When we step onto our yoga mats, spread our toes, and take a nice long deep inhalation to begin our practice, we connect to our higher power and tune in to a greater purpose.
When we genuinely dedicate ourselves and our time to our practice, it opens doors that were otherwise closed to us.
Right now, I am studying the Ashtanga yoga method and am experiencing my practice in a whole new way, approaching the practice as a way to cleanse and detox my body and burn through old stagnant energies that have been holding me back in other areas of my life. It’s made me see yoga differently. It’s made me see life and my path differently.
When we practice, we invite the Divine into our earthly presence and welcome holy guidance to lead us through our practice, clearing our minds and opening our hearts to a better world, one breath at a time.
We move and sweat and pray.
Then, we roll up our mats, put it in the corner, and pick up our phones.
We go back to the hustle and bustle of every day life. We get caught up in conversations, lose ourselves in irritations, and forget the peace that we felt on the mat. I mean, we put in our time, like a job, clocking in when we unroll the mat and clocking out when we step off of it.
It’s not like we can om our way through a fight, right?
Let’s get real, shall we?
Some days, my practice is magnificent. The stars align, the dog is quiet, the house is still, and my dedication is fuelled by a fierce passion to be a better person and contribute something to the world.
But, not all days are like that.
In fact, today my practice consisted of some very tired-feeling and sluggish rounds of sun salutations before I went outside and just laid out in the sun with my dog. I just couldn’t make it through my whole practice. I couldn’t focus my mind. I couldn’t breathe. So, I took my practice off the mat.
I laid on my back with my feet a little bit apart and my palms facing up. I felt the warmth of the sun on my skin and the cool breeze as it rustled the trees around me. I let time disappear and I gave myself permission to release the guilt of not making it through the primary series that morning.
Yoga is so much more than the asanas (poses).
We want to believe that the time we clock in on the mat is enough to change our lives. We want to believe that if we put in that hour a day (six days a week, if following the Ashtanga yoga method) then we will reach enlightenment.
But, if we do not take what we learned and what we felt from our practice into the other areas of our lives, than what good is doing the practice at all?
The point of yoga is to tune in to the breath and connect to the present moment. We burn away the unhealthy habits by surrendering to a lifestyle that’s good for us. We give ourselves and dedicate our practice to something bigger than ourselves, to be fit to be of service to the world.
Be dedicating ourselves to peace, truth, and love.
So, remember that the next time there’s an annoying person in your life. Remember that the next time your dog poops on the rug.
Remember that the next time you get into a fight with a friend?
Connect with the bigger picture.
Surrender to the truth.
And let go of everything else.
That’s yoga. And that’s what we need to bring with us when we walk off of our mats.
Yoga isn’t just a physical practice. It’s not pilates. It’s not your favorite spin class. It’s a lifestyle that can rock your world…the whole world, if we let it.
So, practice and then take that practice with you when you get off the mat.
More yoga goodness from Stacy:
Author: Stacy Porter
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: via the author