What’s your excuse? “I don’t have time,” “I don’t know how,” “I’m not flexible” are the three most common excuses I hear to avoiding the yoga mat. In 14 years of teaching, rarely do I ever see a student go through class who looks like or says, “I wish I hadn’t done this.” In fact, most share some expression of “I’m so glad I came. I feel so much better.”
There are many reasons for the good feeling:
-stretching loosens up the contracted and constricted muscles, allows blood to flow to the deprived muscles, and allows oxygen in and toxins to be carried away
-you’re remind to breathe…A LOT… in yoga, hereby bumping the O2 flow to the brain and body which improves functioning of both by getting more into your body through the practice
-you get out of your head and the continuous loops that like to play in there which provides a “break” from the continuous chatter- silence is golden
-communing with your body is a beautiful thing- you get to find out where it is in each and every moment and recognize the effects of lifestyle choices. This increases awareness and influences future choices.
These are just a few of the more common reasons. The bottom line is the mat is a safe place to show up as is and explore whatever we tend to avoid in our day-to-day living. It’s a place where we get to feel again. It’s the perfect place for svādhyāya, or self-study.
That’s why so many people like to hide behind the excuses. If they were to be courageously honest with themselves, stepping onto the mat would bring up the things they aren’t willing to surrender (yet). The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know, as the saying goes. But what if what you don’t know isn’t the devil at all? What if it’s radical freedom? Would you still avoid it?
That’s why I love practicing at Amee Farm in Pittsfield, VT. Every class something magical happens- from live music from one of the farmers accompanying the class to double rainbows after 3 days of rain ended. Just the beauty surrounding it and the love that goes into those grounds, the growing plants gently and lovingly inspire the students and myself to dig a little deeper, be a little more present, and let go a little more.
There are few greater feelings than the silence at the end of a good yoga practice after collectively chanting “om”. It is a profound peace that makes every moment on the mat worth it and carries with you long after you leave the mat, interweaving in the post-practice challenging day-to-day moments when you get to put your yoga into action. It is time to drop the excuses and step on the mat.
Leave a comment below with which excuse you busted this week by showing up on the mat.