Practicing yoga off the mat is definitely harder said than done. The book “light on yoga” gives a very good background and description of what it is and how to practice yoga off the mat.
The book mentions there are 8 limbs/stages of yoga for the quest of the soul. First, it begins with Yama (universal moral commandments); 2) Niyama (self purification by discipline); 3) Asana (posture); 4) pranayama (rhythmic control of the breath)
I’m going to stop there because I feel that this is where I am. Finally after practicing yoga for nearly 5 years, I’ve noticed that I am starting to match my breath with my movement. That whenever I’m doing chataranga I am exhaling, and inhaling with upward facing dog and exhaling downward facing dog. I caught myself doing that more naturally, it’s as if I’ve been doing that all along!
I remember my first yoga class, whenever the teacher would say inhale or exhale, I would do the exact opposite 😂😂. I couldn’t quite keep up with the breath and the movement. I was running out of breath doing the movement!😂😂. But finally, I am matching my breath with my movement. One breath one movement. Yes I’ve been doing yoga for about 5 years, but I have not been doing it every day. I would usually try to go for about 3-4 times a week, but this past 2 weeks, I’ve been doing it everyday. Yes everyday!! And already I’ve noticed a difference in how I’m moving throughout the practice. To top it off, I’ve noticed my muscle are more lean! That I look more toned in general (a compliment by the hubby) 😂😂
The poses that I thought was impossible, is now possible. Twisted-binding side lunge (sorry if I said that wrong!) was impossible for me. The first time the teacher told us that I’m thinking okay you’re crazy, nobody can twist like that. But now I can! I can twist like that so easily and in fact, it has become one of my favorite poses because it really helps with detoxing! What used to be impossible is now possible!
Another pose that I’ve been working on for the past 2 years or so now is handstand! Okay yes I can do handstand against the wall as long as my feet touches the wall too😂😂 but I’ve always been afraid of falling! Think about it! You’re kicking your legs up and if you have no control over your body, your movements you will land flat on your back on the opposite side! And yup. It happened to me. Right smack in the middle of class. Even the teacher looked at me with concerns and asked if I was okay. I smiled and said yes I’m fine. But oh my gosh that hurt! Ouch!! That was the first time I fell trying to do a handstand. I continue to practice kicking my legs up, and a couple of weeks ago I fell again! But I noticed that it didn’t hurt as bad and it didn’t hurt as long! Earlier this week I actually fell for the third time trying to do handstand! (You’d think I learned my lesson) 😂😂 but guess what?? I did fell, but before I completely hit the ground, I had some control over my legs/abs (meaning they’re getting stronger) and it didn’t hurt at all!! It did not hurt at all!! I was so surprised! I was actually thinking hmmm maybe I’m just used to falling! 😂😂
It’s because I am getting stronger with my body. I now have more control, or so I feel like. And I think that definitely helps!
So practicing yoga on the mat is not as hard right, you get on your mat and you follow the instructors guide. But when you’re not on your yoga mat, it takes EVERYTHING you have to practice yoga. E V E R Y T H I N G you have! I’ve been wearing the malas from Silver and Sage every day to help me remember to always come back to my breath. Always always breathing in clearly and letting go just as much. It’s been hard you guys. I’m not going to lie. Practicing yoga off the mat is hard! And sometimes when you get caught up in a moment, like stress and everything is just happening ALL AT ONCE, forget about your breath! Ha! I have been like let’s get all these done right now ahhhh!
But it’s a practice. It’s a life time practice! To truly be a yogi and how to truly practice yoga off your mat. That is the ultimate goal. That is my ultimate dream!
Namaste lovelies 💛💛 shinebright! 🌟🌟