My Sunday morning yoga teacher always ends class the same way. She guides us out of Savasana, and invites us to sit at the front of the mat by saying, “If you are ready to venture beyond these walls and to take your yoga with you…”
What does it mean to take your yoga with you?
A few weeks ago I participated in my high school’s cross-country alumni run. The alumni compete with the high school runners, the distance is two miles. I have not participated for several years, however O has joined the girls team this year, and I know the coaches. I kept it a secret, O found out when one of the coaches nudged her, “Go cheer for your dad.” Soon after the start it was clear I was going to finish at the back. I decided to not let any student finish behind me. I ran beside the last student, and we started talking. “I’m an 8th grader. This is my first official race. I’ve never raced this far.” I responded, “Great! So notice what you notice. Breathe. Scan your body. How do your feet feel? Your stomach? Your shoulders? Don’t worry about the other runners – just run your own race.” The course was a mile loop, twice around. When we approached the mile marker, I said, “Smile, let your parents know you are doing ok.” On the second loop, we had a ways still to go, and he remarked, “Some runners are already finishing.” I said, “That’s ok. Someday that will be you. Just not today. You are exactly where you should be.” He was not feeling well, so he stopped, and I picked up the next student. We approached a part of the course with several orange cones placed in a long line, 10 yards between each cone. I said, “Don’t think about how far it is to the finish line, just think about the next cone.” We approached a side slope, and I said: “Pay attention, you don’t want to twist your ankle.” When we came to the finish, I said “Now run like you are being chased by a pack of hounds!”
Can you pick up the yoga concepts in my comments? Notice what you notice. Breathe. Don’t compare yourself to others. You are exactly where you should be. Focus on the current task in front of you, not the finish line. Pay attention.
Run like you are being chased by a pack of hounds.
The lessons from the yoga class are meant to be used all day long. So take your yoga with you, wherever you go.