The practice of yoga requires a sense of purity and a connection to nature, neither of which can be found atop a mat made of plastic or rubber.Think of your “foundation” and what it is built upon. The stronger and more grounded your connection to the earth, the better the results achieved in your practice. Four thousand years ago, the first yogis in India were performing miracles based on the strength of their yoga practices. So much of that powerful yogic energy has been lost in the West, overtaken by form-flattering yoga clothes and celebrity “beach bods.” Take a step back, take a deep breath and consider yoga at its foundation. The use of natural materials represents yoga at its origins.
In meditation, the importance of a cotton or wool shawl is to insulate the body against the pull of the earth’s currents. Yoga is a prelude to meditation, during which the mind tries to withdraw the energy of the life force from the senses to the soul. It’s really all about the mind, but the use natural materials to insulate the body helps to reverse the downward and outward pull of the earth’s currents and increases the inward and upward draw of the life force. By using a cotton mat you may achieve more satisfying results in the practice of the asanas. For the same reason we remove our shoes and socks before yoga, we should look to remove obstacles that keep us from balancing and grounding to the earth. A sticky mat provides no connection to the earth; instead it blocks the subtle energies produced by the poses. A cotton yoga mat can aid in deepening your practice—try one and judge for yourself.