Life Lessons from the Yoga Mat

Yoga poses (asanas) are a balance between effort and

relaxation.  As we move into stretches and poses,

we learn to scan the body, noticing tightness and tension.

We send our breath to  the areas of greatest sensation

and mindfully encourage relaxation.  As we breathe into

these sensations, we relax the tension.  Sometimes we need

to modify the pose to avoid pain, possible injury, and

unnecessary stress.  Perhaps we need to choose a resting

pose instead.  A yoga practice is a good metaphor for life:

finding balance between effort, tension, and relaxation.


Noticing the breath helps us determine our personal edge.

If we are having difficulty  breathing, slow deep inhale/

slow complete exhale, we have gone beyond our personal

edge.  We back off and adjust or modify what we are doing.

Rather than judge ourselves, we learn to just notice how we

feel, and honor our body. We listen to our body.  Our mind

remains focused on breathing and body sensations.


Life off the yoga mat is filled with sensations too.  We can use

the deep breathing that we learn on the yoga mat to help us

remain calm under stress.  We can notice how we feel without

narrative or judgment.  We can take the peace we experience,

on the mat in final relaxation, during Savasana, with us when

we leave.


Yoga is a practice.  It’s not about perfection.  Teachers, like their

students, are still learning as part of their continuing education.

As we dedicate ourselves to a yoga practice, we become

more focused, flexible, balanced, stronger, and more relaxed in

our mind and body.  Yoga is often described as the  union of

mind, body, and spirit.  It changes us internally and externally,

on and off the mat.