During class today as I rolled out my yoga mat, I couldn’t help but notice how beat up my mat was looking.  It was kind of comical to witness the spots the mat is the most worn out, displaying my downward dog hand and footprints.  Even the rubber weave in some spots is just about worn out.  Ironically, a fellow student next to me unrolled a brand new mat and I overheard her commenting on how its brand new smell was a bit much, not to mention she felt the mat was TOO sticky!  (Who would have thought?)  I looked back at my sad little beat up mat and smiled to myself, acknowledging that my mat was much more comparable to us human beings.  A little beat up!

No matter where you look, it seems no one is safe from being untouched by life.  I am convinced that God has a sense of humor…and a very interesting way of ensuring we continue to recognize that we are human and NOT this big ego that goes his or her entire life untouched, unbruised and scar free.    Spiritual leaders, political figures, movie stars, famous yoga teachers/gurus…ask yourself, are there any human beings out there that haven’t risen and fallen?  Are there any human beings out there that have never experienced fear, anger, jealousy, greed or helplessness?

I do not like to acknowledge the fact that I can be quick tempered, overly sensitive, or just plain angry at times.  None of us do!  But if I am not willing to acknowledge this side of my personality, then how can I continue to strive to grow?  And how in the world can I teach if I haven’t learned and struggled and continue to struggle through anything myself?  If we were always carefree, peaceful and happy, how interesting would life be?  And how could we appreciate joy if it was the only emotion we knew?

Now let’s bring this discussion to the mat.  Do you think you would be able to enjoy and celebrate your yoga practice if you popped up into Eka Pada Bakasana your first yoga class (translation for this pose-all you need to know is that it is HARD!)  And what about that steady mind that starts to find its way into your practice?  Why bother going back to class if you had it all on day one!

Yoga has been and continues to be a wonderful teacher for me.  Classes have varied through the years from heartfelt and abundantly fulfilling to exhausting, frustrating and (yes, I am going to say it even as a teacher) BORING!  But isn’t that what it’s all about?  The whole enchilada, right?  And I’d rather have the whole spicy, messy and goopy enchilada than just a bite.

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