Your Yoga Practice: No Benefits From Doing Yoga? – That’s Not Right!
As I drove toward my studio a few days following Hurricane Harvey, I noticed that the price of gas had risen anywhere from 25-40¢ per gallon depending on the brand and the location along my route.
I heard myself saying, “That’s not right!”
Not only did I think this was unfair, I couldn’t believe that just four days after Harvey put much of Houston, TX, under water, the supply of gas in Sacramento, CA, would have fallen that low and the cost of refining petroleum into gasoline could have risen that quickly. These gas stations and companies had begun raising their prices immediately, only caring about their bottom line, not about the welfare of the people they serve.
So again, and with a little more emphasis, I exclaimed, “That’s not right!” and “It’s just not fair!”.
I certainly don’t feel any business should lose money and not be profitable. We live in a free market society, and any business can set pricing at its discretion. However, I don’t think it’s right for anyone to take advantage of and prey on people for the sake of their bottom line.
Going Through the Motions: Being Unfair to Yourself
The matter of unfairness was still on my mind as I arrived at the studio and started preparing for my next class. Then it dawned on me that we’re no different than the oil and gas companies when it comes to our yoga practice. We aren’t always fair.
We take more from ourselves than we’re capable of giving, missing out on the benefits from doing yoga. And that’s not right!
Raise your hand if something like this has happened:
You arrive at the studio as class is beginning, not giving yourself adequate time to arrive into the room.
You begin the session thinking about all that’s going on in your day.
You feel anxious and have difficulty focusing in the moment.
You have a hard time hearing what the instructor is saying and keep glancing around the room.
You move in and out of the postures without any awareness of what’s going on.
You aren’t listening to and heeding the warnings coming from your own body.
You’re determined to look “right” in a posture.
As human beings, these are tendencies that we all struggle with and are just some of what may happen in a yoga session. However, it’s difficult to derive the desired intention or long-term benefits from doing yoga when distractions are surrounding you.
That’s not right! It’s not fair to you or your practice.
We must take care of ourselves, and it starts with what you want to get from your yoga practice. If yoga is just another thing for you to do during a busy day, then showing up, going through the motions, and on to the next event might be okay.
Maybe your intention is to increase flexibility and stamina. That’s great! Get your stretch on. Maybe you’re looking for some relief and releasing of internal and/or external tensions. Or maybe you’re just looking for quiet inward reflection.
Regardless, you need fair awareness to ensure safety throughout the movements. Otherwise, you might end up hurting yourself. That’s not fair, and that’s not right!
The Benefits From Doing Yoga With Conscious Intention
Consider what might happen if you were to get to the studio a few minutes early and allow yourself to “arrive” in the room:
You’d be able to pick your location for the session, lay out your mat, and arrange your towels, blocks and other props.
You find your comfortable seated position, make some gentle movements to start loosening the joints, and then slowly close your eyes and begin to breathe.
Inhale and draw the energy (oxygen) within, letting it course through your body.
Exhale and release the anxiety and toxins (carbon dioxide) outward, giving the body and mind a chance to calm.
With this opportunity to prepare, you put yourself in a better position to focus and listen. Not just to the instructions, but to yourself. Your body.
What is it telling or asking of you? – How am I feeling as I move from posture to posture? Is it okay to push the limit on a pose? Should I move slower? How is my breathing? Etc.
If your focus is better and you’re listening, then the benefits of your intention are all the closer. Not only this, but you’ve begun caring for yourself. You’re not taking more from yourself than you’re capable of giving. That’s SO right!
Please, if you’re running late, still come, still show up. I’m not remotely suggesting you stay away and miss out completely on the benefits from doing yoga. Just be aware of the trappings and work a little smarter to truly “arrive” once you’ve arrived. It becomes easier with practice.
Make the “That’s not right!” and “That’s not fair!” into your “That’s SO right!”