Everyone brings a different type of yoga motivation to the mat. Yours may be to improve yourself physically, mentally, spiritually, or all of the above. Mine may be to escape, however temporarily, my mole-like existence as a middle-aged work-from-home guy.

But once I’m actually at the studio waiting for yoga class to begin, there’s one thing that drives me to finish strong in every vinyasa level 1 class I take. It’s knowing that at the end of the hour, once I’ve pushed my stiff, stubborn body to its limits…my teacher will say the words I long to hear:

“I’ll be coming around to place a cool, lavender towel on your forehead.”

At that point, I’m able to truly relax into savasana, knowing I MADE IT.

(The instructor usually follows up by saying, “If you don’t want the towel, raise your hand and I’ll respect your space.” I’m too exhausted at that point to say what I’m thinking: “What?! Who wouldn’t want the towel? I’ll take that person’s towel and as many others as you want to give me!”)

Don’t get me wrong. I love the exhilaration that comes from doing yoga…even as I stumble through the flows and poses. I’m pushing myself physically, mentally, and spiritually into places I haven’t gone in my forty-(mumble) years of life. I’m able to set aside my worries and summon back much of the energy that a day in our modern world siphons away. I can return to my wife, my children, my friends and online co-workers as, yes, a better person: more patient, more tolerant, more aware.

That’s all well and good. But as I’m getting into my fifteenth or so downward dog of the class, and the sweat’s dripping from my face, and my arms are shaking, I tell myself what I need to hear keep going and get the most from my yoga practice…

“You’re probably five to ten minutes away from the lavender towel. You. Got. This!”

Yogis, what’s your yoga motivation? Share in the comments!