My yoga teacher was sharing the notion of ‘self interest’ and how we all seem to be striving for something, working to accomplish goals, perhaps even purchasing something that has importance to us. It struck me that while these traits are all very human and necessary, they reflect a tunnelled focus towards ones self. Conversely, the world seem to be calling out for more and more compassion directed its way. Wherever we look, if we slow down long enough to truly see, we can find people in need. Some have lost everything in a natural disaster and others might just be struggling to find a bit of joy in their day.
So what can we do to lift our gaze and shift our focus from self to others? I believe yoga can play a role. When we are in the mode of striving, accomplishments and pushing to get ahead we seem to be holding onto things rather tightly. Both in our minds and our bodies. As we practice yoga and move through the asanas on the mat we are stretching muscles and spine, literally creating more space in the body. And perhaps this newly found space can move towards the heart, making just a little bit more room. And who knows . . . maybe that heart space can be filled with compassion towards others.
There will always be time to fulfil our own small self interests, but sometimes the urgency lies in extending ourselves and offering something we have – even a smile – to others.
If you believe in a JOYful world maybe create a little space for compassion today.
I love yoga. There is no real surprise in that statement. But with further introspection, its interesting that I tend to narrow my yoga experiences – being drawn towards the most dynamic forms of yoga. Fluid movements that stretch the body and mind and tend to generate a fair amount of heat capture my attention and time. If its full of action and energy I seem to excel and truly thrive on the pace and physical challenges of twisting and turning my body into various asanas – typically held for a series of 5 breaths.
Lately, since I’m focused on physical healing and tuning into my body, I’m working hard to listen to what I truly need . . . and rather surprisingly, the notion of yin yoga continues to surface. After trying to disregard these internal pokes and reminders, I eventually gave in and signed up for a 2 hour yin workshop.
Turning up I had forgotten that yin yoga includes a seemingly unusable amount of props. I was given multiple bolsters, blankets, blocks and pillows. These soft support mechanisms don’t readily equate to yoga in my narrow yang driven mind. But after getting past my fear of drowning in endless props and slowness to the point of stillness, I started to sink in and fully appreciate the surrender of holding asanas in a static state for over 5 minutes each. I experienced a juicy release in several postures that left me feeling quite soft and floating up towards the ceiling. After 2 hours of ‘release’ I left my mat in a loopy euphoric state and it struck me, perhaps its only when we are fully supported can we fully let go and sink into the juiciest chapters of our lives and bodies.
Find your joy and seek out what supports you and your physical health. With it comes the best bits of life I reckon.
This makes me happy:
Ruled by Yoga
It reminds me of spending time in Bhutan, the only kingdom ruled by buddhist beliefs.