Visit page
Press "Enter" to skip to content

Time on the mat, A place to meet yourself

Last updated on April 2, 2023

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – You’re never really quite sure what is going to happen when you walk into a yoga class. Will you be able to move and flow the way you want to? Will your body be able to meet the demands and the challenges you ask of it? The person next to me is doing a headstand, why can’t I? Why am I so competitive?

These are some of the many questions we ask ourselves as we unfurl our yoga mats and spread them along the wooden floor.

The questions are relevant. They shouldn’t be dismissed. We are, after all, insecure creatures who are continually trying to create and improve ourselves. Those are some of the reasons we are doing yoga in the first place.

As I unfurled my mat, I took a deep breath. Already, I was trying to center myself. The soft murmurs of the other students around me was comforting. I felt safe in the yoga community I found.

I sat down on the mat in sukhasana, or the comfortable sitting posture. I like to focus on my posture and breath while trying to align my spine in this position. This position is important to me. It allows me to meet myself before I begin the practice.

When I say meet myself, I mean, acknowledge all of those things or issues that I experienced over the past week. I can acknowledge that I’m both happy and sad that my daughter will soon go away to college. I can acknowledge my own shortcomings as a husband, father, and friend to the important people in my life. I can also acknowledge that I can be a better person to those unknown people I see on the street everyday.

Finally, I can acknowledge that I’m not really doing too bad.

The breathing helps to steady me. It eases my mind and calms my nervous system. It’s like the wind whistling through the trees. As the thoughts raced into my monkey mind, I let them run wild. I realize that the more I try to control, the less I am able to control anything. Like a small child crying for attention, my thoughts eventually ran out of steam. They calmed down and so did I.

I was tranquil. “Hello self. It is good to see you again. All the other things that happened over the past week are outside. You can deal with it all later. For now, this is your time. Your chance to touch your inner essence.”

Today, my timing was perfect. When I was ready, calm, and at peace, Julian, my teacher walked in and said, “Welcome everyone. Thank yourself for showing up today. Welcome everyone for coming as you are.”

After the class, I realized that the mat is my sanctuary. It’s a place where I can connect my inner being with my physical body. It is a place, where, if I’m open and honest with myself, I can get to know a little more about me. While on the mat, I gain understanding and acceptance of self. If I can take that acceptance and understanding outside, maybe I can better understand and accept the people who surround me.

As I rolled up my mat, I thought that a good intention for the week ahead would be to accept myself and others as we are.

Hint Still Evergreen

Some content and links provided courtesy of Gaiam, Google, and Yoga Journal.

Breaking News: