A Step Off The Mat

As a yoga teacher and continuous student of yoga, you quickly learn that the most important lesson of yoga is to take your yoga off the mat. No, this doesn’t mean that you have to start practicing yoga on the grass outside  – it means that every lesson you learn on the mat you must learn to take with you into the rest of your life.

As part of my yoga teacher training program, each trainee was assigned to practice one day of each of the Yamas (spiritual guidelines of yoga). We were asked to spend a day thinking about one of the Yamas and writing down the results. The aim was to examine each of these areas of our lives to see what could be improved, what was great, and what we simply may not have been aware of. The assignment was pretty straightforward, and I got through it without much difficulty – except when it came to Satya.

Satya means truthfulness. I have always believed myself to be a truthful person; I hate lying and do my best never to lie because it makes me feel awful and doesn’t really help anyone. But the Satya day came and went and though I thought about it all day long, I wrote down nothing. It wasn’t that I couldn’t think of anything to write; the problem was that I didn’t want to have it written down. That’s when I realized that I am guarded with my truth.

This was a surprising revelation for me, because I have always thought of myself as an open person. I will readily tell anyone who asks about what I do, where I come from, and things that have taken place in my life. But when it comes to my own personal opinions, beliefs, hopes and dreams, I sometimes keep these truths guarded closely, choosing carefully if and when to express all or part of them. Very few people in my life get the whole of my own personal truth because I often will hold back my full opinion or point of view on something.

What is the reason for this? When you come right down to it, I am afraid. Afraid of being wrong. Afraid of being judged. Afraid of other people’s opinions. Afraid of simply putting myself out there, because I somewhere I’ve always felt that my own opinions and beliefs just weren’t good enough. And so I have become a person of neutrality, because it feels safe.

But safe has its limits. Yoga teaches that you can only control your own actions and intentions; there will be negative moments that arise in life, and not everyone will like you, and that is unavoidable. That is something that we all need to accept that and learn to deal with. Most of all, I need to trust in myself in order to really live my truth.

So I am taking my yoga off the mat. I am going to practice living my truth, and really letting go of my fears and worries surrounding the expression of it. And I am going to do that here on this blog.

Read, enjoy, and leave your comments – or don’t. But thanks for stopping by, either way.

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2 responses to “A Step Off The Mat

  1. Truth. One of the few things that we each have complete control over, if we choose to accept it.

    I’m standing on the sidelines cheering for you 🙂

  2. “What is the reason for this? When you come right down to it, I am afraid. Afraid of being wrong. Afraid of being judged. Afraid of other people’s opinions. Afraid of simply putting myself out there, because I somewhere I’ve always felt that my own opinions and beliefs just weren’t good enough. And so I have become a person of neutrality, because it feels safe.”

    Totally relate to this, it is a continual struggle for me and I’m not sure I’m making much progress– but trying not to judge! 🙂 Kudos to you for the courage to recognize your habits and work towards more satya in your life!

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