What We Leave Behind

A photo of yoga mats on the shelf at MamaSpace Yoga. One of them is chartreuse. The others are black. The chartreuse one is the one left behid by a student.

By Carol Gray, LMT, CST, RPYT, ERYT-200

Our Physical Space

We are packing. We are preparing to leave what, for the last five years, has been the MamaSpace Yoga studio. For four of those five years this beautiful brick building with the huge light-filled windows was our sanctuary. It was the sacred space where pregnant and postpartum people came to practice and find community.

Our Video Filming Location

For the last year this has been one of our favorite video filming locations. At the beginning of the pandemic we gave notice on our lease. Our landlord allowed us to stay, to keep our stuff in the room for a small storage fee and shoot video for a daily rate — until the space was re-leased. That finally happened.


So now I pack. I decide what to keep, what to sell, what to donate and what to store.

The Chartreuse Yoga Mat

The photo in this post is obviously a shelf of yoga mats. All of our studio mats are the same — basic black. All of the mats on this particular shelf are the same — except one — the chartreuse one on the bottom. It’s been there for a very long time — maybe close to two years.

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog post called Nadi Shodhana. In it I described what happened when a fire alarm went off in the building during a yoga class. I mentioned one student who did not join the rest of us on the sidewalk. They went to their car and cried (I later found out) and then drove home. They never came back for their yoga mat. Eventually I couldn’t find their contact information. So I left  the mat on the shelf — for about two years.

All yoga studios have a lost and found. We did, too. I would regularly go through it and choose things to donate to charity — things that I knew had been there for at least a month or two. The chartreuse yoga mat I could never bring myself to donate. It’s a nice mat, but that’s not the reason. Month after month I kept thinking the owner would come back for the mat — or more yoga, but it never happened. I had promised to hold onto it. So I did. Now I will pack it and bring it to the small studio at my house.


As we navigate life we (mostly) embrace growth. We learn new things and become new people. In order the make room for the new, we inevitably shed some of the old. The path of parenthood can be an accelerated version of this process. When I tell the story of Inanna’s descent into and return from the underworld to expectant parents, I describe how Inanna must leave part of herself behind in order to pass through each of the seven gates. I have the expectant parents ponder their own gates. I ask who is their gatekeeper. I wonder aloud what they will leave behind in order to be reborn as parents with a baby in their arms. Sometimes I have them draw or paint their own gate. Many of their illustrations depict birth plans and uninterrupted sleep left at the gate. One memorable non-pregnant parent left whiskey and cigars at the gate.

So, as I pack and purge I think about my own imminent growth. As I descend into the underworld of closing a physical yoga studio, I consider what I’m willing to give up in order to be reborn. The amount of opportunity for growth is directly related to how much of the old I’m willing to shed.

Just In Case

The chartreuse yoga mat may have been intentionally surrendered at someone else’s gate. Or maybe it was simply forgotten. I’m going to hang onto to it for now, just in case.

About Carol Gray

Carol Gray, MamaSpace Yoga Founder and OwnerCarol is the founder and owner of MamaSpace Yoga. She has been a therapeutic bodyworker in private practice for over 31 years. She specializes in Craniosacral Therapy for pregnant and postpartum people and infants. Carol has spent years developing hands-on techniques to enhance the mobility in pregnant bodies including the bony pelvis, the abdominal organs, the support structures and lower segment of the uterus. She is  proud to have pioneered the integration of this gentle manual therapy into prenatal care, the birth place and postpartum care for birthing parents and babies. The goal is to give babies more room to develop, grow and get born. Her specially-designed yoga classes have grown naturally from the roots of bodywork and yoga.

Carol has dedicated her professional life to supporting expectant and new families by promoting gentle aware birth. She attended births for over 35 years – at first as a doula and from 2000 to 2012 as a midwife. She has since retired from attending births in order to focus on practicing and teaching CST and prenatal yoga. Her many years as a birth worker have forever changed her and her worldview. Those experiences remain an integral part of who she is as a therapist and teacher.

Carol is the founder and director of the The Carol Gray Center for CST Studies®. She teaches high-quality, small group classes that are appropriate for bodyworkers, birth attendants and other health professionals. She is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education approved provider.