One of the lessons that we are constantly developing as yogis is our ability to “let go.” This phrase becomes significant in many ways, including our willingness to accept physical change. While it is common for yogis to develop a bond with their yoga mat, it is also healthy—spiritually, mentally and physically – to replace a worn-out mat with a fresh one. This doesn’t mean, however, that the old mat needs to get trashed. Here are a few ways you can give new purpose to an old mat.
1. Gift it. The first possibly most immediate idea is to pass your yoga mat on to another person in need of a mat. Perhaps someone has expressed an interest in yoga but doesn’t know where to begin. Or maybe a friend is interested in tagging along with you to a class, but she doesn’t have a mat. A yoga instructor who is trying to open her own studio may appreciate an additional mat to add to her studio resources. If your mat is used to the point that it is no longer safe or hygienic to use, then do not give it as a gift. However, if your mat is well-loved but still very much usable, pass it on to someone else!
2. Take it outdoors. The soft and stable nature of a yoga mat makes it an ideal tool for many outdoor hobbies. Try using it as a place to kneel during the gardening time. Another ideal setting for the yoga mat is to join your camping gear. A yoga mat can provide just a little more support for your back when camping in a tent. It can also provide a layer of protection from rough, rocky ground. Also, a mat can be an ideal seat cushion for the sidelines of outdoor sporting events. Place the mat on the bleachers at a baseball or soccer game, and it can both provide cushion and protect you from a wet seat after a brief rain. These are just a few of the outdoor hobbies for which a yoga mat can prove to be very useful.
3. Home life. There are many places around the house that a yoga mat can take on a new purpose. If you have hardwood or tile floors, a yoga mat can be placed under a long rectangular rug in a hallway space to provide both cushion and traction. A mat can also be an ideal layer in a child’s playroom. Or, place it in the dog house to give the watchdog a little more comfort as he naps.
4. Arts and crafts. Don’t be afraid to change the shape of the mat, too. Scissors cut through most mats very easily. Host a craft night with your family or friends and see what sort of funky-shaped picture frames, coasters, or magnets you can come up with using your old yoga mat.
Be creative, and give your old yoga mat a new life!