Relinquishing Control: Taking Yoga Outside of the Studio
When we practice yoga in a studio, many environmental factors are altered or controlled, in efforts to optimize our experience on the mat. This is a great place to start, or to visit periodically, to create a kind of control experiment. But the real yoga happens when we take it outside the studio.
This happens in many ways– when we take our practice “off the mat,” so to speak. Many times, this expression refers to just living, applying the principles of your practice in everyday life. But I am somewhat obsessed with exploring a middle ground: taking the actual yoga practice, asana, meditation, pranayama, to new venues. Parks, mountains, and conference rooms are amazing places to explore the far reaches of your body and your mind.
In these unconventional yoga locales, the teacher has much less control over the environment than in a typical yoga studio. He or she can’t crank the heat, level out the ground, or keep out every external disturbance. Kinda like life. You can’t always make sure the room is at a particular heat and humidity level, you can’t always make the external sounds disappear, and the proverbial ground is certainly not always level. Our real practice, in yoga and in life, is to find balance, strength, and integrity within reality. It is rare that reality presents us with ideal conditions in which to operate.
So next time you have the chance, try yoga in a park, on boat, at the top of a mountain, or in your office. Then leave a comment, let us know how it goes!
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown