On The Mat


There's a place I find myself about 5 (ish) times a week... a mat.

My yoga mat or my barre studio mat.

Normally my two go-to work outs are one or the other.

That mat is there for support, comfort, and space.

That space averages about 24 inches by 68 inches.

That's my space.

On that mat, doing poses and routines that my mind is very familiar with, sometimes I get lost in the motions of the class. Forgetting where I'm at, thinking about my to-do list, replaying a past or possible future event over and over in my head.

Why is that happening?

This is not where I stop and judge myself... this is where I ask myself little questions (as my amazing machine aka my body is doing all this crazy stuff that I still can not believe it can) nice questions like "why are we thinking about this?" "what feeling does that give you?".... not "why are you thinking about that, thats so dumb, its not even real or happening" you know that talk... no one needs that talk. (If you talk to yourself that way, stop! Like now!)

Very simple questions stop a thought process from going into overdrive for me. "Where are you now?" "Who is beside you?" "What is your body doing?". Those dudes normally get me back into the present moment. Hence being here now.

Maybe the thought and question section is to take away from the possible discomfort I could be experiencing in the moment (Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It actually can be a good thing to not over dramatize the class and make the workout harder), or maybe its a brain storm of ideas to try on different things and see what fits.

What?

Follow me here.

When you think a thought, you aren't the thinker of the thought. Yeah I just said that.

You aren't. You are the person behind the thought looking at it happening. Like being in an empty movie theater watching images on a screen. Just like that. And the words/images (aka your thoughts) are being displayed on it.

It isn't a moment (as a movie goer) to attach to every single thought. It's a moment to sit back, grab your popcorn, and then (do what every single person does these days... hi yelp!) comment or say what you like and don't like.

We don't need to claim every single thought that goes through our heads as ours. It can be a number of things that your brain picked up on.

What does all this have to do with the mat?

For years, I use to think as I did my routines/practice/workouts on a mat that the thoughts that came up were mine. And then I would think on top of that "oh great now I also have to work on this, where is all this coming from, I didn't even know that that affected me anymore" and so on and so forth. The workout became so much more exhausting because my mental and physical energy was now both drained. I'm sure a little bit of my spiritual level was in there too trying to fight it from happening.

Throw in mirrors.

Yeah fucking mirrors.

Mirrors are in all work out rooms. All of them!

And not only are we in our heads having a battle, but now we are make up free (I hope you are if you're working out) looking at ourselves as we sweat and get flushed and compare and well you know how this goes.

Then those thoughts get thrown in with the other thoughts... and its just a mixed bowl of shit.

(No wonder so many people don't work out!)

Ok, we got mats and mirrors and thoughts and other things...

A simple moment, a simple routine just became so super complicated. And who made it that way? Well in this case, its you. You did this to you. Sorry but true.

Why would you do that?

Why are we so hard on ourselves?

Where am I going with all this?

Today... on my 24 by 68 inches of island... I had to stand very close to the mirror. Like super close, because the whole yoga studio was filled up.

It was a "moment", as my body and mind have been really tired of late. I had to face myself and my underworked body both in states they aren't normally in.

It was an opportunity to ask myself... What thoughts are going to pop up today on this 24 by 68 mat, in this room at I don't even know how many degrees, looking at a face that was woken up at 7:30am for a meeting it didn't want to go to, after drinking a shit ton of wine the night before because it did want to do that?

What you got today?!

The answer.... praise.

I'm sorry?

That's right... I was so fucking happy to face myself and my body and my puffy-ness and my mind... it was a challenge that I knew was like "game on bitch."

You see I've played this little Mat game for so long, that it's like getting your name on the score board for the most points. I'm good at it. I'm very good at it. In fact I could have competed as being the champ on the bad end of it.

The bad end?

Yes the thoughts, giving into them, listening to them like they're Bible (<---- I'm not religious at all, but you get what I mean.)

And right as we began, and that face was in my face... before I even had a moment to turn anything on... my Yoga teacher had this to say:

"Today I would like you to focus on this quote. 'Anything that annoys you is teaching you patience. Anyone who abandons you is teaching you how to stand on your own two feet. Anything that angers you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion. Anything that has power over you is teaching you how to take your power back. Anything you hate is teaching you unconditional love. Anything you fear is teaching you courage to overcome your fear. Anything you can't control is teaching you how to let go.'"

This bitch.

This bitch knew. She knew what I was the former champion of, and she knew that she was going to let me know before I even started any beast up that it ain't happening.

There on my 24 by 68, I had all my answers before the thought monster started asking me all the questions.

The bad thoughts, ownership of them, master of shitty thinking was over before it even began.

So with no other options, I looked right at myself and said "you're a fucking bad ass." And boom, just like that I was a fucking bad ass.

You see thought process, happy thoughts, its work! And bad thoughts, the ones we allow to creep around all the time, they don't really ever leave. We have to keep working on or off the mat (your mat can be whenever... you get it.)

Bad thoughts, are like trash, shitty pants... they smell and need to get thrown out!

Routine like flushing the toilet, throwing out the trash, and deleting your inbox filled with emails you will not unsubscribe from (hahaha you know it) have been made over time, and we need to view this as exactly the same.

So on my mat today, I looked at myself in praise for all the hard work I continue to do, and all the healthy habits I will not leave behind but rather move forward and build upon.

Who knew, that one small area of space, could create so many profound thoughts, that help move forward a healthier being.

I mean really, who the fuck knew?!

Find whatever your "mat" is, view your thoughts, divide and conquer which ones are serving you, and then acknowledge how far you've come (even if your standing in the same exact spot as you were before. Which is exactly where you're supposed to be anyway.)

All my love to you all,

LP