Four CornersApr 04, 2022 04:39PM ● By Nicole Zornitzer
Recently, I had a conversation with one of my clients who described how yoga and mindfulness have transformed her. We discussed the power of the four corners of the mat, while seemingly elementary in concept, quite the contrary is true. As I listened to how she feels yoga has affected all aspects of her mind, body and overall wellness, I was inspired to analyze the idea further and relate it to my past articles regarding the power of the yoga mat.
A new student often arrives to a yoga class unsure of what to expect both physically, energetically, mentally or spiritually. It is through dharma discussion and words of inspiration that we (the yoga professionals) attempt to teach the true philosophy behind yoga—the why. Once we get past the asana and physicality of the practice, we go much deeper into the encouragement of mindful habits. Mindful behavior may include breathing techniques, methods of managing fear, anxiety, depression, healthy eating habits or simply finding stillness. Through the physical asana practice we are changing the energetic pathways of the body on all levels. A yoga practice retrains the mind and how to walk the journey of life in a more accepting and peaceful manner.
I like to refer to my mat as my sanctuary, a place where I find peace and acceptance within myself, separate from ego. This concept does not negate the moments of frustration or self-criticism, however, over a period of an hour I am often able to relinquish the need for perfection and instead evolve to a place of serenity. When we delve into our lives without reservation and witness our thoughts without attachment, when we release the need for judgement, the need to fix or change a situation, we have mastered yoga. What transpires on the mat is nothing short of a miracle each moment we step into a yoga practice.
The therapeutic aspect of a consistent practice enables all who participate the opportunity to view life differently with rose colored glasses. This may cause you to ponder what I am saying, because there are many people who differ in opinion wondering why I would want to view life through a more colorful screen as opposed to what they may consider “reality”. The four corners of my mat have shown me that my reality is fueled by the inspiration I find on the mat. And if my vision of life and community is shaded in beautiful rainbow hues, my intentions and actions will reflect same. Perhaps being a light for others is motivation enough for me or you.
In summary, I beckon you all to step onto the mat, feel the power of the four corners that will surround you. The transformation that will occur over consistent practice and commitment is subtle and yet equally as powerful.
Nicole Zornitzer, ERYT 1000, yoga therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Shala, located in Randolph, New Jersey; Upper Lake Mohawk in Sparta, New Jersey; Roseland, New Jersey; and Delray Beach in Florida. NiyamaYogaShala.com.