I had the great fortune of taking several workshops and classes with Maty Ezraty, a yoga teacher who died suddenly this summer. Some of you have heard me say this before, but she started each class with reminding us how privileged we were to be practicing yoga. She had a lot of important things to say and I learned a great deal in a short amount of time attending her workshops and classes. But, she was adamant about us understanding this--that it was a privilege to practice yoga...and "with that privilege comes a duty to be kind, to share a smile, and to offer the yoga from the mat into the rest of your life". She was also adamant about that part, too.
Just this week I have talked to several different people who have either recommitted to doing more yoga or who have said they are having a hard time being motivated to practice. Sometimes during our practice we feel bored, burdened, heavy, distracted. Other times we feel light, inspired, focused, centered, soft. Notice how your practice can mimic your life! I used to think of my practice as a relationship. For most of the time, this relationship (practice) felt good, sometimes great and sometimes it was horrible. But the pictured quote above reminds me that indeed my relationship to my practice... is really about my relationship to myself.
Being on your mat is a great way to enrich this relationship in positive ways, but it takes the intention to do so. (There are a lot of practices embedded in this practice, yes?) This is why I love the above quote from Maty. I know YOU know (because I have told you so many times) that yoga is not about whether you can touch your toes or do a backbend with ease (or at all!), but it is ALSO about how you feel, think and treat yourself while bending over to touch your toes or deciding whether or not to do a backbend. Are you hard on yourself? Silly with yourself? Kind to yourself on your mat? Can you find a more loving way to be comfortable in your own skin? The more you see your practice on the mat as one of self-care, the more you listen to your body and adjust the pose to fit your body, the more compassionate and loving you are to yourself while on the mat. This is what Maty Ezraty is saying is important.
So for this upcoming fall, let us keep practicing...and practice developing a good relationship with ourselves(---with measured doses of surly self-talk, of course :0 )