My heart is racing. Someone is in my mat spot!
Have you ever experienced this reaction? It generally happens after a busy or stressful day. You battle phone calls and traffic to arrive in time for class. As you walk into the yoga room… you are shocked…someone is in your mat spot! Now what?
I experienced these feelings often early in my Bikram Yoga practice. I had a complete checklist that I needed to maintain for what I thought would be the perfect practice. The checklist went something like this:
- Favorite yoga mat
- Slip resistant yoga towel
- Hand towel for my face & body
- Coordinating yoga outfit
- The all important – frozen bottle of water (before the days of Hydroflask bottles)
- Same exact mat spot in the yoga room
I guess you can understand now why I needed yoga so much. I was so rigid in my thinking that something like not having an item on my list would completely throw me off or give me an excuse not to show up for class.
I believe it is our mind’s natural defense system to gravitate to our comfort zones when we experience stress. These are areas where we feel safe from all the threats in the world….a difficult conversation, a stressful day, bad news, etc.
I followed this natural gravitational pattern for years. It wasn’t until one my Instructors challenged my thinking that I began to realize it was not serving me so well.
I showed up late for class. The yoga room was packed. My favorite mat spot was taken. I turned to leave but ran into the Instructor. She knew me pretty well. She told me that the back corner of the room had more than sufficient space for my mat.
At a Crossroad
She said, “why don’t you give this area of the room a try today?” Wow….I was at a crossroad. Do I stay and take class or come up with a reason to leave?
My pride ruled so I decided to stay. You will not believe what happened. I actually had a really good class. Yes, I felt awkward as I was outside of my comfort zone. I also felt a sense of freedom and escape from my rigid thinking. It took something silly like this mat spot situation for me to realize my behaviors were not serving me well.
Is your thinking or behaviors holding you back from experiencing freedom of all that life has to offer? If so, I would encourage you to try “a new mat spot”. I am not suggesting a radical departure from your comfort zone. Just try something that is a little beyond what you believe is possible. Give it a try and let me and others know how you experience this new frontier. How is the view different from a “new mat spot”?