How You Can Practice Yoga Off Of The Mat

How You Can Practice Yoga Off Of The Mat

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, then you’ve probably heard your yoga teacher suggest that you take your practice with you off of the mat, and into the rest of your day. While sometimes the lessons from yoga might seem obviously applicable to our daily lives, there’s plenty of times where we’re left wondering how the heck we’re supposed to practice yoga without asana. 

The truth is that in yoga, asana (the postures) is just ONE of the EIGHT limbs making up the yoga practice as a whole. That means that the postures are only one eighth of practice, yet in the modern world we’ve somehow managed to mistake the entire yoga practice as being asana only, when that’s simply not the case. 

Asana is valuable to all of our layers- physical, mental, and emotional- and provides a great pathway from which we can learn about ourselves on a deeper level beyond the superficial layer that is the body. The yoga postures challenge us, surprise us, provide delight, and groans of disapproval. These shapes can evoke emotional responses, and even uncover newfound realizations of self. 

In today’s post, I’ll talk about how we can practice yoga off the mat based on what we know about yoga philosophy, and based on that which we learn from our asana practice. 

How You Can Practice Yoga Off Of The Mat

6 Ways To Practice Yoga Off Of The Mat

More often than not, modern yogis are drawn into yoga for physical reasons. Perhaps they’re mending an injury, or they want to create more strength or flexibility. Sometimes people even join yoga classes to change the appearance of their body, because modern yoga has essentially become synonymous with a fitness class. 

While most people start for physical reasons, they stay for the deeper work that’s happening. They stay for the peace of the mind, for the clarity, for the emotional release. And, before they know it, they want to sign up for a 200 hour YTT to become a teacher themselves. 

Whether you want to become a yoga teacher or not, you can always deepen your yoga practice by taking yoga with you off the mat. You can get started with these 6 ways!

Yoga outdoors in snow


Yamas are known as the social restraints in yoga, and they are the first of the eight limbs of the yoga practice. These are great lessons to take with you off of the mat, and to apply to yourself as well as your relationships. 

Ahimsa: Non-violence

Asteya: Non-stealing

Satya: Truthfulness

Aparigraha: Non-hoarding

Brahmacharya: Fidelity


The Niyamas are the second of the eight limbs of yoga, and these are known as duties directed inward. Otherwise known as “inner observances.” Implementing the Niyamas into your daily life can look like heightening your mindfulness practice by recognizing how, when, why, where you’re practicing the Niyamas in your daily life. 

Saucha: Cleanliness

Santosha: Contentment

Tapas: Self-discipline

Svadhyaya: Self-study

Isvara Pranidhana: Devotion

Conquering Fears

Think about the ways in which your inversion practice can help you to conquer your fears. Think about the confidence that’s formed when you finally do a handstand away from the wall for the first time. 

Yoga can teach us how to identify our fears, and actually work with them. Rather than demonizing this feeling, recognizing it to be the same as any emotion: it’s information. And it’s up to us how to decipher that information. 

Ask yourself is that fear true? Is it protecting you from something? Or, is it constructed under the false pretense of protection? Is it actually standing in your way? Your asana practice will help you to become more discerning about the subtleties between the answers to all of these questions, so you can work with your fears in a constructive way off of the mat as well.


Asana is certainly a practice of patience. For most of us, it takes time- like, I’m talking YEARS, even- to achieve a certain pose. Not only is this evidence of Tapas (discipline), but it also builds your patience muscle every day that you show up and try again. 

You can carry this patience with you off the mat to continue practicing internally, through your inner dialogue with self. Or externally, in the way you relate and communicate with others. 

Respond Versus React

In yoga, we often talk about this concept of the “the edge.” You can check out my post about applying “the edge” to our daily lives to dive deeper into this off-the-mat topic. When we find our “edge” in yoga, we are encouraged to BE in it, rather than move through it. Pause, breathe, settle, stay. Don’t rush past the challenge or discomfort. 

I truly believe our world would be a better place if we all got a little better at responding before reacting (myself included!). Think of that reactive place being like “the edge,” in that a lot of sensation comes up that you want to move through right away. Can you sit in the discomfort, pause, breathe, and then respond, instead?


Pranayama is the fourth limb of yoga, and it translates directly to breath control. Breath is the central component of our asana practice, otherwise we’re just doing calisthenics or gymnastics, right? The breath comes first, and then the posture. The breath creates the shape.

We can bring this into our daily life when we’re in a reactionary state, pausing and breathing into it. We can also bring this into our life when we’re joyful, pausing and taking a deep breath of gratitude. Bringing awareness to our breath, doing our best to breathe from the nose and into the belly when we can, can help to regulate our nervous system. 

Breathing techniques help with everything from child labor, to panic attacks, to ice baths, to road rage. There’s a reason why we’re reminded to breathe when our emotions are heightened- because it works!

I hope these little nudges will help you begin the process of carrying your yoga practice with you off of your mat, and into your daily life. While they sometimes seem simple, or even easy- the impact they have can be profound and meaningful.

Happy practicing, my friends. 



Yoga outdoors in snow
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