Off the Mat Yoga

Pages from my Journal: Where Do We Go From Here?

No matter the accomplishment or lack of one, the question I keep asking myself is: where do we go from here? It’s certainly a loaded question. Do we have to have an end goal? What is the next step? Is there always another “next” thing to do? Usually the question comes up when I’m thinking about school or a way to improve myself “professionally.” More recently though, I started to think of it in a “yoga” context.

Stop to smell the flowers

Do I ask myself these questions when I’ve just accomplished a balance? Not really. I just revel in the moment (or second) and the feeling of success. Our society promotes this idea of always moving forward and not stopping to take a break or a moment of peace and serenity for ourselves. But I think that’s so important! Stopping to smell the flowers, or taking a moment to breathe – those are elements of self-care that I think everyone ought to take off of the mat and into their lives.

After trying to get into a handstand for a couple minutes, another couple breathes in child’s pose is the best remedy — we all know that. Surely we can take that into life off the mat. After having a really hard work week and trying to squeeze in everything we can possibly fit – take Saturday for yourself.

Practicing what I preach (for once!)

And for once, I’m actually practicing what I preach. This past week has been incredibly hard for me. I love being a graduate student, but often I find myself running around trying to not only meet but exceed everyone’s expectations. Besides that being totally unnecessary, this Wednesday (the day before I’m writing this) I realized that I just needed a break.

Instead of trying to satisfying everyone, I’m taking Saturday to do what I want and not focus on the unknown answer to: where do we go next? This isn’t to say I’m going to be completely lazy and sit around all day. Not my style! Part of using of yogic thinking (as I’m fond of calling it), is about applying yoga concepts to your life. The concept I’m taking to life is: live in the present. So instead of making thousands of plans, I have two yoga classes and one appointment for the whole day. Maybe that does seem like too much free time, but for me, it’s the perfect way to live in the present and focus on what I have earned from working a long week versus looking at an endless to-do list.

Yoga can be fantastic at times, especially when it helps you to re-orient your priorities. I think it’s important to think about the future and plan, but not to the detriment of your everyday sanity. Thank you yoga for bringing some more peace to my life today.

How does yoga affect your day to day life? Are there any lessons you take off your mat?

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