Each time we roll out the mat and move our bodies the sublime understanding is that our mat is like a mirror. How we perform on the mat is how we perform in life. If we are hard on ourself in poses chances are we have high expectations of others and of our self in life. If we want to take strides in a certain direction it starts with the behavior we lay out on the mat and hopefully spills into our behavior off the mat. This is why yoga is referred as a ‘practice’. It is meant to be a preparation for our real life experience.
When we experience yoga in the form of asana (postures) the layout reads like written paragraph and has three separate phases. First there is the opening (breath work and warm-up) the body is next (sequence and asana) and the third is the conclusion (sivasana). The incorporation of all three phases often is what gives us the euphoria we experience upon completion of our yoga practice.
So if our practice is meant to spill into our daily living why is our euphoria a fleeting affair rather than an oasis we have throughout our day? The obvious answer may be that real life includes much more that just our individual self and there are many more balls being juggled than the steps to triangle pose. This is a very valuable response. Yet perhaps there is also deeper underlying layer that we continuously overlook in our busyness of daily life. If we were to examine our daily activities we may see that we take less time in our introduction, we focus primarily on the body, and almost always eliminate sivasana, the conclusion and most important part.
Take for example a scheduled meeting. If we arrive 5-10 minutes late were frazzled. We lack the time to set-up how we would like, to pause and think about what needs to be discussed and to simply adjust to the space we have walked into. However we do manage to ‘pull it off’ and cover the topics needed and have a general sense of accomplishment. This is the body. The meeting finishes and often one of two things happens next. We either are so tightly scheduled that we rush off to the next appointment or we convince ourself that we can squeeze one final little task in before we need to be somewhere else. There is no reflection...no sivasana.
What this creates is a constant snowball of either the mind, body or spirit trying to play ‘catch up’ with the rest of the body. The end result is that we lack presence and awareness. If this sounds familiar and perhaps a cyclical tendency that we would like to adjust perhaps begin by taking your yoga practice off the mat. in other words spend time on completing each paragraph that makes up the different chapters of your book of life.
Here is the paragraph steps in daily living examples: