In our classes, we often mention the importance of yoga not just being a practice that is on the mat and suggest ways as to how can we take the practice into our everyday life.  After all, that is what yoga is – the quality of presence that we bring to all we do, say and think. It is not just about the postures or putting our bodies into strange shapes.

For us, the practice is first of all about our connection. We spend the first 7 – 10 minutes of every class guiding people to re-connect with their bodies via feeling different body parts and also through gentle breathing to assist them to come back to the essence of who they are. It’s then about taking this connection into movement with the qualities of being steady, comfortable, gentle and at ease.

What we also find important here is honesty. How does my body feel in each movement, how is my breath? Am I truly able to still stay connected to the essence of me (which I connected with at the beginning of the class whilst lying still) in movement? If I am really honest, this is quite difficult. But if I’m unable to hold this quality of movement, am I practicing yoga or am I just exercising the body? Something to ponder….

So if yoga is about our livingness in everyday life – how do I then take yoga off the mat?

Could we consider some simple tools such as – how do I walk? Am I stomping in anger, or rushing ahead with my mind to get somewhere? Or can I be present with my body as I take each step gently? Can I feel my hips as I move? How are my shoulders? My fingertips?

How am I as I stand up and sit down from my chair? Can I feel my legs? Can I sit down on the lounge with a tenderness of being with all of me?

These are just a couple of suggestions. Now just imagine  – you can apply this to everything you do and start to build the quality of how you are in each moment. And how would this feel? It starts to feel lovely in your body as you develop a new sense of how to be with yourself. It’s beautiful, it’s tender – it’s yoga.

Donna Nolan and Alexandra Plane share Yoga and work as Esoteric Therapy Practitioners. They offer group, corporate and private classes and practice in a clinics in Cammeray, Balmain (Inner West) and on the Northern Beaches. Contact them at