Yoga Without Asana

Sometimes, yoga and meditation look just like the pictures you see on Instagram: hot, flowing sequences, blissed out contemplations seated in Lotus…the works. But for me, more often than not, yoga is none of these things.

Over the years, my yoga practice has evolved from something that I was hesitant to try, to something I wanted to achieve, to finally something I genuinely enjoy. And a very big part of that enjoyment stems from the fact that I’ve let my practice evolve beyond the confines of my mat.

To me, yoga isn’t something that you do – it’s a mindset, a way of being. In my own life, yoga – true yoga – begins when I step off of my mat and attempt to carry the lessons I’ve learned out into my everyday life as a living, breathing, flawed New Yorker. That’s the magic, that’s the true practice.

So what happens when yoga begins to grow past the poses and backbends? It begins to take shape in other, more simplistic forms every single day…

Yoga is consciously feeling each time my foot makes contact with the pavement.

Yoga is noticing my breath on the subway.

Yoga is leaving my phone at home to enjoy a walk with my dog, uninterrupted.

Yoga is painting on the floor of my living room.

Yoga is cooking and baking.

Yoga is meeting a new person and genuinely connecting with them, soul to soul.

Yoga is journaling and writing.

Yoga is my weekly therapy sessions.

Yoga is a cool, refreshing shower.

Yoga is allowing myself to cry.

Yoga is loss.

Yoga is belly laughing.

Yoga is taking an afternoon nap.

Yoga is having great sex.

Yoga is meeting a friend for coffee.

Yoga is slowing down.

Yoga is connection.

Yoga is love.

…just a little food for thought…

What does your yoga practice look like off the mat? Tell me in the comments!

One Comment Add yours

  1. KD says:

    I think I practice yoga off the mat by bringing my whole self to my job; committing to value actions daily (this looks different from day to day, sometimes helping a friend with homework, sometimes offering free yoga classes to the community). I think I practice yoga when I show up for connection with the other members of Kuneo (the worship group I sometimes attend). By letting myself sigh out my stress. By breathing noticeably to help someone else regulate their breathing.

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