This is the season of giving.Working in the city, one sees MANY homeless people. It breaks my heart to have to walk by them everyday and not be able to constantly give. I usually say a prayer for each one of them as I pass. Today on my way out of East West Books on 5th Ave., I saw shopping cart by the street owned by a homeless man not too far away collecting bottles and cans from the garbage. His cart was securely covered with a yoga mat. Maybe he found the mat in the trash, or maybe a good-hearted yogi gave it to him. Either way, I think it's a great find. Something soft to sit or lie on, or a good protective covering.
I know for me, my yoga mat is sacred. I feel like no wrong can happen when I'm on it - whether I'm practicing asana, relaxing in savasana, or sitting in meditation. I have my mat, my space, and my yoga. I wish more people could find that.
So, what can you do? In the spirit of giving...DONATE! There are a plethora of places that will accept donatations of used yoga mats. One being your local Homeless Shelter. They will be more then happy to accept them. Click here to find a shelter local to you: homelessshelterdirectory.org
There are also organizations that bring yoga to people in need who can't afford it. Little Flower Yoga for one, currently brings yoga to battered women and children through the Sanctuary for Families. To donate your mat to someone in need or to make a monetary donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Off the Mat is another great organization bringing yoga to people in need in the US and abroad. Check out the forum to find the most up to date places in need - shelters, hospitals, prisons, schools.
For other ways on how to recycle your yoga mat, visit: http://www.recycleyourmat.com/
Think about what your yoga mat has done for you. Now think about what your yoga mat can do for others. Do what you can when you can. Namaste.