I just started taking Yoga classes over the last 2 months. In my most recent class, I gained 3 insights from my Yoga instructor, Pablo, during the session:
1. Complaining is optional. So is smiling and enjoying yourself.
This is a challenging Yoga class. Pablo pushing his students and there are no breaks. After his class I’m laying down, exhausted in a pool of my own sweat. During one of the poses, which I’m remember as being very uncomfortable, Pablo said to the entire class: “Complaining is optional. So is smiling and enjoying yourself.”
I was in a difficult situation physically. I could have complained. I could also smile and enjoy myself during the work out. I thought about it, and I chose the latter. I smiled and joked to myself about the struggle and pain I was going through.
This is a choice we always have. Not only on a Yoga mat, but also with our families, co-workers, friends, and with strangers we meet. In any situation in life–good, bad, or ugly, or neutral–we have the option. Complaining is optional, and so is smiling and enjoying yourself. A good thing to remember.
2. Know the difference between sensation and pain. Be aware, adjust and ease into the sensation accordingly.
I’m in another one of those awkward poses, and I’m in pain. Pablo states, “Know the difference between sensation and pain. Be aware, adjust and ease into the sensation.”
As beginner in Yoga, like myself, we can’t start doing an extremely challenging pose. In my case, if I do, I would tear both hamstrings, and all my back muscles. Eeek.. So I have ease into new poses and manage the sensation/pain ratio. Sensation = good and pain = bad. If I feel pain, ease off the stretch and ease back slowly. That’s how I’ll build muscle awareness; by being mindful of my body. Then I eventually get the sensation, or good feeling of well-performed stretch or pose.
The same can be said in any area of our life.
One example is the financial area of my life. Money management and financial IQ, just like yoga needs development. If sound money management is not developed, guess what? You will lose your money. And that happened to me for years during my twenties. I would irresponsibly spend money. I would gamble on investments that I knew nothing about, because I was fixated on the hope of making more money. I was reckless. I’ve recently realized that the relationship with money needs to be nurtured, just like the sensation/pain ratio needs. If I’m uncertain, there is too much pain (bad things could happen), if I am knowledgeable, sensation (good investments) will occur.
But I repeat: This must be built, like a muscle. Like a good yoga pose — Built, and practiced, over time.
Another example could be knowing your tolerance while out, having drinks. Feel your body, and be aware of it. When you body starts feeling that level of having too much, put your foot off the gas (another issue I had in my twenties, especially in college). A couple drinks will provide a great feeling of sensation, and enjoyment with friends. Beyond that, it may turn into pain (in the form of a bad hang over, or worse).
Remember the Sensation/Pain ratio. Be aware of it. And as Pablo said, act accordingly when you recognize it.
3. The Great Leaders and Philosophers were selfish. They were selfish to be incredible humans, selfish to learn, and be more. Their selfishness gave the World the gift of what they’ve produced and by the example they have set.
At the end of class, Pablo said, “All of you are becoming better human beings by coming to Yoga. And it’s a little selfish, but that is good. You are all becoming more aware and more intelligent with your body, mind, and soul. And by doing so your going to impact other people by the example you set. Great leaders, profits, and philosophers in history have all done this.”
That’s a powerful message. By improving our selves, and growing mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually we gain more insights about ourselves, and about life. We now can share this with others, or others will absolutely see this in us.
In closing, I like to quote Marianne Williamson on what she powerfully said, in her book, A Return to Love. (This quote also was rumored to be said by Nelson Mandela, but actually was not – however, we’ll drop his name too because it was his birthday yesterday, July 18th, and he was one of the great leaders of our time).
Marianne’s powerful quote relates directly with what Pablo said:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”