Flexibility and Yoga Mats

I think, since many of you are still processing the change in the orientation of the mats, it is appropriate to give a little more of the story. Some of you have talked to me, and already know all of this, but the concern I have noticed among some of you indicates to me that likely everyone is still working out things, and communication can be helpful in these circumstances.

The story is I noticed this issue some in the spring, and noticed the great resistance among students to moving us from the centrally oriented mat arrangement to the long ways facing the door we currently have adopted that works better when the class size gets larger. I knew it would be better to change it but ran into enough resistance setting out to do so that I gave it up.

When I was in India in August, Beata emailed me, and she independently had come to the same conclusion. Because of this, it struck me that my own resistance to doing it earlier was not because it wasn’t the right thing, but that I was personally avoiding the change, and the distress that it would bring to everyone.

What it boils down to is this: I know, and we know, it isn’t everyone’s favorite placement. But as class size grows, it becomes necessary to change to this formation anyways, and it is laborious and a hassle to change back and forth. As well, when we as teachers are scanning a mysore floor, it is far more efficient for us as teachers to scan the room, and know where you are, and what you need in your pose of the moment, when everyone is facing the same direction.

And you aren’t alone, I can tell you that. I think the hidden secret of Mysore, and the real reason people get up SO early to wait on the steps of the shala in India, beyond their “devotion”: The choice few that get there first, usually get the same mat space in the yoga shala in the morning. To some extent they get to pick their neighbors. And I still remember the great fuss there was, when Sharath and Guruji had the addacity to set out some mats the night before, actually taking the “mat space” of some of the most senior and advanced practitioners. Certified teachers can get upset too, and they did. I think Guruji and Sharath must have been laughing somewhere.

So in the end, I don’t know, guys, what will happen next week. Peter could come along and say, hey, can you all just change your mats so you are practicing DIAGONALLY to the wall? Then what would we all do?

No, really, I understand the discomfort that some of you feel, and I also do know there are some of you reading all this and yawning, (if you are still even reading), because you don’t really care. But my understanding of the mind side of this yoga, it should help us to become less attached and identified with things, and more at ease with what comes down the pike. And both Beata and I are trying to do the right thing. We can assure you that if and when things change, and it becomes appropriate, we will certainly go back to how it was before. Likely as before we will all be attached to this way, and have to go through the adjustment all over again. Those of you who have been here a while will most likely understand the irony if that too.


One thought on “Flexibility and Yoga Mats

  1. Fiona Hynes

    I would put my mat on the ceiling to be practicing in YIY with all you awesome teachers and students!

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