“The mastery of yoga,” says T.K.V. Desikachar, “must not be measured simply by the ability to master the techniques of yoga like asana and pranayama, but by how it influences our day-to-day living, how it enhances our personal relationships, and how it promotes clarity and peace of mind.”
•Taking Yoga Off Your Mat is not as much about yoga as it is about applying the lessons you learn about yourself through the practice of yoga. You don’t have to practice yoga asana, the physical postures of yoga, to learn about yourself. But you do have to be willing to apply the lessons you learn about yourself while doing yoga. To reap the rewards of a more fulfilling life, you must be willing to put these lessons into practice in your daily life.
If you want to be happy, at peace, in balance and have an all-around sense of well being, there are certain attitudes and actions you should avoid, and certain attitudes and actions you should cultivate. Taking Yoga Off Your Mat is a metaphor for practicing actions and attitudes that bring body, mind and spirit into alignment, and help you remain focused, calm, and non-reactive in the face of life’s inevitable challenges.
Whether the practices you cultivate are practices you learn in yoga or in psychological counseling, you must apply these practices to your daily life in order to reap the benefits. In other words, to derive maximum benefit from psychological counseling you have to take your therapy off the couch and apply what you learn in therapy to your everyday life. By the same token, to derive the maximum benefit from yoga, you have to take your yoga off the mat and apply what you learn to everyday life so that everything you do and say becomes an asana.••