Are you a Yogi off the Mat?

Written by Victoria Randles.

There's no doubt that yoga has become a world wide phenomenon. Ladies and gentlemen from all walks of life are looking for tranquility in a stressful, gadget addicted society. For some it is a daily practice and a chance to inwardly access, for others just a weekly fix to zen out. Regardless of the reasons that bring people to yoga, the question is, are they sharing the essence of the class in other areas of life?

beach yoga mat

Without the spiritual or inner journey of a yoga class you merely have a series of beneficial stretches and poses for your health. There is nothing wrong with that. However; those that consider themselves modern day yogis should make an effort to apply the work they've done to every moment in their lives, on or off the mat. We could call this homework, or soul work perhaps. For every physical action there is an evenly distributed amount of energy towards the spiritual body.

In class we practice the concept of oneness, the idea that we are all part of the Divine. Once we've left class, does that message stop us from cutting someone off in traffic, or reacting poorly when we are being cut-off? Does it stop us from judging others and ourselves harshly? Being jealous or feeling lack? Treating our bodies like a food vacuum when we are stressed?

I recently attended a drop-in yoga class in Santa Monica California. I was shocked to find that at several points through out the class the instructor was texting while we held poses. I felt cheated of my experience. If the instructor herself can't be in the moment, how on earth can we expect it from anyone else?

Another brief example was after a hot yoga class at a studio I frequently attend. After a wonderful meditation focusing on giving and receiving love, I found myself caught in a whirlwind of gossiping women as I toweled off and tried to obtain the message of the class. I was baffled that within 60 seconds of this loving focus they could forget as if it had no affect on them at all.

Conversely, I have had yoga teachers who practice what they preach so deeply that I feel genuinely connected to a higher power while they instruct. Each one of those classes has brought me closer and closer to my higher self. Isn't that what we are all searching for? An abundance of peace within ourselves available at all times?

How can we remember the feeling of serenity we have found during the most stressful moments of our day? I am not suggesting in anyway that one has to be a perfect human being because they practice yoga. I'm simply suggesting we all become a little more self aware to capture the true values of yoga and the remarkable effects it can have on ones life.

You don't have to be a martyr, it could be as simple as having a little more patience with someone in your life, or yourself for that matter, reaching out to that person you know has been in need, smiling more and looking people in the eye when you speak to them, calming yourself down in an argument and asking yourself why you have become so agitated. Being a yogi means diving inside yourself while staying in the moment. It is true awareness, once it is reached the possibilities are limitless.

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