Our Own Mat

By  Vanessa Webb | 

If we assume that our Asana practice is reflective of our walk through life, then our Asana practice can be seen as an opportunity to really grasp the understanding that ultimately, we are finding our way through life on our own.  Sure, we might call on the help of those around us for wisdom and support, much the same as using props in Asana practice…such as straps and blocks and even the wall.  But when we take those props away…those comforts that we invite in to our situation which can often represent striving for something other than the moment we are standing in, we begin to discover that no matter how much support there may be, it’s our own understanding and knowledge which needs to grow and stretch in order to find our personal way through.  

There is such vulnerability and power in understanding this…that we’re standing on the mat alone.  The truth is, that without the props (which can tangle our minds in distraction while we figure out how to use them) we will begin to naturally find the pose IF, and when we’re ready to slow down enough to be still and hear our own voice.  We are intelligent beings and this is so easily forgotten….no matter what props we are using in life.  We need to have enough faith to test our inner intelligence in order for it to stretch and grow.  Being flexible enough to adjust when it’s clear that we need to. 

There is intelligence within stillness, from which we unfold in whatever capacity.  When we give way to that stillness, we gain the intelligent use of props, deciphering when is the appropriate time to use them and which ones are appropriate to use…allowing them to help us help ourselves.  This is far different from relying on them, being distracted by them, and getting tangled up in them.

From this place of stillness (equally intelligence) we take the inner aggression out of our Asana practice…the aggression and therefore the violence, toward ourselves in whatever way we’ve personally chosen to push ourselves beyond capacity, or not push ourselves at all (as laziness is as violent as aggression).

So, next time you’re on your mat, give yourself a chance to feel that exquisite softness of vulnerability of it just being you on your mat reaching into your stillness.  Find your way through your practice, understanding the personal strength gained from being on your own mat, stretching that vulnerability into wisdom.