Off The Mat
Yoga means to yoke and bring together. It is the union of the breath and the body, the connection of the mind and of the soul. Yoga isn't about the headstand. Although, the headstand can feel really good from time to time and the benefits of flipping upside down are endless, such as, increased blood flow, memory, positive outlook, more energy etc. The headstand is never the point. Yoga is a lifestyle. Peace is the point.
Peace of mind, peace in body, peace with the self and peace towards others.
That's why I like yoga practiced in a room without mirrors. The focus isn't placed on how the pose looks on the outside but rather how it feels on the inside. The shape of my warrior is and should be different from that of my neighbour.
Think of your physical practice as a road map leading you to your desired destination of true acceptance. All of our clues and cues live within the body and manifest as doubt, stiffness, fear, mind chatter, comparison and shallow breathing. The physical practice is the service station. The place we go to, rest, restore, learn and fuel our energy. Life is the vehicle.
As we flow from one asana to the next, linking every inhale to it's counter comrade the exhale, our true responsibility within the practice is to be the silent observer. We take an inventory of the discomfort, the feelings living in our container, our reactions to certain movements and ideas as well as our thoughts that surface as we aim to quiet the mind. For the real work begins the moment we step off the mat.
Yoga teaches patience, forgiveness, detachment and tenderness. Yoga off the mat puts them into practice. Yoga off the mat means: ‘I was rude to my partner’, I forgive myself and I love me just the same. Yoga off the mat says ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong’ void from ego or self -judgement. Yoga off the mat means taking a beat before sending that snarky e-mail in a fit of rage. Yoga off the mat also means sending the email anyway, but with a few edits to firmly state your case in order to create the desired change and results detached from personal emotion. Yoga off the mat is authenticity. Yoga off the mat means listening to your body and following your inner compass. Yoga off the mat is honoring the light and dark that lives within each and all.
Yoga off the mat is unconditional love.