Wherever I lay my MAT is home….

I’ve just come off of over a month of traveling.  Some of it has been for work, some for pleasure. Some has been local, some international.  Regardless, I have spent only two nights in “my own bed” during the last 5 weeks, and in my world, that counts as a lot of movement.  My friend Nick Dessev reminded me of a Paul Young song from the 80’s called “Wherever I Lay My Hat is Home” could be easily adapted to “Wherever I Lay My MAT is Home” for the purposes of a blogpost, and I agree with him – it’s a fitting thought!

I travel with a lightweight travel yoga mat.  I don’t really need to use it – it’s really so thin and threadbare at this point that it doesn’t offer me much cushion or stick.  But I like the ritual of laying it out and claiming a little patch of real estate for myself and my practice, wherever I am.   Among the places I got to do this in last month were a dining room floor in Park City, UT, a basement in Boise, ID, a loft in Moscow, ID, and the roof of a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey.  And, you know, each one of those spots worked out just fine.

One of the spots I practiced last month was on the roof of a hotel in Istanbul….with this (the Blue Mosque) in front of me!

For me, doing my practice creates my home.  Sure, it’s nice to be in a consistent space with temperature control, a pretty view and a wood floor.  But it’s not necessary.  In fact, sometimes a less familiar location and some discomfort forces me to focus even more on what I am doing on the mat in the first place.  And what is that?  I’m connecting.  Connecting my mind, my heart and my body into one integrated whole.  Connecting this integrated whole to something bigger than myself, and then drawing power and strength from this bigger source into myself so I can feel more centered, more grounded, and more, well, at home.

It’s a pretty amazing practice, really, and the more you need it, the stronger it gets.  Or, perhaps the stronger it gets, the more you put yourself into situations where you need it?

I do a lot of work on my mat with what we call “hugging to the midline.”  The midline is this imaginary (or perhaps not so imaginary!) energetic line that runs down the center of your body, giving you an axis from which to move out into the world.  When you hug into your midline, you stabilize your feet on the earth, you create your balance, and you simply feel like you know and love who you are.  When all this is working for me, I find it much easier to reach out to others, to travel to other studios to meet and share yoga with new people, and to explore foreign cultures which stretch my concept of what it means to be human. When I am disconnected and I wander off into the world, I get sick.

Another good mat spot…Springdale, UT

This go ‘round, I did not get sick.  I did not get homesick.  I did not pine for the place I just left nor look constantly forward to the next place on the agenda.  I was where I was.  And when I got back to my home, I was happy to be in it too.  That feels like an accomplishment – a tangible fruit of the practice of yoga (in case we needed any more of those….!)

 

www.bridgetlyonsyoga.com

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~ by bridgetannlyons on May 29, 2012.

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