When you practice yoga on the mat, you are living out a microcosm of your overall life. What you do there reflects how you approach your life. What you learn there you will take with you into the rest of your life.
So…before we expand on that idea let’s pause and reflect on the idea of non-judgment. Its very easy to beat ourselves up. I do it sometimes…you maybe do too. My teacher, Rita Cupitt, used to say ok, now let’s hit ourselves…we’d tilt our heads, “what!!??”. She would say that its so much more obvious when she suggests to physically hit ourselves that we would not want to do that. Don’t worry, we never did it. She would quickly remind us to also not beat ourselves up verbally (even if in our own minds). Now this…I think a lot of us do do!
So…when we observe our physical practice on the yoga mat, let’s also keep an eye out for our judgments about that practice…or about our thoughts or emotions, etc. etc.
When you approach your mat, what is your inner dialogue? Do you expect to “fail”, to “dazzle”, to enjoy or suffer through your practice? Week after week (or day after day), do you ever challenge your limits? Do you constantly push yourself and never relax? Do you stay safe? Do you put yourself in harm’s way by expecting too much? Do you ever sit a pose out and give yourself permission to take care of yourself first? Do you beat yourself up sometimes during practice?
Here is where non-judgment can be very practical. Sometimes its ok to stay safe. Sometimes we need that! Sometimes its ok to push and challenge ourselves. Sometimes we need that! Just observe, don’t judge. Consider.
Consider your practice and consider your mindset. Consider the emotions that are inevitably there because they always are. Consider your judgments if they come. What you are doing, thinking, feeling is not bad or good…its just telling you something about where you are at and helps shed some light on where you may like to go or how you might like to be.
Its here on the mat that we can to explore expanding our comfort zones; where we learn to ease up on ourselves; where we learn what emotions are driving us; where we learn….whatever it is you are learning. And this, this will certainly influence your life off the mat.