July 26, 2009

Yoga survival tip # 648. [Random Feet on Your Yoga Mat.]

by Sarah Miller

I had a student/friend email me today and ask sincerely: “what do you do when someone steps on your yoga mat?!” I almost turned this into a Yoga Snob piece, but then realized the beauty of the question.

What an opportunity to take what we learn on the mat, off the mat. [Pun entirely intended.]

A few thoughts immediately came to mind.

Are you able to confront the person about this? Why or why not? Why do you care in the first place? What are the emotions that come up? Ownership, infringement of personal space, cleanliness concerns??

Ask your self what some of the root causes of those feelings are. In any way or form can this deepen your practice, your understanding of who you are and your world around you? Are you able to let these feelings dissolve? Or do you need to hold on to them for some reason?

I also pondered the reality of mindfulness in the midst of such a question. Is it more mindful to speak up and say something, or just let it be a personal dialogue within? I suppose someone walking on your mat could feel like a car being parked on your front lawn. (Oh the nerve!!)

Ultimately everything comes down to our response. Acting out of compassion for your Self may mean finally speaking up. For others it may mean finally shutting up. Tempering our responses with a little of both is possibly the most mindful approach.

Balance in our actions? Yes, balance in thought, word and action. Truly a yogic response. On, or off the mat.

Next time someone steps on your yoga mat, what will your response be?!

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