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The yoga mat that revealed so much

Posted by Judith Duval on

A while back, I was in an amazing yoga class. It was one of those “great instructor, 90-minute, the right level of hot, slept great the night before so I’m hitting all my poses” classes.

In the middle of the class, during a long-holding pose, our instructor told us:

How you show up on your yoga mat is how you show up in your life”.

“So how do you show up here? And how do you show up in life?”

As sweat trickled down my forehead, I thought about how I showed up on my mat. And well, it wasn’t pretty. I quickly racked up the following:

  1. I often arrived late (or just in time) to class, rushing to get any spot that could possibly be left over
  2. I didn’t say hi, didn’t socialize with anyone. I wanted to get in and get out as soon as possible and not be         bothered
  3. I was often looking at the clock, checking to see when class would finally be over
  4. I took poses I didn’t like as optional. If I didn’t like them, say I thought they weren’t giving me enough of a “workout”, it was the perfect time for a water break
  5. My mind was in a million places, zipping between where I had been in the past and where I thought I could be in the future
  6. I doubted my ability to fully practice, saying to myself “I’m just never going to really be a yogi, I’ll always just be an ‘amateur tourist’.” Ouch.

And on, and on, and on, and on. I’m grateful that along with my yoga practice I also have a consistent mindfulness practice, as this helped me dig deep into how I was showing up.

I took my instructors advice and looked at how this was a reflection of how I showed up in life.

Through this lens, the similarities started to pop up:

  1. How often was I packing things into my schedule, arriving late and leaving early to get it all in?
  2. With all the rushing, did I even take time to deepen the relationships with those around me? Forget deepening, did I even say hi to my neighbors when I saw them? Not good.
  3. How was my patience these days?
  4. How often did I bring a good attitude to things that bored me? Again, there’s that patience…
  5. How much did I live in the present moment?
  6. And, one that was life changing, how much confidence did I really ultimately have in myself, despite believing that I was a pretty confident person?


I had work to do. Good thing I had my yoga mat to point me in the right direction. And good thing I had an instructor that cared about his students as much as he cared about his practice.

Now here’s the amazing thing. I didn’t go after my life “stuff”. I went after my yoga “stuff”. I focused on just my mat, myself, my practice, and how I showed up for it.

I started showing up to class on time. I started saying hi to the yogis around me. I made a commitment to be present for the dedicated yoga time I was gifting myself. I leaned into the yoga poses I didn’t like (only to discover so much more than what is in the surface). And surprisingly, I saw my yoga confidence go up.

And of course the above mirrored in my life. Without much effort, I started showing up in my life in a different way. I even started saying hi to my neighbors and stopping long enough to have a warm conversation with them.

If you don’t hit your mat often enough to use it for inquiry (though could that be the inquiry in itself??), ask yourself this question:

What frequent activity do you partake in that is a reflection of how you show up for your life as a whole?

Couple this question with some meditation. Here’s a great free guided meditation that should help you get the most from the above question.

Something is going to mirror how you approach your entire life. And I promise you that there you will find a golden treasure chest of insights.

Judith Duval is a Latina wellness guru. She inspires and teaches through a mind, body, and spirit approach to mindfulness. Her mantra: Live With Purpose. Her goal: Inspire the world to Make Better Choices. She is a TV personality and can be found on TV, radio, and online Judith was listed on Huffington Post’s “10 Latinas Think Big Innovators to watch in 2016".