Michelina, a Keyleader at Rideau Centre, was happy unrolling her mat in the back corner of the yoga studio alongside her water bottle and towel. She enjoyed yoga to complement her workout, not necessarily for the big sweat. In her own words, she doesn’t flow (rap music or the vinyasa type) very well.
Recently, when she attended Ichih Wang’s Vinyasa Flow class, Ichih encouraged her to move her mat to the centre of the room and her perspective changed in more ways than one.
move the mat
When I originally moved my mat (with Ichih’s helpful nudge), I was nervous. I was pushed out of my comfort zone and I lost the safety of my mediocre back corner spot. It turns out that it was just the push I needed to enjoy Vinyasa Flow.
When a beginner takes a yoga class or a yoga vet takes a certain class for the first time, it’s easy to take our hearts out of our practice if we’ve rolled our mats down in the back. Slipping out of the posture to try to see between the rows of Downdogs, stressing to hear an instructor leading with a quiet voice or watching those around us instead of doing yoga ourselves, can all be the result of bad mat placement.
By moving to the middle of the room, we put ourselves at the centre of the flow. We join the group and use their experience and strength in the poses to create our own tempo.
centre of the yoga studio ≠ centre of attention
When I moved into the middle of the action I was originally afraid of being watched and judged. Dressed from head to toe in my favourite lululemon gear – how dare I not be able to hold side plank like a pro?!
“No one is looking at you, don’t worry,” Ichih assured me. “They are all going through their own trials and tribulations, internal worries and physical challenges. While they are mid-practice they don’t even know you exist.”
Hold the pose, and if you can’t hold it any longer, take a deep breath and tell yourself you are strong and able to tough it out for another 3 seconds. Be proud of what you’ve achieved (be it one minute in plank or 30 seconds) and then surrender to the joy of child’s pose.
Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone can be as simple as moving our mat or as intimidating as trying a new style of yoga. Do one thing a day that scares you - how are you going to challenge yourself to gain perspective?