Your Yoga Mat Is Your Mirror
You may have heard your instructor say it a time or two before.
What you are doing on your mat, is what you are doing in your life.
I want to start out by telling you a little story about me. My whole life I have always been working towards the next goal, the next stage in life, the next anything. In high school, I couldn’t wait to get out into the ‘real world’. Once out, I couldn’t wait to get married and start a family. Near the finish line of a goal (like getting my teacher training), I’m already thinking and planning what’s next. Throughout my life, when I am struggling with what is next or when my heart feels like it is breaking, I have a tendency to run, run until my emotions are finished running wild.
It took me a long time to see this in my practice. It’s challenging to take the blinders off and truly watch yourself honestly without judgement. During my phase two teacher training, I pressed up to my final wheel (wheel was new in my practice) and felt tightness in my chest, throat and shoulders. I wanted down. NOW. I don’t remember the exact words out of my teacher’s mouth that made me stay. I then began to cry in wheel. I had accomplished my goal of wheel and now I want out of it. I felt it get difficult and getting out was me running. I remember looking at him still in my wheel. He looked me right in my tear filled eyes and loudly said “Find your peace. Settle. Find your peace.” There were 40-50 other people in the room and he did not let a single one of them down until I let go of the tension in my body, until I breathed, and I found my center. I found my peace. It was one of the first moments I had ever truly been in the moment. No thoughts of the past or the future. Truly experiencing the present moment. Right then and there it clicked.
The next time you practice take a few moments. Begin to truly let go of the emotional attachment you have to any expectations or pre-conceived ideas you have about yourself. Take the time to let go of the idea’s you attached to your identity. Maybe you are strong, maybe you are nervous of your belly or don’t like the way your voice sounds. Maybe you have decided that you are courageous and kind. Take an hour to let all of it go to not hold onto a single idea. Give yourself permission to be, just as you are. Allow yourself the space to just observe.
Notice if you carry extra tension. Notice where your mind wonders to. Notice how you breathe. Find the space between your movements, the space between your thoughts, and the space between each breath. Then, for a moment, see if you can experience the stillness within that brief space. Experience the moment.