Let's Get Physical

Things that we aspire to, but don’t yet know how to practice, can be explored on the mat. Like the practice of compassion. You might tell yourself that you’ll be more compassionate today, but chances are when someone cuts you off in traffic, compassion isn’t the first feeling you have. Your first reaction may be to feel angry and assume the worst of that driver. You fall back into old patterns and aren’t able to evaluate the situation. Your mat lets you exercise compassion towards yourself, which will transfer to others.

Yoga asanas allow us to practice something abstract in a tangible and practical way. You can’t just say you’d like to be better at reading comprehension and instantly understand the next book you pick up. Having a physical application helps bring a theory into reality. These on-the-mat postures can transform your off-the-mat experience.

For example:

  • If you want to develop more patience, keep coming back to class. In a few years you just might touch your toes. Our bodies change at an organic rate, and forcing them beyond that results in injury.

  • To become more mindful, when you’re on the mat, notice what you feel, see, and hear. All without judgement.  Then, walk through life with the same sense of awareness.

  • Who doesn’t want to move through life with grace? Move slowly on the mat. Move with precision and understanding of how to get from point A to B. Do the same off the mat. Know where you want to go, and find the best way to get there.

  • Be kind. First, remove the negative dialogue about yourself from your practice. Go ahead, I dare you, and see what happens off the mat.

As Ana says, “Remove the jerks from your practice, then remove the jerks from your life.”

Applying an abstract theory like kindness, mindfulness or patience into your daily life is difficult. Asana can be a tool for change.



Leigh Ann HandelComment