7 Habits To Actually Practice Yoga Off The Mat

mbg Contributor By Vishnu Subramaniam
mbg Contributor
Vishnu Subramaniam is a writer, coach, and author of nine self published books, including The Sacred Art of Letting Go.

Although you practice compassion and kindness in your yoga class, you may sometimes forget all of your yoga virtues once you step outside your studio. But doing yoga doesn’t give you the right to act like a snob off the mat. And it certainly doesn't mean you're holier than anyone else.

Sure, yoga is a great practice to unite the body, mind and spirit, but what you ought to be striving for is to unite yourself with the world around you.

Treat others as well as you treat yourself on the yoga mat.

Apply the lessons you learn from your practice to your everyday life. Become the same kind of person off the mat as you are when you're on it. Here are seven ways to become the best version of yourself outside the yoga studio:

1. Practice compassion and kindness.

You were being compassionate and kind to yourself on the mat, so why not extend that same glowing spirit to those around you!

Knock off your judgmental ways, put an end to the rumor mill and hush up on the gossip. Be kind in your body, mind and word. Don’t speak it if it’s going to hurt. Let go of those thoughts if they're destructive. Give up your seat if someone else who might need it more than you do. Say hello to a stranger.

You’re no better than anyone who doesn’t practice yoga.

2. Practice gratitude.

Don’t think about the things that are missing in your life. Stop comparing yourself to your friends or even random strangers on the subway. You’re not starving, homeless or jobless.

You have education and skills. You have family and love. You have time and your health. You have internet and mindbodygreen. You have yoga. Don’t relish in what you’re lacking. Double down on what you have. Praise the goodness and be grateful for the blessings in your life. Announce what you’re thankful for to the universe before you harp on what’s missing.

3. Practice contentment.

You’re content in yoga class, but why do you spend the rest of your day wanting more? It feels like it’s never enough in the world once you're outside of the studio.

Turn lack into sufficiency by practicing gratitude (revisit #2 if necessary). Let go of all that stuff and live for real experiences. Find joy in any experience no matter how big or small. Appreciate how far you’ve come in life. Appreciate yourself for just being you. I assure you, you’re already enough.

4. Practice humility.

You’re no better than anyone who doesn’t practice yoga.

Bow in devotion to your teacher or guru or fellow yogis, but also bow in devotion to any human being. Instead of judging and labeling others we interact with, strive to be open and see what they can teach you. Be inspired by the people who come into your life.

5. Practice generosity.

Treat others as well as you treat yourself on the yoga mat.

Give with your heart and spirit. Give without asking for anything in return. Stronger than your donation is your time and your attention. You can give immensely to someone by simply being present and being there for them.

6. Practice slowing down.

There’s no rush. Your outside world is a reflection of your inner world.

Practice that same inner calmness you cultivate on the mat, as you go about the outside world. Reduce your commitments. Prioritize your life. Leave the house early. Give yourself plenty of time. Shorten your to-do list.

7. Practice smiling.

Smile. It's the easiest way to brighten anyone’s day, and transfer the inner vibrations that you're feeling to someone else.

A smile helps you feel good, and it helps others brighten their day, too. Smile more and share your inner joy with others! You’ll always look and feel great when you are smiling. It’s like bowing and saying “Namaste,” without ever whispering a word.

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