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Practicing Yoga Off Your Mat

Inhale, reach up. Exhale, forward fold. Release your jaw, your neck, your shoulders, and your hips. Just breathe.

At some point, in most of my classes, I say these words. I am now thinking that this may be a great practice off your mat, too. Recently, I’ve given a lot of thought to how to do my days better, because I’ve noticed that a surge of negative emotion has moved in and taken up residence inside my body. I’m not proud of this, but I am trying to be aware without judgement. I am a usually positive, proactive, uplifting warrior, ready for anything thrown at me. Not lately. It’s not an energy problem either—it’s a focus problem.

Lately, I have felt less like a warrior and more like a worrier, because I am often focused on problems. Lately, I have felt stuck in the messy middle, lost trying to connect, feeling alone in my perspectives, concerned over the decisions being made, and fearful over what’s to come. The world’s always had problems, so why am I taking up the cause to try and fix it all? I have days where it’s easier to not engage, because the fear of unmet expectations or the threat of surprised conflict is too great. There’s so much that could go wrong. Sometimes, it’s just not worth it.

Did I just say life isn’t worth it? Halt! This is where I step off-stage.

The stage of life I just described is not where I belong. It’s time to step off that stage and onto one tailor-made for me. This is a concept I discuss in my book, High Performance Detox. So much of my early years were spent on stages set by someone else. I was following the rules set by someone else, aspiring to ambitions set by someone else, and living inside expectations placed on me. It gets old. The reason I’ve felt so negative lately is because some of the same is happening again with how most of us are choosing to do life right now. Other’s rules. Other’s ambitions. Other’s expectations. Step off that stage for a bit, with me.

Inhale, reach up. Exhale, forward fold. Release your jaw, your neck, your shoulders, and your hips. Just breathe. Now, ask yourself:

1. What obligations am I meeting today? Are they mine or someone else’s? (It’s ok if they are someone else’s—if you have a heartfelt desire to serve them well.)

2. What are my beliefs about what restrictions I am placing on myself right now? (It’s not fun for me to wear a mask when I don’t feel it is needed, so I choose not to go into certain places right now. I believe people should give each other space, so I am a pro at social distancing.)

3. What decisions am I making for myself and my family and why? (I’ve chosen to advance my online coaching programs, so people can self-study with my support from home, and so I can support my household as needed right now.)

4. Where can you give more? (I can check in with my family and friends more often—make it fun with a zoom call or funny video chat.)

5. Where can you pull back? (I’ve decided to not get on my social media as often, right now, since it stokes my tendency to worry about things I can’t control.)

This self-inventory is like moving through your yoga practice off the mat. You’re bringing yoga into your daily activities. More importantly, you’re bringing your yoga practice into your daily life. Your mental strength and healthy mind set will allow us to manage through the days more effectively, because we’re less reactive to the world around us and more in tune to our own spirit. Your intuition, who you are, why you do what you do, and where your feelings stem from is really good awareness to keep close to you.

Just like in yoga class—how do you feel, what’s happening in the pose, redirecting to what’s most important—remembering to breathe. It’s okay to live in the messy middle right now. You don’t have to take a stand, and neither do I. You can try things on, see what works, see what feels best. You can made edits as needed. Showing up for yourself is more important than showing up for any obligation, class, or debate/discussion. If you can show up with some to spare, share it with someone around you.

Together again—inhale, reach up… exhale, forward fold. Release your jaw, your neck, your shoulders, and your hips. Just breathe.


Author of High Performance Detox & Former Mrs. Texas 2012

Lacey Pruett is a business owner and yoga teacher, passionate about helping women find their higher self by stepping off-stage to engage in the inside job of wholeness. Serving as a communicator, TV host, speaker and educator for over 20+ years, she’s equipped to mentor women of all ages.

Her efforts gained momentum in 2012, when she served as Mrs. Texas United States, and spoke to a broader audience about healthy living and mindfulness.


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