10.12 The Yoga Mat in the Tree

A few weeks ago, I woke up, made a cup of coffee, looked out the window to check the weather, and asked a question out loud to myself that I never thought I’d ask: “How did that red yoga mat get on top of that tree?” This is not a philosophical question or a fable I am imparting on you.

I live on the third floor of a condo building, and the tip of the tree outside was exactly parallel with my balcony. And at the top of the tree, a red yoga mat wrapped around some branches, gently rocking in the light wind. It must have been thrown from a floor above. I think it’s a fair assumption to say it was thrown out of anger. No one throws something off a roof with happiness in their hearts. 

Was this an abandoned New Year’s Resolution? I’ve made those with mixed results. I try not to get mad or disappointed in myself when I don’t keep them. A New Year’s Resolution is one of those strange cultural pressures that are rather empty when you think about it. If we want to change our lives, we can do that at any point. I can choose to change something today, right now. I won’t, but I rather like having the knowledge that it’s a possibility.

Yoga is supposed to help calm you down, build mindfulness, body awareness, and be a part of a healthy lifestyle. I imagine someone doing yoga at home. Perhaps like me, they’ve tried doing yoga in a studio, and that was fine for a while. But, as per usual, people start to get annoying because, well, they’re people. And people are annoying. I found out that there is a plethora of yoga videos on YouTube and I could do it in the safety and solace of my own home.  And this is fine, it gets the job done. It didn’t work so well for this other person. Perhaps they struggled with their downward dogs and couldn’t deal with the relentless cheeriness of their particular YouTube yoga instructor of choice. They snapped, grabbed the yoga mat, and tossed it off their balcony. It caught on the tree and is now representative of not only the failure of their New Year’s Resolution, but a symbol of their failure in general.

Or maybe.

Someone was Marie Kondo-ing their apartment and realized their red yoga mat no longer brought them joy? Look, Marie Kondo can defend herself, any criticism seem to slide off her back. However, and speaking as an author, everyone needs to relax about the book thing. I totally understand what she is getting at in regards to throwing out books. When I cut my bookshelf in half, I asked myself: Do I really need two copies of the DaVinci Code (these were gifts, I swear)? How about the seventh version of Uncle Dave’s Great Facts Bathroom Reader? But, I kept books that were inspiring to me. Sure, I’m probably never going to read them again, but I do like seeing them on my bookshelf.

I will say this as a digression - if you live in Toronto, donate your books to the library. We have the best library system in the world. Support it. Before that, I invited a bunch of friends over. There was wine and several piles of books that I wanted to get rid of. I told my friends they could take anything they wanted. We had fun and I got rid of a bunch of books to good homes. Win, win. The rest went to the library.

Digression over.

All I’m saying is this - if you are Marie Kondo-ing your apartment, don’t throw your dusty yoga mat off your balcony. Someone might make fun of you in a blog post.

The most probable thing that happened was this being the end result of a lover’s quarrel. Sometimes relationships don’t work out. Actually, more often than not they don’t. I’m not saying that to be cynical, think about it. What’s the ratio of failed relationships to The One? A lot, because there’s only One. As often happens when a relationship is on the tail end, people start putting their energy into things outside of it. Maybe this person got obsessed with yoga? Instead of going out for dinner with their partner or spending time with them in any way, they were in a constant state of corpse posing? Mentally and physically. And finally when they could not take it anymore, a big fight unfolded, and the non-yoga half of this partnership grabbed the dreaded yoga mat, and happily flung it over the balcony, along with any love they might have had for that person.

Through snow and rain and wind, the red yoga mat will not yield. At the time this article was posted, it is still on the tree. I think it might be there forever. I believe it might outlast us all.

Paul Dore