On And Off The Mat
I keep saying it to friends and family – Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) is the coolest college course I never took. The perfect citation I learned in English has yet to come in handy. The long division method from Algebra has yet to help me solve anything else. And the timeline of U.S. History events I had to memorize has yet to be of value other than while watching Jeopardy. In YTT, there is a common lesson with every new day – and it is the most useful one I have ever learned.
Every practice of yoga is a practice of life.
I cease to be amazed at the striking parallels of how life can be viewed on and off the mat. This idea is best explained by the seven universal truths of YTT.
We are exactly where we are supposed to be.
Sometimes it might not seem ideal, or as originally planned. For me it could be YTT this Spring instead of last Fall, or being a wife-in-training rather than a wife. There is a powerful reason why we are where we are at every twist and turn of daily life.
Fear and pain are life’s greatest teachers.
I may resist a pose because it is scary or it hurts. But the moment I nail it, I am reminded I am capable and strong. I lost three grandparents before I was out of my teens. Now, I want nothing more than for my own parents to see the children I hope to raise grow for years and years. Valuable life lessons are found at the times we want to ignore.
Laughter and play are the fountains of youth.
It is the goofy attempts to come into my handstand on a yoga mat. It is all the times I put on a tutu and ran a 5k with friends. It is the games of hide-and-seek I play with my nieces. It is all the moments in life we do not take so seriously.
"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist."
Exercise and rest are essential to vibrant health.
Some days are an endless series of vinyasa flows – a long run, bike or swim. Other days are noting but restorative poses – bed before 9:00pm on a Friday. Exercise provides essential energy, but the greatest moments of insight seem to come at a time of rest.
Intimacy and touch are basic human needs.
I find intimacy solo on a yoga mat, freeing my mind, connecting to my body, and loving myself. I start and end every single day with a kiss from Brad. Deep down all we really want is to love and be loved.
Everything is impermanent.
Holding a challenging yoga pose only hurts until the sweet release of relaxing back down on the mat. The pain of this killer sunburn I have will fade, just as the beautiful weekend it resulted from. The only constant is change, so it is important to embrace every moment.
Everything is connected.
My body finds a connection to a yoga mat, connected to a floor, connected to a structure, connected to the earth, and connected to the universe. The very universe we live in every day, with every other person, animal, and object. Even as individuals, we are all the same.
No textbook, essay, or test can accurately prepare us for life. The truth is, we have to start living.