On the Mat and in the World

I began my vinyasa yoga teacher training last Saturday. My head’s been swimming with Sanskrit, ancient Hindu texts, and physiology. I had a moment, or rather many moments, of panic. Maybe I’m in over my head. Maybe this process was a very bad idea given the vertical learning curve I’m clearly on, with no end in sight. It was all a bit overwhelming until one of my instructors, Johanna, made a very simple statement that put the entire teacher training process in perspective for me. “As you are in the mat so you are in the world.” And for that matter, vice versa.

I love to be in over my head. I love the feeling of constant learning, the challenge of gaining knowledge in a world where just around every bend there is more to discover. So of course I would join a program where I am in over my head. It’s where I am most at home, and most alive.

With this realization, my body began to relax and my mind followed. You see, there is never an end to learning yoga. We will never know it all – it’s a 6,000 year science / art / practice. And even if God willing I live to a very ripe old age, there will always be more to learn. I’ll never be perfect in my practice, nor in my teaching. My only job is to show up on that mat and do the best work I can, while also inspiring those around me to do their best, too. In yoga, we are all always enough. On the mat, we give what we have and receive what comes to us. And come to think of it, that’s a nice way to live in the world, too.

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