Challenges: On and Off the Mat


In my practice lately, I’ve been focusing on how challenges present themselves in our lives both on and off the mat. I met with my pattern maker the other day to discuss some designs that I had in mind for the upcoming season. (Oh yes, in case you didn’t know, I design a yoga apparel line, KAT, specializing in awesome funky pants. You can buy them at Om Factory!) He looked at the sketches and his response was, “I want you to design something that will kill me.” I was taken aback at first, in my mind the more simple the better. It takes less time, less energy, all in all, it’s less stressful and easy. Coming from the eyes of a professional, it makes sense. It’s my pattern makers job to create patterns and in order to become better he has to challenge himself. Otherwise, he would just plateau at this place of success and become comfortable with what he is working on, leaving him little room to evolve.

Luckily, as yogis we have the opportunity to continuously work on evolving toward our highest self. So when we come to our mats and the teacher throws out the pose that we hate, or the one we know is super hard, we have a few routes to take. One being a sudden need to use the bathroom and saying “peace out” to the situation. Another being to opt out and observe. The third reaction being to give it a try - you might succeed or you might not, either way you will learn something. Let’s be real, ten years from now it’s not going to matter if you nailed that transition from astravakasana into eka pada koundinyasana, and it doesn’t make you a better person either, what matters is the lessons that you learn from your mat.

My teacher always says “if you see someone doing something that you wish you could do, imagine you are them.” The idea of simply imagining yourself to succeed can sound crazy at first, but look at it this way; if your mind tells yourself that you can’t do something, then you’re basically telling your body to not do it. So make friends with your fears and obstacles that come along your path. These challenges only present themselves as opportunity for growth. When we learn to be receptive to the practice and to the challenges presented on our mats, it makes it that much easier to take on the challenges that present themselves in our lives. So don’t settle for less, DREAM BIG, your dreams are waiting to become your reality.

Stay tuned for some fresh new KAT designs - you’ll know the inside story of how these new patterns were self-inflicted challenges for both my pattern maker and myself!


By Kat Schamens