What happens on the mat stays on the mat? Nope. We practice asanas, but we also practice acceptance, we practice letting go. We practice with our body, but we also practice to go internal. As body and mind work together, all physical work has a mental effect too. Like this moment, when all of a sudden or mind gets empty, we’re getting soft while keeping full stability within an asana and with this, all tension releases. It’s working the same way off the mat.
When you practice yoga, it’s about you. There’s no competition. Is your neighbors’ acrobatics and surreal flexibility sparkling onto your mat? Well, that’s not about you. Look at it if you can’t resist, be happy about the show and go back to yourself. It doesn’t say anything about you. Avoid mirrors. Go internal and feel your body. Let yourself be guided by the voice of the teacher and by the aligning hands. Go internal and learn. It’s about you. It’s about accepting yourself with all your strengths, with all your limitations that moment. It’s called love.
Independence off the mat
On the mat you learn to be yourself. Off the mat it’s about integrating these learnings. Do you know this feeling of happiness compared with a huge uncertainness, when you’ve got something new? New within, new outside, it doesn’t matter. Instead of wearing it with a proud smile, all of a sudden we turn into a shy something. The self confident woman ask herself, did I do this right? But what the hell is right? Who is judging? Whatever is new that moment belongs to you. Is part of you, mirrors what that moment is inside of you. No matter if we’re talking about a blood-red lipstick or a new haircut. No matter if it’s about a new pair of fancy leggings or a new tattoo. Even changes that are internal count. They make us strong and same time sometimes uncertain and vulnerable when we show them first time.
Love and let go
Remember what you’re learning on the mat. It’s about you. Free yourself from dependency. Why is it so important what others think? Of course you’re flattered when your surrounding is sending kudos. Wow, you’re looking amazing! You look so happy! Awesome how you’re shining! We don’t want to hear things like, oh, that’s flashy… can you remove that?
Love and let go
Why so thin-skinned? Yeah, it’s all about harmony, isn’t it? It’s so much easier to go with the flow. Inconspicuous. Accepted. Belong to a group. This is where you feed your self confidence from. Get rid of it! It’s a false conclusion, as it only shows how your vis-à-vis operates. It’s not about you!
Maybe your friend is jealous. Maybe simply overstrained. Maybe it’s just not her or his taste. Maybe you developed into a certain direction, which is a different journey. Endless options. And finally the opinion or even judgement about your new whatever, is telling you something about that person, not about you. The more you provoke, the more you learn about that person.
Of course, there are others. Those that are on a similar path. Recently someone told me, your tattoos are so YOU. I loved that. It was not about like or dislike, this person looked at ME, without judging.
My conclusion: do what you want. Be YOU. It’s your story, your journey, your life. If it feels good, it is good. Trust yourself. Aim true. Connect with yourself, connect with your breath, as you do it on the mat. If any uncertainty arises: Love and let go. On the mat, off the mat.