|words by Teresa Byer - images by Jenn Crebas photography|
We often hear the phrase “take your yoga off of the mat” but what does that really mean?
To me, it means to acknowledge the gifts that our yoga practice offers us to live richer, more fulfilling lives. Our yoga practice is just that; practice. Practice for life. Here are just a few of the gifts that begin to show up in the everyday life of a yogi.
Yoga teaches us to pay attention. It begins with us tuning into the sensations in our physical body. We begin to feel what’s happening in our bodies as we move, becoming aware of the smallest fibres, tissues, and cells we’ve never even thought to attend to. We begin to feel our breath and how it moves through us. We get sensitive. In life, we begin to notice things previously ignored. We become increasingly conscious. The more we open up to and are able to see, the more beauty we begin to experience.
What a gift in itself, to wake up to the small moments of splendor and joy that once passed by us, unnoticed.
We learn to find the rhythm of our breath in challenging asanas. We learn to embrace wherever we may be in a particular posture, and breathe softness into our bodies. We learn to get up when we fall. In life, we begin to meet challenges and trying times with grace. We are able to see the bigger picture, this beautiful existence, and see the relative insignificance of everyday struggles. We move through these times with both strength and softness. We view them not as obstacles, but as opportunities to learn and grow. We begin to act from a centred place of love and compassion, always, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.
We learn to set an intention at the beginning of our practice. We give purpose to our movement. Instead of simply going through the motions, we make them mean something. In life, we begin to ask ourselves why we do what we do. We reflect on our actions. Yoga teaches us to contemplate what we previously did carelessly. We act thoughtfully and attentively, always from a deep centre of kindness and love.