I showed up to a crooked mat today.
When I first placed it on the floor, it had perfect alignment. Moments before the teacher began, a last-minute student ran into the class and plopped down next to me. I shifted my mat over to make space for this newcomer.
As we began our morning flow, I spotted it! My mat was off, and the perfect lines of the hardwood showed my imperfect mat placement.
The internal dialogue began with words of how my mat needed to be fixed—my inner perfectionist needed the lines to match. That agreement was counter with my inner judge saying, how can I stop my flow and fix this, without drawing attention to myself? Emotions of frustration, annoyance, and impatience all came to the surface over my mat.
And so, the real practice began.
The road rage I experienced en route to class flashed through my mind. The frustration over an old discussion bubbled to the surface. I guess this crooked feeling started before the mat. I kept looking down and fighting the urge to fix it. As I continued my own internal battle of past, present, and future, the yoga teacher dropped the words I needed to cut through this internal dialogue.
“We don’t come to yoga to fix or change ourselves. Yoga is the practice of letting go of the things that distract us from ourselves.”
Did he see my crooked mat? I chuckled to myself realizing how much time and energy the placement of my mat had distracted me from myself.
The mind wants to find the answer and fix the problem, but that’s the reason I show up to my mat, crooked or not. Yoga is the practice of staying present to myself, no matter what I am feeling or experiencing.
How often are we fixating on things outside ourselves, creating a whole “story” around something that is getting in the way? What if we accepted the crooked feeling and allowed ourselves to be off for the time being?
Author: Cara Chandler
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Travis May
Copy & Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina