I remember the day I realized and experienced that my yoga practice was doing more than just making my body stronger. I was cleaning the bathroom. That’s right: Cleaning. The. Bathroom. A highly exciting task for us all (and bless those of you who actually enjoy this task, teach me your ways!)
I had taken a yoga class earlier that day and remember when I found myself cleaning the bathroom (scrubbing the toilet, in fact!) I was doing so with such focus, calm and connection to that most boring task. Dare I say, I was even having a good time?!
This definitely struck me as unusual, as I am not typically a fan of that particular task. I realized that I had been going through my entire day with that steadiness and calm (and joy!) but it took something so menial to help me fully see the effect of my practice.
More oft than not, we are initially drawn to the mat for a physical intention (ie back pain, tight hamstrings, to get toned arms, etc) and that is all so perfect! I say that anything that gets you to the mat is amazing, especially in this day and age when our focus is being pulled in so many directions and inviting us to keep going and not ever pause to reflect.
Even if you’re not practicing yoga poses, you can still be practicing yoga all day, every day and feel the support of your practice throughout every area of your life. This is truly the tremendous gift of yoga and why so many people have a life long practice. It makes life a little brighter and steadier. It’s truly a practice that keeps on giving.
In writing this piece, I was so curious as to others’ stories so I asked friends, colleagues, and students how their practice supports their lives off the mat. Here are some of the many ways. Do some of these ring true for you?
“I just came from the dentist and it has changed the entire experience for me!! No more white knuckling the chair!”
“It allows me to be a more present and conscious parent.”
“Yoga helps me to live in my own skin. It taught me to accept myself as I am while I grow. When that gets hard, I accept it and breathe through it rather than fighting it. My boss and others also don’t know how I keep my head together when the fur’s flying. I shrug and say, “Yoga.” Breathe. It’s easier to face anything if you do it with a clear head.”
“I fully am at peace with the fact that my Mom has incurable cancer. Not mad at God instead I’m grateful that I have him by my side during this time.”
“Greater self-awareness which leads to being less reactive, as well as more able to see and effectively deal with habits that don’t serve me.”
How have the benefits of your yoga practice seeped into your daily life? I’d love to know, so please drop me a line with your story!
Next time you’re wavering about whether you have the time to get on your yoga mat, remember all the ways that it can support you off your mat. The return on investment for this practice is unparalleled and will serve not only you but everyone else in your life!
As a yogi, your work is to keep yourself bright so that you might also inspire others to do the same. So give yourself 15-45 minutes to move and breathe with intention and experience all the ways yoga brightens your life off the mat.