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Compassion On and Off the Mat by Sarah Bouton

Please welcome back Sarah Bouton, Cambio YTT graduate & teacher, to the Yoga Living Project! Compassion On and Off the Mat offers a short reflection of Sarah's practice that we suspect will resonate with many. In addition to their Monday night Yin and Tuesday night Vinyasa for Beginners, you can join Sarah for the occasional Yoga for Allies workshop. 



Compassion On and Off the Mat by Sarah Bouton

Compassion is such a big word. It doesn’t seem like it on the outset. It seems simple – be nice to people, forgive them when something goes wrong – but compassion is so much harder than we may initially think. Can we show compassion to someone who has intentionally hurt us? Can we show compassion to a world that doesn’t see our full personhood? Can we show compassion to our parents and grandparents who maybe didn’t have the healthiest skills to care for us the way we needed?

To me, compassion is so much more than niceness, or kindness, because it challenges me to see both the positives and the negatives of a person or a situation, and still be able to hold space for all of it.


Compassion in My Practice

I can really follow my growth in my own compassion towards myself and others in my yoga practice. When I started doing yoga, it was mostly vinyasa classes. When I would take those classes, I did every chaturanga offered and always did upward facing dog, never cobra. I pushed myself to fold as deep as I could and reach as far as I could, sometimes actually causing myself pain and discomfort that would last a few days because I pushed my body too far. I didn’t understand how to care for myself and honor what I needed; I could only see what my body could be in comparison to others.

Today, my practice looks very different. I prefer yin and restorative to vinyasa. I tend to take beginners or in-betweeners now and almost always opt for cobra and even a savasana that starts 30 minutes into class. As much as I enjoy sweating and going through intricate sequences to finally be able to do a pose I’ve never successfully done before, I’ve traded that for slowing down and caring for myself. I’m learning, still, to be compassionate towards myself in my practice, and that compassion has bled into my personal life outside the studio.


Compassion Off the Mat

When it comes to compassion, I’ve been able to use yoga to help me work through some tough moments and combined with therapy, has helped me process things that were weighing on me during the COVID pandemic. I was developing, at the time, my own boundaries because I was terrible at setting them when I was younger, mostly because I didn’t know I could set them.

Just like my practice on the mat though, I started off a bit roughly trying to set those boundaries. While my instinct is to still throw up walls as soon as possible, I can usually walk myself through those feelings and allow my walls to fall away. I can better have compassion for others, and also myself, for understanding that I am and we are always going to be works in progress. Right now, though, I know that being able to identify those patterns is progress and is important, too. At the end of the day, I’ve really come to reflect on the idea of how can I hold others to perfection when I am not perfect, and vice versa – why do I hold myself to such high standards to be perfect, when none of us are perfect.


Yoga is a way of life and should be accessible to all.


Community is important. Everyone is a valuable member and we are here to serve our community.


Everyone is perfect just as they are. Everyone has their own path and is at a different point in life.


From physical abilities to beliefs, everyone is at the right place at the right time.

Cambio Yoga

3326 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, Colorado


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