Does having a physically fit, flexible body mean that a yoga student is better at the practice than someone who is not as flexible or in shape? On the surface, our Western mind seems to shout the answer to this question with a resounding “Of course”. But if we look just beneath the surface, the answer may surprise you.
As I slowly applied this technique, it radically transformed not only my yoga practice, but my entire life.
“In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki, Zen monk
Many years ago, as a yoga student, I envisioned how wonderful it would be to teach yoga. As a beginner, my mind was always open: I had begun a love affair with the practice of yoga, and I absorbed it like sunlight to a flower. My teachers always seemed so centered and strong. They offered powerful insights in class, helping me gain greater insight into the challenges I faced in life.
Then one day I heard this statement:
As a yoga teacher, over the years I've had many people ask me whether yoga is the real deal: Does it really help, or is it just another fad? Do you have to be an acrobat to feel good about your practice or can anyone do it? Is it just an exercise program, or something more?
The problem is that we are an anxious culture desperate for faith, which is by definition something we can trust without a doubt. The recent New York Times article on how yoga could (gasp!) cause injury upset so many people perhaps because it challenged the trust of the faithful. But we must question this faith.
Find the Flinch: Identify the aspect of moving forward with your vision that causes you to pull up short.
There is only one spiritual vision: an ever–more just and compassionate world where all life is respected and the well being of persons and planets is the ultimate moral and ethical guide. But not everyone has a spiritual vision, and there are lots of other kinds of visions that motivate people.
Why are spiritual people characterized as having vision? Vision – a glimpse of an idea of how good things might be – requires a long-range perspective and a caring and compassionate attitude.
I make pet visits to the local hospital with my golden retriever, Dakota. My schedule has us visiting oncology patients and their families...