the llama blog
practicing yoga off the mat.
My legs begin to tremble. My arms weigh at least 20 more pounds than they did at the beginning of class. I hold. I move. And then my mind interrupts. “I’m tired. Did you set the alarm? What’s tomorrow’s weather?” I dig deeper into my yoga practice returning my attention to my breath. (O, the glorious breath!) I listen to the teacher’s cues to activate this and pull that. Instead of pushing my body to the absolute edge, I push my focus and my breath to train my mind to quiet.
And then class slows down, and the teacher invites me to settle into Savasana. I drop immediately into a deep meditation and wake 5 minutes later to feel as though I slept for 8 hours.
Our yoga practice is a practice for real life. Sure, it’s easy to tap into compassion and patience at the end of class. But on a Friday afternoon while sitting in traffic? That’s a bit harder. We spend time on the mat to LIVE off the mat.
Gandhi said, “what we think, we become.” Our mind is a complex structure, and it can help or hurt you. It is our goal in our practice to learn how to control its wildness so that we may find more peace and freedom in our life. Where we direct our energy influences our reactions.
As a beginner yogi, we tend to hold our breath when a pose becomes challenging. In time, we start to trust our breath and self within the pose. This is also true off the mat. We may get angry because of construction traffic, and that one car that just passed everyone in the left lane. Our old reaction may have been to “tell” this driver how rude he/she is. With practice, we may still get annoyed with this behavior, but not we realize this driver is not personally attacking me, and holding this anger only hurts me.
Here are few more tips on how to find calmness in a chaotic world.