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The answer is on the mat

Much can be inferred from watching what happens on the mat. Rushing on the mat, perpetually looking to the next pose, to the end of the class, to what will happen after, implies the same in life: the present moment is ignored, the diamond of experience becoming ubiquitous dirt, only subconsciously registered. Appreciation for what each moment of the practice teaches - stretch, balance, power, and breath - extends to gratitude for flexibility, centerdness, strength, and calmness in daily life.

Pushing beyond the limitations of the body to the point of injury shows the same behavior in life: lack of preparation, patience, and study, being sacrificed for the gratification of the ego at the cost of joint and muscle injury, the slightest pull leaving the muscle more injury prone and joint for ever unstable. Respect for the body and its learning curve is merely an instance of the bigger respect for the learning process associated with life in general.

Unwillingness to be challenged, embarrassed, to gently press at the borders of personal limits, shows the same fear of change or failure in life. Need for a constantly changing routine may show an inability for contentment. Dislike for meditation may imply a fear of introspection; a constant need for it - escapism.

Paying attention to the practice can show us what we need to work on in life. Too fast? Slow down; life is now. Too sore after class? Pull back and be kind to your body; one can only honestly extend to others the respect that is available for the self. Don't like change? Growth requires it; waters stagnate without flow. Need constant stimulation? Consider what is already there; something needs looking at. Find meditation boring? The answers are inside. Want to meditate all day? Look around; you'll see something.

Too much or too little? Whatever the question, the answer can be found on the mat. All it requires is a willingness to seek and wait for it.

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