What sets yoga apart from other forms of exercise, is that it extends beyond the edge of your mat and into your life. Yes, I will agree, that there are people who show up, do their yoga, and go home, with no thought to what they are doing. But what’s the point? I am a strong believer that the reward is the journey, not the destination, and we should stop and smell the roses, because you never know what you may find.

With that in mind, how can yoga improve your life? It helps us learn to be content and not to compare ourselves to others. I see it all the time while teaching: you begin to describe a posture, and watch it unfold differently on the mats. Some just jump right into the posture, while others look around and make adjustments based on what those around them are doing. Every time, there is someone who goes beyond their physical ability because they want to “look like everyone else”. I also think they are many people who stay away from yoga all together because of their lack of flexibility (see I can’t do yoga I’m not flexible).

At the end of the day, it is quite simple, each person is so wrapped up into their own universe on their mat, that they don’t have time to worry about what you are doing, what you’re wearing, how messy your yoga hair is, or anything about you! Humans are almost always concerned with our appearance to others, and may sometimes be so consumed by it, that we pay no mind to what is going on around us. This doesn’t mean that the experienced yogi is so detached from this that they spend the entire class period judging you. They are paying attention to their body and how their mind responds to the physical demands of the class. Besides, if you’ve ever been in a class, the millisecond you start thinking of something else is the exact moment where you fall flat on your booty. With our yoga, we hope to come to a place where we no longer judge ourselves or others, we instead appreciate where we are in the moment (whether it is physically, emotionally, spiritually, or whatever) and just let go of the rest. Including worrying about what others are thinking of us.

Once you learn to do this on the mat, off the mat is a piece of cake.