Movement on the Mat

Amazing to consider how movement begins – how it is to be at the point where your body extends the “you” that is inside and takes it out into the world by shifting some physical part of you.  I wonder how much our movement follows intention and how much it supports our intention of being in the world when we begin to move into and out of yoga postures on the mat.  How different are these movements than the ones we do when off the mat?  How much more attention is involved in beginning movement on your yoga mat?

Do you decide ahead of time how to move – what posture to do?  Is there a sequence to follow?  Is it familiar and routine?  Is there an ideal of what the movement looks like or feels like?  Does it feel like stepping onto your mat or sitting in lotus is where you begin moving, or is that something like a prelude to movement?  Does it matter?

Perhaps it matters only in the level of awareness brought to beginning movement and appreciating what moves you to move.  What might it be like to allow the emergence of movement in whatever way it shows up at that moment on the mat?  What does that look like?   Do you begin with small motions and low energy, in a way that you honor the process of beginning?  Perhaps you start with warm-ups, creating heat and then sparking fire.   Imagine jumping onto the mat and throwing yourself into big energetic movements right away.  How would that serve as a beginning?

Or is there a settling down of energy that happens when you step onto the mat?  Moving into stillness and allowing movement to emerge from there.  The energy that drives your movement can be subtle or consuming, and it can also be drawn from that expansive range in between.  Beginning motion on the yoga mat can serve this energy in different ways.  Sometimes moving might be about creating more energy, and, at other times, it may be in service of controlling or managing the energy that’s there.

For sure, there are shifts of energy in motion throughout your practice.  I’m suggesting that there’s a flow in your movement on the mat – moment to moment – from beginning to middle to end.  I don’t mean in terms of a vinyasa flow or choreographed movement, but motion that has the energy of a wave.  You may not always be aware of exactly where and how it begins, but somethings shifts when you begin moving on your mat.

So the next time you begin your yoga practice, consider these questions – What happens to the “me” when I bring my full awareness to moving my breath and body on the mat?   Am I the mover or am “I” what’s moved?

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