Anyone that has been coming to Pran Yoga Reading on a Wednesday or weekend will probably have the following experienced sooner or later, or maybe you already have.

There are those classes when you soar like an eagle, all of the poses come naturally to you. Somehow you know what pose is coming up even before the teacher gives the instruction. Your body is supple and yields. The Asana, technically challenging or not, only help deepen your experience of yourself. There may be moments when you and the room are flowing as one. And guess what? The class is already finished.

You leave class and you’re floating, relaxed, calm and as you walk home you notice that world around you responds differently. People smile. You smile. You notice the trees… the sky. You go home and just want to sit, light a stick of incense and drink a tea or maybe meditate.

And then there are those other classes

You know, when you’ve had a stressed out day. It started badly when you woke up late and forgot to bring your Yoga mat to work with you. You arrived late so you have to borrow one at the temple.

Then the person next to you is a little too close. And the teacher is winding you up. You normally like this teacher but for some reason something today isn’t right. The asanas are a tough, or you struggle with that one asana that you thought you were good at! You’re trying so hard a bead of sweat drips off your nose and onto the mat. Or perhaps you find the class so easy that you think it boring.

You can’t wait to get out. Shivasana? What shivasana! You walk home fuming. What a waste of time! You decide to never come back to yoga again.

Life will be like that sometimes. Things happen out of our control… good days and bad days, right?

But wait a moment

Yoga teaches us to look inward. Could it be that there was nothing (much!) wrong with that Yoga class. Isn’t it strange how our senses lead outward and yet the whole of life is experienced inside our heads?! With that said how can this distasteful drama be useful to us?

I would say that this experience was more valuable to us than we might at first imagine. This experience brought up lots of conditioned responses. Lots of opportunities to explore our mental make up. We now are finally ready to move beyond Yoga as a gentle exercise and have arrived at the doorstep of a genuine Yoga experience. It is when we get out of our comfort zone that something new can come.

If we can only delay our need to judge. If we can suspend our thoughts for long enough to breathe out from below the navel. Then we would start to deal with the ‘stress’ and begin to use it as an golden ticket for transformation.

A new response will set new neural pathways. So that instead of letting something get to us we wait, breathe, remain centred within ourselves. We see the response but we do not become it. That is when our practice of yoga is helping us on a deeper; more subtle level.

We can then take this experience and apply it to our daily lives. When your boss does that thing that normally annoys you, you can wait, breathe and let it go. Of course Reading Yoga will teach you to correct your posture whilst sitting at a desk and it will also bring a myriad of other health benefits. But the coping mechanisms that yoga will teach us are just as helpful.

I thought this post was going to be about getting enough sleep the night before, eating the right things. Or about getting mindful (shouldn’t it be mind empty?) monitoring the breath on the walk up Whitley Street, Reading. But that will be for another time.