Peace on the Mat

Recently I was having a tough day.  It was one of those days where I found everything frustrating and was over thinking some changes that are happening in my life. I was struggling to deal with some of life’s stresses in a positive and healthy way.  Every time I opened my mouth to communicate a thought or feeling it came out wrong and sounded miserable and mean.  I felt guilty for talking to those I loved in such a negative way and mad at myself for not seeming to have the power to control my mood.  It was a rainy, cool summer day and a Monday too.  I decided the only cure to the mood and way to improve the day was to head to my favorite yoga class.

I walked into the class and immediately felt the warmth in the room from the class before mine. The light’s were dim and it immediately relaxed me. I found my favorite spot in the corner by the window.  As we all rolled out our mats and settled in to child’s pose to focus our breathing and relax our mind my instructor asked us to set an intention.  Maybe the intention was to release negative energy, or to cleanse negative thoughts. Maybe it was to send love and light to someone we love.  Maybe it is to build strength and spend an hour focusing on ourselves. Whatever it may be, she said “Do not feel guilty.” I thought this was interesting, maybe more so since I was feeling guilty for the way I had acted that day. As the practice began and we began a powerful flow her words remained with me, “Do not feel guilty.” I had come that day to find my mat, cleanse my thoughts and escape the outside world that seemed to be stressing me out.  I wanted to leave that class, feeling refreshed and renewed and to forget the day I had.   As we flowed I kept repeating my intention, to release my negative energy and find my center.  Her words, “Do not feel guilty” kept following me.  As the class wore on I started to consider why other people may be there themselves.  What were they carrying around throughout the day that they were releasing on the mat? As the flow slowed and we began to move to shavasana our instructor took us through mountain pose, had us raise our hands from our hearts to the sky and release the intention.  As the classed ended and we sealed in our practice with an Om and closed with namaste; I immediately felt better.  As I was leaving the studio I couldn’t help but wonder what other negative thoughts were left to linger there.  Who else was leaving negative thoughts there like I was?

I often leave with the words of a yoga instructor resonating in my mind until I find myself on the mat next time.  One of my favorites was simple, “Take 3 Beautiful Breaths”. I still find myself thinking those words when I am stressed out and feeling negative or overwhelmed and busy.  It’s calming and makes me feel like life isn’t so bad.  Another one of my favorite instructors tell us to “Just be present”.  I love this, it is very hard to not become lost in our own thoughts and world.  What are your favorite sayings from a yoga instructor?  What do you bring to a class and leave in the studio?

It is often said by those who regularly practice yoga that the practice itself has changed their thinking and lives.  I think this is true.  Yoga inspires me to be a more positive and healthy person, to bring calm cleansing breaths into other parts of my life and to focus on the blessings around me and not be caught in the past or the future but to just enjoy where I am at that very moment.   Yoga gives me a place to cleanse and a place to leave my negative energy and thoughts behind.  It also is a place for me to feel happy and peaceful. How has yoga affected your life? What have you learned from the practice and carried with you each day?

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