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September 11, 2017

When people are new to yoga, to a studio or maybe even a new style, they will ask if they need to bring anything class. There’s an obvious answer to this question: yoga mat, water bottle, maybe a towel and of course wear clothes you can move in.

But what about the other side of the question, the less obvious side?

You may have had a teacher tell the class to leave anything that’s not serving you at the door; that you don’t want to be bringing your stress, negativity, or even thoughts of a shopping list onto the mat with you. Because, ultimately, those things aren’t going to help you in your practice.

There are two ways to approach this:

one is to agree that, yes, you want to check anything that’s not going to serve you (help you find mental clarity and calmness in your mind and body) at the door.It can be easier, sometimes (and for some people) to set these distractions aside and focus on your breath and movement. And by the end of class some people feel renewed and it’s up to them whether they want to pick up their distractions on the way out. It may be that those distractions are no longer distractions, and there’s no need to take them back out the door.

But sometimes we need to bring our baggage to the mat because that’s where we’re going to sort it out.

It’s on our mat that we feel safe, able to express ourselves through both movement and stillness, and not feel judgement from others or ourselves. It is on our mat that we’re able to work through the messiness of our lives; that we’re able to put the past behind us, indulge in the present moment, and live without hesitation of the future.

You may not always come to class feeling as though you need to sort some things out, but there are days when you will, and as students we should all feel as though we have that space on the mat to work out our obstacles and problems.

There is no pressure to bring anything to your mat, but the invitation is open if you choose to accept it.