What is your Yoga Footprint?

I saw my first extra wide mat today. A National teacher is earnestly pitching ‘the mat with heart.’ It is six inches wider, encouraging us to spread out…

More is less.

While maybe fine for a home practice, bringing one of these mats to a Yoga class is the equivalent of parking your car sideways and taking up two spots.

Last week in Concord, 66 of us gathered for Sunday morning practice. (Don’t you people read the NY times?, we’re now supposed to be scared of Yoga!) I did the math, If we had all tried to unroll a ‘mat with heart’, 17 of us would have had to turn around and go home. How fair is that?

It’s billed as the mat made with ‘soulful engineering, the mat for everybody,’ Well, everyone except the 17 people who can’t fit in class now. Taking a wider perspective, Innovation like this might put a studio close to the edge out of business.

If you’re thinking “but it’s just a mat john,” you reaffirm your place in the collective consciousness of ‘more’ that has brought our world to the brink. If you pause and look below the surface level of how things appear to be you become part of the solution.

This SUV of Yoga mats requires more materials, more energy to create, more packaging and fuel to ship. Is this really the direction we want to take?

If you require a bigger mat, by all means take care of yourself. As practicing Yogis, we boldly claim our space without apology, nor do we take any more than we need. One parking spot is enough.

Less is the new more.

Last week If we had all had gotten just 1/2 inch closer, one more person could join us for Yoga practice. Aparigraha anyone?

I will walk my talk. Last night I sheared 1/2″ off the width of my mat as a gesture of community, and a shrinking of my Yoga footprint. Care to join me?

how much space do you really need?

I appreciate innovation, and the need for businesses to be profitable, but like all products, they can only sell it if we buy it. Remember that every dollar you spend is a vote for the world you want to live in. Your choices matter, your actions ripple far and wide. Our new mantra could be: ‘Less is More.’ Please share this with a friend

Om Shanti, I’ll see you in class.

P.S. Mosabee sent me a gorgeous new chocolate brown eco friendly Yoga mat to check out and tell you about. (Yes, it’s regular size, and has a great feel) Instead of trying it, (I’m kind of liking my skinny mat) it will go to the lucky winner of the monthly class raffle. Remember to fill out your slip after class. Good Luck! -j

9 thoughts on “What is your Yoga Footprint?”

  1. Hi John,

    I agree, less is more 🙂

    I liked class when we were all close. It gives a real sense of community as we all become very aware of our place in space & how that affects our neighbors. It brings in another dimension to the practice.

    I definately will not be purchasing that bigger mat. It’s like the equivalent of a gas guzzler.

    So good to see you a couple weeks ago. I’m going to make it again next weekend.


  2. Hi John-
    It was a pleasure to be in class last evening. You are a gifted
    teacher. The in-breath/out breath counting put me into a trance like
    state and I found it to be very powerful for my practice.
    And when you said near the end of practice about one of the simple
    poses, “it can be boring or it can be fascinating” i realized that
    statement is true in almost every aspect of life.
    I carried it over to my walk today and my work w patients and even
    shared it with my supervisor during my annual review today.

    I will try my best to come to more of your classes, you inspire me always.
    And your note about the wide mat was right on!!

    The NYTimes writer should come to YOUR class and then write about yoga!!


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  5. Thanks for sharing this article. I believe we should only take up the space that we need. Those of us with smaller bodies can use smaller mats. However, those of us with larger bodies should feel no shame in taking up the space that is needed – no more, no less. And, in spite of the mat size, we should feel free to scoot our mats closer to one another and share a smile if we accidentally bump our neighbor. That is part of community too. 🙂

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  7. Great points, John! I wouldn't have even considered the impact of a larger mat on the class community. Thank you for bringing up this point.
    As Jen M says, bigger people should also feel comfortable taking up more space without judgement, and smaller people can make sure bigger people have the space they need by using only the resources they need for their practice.
    I like the comparison you made to cars, John. I found myself thinking of European countries, where cars tend to be smaller, making room for more cars on the road and less congestion, much in the same way as yoga classes where people use smaller mats.

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