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The Magic Mat

Hatha Yoga, Integral Yoga Teachings, Programs   |   December 16, 2022  |   by  Tangela London-Henderson

“The Original Magic Mat is the innovative, game-changing product your die cutting has been missing. Swap out one of your plastic cutting pads for this sturdy self-healing pad and you’ll be amazed by the cleanest cuts you’ve ever achieved. Try the affordable, long-lasting Magic Mat today.”

As someone who enjoys crafting, after experiencing yoga teacher training this advertisement for the Magic Mat suddenly took on an entirely new meaning. I’ve seen this advertisement before, but I’ve never thought about anything more than crafting. The words began to resonate on a cellular level as I read and re-read this advertisement. The words like, innovative, game-changing, sturdy, self-healing, amazed, and cleanest cuts you’ve ever achieved all seemed to speak to how my mat was becoming a key component to my transformation and self awareness……The Magic Mat.

Early April 2022, slowly coming out of the pandemic, with frustrations of the new-new normal setting in, I thought to myself, “Now is the time to do something solely “souly” for me.” I began to scour the internet looking for yoga teacher training(s) that resonated with me. I filled out several applications, applied for multiple scholarships, had two interviews, and attended one open house. Funny thing, I was completely apprehensive about attending an open house for a training that was over 2,000 miles away from me. Little to my knowledge, this open house would be the beginning of an open heart, an open mind, and boundless connections.

I can honestly say I had limited expectations going into this new chapter of life. I thought well, “I’ve done yoga before, like a ga-zillion times, so I knew what to expect.” I had been introduced to yoga in 2015, when my son was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and decided I wanted to teach yoga in 2018 after he completed treatment. I had no idea this training would push me far beyond my expectations and comfort zone(s). Just a little background about me, I’ve always been one to start new and exciting things and as soon as adversity becomes a real thing, I would flee without as much as a question of WHY? So, back to this push now known as yoga teacher training, it began like any other “classroom class”. You read the material, show up at the scheduled times, and discuss the previous and current readings. It wasn’t in the classroom where the action was happening, it was on my trusted turquoise mat, the one I bought four years prior when the thought of yoga teacher training first became a thought. Life as I knew it was transitioning into the life I longed for, a life of dealing with emotions properly, removing the modifications of the mind, and seeing myself and others in the most positive light. I was starting to understand that yoga was not about self-improvement or changing others, yoga is/was about knowledge of self, self acceptance and accepting people how they were able to show up in the world, a beginner’s understanding of Jnana Yoga. I experienced a situation during yoga teacher training that left me trying to figure out how to truly and authentically accept people and their different ideologies. I couldn’t wrap my mind around others not viewing the training as I did, a journey of self knowledge and self awareness. I realized through the teachings that it wasn’t about the people or others, it was about my journey, my self awareness, and knowledge of self and not perpetuating the feeling(s) of forcing someone to accept, deal with, enjoy, or be a part of what I deemed knowledgeable, acceptable, and right, it is/was simply about navigating my path of knowledge….My own practice.

I had no idea that May 31, 2022, would be the start of a process that I not only learned how to breathe through and to healing but I learned so much about myself, how to trust me, how to lean into my power within, and how to be comfortable in transition. BIPOC training has provided me room to be my authentic self and has supported me when I wanted to quit, jump off the cliff, and give up. “Jumping off the cliff” became an inside joke whenever I decided not to stop, think, and breathe through a situation. There were multiple times I responded how I would have responded before truly embracing the teachings. I was learning through the teachings of Bhakti Yoga that yoga is a constant devotion. On those days when I reverted to things of old, I slowly began to practice leaning on my faith and my relationship to the Creator to hold myself accountable for the right and wrong things I said or did and use that connection to transform my personal limitations. I was starting to understand that my everyday actions and words should be as a service to the Creator and not me. Yoga teacher training has/is given me so much more than asanas and breathwork, this training has given me daily living practices. These daily practices allow me an opportunity to remove myself from my daily activities or actions, and take away the “me first” aspect. I’m learning to simply do because I’m able, and not because I want the props, Karma Yoga in action.

I was able to practice and meditate on these exercises on what I now call my “magic mat.” My mat was where I found innovation while meditating. The information and material covered in class became a game-changer while in silence on my mat. My mat has been a sturdy constant in my transformation. My mat has allowed self-healing to begin to take place. I truly have been amazed by the yoga teacher training, trusting the process, and staying the course. I used to joke with people and say, “You’ll never understand me because I’m cut from a different cloth.” Being able to experience my True Nature has allowed me to realize it’s not a joke, and my vitality is cut from a cloth with the cleanest cut you’ve ever achieved. I’m so thankful and grateful for the BIPOC Yoga Teacher Training, the awesome and well-versed instructors of the training, my new community of cohorts, and the way the universe showed me some LOVE and favor. I have learned that being pushed and bending but not breaking is actually one of my strongest assets. I’ve also learned that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to, by being able to combat each negative thought with a positive one……..Pratipaksha Bhavana in action daily!
Forever Grateful.

Om Shanti,

Tangela London-Henderson

Tangela London-Henderson

Tangela London-Henderson lives in Memphis, TN, with her husband and children. She is a recent graduate of Integral Yoga Institute San Francisco (IYISF) BIPOC 200-hour Integral Yoga teacher training and teaches a Hatha Level 1 community class at Glenview Community Center in Memphis. Tangela loves to create an inclusive, diverse, and supportive environment where all people feel welcome and safe. She is currently working on a children’s book about Yoga and its lasting impact on her and her family. Tangela studied at the University of Memphis, majoring in communications. While studying at the University of Memphis, Tangela worked closely with…

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