There are these big moments in life that are amazing. Graduation, getting married, having a baby, a new pet, a new job, first house. These are amazing moments and should be celebrated. BUT! It’s all the work before and after these events that should be equally celebrated. All the studying and passing tests that got you to graduation. The lovingly cultivated relationship that got you to the wedding day. Accumulating skills for a successful career. Those big moments are just that. Moments. Memories. On the mat, being able to do a pose for the first time can feel amazing! I think most people who practice want to be able to get into poses and feel like they’re “doing well.” No one wants to feel like they are not progressing in their practice, right? While getting into a pose or having a breakthrough is amazing, it’s all the practices that happened before that that are to be acknowledged. The work put in before and the rewards is the real celebration.June 2018
“Transformation isn't free.” I heard that from a Christina Sell workshop that I attended this past December. I was going through a huge life transition at that time and was extremely stressed out, completely exhausted and working a full time job that was giving me stress induced panic attacks (in addition to the 9 yoga classes a week I was teaching). I learned so many things from that experience and it has altered the direction my life has taken, but wow … transformation isn't free! It will cost you time, sweat, tears, and hard work to name a few. When your life, job, school or practice is difficult you can find hope in that difficulty that transformation is occurring. While we may enjoy the ease in which we can do some things it is through challenges where true growth occurs. Transformation isn't free, but transformation IS possible.
How do you define having personal wealth? Is it having lots of money? Taking lots of vacations? Feeling successful at work or school? Being physically fit and healthy? Having leisure time to do your favorite things? Eating delicious food? Spending time with loved ones? Personal wealth is however you define it for yourself. When you experience personal wealth all your basic needs for survival are met, you feel fulfilled and get to spend time doing things you enjoy the most. Some say that when you experience a high degree of personal wealth your likelihood to be altruistic increases. Furthermore, when you feel “wealthy” and hear about someone else’s altruistic behavior you are more likely to follow suit. When you take the time to pause your day and practice yoga you are increasing your personal wealth by giving yourself all the benefits of all the good things that come from steady, regular practice. You consciously made time to do something that is meaningful which increases each time you practice. The more you practice the more meaningful it becomes. You might feel more balanced, clear, less stressed and more likely to do something nice for someone because YOU feel so good. Some say yoga is “just exercise”, but if practicing yoga makes you feel so good that you go out into your community and volunteer and that inspires others to do the same and your whole community benefits?!? That is so much more than exercise. That is the power to change the world and that … THAT is incredible.
I talk a lot. To my kids, to my husband, to my cats and all throught the yoga classes I teach. I talk so much I have been working on my listening. Listening is SO different than just not talking or waiting for my chance to speak. Listening requires me to give someone my attention and time. Two things that are extremely valuable both to the listener and the speaker. On the mat we get to listen to the wisdom of our body, check in with emotions and what we truly need from our practice. It is through listening that we learn where we are and what we need. When we speak we are repeating what we already know. When we listen we have the opportunity to learn something new.
It’s it’s pretty well understood that if you want to make permanent changes, or start something new or get better at something you don’t have to make a grand gesture. You just have to start with something small, keep doing that small thing and change will occurr. Sounds simple. Except that humans prefer the grand gesture. We want to go big or go home. If we do something so huge we can’t fail, right? It’s as if we can’t be bothered with small, seemingly insignificant effort. The problem with that logic is if the change is too dramatically different from our usual patterns it is unlikely to be permanent. We do not improve. We feel like we are not capable of achieving our goal so we let it go. I’ve always been taught that no energy on my mat is wasted. That even the smallest amount of effort is useful. Attention to detail is what will move your practice, your intention, your attention to the next level. If you want to improve your downdog focus on your little toes. If you want to improve your plank focus on the inner edge of your thumbs. If you want to improve the clarity of your mind start meditating for one minute a day. All of these things seem too small to even do, but do them and you will experience a shift.