Have you ever noticed that whenever you have a party, everyone winds up in the kitchen? No matter how much you decorate your living room or spruce up the dining room, everyone winds up chatting in the kitchen, drinks in hand, perched on countertops.
Kitchens are the heart of the home.
We go there to be nourished by both good food and good company. Unlike the dining room, you don’t need a fancy jacket or pressed dress to be welcome there. Casual attire is just fine. And unlike the living room, there’s no large screen television, so we are entertained by conversation rather than Netflix. Kitchens are where we slow down, chat about our days, and dig our hands into making food for ourselves and loved ones. Kitchens are where we lean a hip into the counter, take a breath, and connect to the other members of our household.
Despite the kitchen’s appeal, we often practice yoga as if we were in our dining rooms. We are well-dressed and concerned with how we appear. We are hasty to try to do things right, and become embarrassed if we use the wrong fork (or in the case of yoga, fall out of tree pose). We sit up straight, mind our language, and resist putting our elbows on the table. Contrast this scene with the kitchen, where we may eat with our fingers, drink straight from the tap, and dissolve into unselfconscious gales of laughter at a good joke.
The invitation: make your mat your kitchen. Forgo formalities, don’t worry about the food between your teeth, and give yourself the permission to be connected and comforted. Seek connection rather than perfection. Like a good homemade meal, let your practice nourish you. Take your time, savour your food. And relish the results.
Wouldn’t the world be a little nicer if we treated everyone as if they were guests in our kitchen? While we can’t bring everyone into our personal kitchen, we can try to bring a little of our kitchen to the world. We can greet people with affection, take the time to connect, pause to really listen. We can nourish others with our good company, and transform the frantic pace of the outside world into the organic rhythm of being human.
Make your mat your kitchen. Then bring your kitchen to the world.