Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

I was crying tears of joy when I pulled my brand new yoga mat out of its packaging. I had just turned 23 and Brad gifted me a Venice Vita Cadillac Yoga Mat. I had learned about this majestic mat from my yoga teacher a year prior at my Yoga Teacher Training. “The bottom layer is a skid-proof EVA material that stabilizes the mat and prevents slipping/sliding on studio floors. The innovative middle layer is 1/2″ memory foam, and the top layer is a textured, water-resistant neoprene that stabilizes hands and feet under the sweatiest of circumstances.”* The mat had earned its name, it was the Mack Daddy of mats. It was doubly perfect for a yogini such as myself who had surgery on both her knees. I was so proud of my mat, I took it everywhere showing it off like a peacock strutting its stuff.

On my way to try out a new studio I strapped my prized possession on my back and was ready to go. I arrived at the studio, and as I signed in I noticed the yoga teacher starring at my yoga mat. I figured she was green with envy, until she strutted over and told me I needed to use a “real” yoga mat for her class. I insecurely explained that it WAS a real mat, even pointing at the tag that read “Vernice Vita yoga mat”. She insisted that there was no way for me to properly ground down or feel the floor with my (what she had deemed) “Pilates” mat. I told her that I needed to protect my knees. She kept insisting I put my mat down and use one of hers. I refused and uncomfortably took my place in class.

For most people that would have been end of story. Done.

However, I am cut from a very sensitive cloth. Everything sticks with me and affects me to my core.

I no longer showed my mat off when I went to different studios; I kept to myself about it, sometimes even opting to not bring it to class out of embarrassment.

For the past two years, I have been sneaking around with my “once prized” yoga mat as if it was contraband. Questioning my knowledge and ability as a yoga teacher, I shrunk back.

Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about?

Maybe she’s right.

After spending a lot of time feeling fearful, wrong, not good enough, and being angry with that yoga teacher I finally accepted to look at the situation deeper. I reminded myself that she was just a messenger, don’t shoot the messenger. I chose to learn from the lesson instead of continuing to allow it to hold me back. It did not serve me to chastise or make a villain out of the woman who disapproved of my yoga mat. Stepping back and bringing awareness to the real source of my anger was necessary. When I made this choice the resentful fog was lifted from my eyes.

In reality, I was frustrated with my lack of confidence. If I valued myself enough her strong opinion would not have rattled me the way it did. I directly linked her objection to my choice in yoga mat to my worth as a yoga teacher. The truth is it doesn’t matter if a single person on this earth agreed with my choice in yoga mat because I love it. I need to value MY choice over anyone else’s. I need to love myself enough to stand confidently in my beliefs. If you truly appreciate and respect yourself no one can make you feel small.

I want to thank that yoga teacher for her rejection because it pushed me to love myself deeper. She served as a messenger pulling back the curtain to show me a place where I needed to grow. I have had many people in my life who have made me feel “small”, but in reality, most of them were shining a light on the fact that I did not think much of myself. Experiences and situations like these will continuously be thrust into our lives as a part of our self-growth and our spiritual journey. All you can do is continue to look for the lessons, work on how you respond to each situation instead of reacting, and remember to not shoot the messenger.


Madison Rosenberger
  • Susan
    Posted at 12:52h, 06 June Reply

    Madison, I was on board when you said you took your place anyway with your loved mat. Very courageous, so you had it in you initially, but just didn’t realize it yet. The rest of the story was so important – the incredible life lessons you learned at such a young age. Don’t let anyone take your joy or confidence away. Your mat is perfect for You! That’s all that matters. Thank you for sharing this story.

    • admin
      Posted at 15:48h, 06 June Reply

      Sending so so much love your way Sue! <3

  • Kaye Blonquist
    Posted at 14:45h, 06 June Reply

    Wow, beautiful awareness Madison! No one has the power to make us feel small unless we align with that thought. beautifully said…at the end of the day it is ” just a interesting point of view ” we choose to take it as outs or not

    • admin
      Posted at 15:48h, 06 June Reply

      Exactly! The only person who has the power to make us feel small, is ourselves 🙂 So happy to hear from you Kaye, I hope you’re doing so well!

  • Connie Baldwin
    Posted at 15:11h, 06 June Reply

    You are wise beyond your years! Thanks for an insightful message!

    • admin
      Posted at 15:47h, 06 June Reply

      Thank you for such a high compliment Connie! And thank you for reading!! 🙂

  • Heath Bruckland
    Posted at 02:59h, 08 June Reply

    I don’t think you have a confidence problem at all, and I would’ve been offended, too. For me, that kind of condescension, especially “in the yogasphere” is unheard of, and unacceptable!

    I probably wouldn’t have stayed, in order to communicate that is NOT how you’re supposed to treat students/paying customers, but the fact that you stayed communicated the message that you weren’t going to let that bother you.

    The yoga instructor in question probably just wanted you to pay to use the mats they already had there, but she might’ve been threatened by the fact that you had a more expensive, higher quality mat, too; though, yoga mats in general aren’t exactly inexpensive things; the one I have cost me $70, and it was the least expensive one I was able to find at the time!

    Curious though, if you don’t mind my asking, or answering, what yoga studio in particular did you go to?

    At any rate, that yoga instructor/yoga studio better learn better customer service skills and manners in general, or they’re gonna be outta business!


    • admin
      Posted at 19:26h, 08 June Reply


      Thank for your vote of confidence in my confidence haha. I do agree with you on your feelings of condescension in any environment; however that being said I do not wish to bad mouth any studios or teachers. The purpose of the article was to express that she was a messenger for me in my life,there to bring to light to areas which needed growth, not to speak ill of another teacher. Therefore I don’t feel comfortable naming names.

      Thank you for expressing your concern!

      Best, Madison

  • Eva Wright
    Posted at 20:45h, 25 April Reply

    Love this! It is all in the perception of the thing that makes it big or small. I have a thick yoga mat as well similar to the memory foam and I love it. When you are older and have physical limits it helps to have something more solid than a thin piece of tissue between you and the floor.

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