What is Off the Mat Yoga?
Off The Mat Yoga was created to help you get the best out of your yoga practice, to prevent injuries and to help you feel good in your movements on and off the yoga mat. It is also to guide you in using your yoga poses as a guide in your everyday movements whenever possible. Through basic yoga poses and other daily movements, you will be guided both verbally and with a gentle touch to trigger your own postural reflexes. They are responsible for your best postural balance and ease of movement and can help you perform your best yoga yet! Check the blog on postural reflexes for more info about what these reflexes are and what they can do for you.
On The Mat Yoga and Off The Mat Yoga are the two sides of the same coin. The way you understand and perform movements in your everyday life affects how you understand and perform yoga poses and movements. The reverse is true as well, the benefits of your yoga practice can help you handle life movements differently. You may have focused on getting more flexible or strong. You may have focused on learning the proper form. You may have focused on practicing being in the present moment and all these benefits of yoga are why people do go to yoga classes. However, many people still get hurt doing yoga, including some teachers. Many shy away from yoga from fear of getting hurt. And this does not have to be so! Many of you may have already experience moments of yoga or daily movements where everything seems to work together effortlessly, only you don’t necessarily know how you got there and how to get back to it instantaneously. Learning how to trigger your postural reflexes is the way to get to that place of perfect integration.
Yoga injuries and other types of injuries often happen because you have not been told how to activate your postural reflexes. Even when your teacher says “do what is right for you”; you only know how to control the degree of tension you use. Instead you can learn to let your postural reflexes do their job of reorganizing your whole body so unnecessary tension can be released on demand instantaneously. Learning about postural reflexes activation outside of the yoga mat helps you develop greater awareness of your ways of being and moving when you are off the mat. This way, you won’t bring harmful unconscious habits of movement to your yoga mat and you’ll feel better more of the time!
The truth is that your yoga class is likely to be overcrowded and your teacher has neither the time nor the skill to help you in this way. She is there to teach you the form as best she can. There is often a discrepancy between what she asks you to do and how you interpret it in your body; besides, the fact is that she is not trained in this primitive understanding of the body functioning nor is it her responsibility to teach you how to use your body in cooperation with your postural reflexes on and off the mat.
Coming soon: Off The Mat Yoga & Smartphones?