Years ago I had the opportunity to attend a yoga class accompanied by live drumming. Normally, I like to practice without music, but the thought of practicing in a room filled with the energy of live muscians was irresistible. I was in a training at the time and got a bit waylaid by a practice session with a fellow student so I found myself in a new position -- I was running late to yoga class. I'm early for just about everything, so this was a bit unsettling to me. Even more unsettling was the fact that I had forgotten my yoga mat back at the room.
Not wanting to miss the class entirely or be really late (my room was a 10 minute drive from the yoga center), I walked in and joined the class sans yoga mat. I don't know if it was the incredible music or the fact that I had had an amazing experience that day in training, but that particular yoga practice was incredible. My mind was screaming -- "But you need a yoga mat!!!!!" My body didn't care. It moved through the postures and soaked in the vibrations of the drums. To this day, I can still remember that amazing experience.
The yoga girl who normally likes to practice in silence and on a mat thrived in a class with 5 musicians with nothing between my feet and the floor. Hmmmmm...makes one wonder how much of what we think we need is simply in our minds. I always thought that you needed a mat to practice yoga. What if that's not true? In fact, during this very same training, one of my teachers recommended practicing yoga without a mat in order to work the core.
According to a recent NY Times article, yoga mats "may be falling out of favor." Many seem to think that yoga mats are merely an invention of businesses to make money. Others think that they are a hazard to the environment. It would seem that there's quite a list of both pros and cons regarding the yoga mat issue. You can read about it here.
So, yoga lovers -- what do you think? Do you mat or not? Do you think it's wise to go without a mat? Are mats vital to the practice of yoga or just another money-maker?