Admit it.

Saying the word yoga conjures up bendy white women in spandex twisting themselves into human pretzels.

Part of yoga is that. But there’s so many other ways to do yoga, and to use your yoga.

To me, yoga is a way of BEing. It’s the deep breaths, the calm focus, the trusting of your own body.

This is true more than just on the mat. What you learn on your yoga mat needs to translate into your daily life, in order for yoga to be yoga. Because the presence of God you felt on your mat or the asana that you finally broke through because of that laser focus on the sweat drip in front of you won’t really matter if you are still foaming at the mouth with road rage and getting angry at your coworker for that annoying thing she always does with her mouth.

I remember rock climbing a few years back and hesitating when I got 3/4 of the way to the top. I wasn’t sure of where to put my foot next and I guess it was evident in my body language that I was internally freaking out. A fellow yoga instructor yelled out,

“USE YOUR YOGA!!”

I looked down and smiled, suddenly knowing what to do with myself. I took a deep breath and confidently continued to the top, actually believing that I could, with no doubts in my mind. My problem was internal; a fight my brain was having because I wasn’t remembering the principles I learned during my 200 hour teacher training and the years of asana practice I had under my belt. Since then I always try to use my yoga off the mat—though not always successful, it’s a good thing to strive for.

Here are some ways you can incorporate yoga into your life without actually getting barefoot on a mat:

  1. Be conscious about what you eat. Make sure you are not disrespecting your body and eating only because you are bored or because others are eating. Also try not to eat like a child at a birthday party.
  2. When something about somebody bothers you, ask yourself if maybe that quality bothers you about yourself.
  3. Honor mama Earth. She’s our only one. Don’t throw your trash on the ground. Walk instead of driving or taking public trans whenever you can.
  4. Love. Let your life be the proof of God’s Love. You are bankrupt without love. Love on your loved ones but also love on people at work, people at the farmer’s market…anyone you come across. You never know the bad day you could turn around by simply smiling.
  5. Whole ass whatever you do. Never half ass anything.