Off Your Mat

Bringing yoga off your mat into your life, one pose at a time.


The Writing Challenge Pose: Neighborly Regret

The Daily Post – Weekly Writing Challenge: Honey vs Vinegar

For this week’s writing challenge, ponder the significance of kindness in your life. That may mean: Sharing the details of your last act of kindness, or when you wish you had been kinder when you weren’t.


Neighborly Regret

We live next to a park that used to be train tracks. The park is a narrow stretch of grass with a bike path that runs from one end of town to the other.


The Bike Path

Across the park there is a low white rancher. There was a little gray haired woman that lived in the house with her dog. Her windows sparkled, her grass was trim and we often saw her puttering around her yard, neatly dressed, old white terrier shuffling behind.

Once a week her son would visit. His pick up looked too big sitting in her immaculate driveway. She would meet him at the door with a fluttery hug. I imagined him fixing a dripping faucet or moving a heavy TV or taking down holiday decorations then staying for a meal.

I never saw anyone else visit.

As neighbors do, we became aware of her routine.  We marveled at all the yard work she did. Her frail little body bending and reaching for errant sticks and weeds. I was always happy to see her and I felt a feeling close to relief every time we saw her son’s truck in the driveway.

We discussed walking across our narrow park and introducing ourselves. She was alone, we could be there for her. I planned on baking a pie or maybe bread and bringing it over. We discussed giving her our phone number in case she needed anything.  She seemed so sweet and it was the right thing to do.

We meant to do that. We talked about it. We didn’t do it.

We were pulling up to our house when we saw it.

Her front window, right next to the front door, had been broken. It looked as if someone broke the window to reach in and open the door from the inside. The hole in the glass was patched up with card board and tape. Something had happened, but whatever it was – was over. There was no sign of our across-the-park friend or her faithful dog.

For days there was no movement, no change.

One day I saw her son’s truck, then it was gone.

Shortly after, the house sold and we watched as new neighbors took over her tidy home.

I still don’t know what happened.

I do know this:

We never brought her a pie, bread, or the reassurance that someone was there for her, right across the park.






The Community Pose: Hey Ladies! It’s a Round-Up.

I prefer practicing yoga in a studio rather than at home. There is a sense of community that dwells there. Every person brings their own energy and every instructor has their own personality. A million little details allow each class to develop a life of its own. I like being a part of it. When I started practicing yoga, I didn’t realize how important that community would be to me.

The same thing has happened here. Originally, I started Off Your Mat as a writing exercise. I wasn’t tuned in to the blogosphere.  But since I took on this endeavor, I found I am suddenly part of a huge community. Each blog is a portal into someone’s unique, carefully created world and these worlds are not isolated.

My new virtual neighbors are warm and supportive. They reach out, give feedback and create opportunities to interact. I am thankful to be rubbing shoulders with some amazing talent.  No matter how different I might be from anyone one of these bloggers, I feel a kinship with all of these people howling into the abyss.

This week, to show a little hospitality, I am doing a round-up of the top 5 women’s blogs that completely inspire me.

Why just women?

Because I am one.

1) A Buick in the Land of Lexus

The first time I read A Buick in the Land of Lexus, I thought “this is everything my blog is not” and I loved it.  Samara is brash, ballsy, unapologetic and had front row tickets to everything I worshiped as a 20-something coming up in Philly.



2) Andrea Reads America

You have to love someone who gives herself a reading assignment that includes 153 books. Reader, blogger, and essayist Andrea Badgley plans to visit the entire United States through literature. She will read 3 books set in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. Brainy! She had me at “plus the District of Columbia.”

Also, she is collecting “Show Us Your State” stories for her Andrea Reads America website. Submission guidelines are here if you would like to participate.


 3) Bucket List Publications

When I say this girl gets around, I mean it in the best possible way. Lesley Carter is bright, brave, traveling and kind enough to bring us into her universe.


 4) Deborah Rose Reeves

She’s a poet and she definitely knows it.  An Irish writer living in Portland and sharing out.  I especially love her Writing & Reading Resources.


5) Yoga Peach

Keli is the busiest, nuttiest yogi I know.  I met her in yoga teacher training and I never know what she will be up to next. Clicking here might be the only way you can keep up with her.


Tell me about the blogs you love.  Tech? Music? Fashion? Sports? Niché hobby? Politics? Gardening? Don’t leave me hanging, I wanna hear about them.