What a Difference A Mat Makes

Since my return to yoga after a very traumatic experience, I’m finding more and more reasons to hang in there. I don’t know if it’s the focused breathing, the stretching, the small improvements I see in myself and my flexibility, or some combination of all those things and others, but I carry myself differently and my outlook is more positive and confident. I’m even actually caring about politics now, and that’s something totally new!

It took a long time to get where I am, to the point where when I go to bed at night, I’m actually really looking forward to yoga in the morning. I have to do it in the morning, or it doesn’t happen at all. I’m too tired after work to look forward to life on the mat, but maybe that will change, too. I’m even competing with my son in a light-hearted way about who can get their hands flat on the floor with straight legs first. Let me tell you, he’s been ridiculously flexible since childhood, so I have my work cut out for me.

I have this little routine where I do my writing after a cup of coffee with my husband early in the morning, then change into my yoga clothes (I only have one set), unroll my mat, turn the salt lamp on, grab my two trusty support pillows (I don’t have a block), and hit play on my video. For the next 20-30 minutes, I’m completely removed from the rest of the world. I turn off my phone, stop thinking about anything but the instructor’s words, and truly focus on my yoga. After months of trauma, I can’t tell you what an achievement that is.

When the video is done, it’s amazing and kind of disappointing how quickly I get up, roll up the mat and get on with the day. But I find that if I take too long in corpse pose, my mind begins to float back to things that bring stress or a sense of urgency. So today, when I’m done with my yoga, I’m going to switch the video to a Buddhist chanting video and focus on the sounds I hear. Maybe just for 10 minutes or so. I want to see how this affects my practice.

What do you do to after yoga? Are you right back into daily life, or do you take some more time for yourself? And which will make a difference in your day? I’m going to give this a shot for a few days and let you know how it goes. Looking forward to a healthier me through life on the yoga mat. (And yeah, that’s totally me in the picture…)