The first time I ever rolled out a “sticky” yoga mat, I was surprised: that so-called sticky mat was totally slippery! “Why the heck do they call these things sticky mats?” I wondered?
Trying to downward dog on that slip and slide was no day at the beach for me. Luckily, my instructor noticed my struggle and offered me a towel to place under my hands, which helped. I was also offered a piece of advice that has served me not just on my mat, but in every time I start to feel a little unsteady in my life: whenever you find yourself sliding too much, sink down through your bones more, and feel the earth.
Wood You Be Mine
These days, I prefer practicing on the wood floor of my studio, and not on my mat. I love the feel of the flooring, and the sound the soles of my feet and the palms of my hands make as they sweep across the surface of the wood. I feel like I’m waltzing, and the wood floor is my steady, suave dance partner.
Like all well-aged woods, I know these floors have been touched by many hands and feet. I sense there are so many stories held in these grains, containing all the wise secrets and tricks of practitioners that have been here before me. I feel comforted by this, and not so lost. This wooden floor is like a loving grandparent, steady and wise, and I feel so at home when I practice on it.
When we love something, our attention is drawn to it and we’re more likely to return to it, over and over again. When we’re at home in our practice, we feel instantly relaxed, and that we belong. We come in anytime to heal, rest, and be reenergized.
Naturally Refreshing Breath
Yoga practices don’t have to happen solely on the mat, or at the yoga studio. One of my favorite practice times is when I’m out for a walk in my garden. The scents of the plants are so lush and enticing that I notice I take deeper, fuller breaths the second I step onto the garden path. Tiny shoots of green from seeds I planted awhile ago will take my breath away with their miraculous beauty, and when I finally exhale again, I notice my breath rhythm is now more relaxed, and my heartbeat feels calm and happy.
Breathing is the cornerstone of many yoga practices, and all the breath techniques come from experiences like the ones I have when I’m in my garden- they occur naturally. When our practice feels like they originates from a part of our life that we already enjoy, it’s easier to stick to. So, go ahead, practice what you love and build a relationship that lasts.