There’s a sign that someone gave President Barack Obama to put on the Resolute desk which says “Hard Things are Hard”. I think of this sometimes when any of my yoga instructors make the suggestion to put aside any stressful or negative thoughts that might be on the minds of anyone in the room. It’s a great concept but one that’s harder to practice in real life. The whole idea is to focus on the challenge of the yoga practice before you. Also, within that practice, one is also instructed to “leave” any mistakes, stumbles, imbalances and failed attempts at poses where they are and move to the next moment of the practice.
It all seems to be about acceptance of yourself and even forgiveness. It puts us in a place where we can be our real selves and strive to be our best with the idea that we do fall, we do make some mistakes and sometimes we excel and triumph!
But doing it, requires a certain confidence in acting completely natural – I suppose that’s what they mean when they talk about leaving your Ego at the door. Experiencing the hard things is as important as experiencing the triumphs. I think that what builds us.
It’s the first morning of the New Year and here we are! Fresh from the previous year and ready to take on the 12 months to come. It’s a time when the traditional practice is to make the so called “resolutions” toward the New Year. Usually folks will focus on self improvement ideas such as quitting smoking, losing weight or eating a more healthy diet. These are endeavors that are certainly worthwhile and what I would call “commitment worthy”. However, I often here that people have a varying degree of success with some of these resolutions. I attended a workshop once where I heard that something in the order of 80% of “diets” meet with either noncompliance or plain old failure. It could be that some of the programs that people try are not sustainable in real life, are not realistic or the individual sets standards that are not realistic.
No matter what the resolution is, I think that it is important to commit to positive change and goals that truly fit into our lives and personal styles. The belief in ourselves as we are and the faith in our resolve to be our best in everyday (I know it sounds like an army recruitment ad) is a goal in itself. If we can get to this – I think all of the rest will follow.
If we also take the focus away from exclusively ourselves, it allows us to look around at the world and the people in our lives. A positive focus on the people around us, even strangers, gives a better chance of paying it forward, spreading the positive vibes and being happy. This all comes back to building and improving ourselves. I wish you all a Happy New Year!
I wrote about the preparation for your Yoga Class last post. It’s one of those things where there’s truly a “before, during and after”. The “after” of a Yoga practice is important. You’ve recovered from lying on the floor in savasana and here you go back out into the world. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you do this.
1. Be happy and thankful to yourself for making the effort to be there and challenge yourself. This extends to everyone around you. It’s always nice to bid others good bye or even a nod of acknowledgement since they were part of the experience. I remember being taken completely by surprise after a class when young female friend of my gave me a huge embrace after the class. She wanted to just share the moment. Sure – not everyone wants a hug – especially strangers – but a little kind acknowledgement goes a long way.
2. If you made an intent or goal at the beginning of the class, give some consideration to how you might take it away and continue to use or consider it. If the goal is living your intentions and growing, well why not take it with you. There is a philosophy about “leaving your yoga practice on your mat” but I think that the strength and insight that we sometimes achieve are worth taking with us.
3. Thank the teacher and be sure to let him or her know how much you appreciated and particular parts of the class. It’s always a good opportunity to ask a question.
4. Nurture your body with water. Many classes are dehydrating if you worked hard and sweated.
These are some of my suggestions and I’d be open to your comments.