Tonight, I write words with – hopefully – a rather clear and concise message. Whatever ails you, whatever aches and pains of physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional fortitude, take each and every one to the mat. Why, you may wonder, should we take it to the mat? After all, each of us has had days where we were unable to clear the mind, open the heart, or expand the body, while practicing pose, breathwork, or meditation. We return to the mat – we turn to the mat – for the same reason that we practice one asana over and again within one sitting.
Let us take Dandasana as a beautifully fulfilling example. Each time we practice Stick (Staff) Pose, lengthening our legs in front of us, reaching through our spine, elongating through the neck, and relaxing the shoulders, we come into a different pose. A different plane of mind, body, spirit, and breath. We connect to the pose in a way unlike the last, a way that allows a deepening. Not many of us get married after the first date. But, as you get to know that person – that someday husband or wife – you begin to begin to open in ways that you never expected. You meet again and again, uncovering new spaces within. And, after a time you decide that you enjoy the spaces, the places, and the person enough to share your life with him or her.
Approach your relationship with Yoga, with any pose, breath, or meditation, the way that you would a potential mate. Listen, learn, and exhibit unconditional love. Both for yourself and for what you find. Today, take it to the mat. Build a relationship of trust. Know that whatever you bring and whatever you find will be just another piece of your paths puzzle. A piece that might just bring you peace.
Pick a pose. It might be Dandasana, or it could be any other asana that you feel connected to. Take the time to practice this pose every day this week. Practice with intention, honesty, and integrity. Know that each day will be different. Some days you may need to make alterations – placing a pillow under your seat, or with your hands on your thighs instead of to the back of the hips. Make a commitment to take it to the mat. See what happens. Explore the unknown and nurture what is.
If you are practicing with a little being, consider taking a break from Dandasana by placing your child upon your lap. If it is comfortable for you both, bend your knees and then return them to the earth, making your little yogi hop a bit. Practice Hop-Along-Yogi together, knowing that if this is your only time to share yoga, it is enough. You will be sending a message to your little being that they too can take it all to the mat.
My you be open, may you be honest, may you be full of light, and may you be unconditionally loved.