Skip Nav

Ways to Live Yoga Outside of Class

Off the Mat: The Lessons of Living Yoga

The peace and tranquility you experience during yoga can extend far beyond class — I'm a big believer in the benefits of yoga off the mat. Living yoga doesn't translate to an isolated existence on a private island or chanting on a picturesque mountaintop; you can easily incorporate aspects of your practice into your everyday life. Making these connections will help you feel happier and more connected through your day-to-day hustle.

Have a beginner's mind: Hitting the mat with no preconceived notions about what you can or can't accomplish is referred to (and revered) as the "beginner's mind." Approaching your practice with fresh perspective can be easily translated towards a ton of different areas in your life. Doing your best not to replay past experiences in the present will constantly surprise you.

Breathe more: The connection of movement to breath is central to the practice of yoga, but it's surprisingly easy to forget to breathe during the day. Making a point to check in with yourself will call attention to your daily relationship with your breath — you may realize you haven't really taken a good, deep breath yet. Even if you don't have the time to start your day off with a morning meditation, taking a handful of deep, full-belly breaths will get you excited for what's to come, instead of calculating all the stressful things on your list.


Turn inward: As you go deeper and deeper in your yoga, you'll stop checking out everyone around the room, and instead focus on what's going on with you. This was one of the most meaningful lessons I took off my mat. Instead of looking to other people or things for praise, validation, or solace, take the time to tune and turn in. It may be difficult at first to retrain your brain, but you'll be happy with what you find.

Calm expectations:You may hit up a class with a teacher you love and expect your experience to be just like the last time, but every day we bring something different to the table. If you're embarking on a new adventure or opportunity, there's no reason you can't be excited for what's to come, but it's best to stop playing out the scene in your head.

Quit the lists: I am definitely guilty of hanging in Savasana on a Saturday morning and thinking about what my next move will be once I leave class. Making lists is a great tool to stay organized throughout the day, but writing your obligations down once a day will suffice. Constantly counting up everything you have to do will only make you feel bogged down when you could be enjoying the moment.

Be open: Above all else, let the judgments go. This doesn't just go for other people; it absolutely goes for yourself. A job opportunity or new workout may sound crazy and out of your comfort zone, but it could end up being an incredible experience. You'll never know unless you try.

Image Source: Corbis Images
Latest Fitness