If you’ve done any style of Vinyassa yoga, you’ll be familiar with the moment within a Sun Salutation sequence when you are instructed to “step or float to the top of you mat”. “Float” is a Yogis’ euphemism for:
From a somewhat awkward crouching position, hurl feet and legs forward 3-4 landing them between your hands in a forward fold. To the best of your ability do this without grunting, grimacing, making any noise as your feet touchdown or falling flat on your face.
“To float” makes it sound like this move should be no more complicated than rolling out of bead. In reality, “floating top the top of your mat”, takes a perfect combination of strength, balance, and trust. The trust is often the trickiest. You need to trust in your own ability, your strength and balance. You need to trust that you will be able to keep yourself from flying past the top of the mat, and crashing awkwardly into the yogi in front of you. Nothing could be further from “floating to the top of your mat”, than ending up in nose diving into a pile of flailing body ports on someone else’s mat. But that is precisely the possibility that I was asked to contemplate last summer at a Baptiste Level One training.
What would be possible in life, if I committed to jump PAST the top of my mat. It’s usually the fear of jumping to the top of the mat that prevents yogis from being able to gracefully “float” to the top. If only we could rid ourselves of that fear, floating to the top of the mat would become as easy and natural as rolling out of bed. It’s the same in life, fear of trying, of failing, of looking bad in front of others prevents us all from trying something outside of our comfort zone. In Baptiste yoga, we are taught not only to confront this fear, but to embrace the challenge, to jump past the front of the mat. By making a daily practice of this, we open ourselves up to the potential of new possibilities. By embracing the practice of jumping past the top of our mats, we can learn to float gracefully.
I have decided to embrace the practice of “jumping past the top of the mat”. Starting in October, I will be teaching Baptiste Yoga inspired classes at a studio space in Stamford, CT. This is a new adventure for me, and I’m really excited about it. But I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I also weren’t a little afraid of falling flat on my face too. But that is what this practice about, looking past the fear. So here I am putting it out to the universe. I’m going to jump past the end of my mat.
If you’re in the Stamford area, come join me in this adventure. We’re starting with 3 classes a week, each only $10. We also have some other fun things in store over the next few months. Check out our class descriptionsand schedules, and come play some yoga with us in October.