Lessons off the mat

Some thoughts on how yoga has affected me off the mat, published today in the Sun newspaper:

People sometimes look dubiously at my large frame as soon as I mention that I teach and practise yoga. At times, I feel compelled to say I have strangely flexible hips as a response. Usually though, people respond by saying that they always wished they could start with yoga, but they aren’t flexible enough.

Physical flexibility has little to do with mat practice. What we learn on the mat is so much more than that. But let’s start with flexibility…

Can I be flexible enough to not assert my right of way as a motorist and allow an aggressive driver to cut in? Can I be patient and compassionate enough with a co-worker, notwithstanding his or her obnoxiousness? Can I be brave enough and take a leap of faith in a life decision?

While it is true that my hips are strangely good for childbearing, the flexibility, compassion, patience and courage that yoga has taught me off the mat is of far greater practical use than having bendy leg-behind-the-head kind of hips.

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