Every time we come to our mats, we become students. In the stillness of breath and movement, we can’t help but listen and discover something, and we certainly can’t argue with the new awareness and clearer perspective that come from getting quiet with ourselves.
Sometimes, it might be as simple as recognizing some mental or emotional stress has gone unchecked and we’ve developed tension in certain areas physically – tangible reminders of the mind-body connection. Other times, we might notice our actions in relation to our intentions – our mats, like mirrors, giving us a glimpse of how we are being and if it aligns with our values.
The question at hand, then, could be … Aren’t we all always students? Each of us, in all areas of life, all the time? The answer, I believe, depends on how open we are capable of remaining.
As a yoga teacher and a student, I am continually amazed to learn each and every class what individuals reap from their practice as well as where I am in my own journey. Generally people are rolling out their mats with at least a slight smile, an inkling of eagerness, an anticipation of letting go. You know the look on your face in the rearview mirror when you drive away from the office that last day before vacation? Same feeling.
In some way, shape or form, we are all on hiatus from complication during when practicing yoga. From settling into the now moment-by-moment … to cultivating deeper breaths and calming our minds … to moving fluidly and exploring our bodies in relation to space, we experience, and we open, and that is really all there is to it. We unfold into vessels of receptivity, and in doing so, enter acceptance of what is and entertain ideas of what could be.
What is so powerful, then, about inhabiting the present moment is simply that possibility lives there. Ever revisit an event that happened yesterday or envision a hypothetical one that might happen tomorrow, and witness how you feel in your mind and in your body? This experiment likely leaves you feeling neither open nor free. So why hang out there? You don’t do that on your yoga mat, and that’s why you love being there!
Let’s practice remaining present – off our mats, as well as on them – and showing up for our experiences. Let’s practice remaining equally present whether it’s smooth sailing or rough waters. Let’s practice being students all day, every day – no matter where we are and no matter who we’re with.
Approaching each moment this way, with wide open heart and mind, is where the unfathomable transforms into quite do-able and where communion with others and the truest version of our unique selves transpires.