Staying on My Own Mat (or, my biggest challenge in yoga)

intention in yoga practice

Today I’m going to stay on my own mat.
I’m here. I’m on my mat. I’m going to stay on it.
Stay on my mat.
Just be. In this moment. For this hour. On my own damn mat.

 

 

At the start of yoga class we are asked to find an intention to focus on during practice. Mine is very often a variant of those above. I love days when our teachers remind us a few times throughout practice to remember our intention and reconnect to it. Because without those reminders I often disconnect from my intention and find myself wandering.

For those of you who aren’t really sure if I’m talking about falling off the mat or what- it isn’t a physical thing. It’s harder than that, it’s a mental thing. And depending on the day the reasons for leaving my mat mentally can vary. Sometimes it’s worrying about my kids, family members, or friends. Sometimes it’s going over my to do list a million times trying to figure out what that one thing that I forgot was. But most often: it’s comparing myself to the other people in the room. Berating myself for not going as deeply into a pose or not reaching as high or not whatever. Who said yoga isn’t a competitive sport?

So I’m writing this post for a few reasons. One- you, my fellow mind wandering classmate or student, are not alone. And two, yoga is not a skill that, once developed, stays forever in perfection. It is a practice. One that you work at each and every time you come to your mat. One that you remind yourself of and make a new commitment to multiple times over the course of an hour class.

So, I’m going to practice. Again and again and again. I’m going to stay on my own mat. And if I wander a bit like the confused old crazy cat lady, I’ll just gently guide myself back. Because when I get through a practice where I’m (mostly) 100% on my mat- a light starts glowing inside that just makes the rest of the day feel like bliss.