Coming Back Home – Why My Yoga Mat is My Rock
After coming home from a series of trips, I wanted nothing more than to sleep in my own bed, prepare my own meals, and get back to my regular schedule. We’ve all been there.
Instinctively, I thought the first thing I would do would be to get on my mat and reacquaint myself with my practice. What I found in myself, however, was hesitation and resistance. Don’t’ worry, I had plenty of great excuses though…
“I just need to rest a bit more before my body is ready for practice again.”
“I have too much work to catch up on. I’ll start up again tomorrow.”
“My piriformis hurts a little, better not practice quite yet.”
These excuses helped me realize one very important thing about myself: I am completely and totally full of shit.
When you are away from your mat for a while, there tends to be reluctance when revisiting it, and let’s be honest, it all comes from the ego. Since I had been out of practice for a bit, I was admittedly self-conscious. The real reason: I was afraid my practice wouldn’t be to the level of performance that it was when I left….as if that actually matters.
I milled around for a few days, making busy work for myself, formulating the clever excuses listed above, and justifying every action that kept me off my mat. Then, I read some of my notes from my recent training with Baron Baptiste, and I immediately remembered something: I am the common denominator for everything in my life, and if I wanted to get back on my yoga/fitness routine, no one else was going to do it for me.
Thus, I rolled out my mat and began practicing. Lo and behold, I could still do Downdog. I didn’t fall out of Crow and bust my face on the ground. My Vira II was still there for me, just like it was when I left. Nothing had changed. The asanas still felt great, they were still challenging, they still pushed me to focus my body and mind.
It was during this first practice back that I realized how absurd my excuses were, and that my mat and my practice will always be there. They never go anywhere, and never will. Rather, I am the one making the choice on how intimate I want to be with them. The ego is very clever, and never wants to look bad, and even for a seasoned practitioner, I still fight its clever little tricks.
To clarify, I was off my mat for about 8 days, and for any of you that practice daily, or multiple times a day, you know what I mean when I say it feels like a fucking eternity! I am very loyal to my practice, and when I neglect it like that, I feel that somehow I run the risk of losing all the benefits I’ve built over years of regular practice. It’s absurd.
Your mat is a home that you can always come back to, and it will never turn you away for any reason. It’s warm, inviting, and waiting for you with open arms. But too often we let our minds run away with us, thinking that somehow our bodies will revert back to their pre-yoga form if we go a while without practice. Not the case my friends, not at all.
The obsessive climate of our culture would have us believe that if you’re not compulsive with your activities, then you won’t grow from them. Yikes, that’s too intense for me personally.
Do I think a daily practice is a great habit to get into? Absolutely. Do I promote yoga students to be loyal to their practice over time? For sure. But please know, you’ve already spent adequate time building your personal practice, and if you have to take a few days/weeks off, it will be there for you when you return, I promise.
Be light my friends,