Meditations from the Mat

“The real payoff of a yoga practice, I came to see, is not a perfect handstand or a deeper forward bend—it is the newly born self that each day steps off the yoga mat and back into life.” 
Rolf Gates

Last fall, I began attending a small weekly yoga class, run by a wonderfully kind and experienced yogini who converted her home into a working yoga studio. After about an hour long class (which ranges from yin to ashtanga style, and always includes laughter and helpful assistance), we settle in for savasana. Once our instructor Chris ensures that we are all comfortable and relaxed (she provides all props, including cozy blankets and hot massage rocks to lay on for sore muscles), she typically reads us an excerpt from an article or book. While completely surrendered in savasana, I felt the words met no resistance and poured directly into my soul. By what I am convinced is some sort of yogini mind-reading magic, she would somehow choose passages that spoke directly to my current situations. I recall one day that the passage was so timely and encouraged me to release my fear, and I found myself needing a few moments extra to wipe away a few tears as well. On the days that I was particularly moved, I would ask where the passage came from. Her answer: Meditations from the Mat.

Meditations from the Mat is a book by Rolf Gates, and I recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in yoga. Divided into 365 passages for daily reading, each chapter studies all of the aspects of the 8 limbs of yoga in a very approachable manner, with tips and insights along the way.

I like to have it close to my yoga mat each day, so that once I finish savasana, I can sit with my tea and read a passage. Here is a quote I came across today that I absolutely love:

“Love is not a thought, it is an action. And each loving action that we take infuses us with more energy for loving action in the future.” 

Do you have a favorite yoga book right now?