The yoga mat that revealed so much
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:
- I often arrived late (or just in time) to class, rushing to get any spot that could possibly be left over
- 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
- I was often looking at the clock, checking to see when class would finally be over
- 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
- 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
- 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:
- How often was I packing things into my schedule, arriving late and leaving early to get it all in?
- 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.
- How was my patience these days?
- How often did I bring a good attitude to things that bored me? Again, there’s that patience…
- How much did I live in the present moment?
- 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 @ JudithDuval.com. Judith was listed on Huffington Post’s “10 Latinas Think Big Innovators to watch in 2016".