woman sitting


By Melody Lima

As I continue to unroll my yoga mat during this New Year, I am reminded of how I felt the first week of January.

I had little to no expectations of what my studio practice might reveal. Frankly, I hardly cared much what it would look like, feel like or even if anyone noticed.

It is now March, with a slight promise of warm weather and bright sunshine, and my intention has not wavered from that January day. Although some days are more challenging than others.

As a yoga teacher, practicing at the local studios is part of the networking process. It is an opportunity to see what is being offered, see who is taking what classes and be seen by studio owners, colleagues and potential students. Sometimes when I walk into a class, the eyes of expectation alter my practice.

In January, I floated up with ease into a handstand. I exerted the smallest amount of effort to kick my legs up, to feel my feet on the wall.

So, I stayed there. I didn’t really care if I came down or stayed up forever. I pressed up through the soles of my feet and felt long, strong and free.

Now some weeks later, when I step on my yoga mat either at home or in a studio, my intention is to release the expectations of my practice. The look, the performance, the achievement of poses and feeling of perfect bliss, peace and enlightenment; quieted like an overthinking monkey brain.

I try to stay mindful of letting my practices serve me and not serve my practice. During asana, I let the poses flow through me as opposed to gripping and rushing through each shape. I acknowledge the breath in my pranayama practice, without forced inhales and loud, look-at-me, Ujjayi exhales.

I embrace meditation practices on and off the cushion, allowing myself the space to meditate while folding clothes, washing dishes or tucking my girl into bed. I hold food preparation, cooking and eating to be one of the most grateful of meditation practices, nourishing the spirit of Thanksgiving at every meal.

In the next few weeks, there will be a shift in these practices. There will be a new light, and there may be a burst of energy with more time outside. As the world around me wakes up from its winter hibernation, I will wake up too.

I will see more, hear more, feel more and taste more. As Spring starts to bloom and shares the sweetness of the next season, my practices will reflect and embrace all that is needed for me to continue along my path. In the studio, at home and soon outside on the grass, my yoga mat is a faithful friend, a sacred space to release expectations.

It has been a long, cold, icy winter. My shoulders still spasm from too much shoveling and my bones are still chilled from the below zero temperatures. As this month progresses into spring, I hope I can continue to detach from any expectations and float with the warm breeze.

What happens when you unroll your yoga mat?


Melody LimaMelody Lima, is a creative adventurer, who will tell her story somehow in some way. The narrative is filled with movement (yoga teacher), words (writer), color (artist), texture (parenthood) and other experiences of discovery. Sharing her observations on & off the yoga mat, she attempts to keep things mindful and not too cynical. She loves peaceful debate and good scotch.  Visit her blog, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.


Photo: (source)

Editor: Dana Gornall