Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On the mat, off the mat

My yoga practice has been a very instructive teacher as of late, and the lessons learned on the mat have surfaced off the mat as well.

1. Respecting where I am. On the mat: The focus of my practice has changed. It is no longer about pushing myself a little bit in each pose and trying more challenging versions of the poses. Now, my practice focuses exclusively on creating more space inside of me - it doesn't matter that I can still touch my nose to my shin in that pose if I squish the baby. That pose is now one where length and space is created. Having a daily practice has also become increasingly important in maintaining that space as my tummy grows increasingly large. Off the mat: I've noticed more and more that as a society we value and respect productivity, people's ability to carry on through whatever they have going on in their lives as if those things aren't happening. Honoring oneself and where one is at does not carry the same value for most people: that space, for the most part, has to be created oneself. And, from an outsider's perspective, it might not look like much, but sometimes the greater challenge is in the creation space.

2. Hello old habit! On the mat: As my body changes, I must regularly be reacquainted with both it and previously familiar poses. In that process old habits return: my pelvis tilts to the back, tension returns to my neck. I know these habits, we're well-acquainted, and it was through years of practice that I learned new habits. And, so, on this big spiral of life I once again bring awareness these old habits and begin my work towards new ones. Off the mat: I also find myself in emotional spaces that I am intimately familiar with as they have been with me for quite some time. Like my physical habits, I have worked to develop new ways of being, new understandings. Returning to these places can be hard, but they are the work of life.

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