5 Ways To Practice Yoga Off Your Mat


Everyone is familiar with the on-mat goals of yoga: mastering crow, touching your nose to your knees in forward-fold, and making it through an entire seventy-five minute power flow class without facing the wrong direction. We’re also familiar with the awesome feeling that you get once you get to relax into savasana, and that carries with you for the rest of your day, that head in the clouds, sun shining, birds singing, lollipops and rainbows feeling. What you may not know is that the physical asanas of yoga aren’t the only way to reap yogic benefits. Here’s twelve ways to tap into them.

1. Take A Deep Breath

Also known as pranayama, mastering your breath is one of the eight limbs of yoga (that’s right, your CorePower class is only one of eight limbs). When your feeling anxious or stressed, breath out for four counts, hold for four, and then breathe in for four. Do the reverse when you’re feeling depressed. They relax and energize, respectfully. Or simply take a few minutes out of your day and focus on your breath. It’s centering, trust me.

2. Be Content

It’s also known as being present. Maybe you’re unhappy with your job. Or perhaps you’re nervous about your future or unsettled about your past. This constant stress and discomfort regarding the state of our lives leads to suffering within our daily lives. Learn to live, and be happy with the life you’re living. Wherever you are is exactly where you are supposed to be right now. You are perfectly you.

3. Embody Loving Kindness

There’s a few of the Yamas that pertain to this particular idea, mainly Ahimsa, non-violence, and asteya, non-stealing. Aim to hurt no one and to steal nothing from anyone. When you’re sitting in traffic and someone cuts you off, resist from flipping them the bird. When someone is trying to merge into your lane when they should have gotten over about 800 feet ago, let them in. Don’t hurt anyone with your anger. Don’t steal from anyone’s happiness. Implementing these concepts in something as commonplace as road rage will yield immeasurable improvements in your own mood.

4. Embody Loving Kindness Towards Yourself

You deserve as much love and consideration as anyone else. Don’t discount yourself or your own validity. Don’t insult yourself, or guilt yourself, or belittle yourself. Would you talk to others the way you talk to yourself? Know that you are a “bearer of divine essence” (Iyengar), just as much so as anyone else. And therefore we are all deserving of respect and love.

5. Let Go of Anything That Doesn’t Serve You

Anything. That frenemy who makes you behave poorly. The couple of beers to many that cause you to wake up in the morning unhappy with your life choices. The overindulgences of western life that detract from your purity. Let go of the things that are holding you back, and fill your life with goodness and happiness.