You’re at the end of a yoga class. Your teacher reads an inspiring quote, and encourages you to leave and continue to practice your yoga “off the mat.” And you’re like, “Um, but what does that mean?” Here’s a few insights into taking your yoga “off the mat” and keeping your zen outside of the studio.
During yoga, we focus on letting each movement be guided by the breath. This brings us into a state of heightened awareness. Post-class, instead of rushing back into the hectic pace of your daily life, take time to breathe as you move through your errands, work, and family life – especially if you find yourself frustrated, angry, or annoyed. Instead of reacting, take a few deep belly breaths and remember that people’s actions are their karma, how you react to them is yours. You can even set an alarm on your phone with a reminder to chill out and breathe for a minute every couple hours.
During class, you tune into and honor your inner compass, asking yourself “does this feel right in my body”? Continue your self-respecting awareness off the mat by silently checking in during interactions and asking yourself “does this feel right in my life?” Consciously checking in with your intuition will bring clarity and peace to your decisions as you honor your internal truth.
Most great teachers will preface the physical practice with a reminder to let go of your plans, expectations, and judgements of the practice, and offer and invitation to stop living in your head and start living in your body. This is a great tip to take out of the studio – instead of constantly planning for the future, slow down and appreciate the now-ness of the present moment.
Yoga gives an opportunity to explore things outside your comfort zone – like standing on your head, or doing the splits. Take your yoga off the mat by extending your adventurous spirit to human interactions. Challenge yourself to try something new each day – this can be as simple as talking to a stranger or agreeing to participate in a community event. We are all connected.
You’ve heard your yoga teacher tell you to “let go, relax, surrender,” and you can do this in class but once you’re out the studio door, you’re back in control and ready to fight the world. This tiny tip may change your whole life: let go of the reins. Stop trying to control everything. When you obsess over tiny details, it makes it hard to see the beauty of the big picture. When things don’t go your way, ask yourself, “Can I change it?” If the answer is yes, take action. If the answer is no, find a way to accept it and make peace. There are so many things we can’t control. Fortunately, our attitude is not one of them.
So, how do you practice yoga off the mat? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or connect with me via Instagram or Facebook.Tags: self-help, self-love, simplicity, stoked yogi, the art of living, yoga, yoga off the mat, zen