My dear Kripalu yoga teacher friend, Devorah, has kindly written today’s blog post – she is also a psychotherapist and holistic healer. You’ll find her contact information below.
“In the Kripalu yoga tradition, in which I was trained, we have a phrase “yoga on and off the mat.” This basically means that who and where you are in your life translates quite literally to how you bring yourself to your yoga practice and what you learn, experience or release on the mat comes into your every day life – or can anyway!
I am particularly interested in how yogis judge themselves in their practice: comparing their asana (pose) to the person next to them in a class, or becoming frustrated or bored with a practice that is too difficult or perhaps not challenging enough. It can be an incredibly powerful learning experience, while practicing yoga, to simply observe how you think, judge, assess or simply be with your experience. Observe your thoughts, note them, and let them go. Allow your observing self to remain present during your practice and make note of what you can take with you when you roll up your mat. Take moments to pause, notice and reflect during your practice. If you are calm during your practice, even through challenging poses, for example, you can learn to bring calm to difficulties in your life. If you work through fear, in holding a pose longer than you might usually do, you can sustain difficulty at a moment off the mat. If you are in class and the teacher is moving quickly through postures, you can always pause and skip a few steps in order to notice yourself. See your mat as a learning and growing opportunity mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, not just an opportunity to stretch and strengthen your body. There is much growth to be had!”
Devorah Steinberg, LICSW, CYT Kripalu Yoga