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When the time comes to finish your yoga practice and leave the mat, remind yourself that there's a skill to leaving. The skill to leaving yoga lies in learning how not to leave it, regardless of whatever else you may be doing. Think of how much effort went into getting yourself balanced and centered. Don't throw it away. Try to maintain that center as long as you can, as you get up, walk around, talk, work, listen, whatever.

Think of it like cooking a dish. You spend all your effort gathering the ingredients, methodically preparing them, adding them in the right sequence and finally starting to cook. And then, abruptly, you turn off the heat, aborting the process of slow and tender cooking. You jump out.

The first step in leaving the practice is to spread thoughts of goodwill once more to everyone and everything around you. Then, before you open your eyes, remind yourself that even though you're going to have your eyes open, you want your attention to stay centered in the body and the breath. Act from that sense of being poised and centered. If you can keep the mind grounded in this way, you'll have a reference against which you can measure its movements and its reactions to the events around it and within it. Only with a solid center like this can we gain insight into the movements of the mind.

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