No matter how long we may or may not have been practicing yoga, we come to our mats for a variety of reasons. While new practitioners, particularly in the west, are typically drawn toward the physical benefits of yoga, the practice itself can also reveal a whole lot about how we live our lives off the mat.
When we approach our practice from a place of non-judgmental curiosity, often habitiual behaviours (practices) are exposed. More often than not, those same ways of being also show up in other areas of our lives.
So, what is it that you are really practicing during the time you allot to yoga on the mat?
Are you practicing comparing yourself to the yogi next to you, quickly coming to the conclusion that your practice sucks and you’re not good enough to practice among those that seem to be able to do the next to impossible…or are you practicing that you are more than enough just the way you are?
Are you practicing harsh, judgmental thoughts about your body, it’s size, frame or inability to make shapes the way you want it to…or are you practicing that you are whole, perfect and complete and your uniqueness is worth celebrating every single day?
Are you practicing frustration, annoyance, anger and dissatisfaction with yourself, your nauseatingly cheerful yoga teacher, or that one person that just doesn’t seem to get how rude and disrespectful they are when they consistently come flying into class at the last minute, rip the Velcro straps off their mat while you are meditating and then slap their yoga mat on the floor next to you…or are you practicing joy, contentment, happiness and gratitude?
Are you practicing being distracted by your external environment and circumstances, flitting from one overwhelming thought to another courtesy of your exhaustive to-do list, rehashing regrets and mistakes you’ve made in the past or anxiously anticipating the future…or are you practicing being present in this moment in time?
Are you practicing engaging in the tangled web of life, holding on to beliefs and stories that bear no truth about who you really are…or are you practicing letting go?
We all come to our mats with a unique set of circumstances, perceptions and occurrences. And we all have our own internal dialogue that accompanies those experiences. However, what we practice on our mat, also shows up in the way in which we live our lives off the mat. What will you choose to practice on your mat? We’d love to know.