There have been quite a few books published on the topic of doing yoga “off the mat”. Click here for an example. The idea is that we practice yoga on the mat with a certain philosophical approach in mind and we take what we learn into our everyday activities. So thus, yoga off the mat is informed by new wisdom.
Today, I was felt nicely chilled out from my early morning practice (despite very chilly winter temperatures outdoors). After practice I got stuck into housework while Daniel worked away at his computer.
Now you yogis all know about “citta vrtti”, the whirlpools of mental activity that – often unconsciuosly – pull us hither and thither, mostly away from the present moment.
Well, I was dusting and vacuuming away and suddenly noticed my thoughts going around in dark eddies with a decidedly martyr-ish flavour. Which eddies I’m prone to fall into when housecleaning.
My internal conversation went something like this: I don’t really want to be cleaning; why am having to do this when Daniel is sitting at his desk; oh yeah, he’s making money; but how come I never get paid for housework; and even if I did, I’d get peanuts compared to him.
You get the gist. I’m loathe to tell you how long this particular conversation went on.
If you actually turn up the volume on the “blah-blah”, it can be boring or embarrassing at worst, and perhaps mildly amusing at best.
It’s the same sort of mind-stuff that appears as “I’ll just finish my yoga practice early because I have to go shopping” or, “I’m not going to do repetitions of standing posies today, I’ve got them down pat”. Or simply, “why hasn’t the timer gone off, I must have forgotten, better come down from headstand”. (Once down, I then discover that really there are two more minutes to go).
Here’s what clearer thinking reveals: I’m the one with high house presentation standards. What’s more, I don’t even have to drag my husband into cleaning; he often volunteers, especially if it’s within his timeframe, which he did today.
The gleam in the house as it presents now would satisfy Patanjali’s first niyama relating to cleanliness. I’m satisfied, too, which is more to the point 🙂 And Daniel’s happy because I rescued myself from martyrdom.
Smart dude, Patanjali.