Hand-painted yoga mats turn art into a moving meditation

by Deb Keiser

How close are you with your yoga mat? If you are as personal with yours as I am with mine, let it make a creative statement and simultaneously help guide you in your yoga practice. Mine does.

A unique work of art by Aline Marie, my mat never fails to make me smile as I unroll it. The pale purple background is the canvas for the image of an individual sitting in Sukhasana (easy pose) with legs crossed and hands on knees, palms up. She is cradled in what seems like the heart of the universe, with stars above and lotus below. It is me, in meditation, and it was created just for me by Aline Marie, a visionary artist and certified yoga instructor.

Aline Marie (her first and last name), who recently moved from the East Coast to the West, has blended her two loves – art and yoga – in a very special way through her hand-painted yoga mats. She creatively and intuitively taps into the spirit and, after a discussion, creates each mat with the type of image you request, whether that’s the chakras or a specific symbol, mantra, or other element.

It is an individual process, one that will bring you and the artist together in a positive and spiritual way. “It's a beautiful experience for me because energetically I get to connect with someone who I may never have had the chance of spending time with and appreciating on a soul level,” she said.

To do that, Marie will meet with you either via email, phone, or in person. Expect to be asked some personal questions regarding details of your life (what is good, what needs to change, what is going on regarding healing, transcendence, inspiration, or other concern). Marie will ask what encourages you, what fills you with love, your special or sacred colors, symbols, quotes or images. You will also discuss the type of image you would like to see on the mat, i.e. the chakras, a specific symbol, mantra, or other elements.

You then choose the color and type of mat. The choices are 1/8" or 1/4" regular sticky mats varying in any color of the rainbow, or beautiful Mysore Cotton Yoga Rugs that are 100% biodegradable and work for any type of hot yoga such as Hot Hatha, or even Bikram.

The mat will be designed and painted just for you based on the discussion you have. No two are alike. Marie feels blessed and puts her positive feelings into every mat. “While I am painting, I hold a vision of your soul in light and in love, I pray for your highest good, your greatest joy and your deepest truth and healing to come to the forefront of your life.”

Each of the mats depicted on Aline Marie’s website (www.AlineMarie.com) are examples of previous work and specific prayers for each individual. Yours, too, will be very special and unique to only you.

The concept happened serendipitously a couple of years ago when Marie looked down at her yoga mat during a class and was struck with inspiration: “I wonder what it would be like to practice on my mat with an image that filled my heart with joy?” she asked herself.

At home, she began to paint the seven chakras in a creative way, thinking about all that was good in her life as she did so. She prayed for more healing to come in, for blessings for her mat and her practice as she painted.

The result was a glorious rendering of the chakras. To Marie, it was as though her prayers were laid out in color and form so that every time she practiced, she was reminded of all the good things she was inviting to come into my life. “As I practiced, I could really feel not only the energetic vibration of my prayers, but also the healing vibrations and messages that each color held for me expressively,” she said.

When she brought it to class, the reaction was so positive that she began painting mats for friends and other practitioners. It soon blossomed into a business, one Marie refers to as, “The business of loving visual prayers for moving mediation.”

If you want one: Go to www.AlineMarie.com to contact her. The mats are $400 each; shipping in the U.S. is an additional $13 (outside of the U.S. varies based on the international postal rates). She asks for 2-3 weeks to create each mat.