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On the Mat to Off the Mat


Yoga is used for many things. Opening the body to help release tension and stagnant energy. It allows us to focus on the breath which impacts the nervous system in a positive way and it also allows our mind to slow down giving us more clarity and focus.

But one of the biggest things, is the life lessons you learn on the mat which can be implemented off the mat. Some people maybe aware of these already and some maybe not. Here are a few of my takeaways;

1. Patience

This is the biggest one for me.

I - as much as I would like to tell you otherwise - have slightly lacked in this department. Through yoga however I have managed to change that.

When you are in a pose, do you ever feel sometimes agitated, maybe bored or maybe you find it hard to relax and so you become restless and fidgety? Yes?……..Me too.

Remember your breath is there to support you and guide you. So when you are feeling that a pose is too much, try backing away from it slightly and breath deeper and fuller. When you do this you take the ego out of the equation. Before you say you don’t have an ego I would like to say majority of us do and its not always a bad thing but in this case we want it to take a back seat.

So if you are struggling in certain poses and finding it hard to relax when doing your practice try adjusting the posture to what FEELS GOOD and not to what you THINK it should look like. If your body isn’t going as deep as the person beside you or in front of you, THATS OKAY. BE OKAY WITH THIS. Be PATIENT with yourself and know you will get there but if you force it you are just creating more physical tension that will prevent you going any further in opening up the body. Physical tension manifests into mental tension and here is where the agitation would begin. So be patient and breathe.

2. Awareness

This has been a huge shift for me. Becoming more aware of my body and my breath has made me more aware of my surroundings, my environment, the things I enjoy and the things I don’t.

Awareness also teaches us more about what is happening on the inside and why we react in certain ways. The breath when kept smooth and steady will help us stay in a calm and relaxed state when our internal system is on overdrive aka fight or flight.

When we start to feel overwhelmed by the stretch we are experiencing in the body our nervous system goes into fight or flight response. It will tense up unless told otherwise because this is a safety mechanism. Our breath is the way we tell our body and mind that everything is okay and we can relax, so being aware of the rhythm of your breath allows you to adapt and change it so you can adapt and change your external environment.

Becoming aware of your physical body also helps to prevent injury. By becoming aware of what is happening in your body and not what is happening on your phone or your external environments makes it easier for us to know where our limits are and wether or not we can push past those limits. Awareness is a form of focus, of concentration, of noticing. Its easy for our focus to go else where because we are human but also because there are so many distractions in the world, so instead of giving yourself a hard time just choose to refocus back on your breath, the sensations in your body and what is going on internally not externally.

Because of the habit I have built on the mat I am now aware of how my breath is at any given moment, I am aware of how I stand or sit, I am aware of what feels right in my body and what doesn’t, what foods my body enjoys and the ones it doesn’t, I am aware of my mental state and when my mind has ran off in a tangent and having the awareness to bring it back and anchor into the present.

3. Internal Conversation

Yes we all speak to yourselves. We all have conversations with ourselves wether we know it or not. Eg “ aw why did you do that, that was stupid” “should I take this route or the other route……..I knew I should of taken the other one” “ I wish I never said that now” “why can’t I lose weight” “why can’t I have that” “why am I always broke” etc etc etc. We literally have conversations with ourselves daily and lot of the time we aren’t even aware we are doing it. The stories we tell ourselves and the words we use are more important than you know. Try listening to the way you talk to yourself and ask yourself ‘would I speak to someone I love like this?’ Most of the time probably not. When you are hateful to yourself or give yourself a hard time it lowers your energy and makes you more attractive to other people and situations who also have low energy.


The more you can be kind to yourself, the more you will begin to feel confident and more people will be drawn to you who are on the same level as you.

So what is your internal conversation?

These 3 things are the biggest takeaways I have learned on my mat and have given me the biggest shifts when used off the mat.

You see yoga is good for a lot of things, one is being a great teacher.

What life lessons has your yoga practice given you?

Think about it for a moment…….what have you learned on your mat that you can also use off the mat?

I hope this has opened your eyes to some of the things that can be achieved through your practice. I am sending you all love and light and will speak again soon.

Jen

Xxx


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