7_4 blog independence image

Finding Independance on the Mat

“Independence isn’t doing your own thing, it’s doing the right thing, on your own.”

–Kim John Payne

 Svatantrya =Independence

Pose = Savasana

Happy Independence Day!  240 years ago our ancestors declared independence from what they felt was tyrannical rule.  Today we celebrate that freedom with family and fireworks–an ode to both what we fought for and the battles that were fought.  


We continue to fight all kinds of little battles all day long in our modern lives.  Yoga is frequently a way for us to find the strength for these daily challenges.  Showing up on our mat is a gift to ourselves.  We arrive there for a lots of different reasons.  Some of us want to change our bodies, some of us want to clear our minds and others just want an hour of peace and quiet.  It doesn’t matter why we practice, only that we do it.  For 5-minutes, 30-minutes or maybe 90-minutes every second we get counts.  When we respect what our bodies, minds, and spirits need we free ourselves from the constraints of work, family, stress, and responsibility.


The thing about our yoga practice is that it’s an ever-changing, ever-evolving activity.  (That’s why we call it a practice).  It’s never about perfection, indeed there is no such thing within yoga.  There is no “perfect” there’s just growth- inside about out.  Our bodies grow stronger.  We grow better at harnessing our mind and quieting our thoughts.  We grow closer to peace.  The tricky part is really letting go of where we want to be or where we believe we ought to be in favor of finding peace where we are and growing in that acceptance.  


Our practice grows stronger when we understand that our lives are different day to day.  Some days we wake up feeling well-rested and ready to take on the world.  Some days we’re tired and our bodies are fatigued.  There are days when it feels like we don’t have a care in the world and days when it feels like the universe is conspiring to drive us mad.  The trick, when we land on our mat, is to do our best to forget those things.  We need to respect our tired (or energized bodies) and let that guide our choices on the mat.  Do we go for that headstand or do we take child’s pose?  Do we take the full extension of a pose or do we gently modify? Really listening to what is going on in our bodies and minds gives us the opportunity to do more with our yoga practice than just powering through the poses.  Respecting our inner voice free us from our pre-conceived ideas about ourselves and gives us room to grow.  The more we grow, the more we learn.


Sometimes what we learn on the mat happens when we least expect it, in savasana.  It’s that moment when we’ve worked hard enough to drop all pretense.  It’s the moment when we stop moving, listening or doing anything so that we can really sink into silence.  Savasana is arguably the most important pose in the asana sequence and yet it’s one that requires no physical effort.  It’s the few minutes we’re given to take the physical practice and let it work it’s magic on our minds.  Laying on the mat, eyes closed, we can just be with ourselves.  

We find our freedom from everyday life within the 4 corners of our mat.  It doesn’t matter if we have a flexible body, if our poses are picture perfect, or if we have the stereotypical yoga body.  We can let it all go on the mat.  We can forget it all.  We can just be.  Us, on our own.  So, forget the rest.  Just show up, (that’s the key), and do the right thing for you.



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