Yoga Mat: Wisdom You Learn On It
Yoga mat. It can teach us many things while we are on it. We use that wisdom when we are off it as well. Today we’ll focus on what you can learn on the mat. During our Wednesday Enchanted Breath, we’ll pay attention to how you can apply that wisdom to your everyday life.
You may think that you need a yoga mat to cushion your knees and bum while you are twisting yourself into pretzely positions. Actually, what I’ve learned is that you need a yoga mat to define the four edges of your space. It delineates where you begin and end and separates you from the rest of all there is in the Universe.
Wisdom On the Mat
Pranayama is the formal practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our prana, or vital life force.
Another role of a yoga mat is to teach you to challenge yourself. When your vision stays on your own mat, you become in competition with yourself. It’s not about eyeballing the yogi next to you and doing it better. Egos are left at the door with your shoes. You try to surpass your own personal best. You observe yourself gaining greater flexibility. Your awareness of how you use space around you, in your personal bubble, is heightened. Challenges around moving or sitting in stillness arise.
A Delicate Balance
Then there’s the issue of balance. Some days you have it and some days you don’t. One minute you can hold tree pose for what feels like an eternity and then you switch legs and look like a tree swaying in a hurricane.
A yoga mat also puts you in touch with the concept of impermanence. Just because you nailed the poses and got your Zen on doesn’t mean that it will be that way next time. Mindfulness is set as a default and you bring yourself back to the now, what’s occurring in the moment, because it is fleeting. Make each second on your mat a meaningful one. Shivasana, sometimes spelled Savasana, is the final resting posture at the end of the yoga session. It’s often called the death of each individual practice. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word “shava,” which means “corpse.” Shivasana offers closure to your session, promotes deep relaxation, and helps your body and mind assimilate the yoga poses you practiced in order to effectively receive the benefits.
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