off the mat

Off The Mat - Grace

For this, our final week of June and our final week with the theme of "transition" we moved with the intention of linking together yoga postures on our mat. This idea that as one posture ends the next begins without pause. Similar to how as one exhale ends the inhale follows immediately, and vice versa. This connectedness creates a smooth and flowing practice. It lends itself to a slower and more mindful flow. One that is in unison with the breath.

As you step off of the mat and begin to take this idea into daily life it can manifest in many ways. As you finish events, activities, interactions, and obligations, as one chapter closes, can you begin to feel the shift towards the next? Can you take what you just experienced and learned and move intuitively with that towards wherever you're going? Can you rely on your breath to help you navigate through those shifts and changes?

Can you allow this mindset help ease the speed and suddenness with which things feel like they change? So you feel more like you're on a bike ride along rolling hills than a roller coaster? Can you use these ideas to keep yourself focused on the present and looking towards the future rather than staring behind you?

Can you find grace?

xoxo

LP

Off The Mat - Balance Through Transition

By their very nature, transitions are all about change. They are about movement from one place or task or activity to another. They are about the in between. Quite often, they are the opposite of stable.

But we can control how we move through transition. We can move haphazardly, throwing caution to the wind and mindlessly attempting to get from point A to point B. When we do this, we find ourselves easily distracted, taken off course, or taken away from our initial intention. Or we can move with care. We can plan to the best of our extent, we can be cognizant of the sensations we experience, and we can adjust our course of action based on those sensations. We can maintain a sense of mindfulness and control, even in these unstable feeling moments. We can find a sense of balance.

This week, on our mat we take this idea quite literally and play with moving in and out of balance postures. We focus on using our breath, our gaze, and our muscular activation to control, slow down, and gracefully move between postures.

When we take that idea off of our mat can we keep the same concepts at the forefront of our mind? Can we utilize the skills and tools that we inherently have (and that we continue to hone) to find that same sense of stability and balance in all of the “in betweens” and to note how this keeps us focused, on track, and calm?

xoxo

LP

Off the Mat - The Space Between

We are a generation of schedulers. 6:30AM teach yoga here, 9AM meeting here, 12PM teach again here, and so on and so forth. We move from one event, one person, one activity to the other. And we move without thinking. 

Sometimes we even move from place to place without realizing how we got there. You've experienced the sensation of driving to somewhere, getting there, and not really realizing how we got there or remembering the drive to get there. 

Our mind wanders during transitional times. We wander to past events or to what's happening in the future. Sometimes we wander days, weeks, months in advance.

This week, on our mat, we practice staying present through the transition. Making the spaces between the postures just as mindful and purposeful as the postures themselves.

Can you take that off of the mat with you? Can you purposefully use your time between your "things"? Sit down and mindfully enjoy the space? Take a different route driving and actually look at the scenery? Stay focused during interactions and conversations, even if they are short and in passing?

This week I honor the space between.

Off The Mat - Be Flexible in Your Goals and Rigid in Your Approach

As humans, we love to set goals. To have something to work towards. To create benchmarks for ourselves. 

Whether it's a birthday, a new year, a Monday, or even just the beginning of a yoga class, we approach that activity or time frame with a goal in mind. This year I'm going to lose 10 pounds. This month I'm going to read every day. Today in yoga I'm going to do a headstand.

I'm one of the biggest goal setters you'll ever meet. I live for creating goals for myself, writing them down, breaking them into smaller portions, and chronicling my way towards achieving them. So please don't mistake this blog for being one about how goal setting is a bad thing. I don't believe it is at all.

But the other half of setting goals is how you approach reaching them. What changes do you make in your hourly, daily, or weekly life? This is where many of us falter. We don't fail at achieving goals, we fail at making the small decisions each and every moment to propel us towards success with those goals.

How are you going to lose 10 pounds if you continue to hit snooze every morning and miss your workout? How are you going to read every day if you instead pick your phone up out of habit and scroll Instagram during your free time? How are you going to do a headstand if you choose not do focus on your breath and bandhas?

And that's not to say that if you made all of those decisions correctly, day in and day out, that you would 100% achieve every goal you set. There are some things out of your control. Shit happens. Life happens.

Which is why I've been focusing on the idea of being flexible in your goals but rigid in your approach. Conditioning yourself to make those small decisions that move you in the right direction each and every moment of each and every day. But removing the attachment to the outcome.

In a month you might wake up and decide you don't actually want to lose 10 pounds this year. That as you've been waking up every morning and skipping the snooze to do the workout instead you've learned that you are more concerned with doing 10 pull-ups by the end of the year rather than focusing on what the scale says. Your approach hasn't changed, but your goal has. 

Halfway through yoga class today you might find that by focusing on your breath and bandhas you feel stronger and more confident. And when you try to do a headstand, you may still fall over - but instead of feeling like a failure, you feel calm and grounded in your breath and body connection, you realize you've learned something and that you've grown as a yogi and a human.

I'll always be a goal setter. But now I'm also a routine builder, a decision maker, and more mindful of how I approach each day. Because the consistent approach breeds results, whatever those may end up being.

This week, try being flexible in your goals and rigid in your approach.

xoxo

LP

 

Off The Mat - Today I Choose To Observe

When we prepare to head to bed at night we often have a routine. Brush our teeth, lay out the clothes for the next day, set our alarms. And when we wake up, the same is true. Shut off the alarm (or hit snooze one, two, or ten times - be honest),  drink a glass of water, go pee, brush teeth, get dressed, head out for a run, have coffee and breakfast, shower, change, go to work, etc etc etc.

And we go and we do all day long. Until the going and doing are done and we're ready to re-do the nighttime routine and head to bed.

But many of us never stop to just be. To ask ourselves a simple question: How am I feeling today? How does my physical body feel? How's my energy level? What is going on inside my brain?

We don't pause to observe ourselves. Instead we become our thoughts and actions. 

When we take a yoga class it's an opportunity to pause for 60 or 75 minutes. To ignore what is going on externally and to breathe and move. 

It's a great time to check in. To notice those things about how you are truly feeling. When you take note you allow yourself time to decide how to think and act moving forward. Instead of just doing and going you can decide what you need to do and where you need to go to improve upon what you've observed.

This week we explore stopping to observe, without judgement, where we are when we step on our mat, during our practice, and after practice. And we work on how to take that off of our mat and into our every day.

xoxo

LP