First, some wonderful news: My new mysore rug just arrived from barefootyoga.com
This may not mean very much to you, so a little back story is in order. Well, my trusty old mysore rug (which I also bought from barefootyoga a couple of years ago) has served me well. So well, in fact, that it even has holes in it. In particular, there is a big hole where I place my left foot in downdog (probably means I put more weight in the left side of my body). So I decided that it was time to get a new rug. The front of my new rug looks like this:
Pretty cool, eh?
What am I going to do with my old rug? Well, for a moment, I entertained big plans of giving it a royal farewell for having seen me through my practice for the past couple of years. I briefly fantasized about setting up a huge funeral pyre and chanting the Gayatri Mantra while consecrating it to the flames and sending it on its journey to mysore-rug-heaven.
Such a plan is, of course, highly unexecutable: Besides the obvious difficulty of starting up a fire of this magnitude in this cold weather, I would also probably get arrested for creating a public hazard! So I had to settle for a more humble retirement plan for my old mysore rug. It now sits outside the door of my apartment, serving as a doormat. If my mysore rug was a sentient being, it would probably be lamenting: "What a hard life I've had! In my prime, I was stepped and sat upon everyday by the resident yogi, and drenched all over in his sweat (and God knows what other noxious bodily fluids and emissions). Now that I am old and not so useful, my life has become even harder: Everyone steps on me now!"
Thankfully, mysore rugs are not sentient beings, at least not to the best of my knowledge (Imagine somebody like Peter Singer arguing for the liberation of mysore rugs, or somebody fighting for the civil rights of mysore rugs? "We will not be stepped upon or treated as doormats any longer! We have a dream...").
But seriously, if you practice ashtanga and do not own a mysore rug, I highly, highly recommend that you get one. It will seriously change the dynamics of your practice. Because a mysore rug is not sticky, you have to work so much harder in the standing postures, which gives your feet and bandhas a good workout. Moreover, I suspect that there is a certain level of mystique associated with a mysore rug, especially if you should decide to indulge in some yoga tourism (see my December 22nd post about the perils of doing this) on moon days: Just imagine how you would stand out from the plebeian yoga masses when you swagger into a studio and unroll your classic mysore rug while everybody else is sitting on those rubber things they call mats...
Maybe I should consider moonlighting as a sales rep for Barefoot Yoga :-)