What Does It Mean To Practice Off Your Mat

What does it mean when your yoga teacher references, “Take your practice off your mat or practice on and off your mat.”

Practice on your mat:  asana (postures), pranayama (breath), meditation (flow)

Practice off your mat: love, forgiveness, compassion, 5 niyamas (personal observances:  santosha – contentment, tapas – heat/austerity, svadhyaya – study of oneself, ishvara pranidhara – surrender to Divine/God) and the list goes on and on

Who you are being speaks louder than any words you’ll ever say.  

How you are being is your practice off your mat.  It’s probably 99% true that how you are on your mat is how you are in your life, off your mat.  If you curse and grump about yourself the moment the teacher calls a pose, you’re probably not practicing compassion for yourself in other areas of your life either.  Or if you fall out of a pose during practice, do you beat yourself up over and over again?  Forgiveness seems to be a practice that most of us don’t practice whether it’s a small thing as falling out of tree pose or forgiving yourself for the past. 

You can also say the reverse — how you are in your life shows up on your mat. 

Who knew a simple rubber yoga mat holds the truth… it’s a mirror for me to see who I am and where I need to grow.

6 thoughts on “What Does It Mean To Practice Off Your Mat

  1. Devil's Advocate ;) says:

    It is interesting however, that the most direct translation of “asana” is ” way of being,” not “pose” or “seat” as most people have mistakenly labeled it.

  2. Devil's Advocate ;) says:

    Hmmm………….currently looking for evidence of anything to do with “love” in original yoga writings……………….. still looking…………. 😉

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