday, October 17. One name will be drawn at random.

  1. OUuuu! I am a fan of their EKo mats 🙂

    My yoga mat signifies my connection to my spiritual practice and the earth and my commitment to decreasing my impact on our Planet.

  2. I view my mat as a tool of my practice and treat it with respect. Whenever I sit on it I feel a special connection and automatically go to “that place” where everything is good and as it should be.

  3. I have a stay-in-my-car-for-classes mat and a home practice mat and I LOVE them both. In a word they mean freedom…

  4. My Manduka is my most valuable material possession. Every morning when I come to my cocoon like shala, my favourite thing is unrolling my mat and moving gently into balasana. I know it’s only rubber but it holds whatever ‘me’ comes to it that day.

  5. As soon as I unroll my mat, I immediately become aware of my breathing, and start to notice my body–where I’m tense, where I’m relaxed. I sit in quiet meditation before my class starts and let myself become grounded. My mat is the physical signal for all this to happen.

  6. My yoga mat is my sanctuary, my safe place, the place that I go to at the end of the day to unravel my weary bones and stretch my emotions.

  7. My mat represents a time and a place for me to be still within while being active on the outside. It represents something that makes me very happy, my yoga practice.

  8. It’s my sanctuary. It’s the one place where nobody can bother me. Nothing can inturrupt me. No phones, no kids, no parents, nothing. I’t my peaceful space.

  9. My mat is therapy. I suppose, technically, my practice is the therapy but it cannot be without my trusty, purple mat. My heartbeat starts to slow as soon as it’s rolled out, and I feel grounded when I step onto it. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a sacred space but it facilitates a great deal of internal work. 🙂

    As for where it’s been, I’ve taken it camping and on my honeymoon! That was pretty damn awesome. Doing yoga on a balcony overlooking the ocean is an amazing experience. I spied another mat on a neighbour’s balcony too!

  10. My yoga mat is my home away from home. No matter where I am, no matter how foreign the language, culture, weather or food, I know that I can unroll my mat and feel grounded and safe and ‘at home’.

  11. For me my mat is my safe place – everything is all good when I’m on the mat. 🙂

  12. S-P-A-C-E. Sometimes physical, other mental, or emotional or imaginative…. even if I dance or do tai chi and move off or away from, the mat represents that container. Always sacred.

  13. My mat means I have made it through the day. It is my time and my place to refocus, stretch it all out and just breath. I may glance at it during the day and smile knowing our time is coming! My mat is always there to take the weight of the day away.

  14. My mat means a vehicle that takes me wherever I need to be.

  15. My yoga mat is a haven of peace and quiet. It’s my personal space, a place just for me to go and unwind.

  16. My yoga mat is a place of limitless possibility and sanctuary.

    And, since my dog decided to make my home yoga mat HIS sanctuary, I am in desperate need of a new mat that we don’t have to fight over 🙂

  17. My yoga mat is the instant connection to my internal universe, my sacred ground and reminder of untapped potential.
    I love the inspiration that comes from a rectangle of material.. Like many others have said, it’s great how naturally as we unroll we are present. Thanks for sharing.

  18. My mat is my space to explore, relax, work, move, be still, experience, expand, breathe, connect, love.

  19. My yoga mat is my pillar of strength! It provides spiritual and physical support for my practice.

  20. My mat is my little island where nothing else matters – just me, my breathe, and my body moving through the world.

  21. my mat is my retreat, my continent, my island, my fortress

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway

    pumuckler {at} gmail {dot} com

  22. My yoga mat makes the difference between a nice energizing, relaxing exercise session and a irritating one.

  23. My mat is sacred space — the space where I began to heal. I often
    “bring people to the mat with me” so that they too can benefit from my practice. I bring it with me everywhere I travel, Each and every time I unroll it, there is a moment of pure joy and gratitude.

  24. Ultimately, my mat is the cushioning between me and the floor when I practice yoga.
    Okay, maybe it’s more than that, since I put my cushion on it to meditate, too, when that’s not really necessary–so maybe it’s a symbol of my practice, too. I try not to get too hung up on these symbols, though…particularly since they keep falling apart on me.

  25. My mat is where I create my own reality.

  26. My yoga mat provides me a place to plant the seeds of happiness, the real gardening begins off the mat. Namaste

    • My yoga mat for me means a conduit to my body structure’s health and wellness. It’s my “magic carpet”! I get excited about picking it up and carrying it to its chosen destination class that will whisk me away to serenity and beyond. It reminds me that my body is an interactive living organism that houses the temple of my sorted parts and as such, deserves care and stretching. I appreciate my yoga mat and all the benefits it affords me, it reminds me that I will soon be engaging in a communion with myself, much like praying and honoring the sum of my parts, rendering me more whole with each exercise session I take 🙂

  27. my mat is my flying carpet, super hero cape and repellent of all things that ring, beep or demand!

  28. Thanks for your inspiring responses, everyone! The winner of the Manduka mat is Avigail. Congrats!