If one has been practicing yoga for any length of time with a teacher who shares their knowledge of the science of yoga, they have been reminded that the mat is simply a place to practice yoga. Where do we use yoga the most? Out in the real world. If we begin to make peace with our tight hamstrings or our lack of balance on the mat in the controlled environment of a yoga class, then we’re invited to make peace with traffic, while in line at the grocery store, engaging in difficult relationships, and handling tough life decisions.
On Sundays, I attend two classes at the studio, an asana class and Yoga Nidra. I, too, am certified in Yoga Nidra (yogic “sleep”), which is guided visualization designed to reset the parasympathetic nervous system and allow for healing on all levels. At the end of this class, we’re invited to see how far off the mat we can take the peace and ease that was created. For some, it may only be as far as the parking lot. For others, it might be the rest of the day or the week.
Though I want to emulate my asana teacher and her great amount of knowledge regarding physical adjustments, the science of yoga, and her years of practice, I also want to emulate the ease and acceptance I find on the mat to other areas of my life. I not only want to observe how far off the mat I can take that inner peace, but also how quickly I can return to it when “life out there” challenges my equilibrium.
I’m aware of the circumstances surrounding the times when I feel content and when I don’t. My practice is to both expand awareness of my contentment and to apply the tools and techniques of yoga to keep me from being dragged too far from that center, and then to return to it as soon as possible. Though one doesn’t need to know or practice yoga to emulate themselves in times of “that was the best version of me”, but they do need to be aware of their inner peace and choose appropriate ways to continue and expand that state of being.