I was introduced to yoga when I first started working at lululemon in 2010. I wasn't a yogi at all, in fact, I had never even tried it. I was always athletic though and although I never fulfilled my childhood dream of making it to the NHL, maintaining my athletic prowess was always on top of my mind. Nonetheless, I was open to and excited about trying yoga. While at lululemon I began to learn a lot about how yoga works on and off the yoga mat. We learned how to apply the principles of yoga in our every day lives, in our businesses and in how we treated our staff, our customers and our peers.
While many of us find ourselves on our mats for the first time for physical benefits, yoga can really become something much more. Yoga can start to teach us lessons for life. As I built my practice I began to draw parallels between real life and life on my yoga mat.
So, I wanted to share with you something I learned about life and yoga from this awesome book that was gifted to my during my time at lulu. It was gifted to me by my manager at the time and has been one of the guiding forces behind my yoga journey. Are you ready?
It's not about you.
"Because, you see, we cannot be unhappy with others' happiness, and we cannot be happy with their sorrow, if we have even the vaguest comprehension of how our world really works. There is no better way to secure our own misery, now and for years to come, than to be selfish, than to want good things only for ourselves."
In yoga, our mind is like a garden. We learn to treat it this way, nurture it, grow it. Like a garden, we learn to plant positive seeds for ourselves and others. Life is just better when we root for others in our lives to be the best versions of themselves. So don't be selfish on your mat. Think about a close friend, or family member, or special someone and wish them the best. Drop your anger, frustrations and stories and love people for who they are. Love them for where they are at. And root for them to win!
"Worldview," said the Captain quietly. "Simply comprehending that every good thing that ever comes to us is literally created by taking care of others. And it is simply beyond the limits of imagination to think of what our world could be like - will be like - when people simply figure out that this is the way it all really works."
Yoga for others is a unique way of thinking. It's one of the reasons why I love going to group classes. The busier, the better. Sharing energy, breath, and movement with the spirit of community is powerful. Imagine next time you're in a room with 20+ yogi's that your yoga is contributing to them. That moment, with all those exact same people, with that one teacher, will never be recreated again exactly as the way it is. Send your positive vibes to everyone in that room.
"And this is why you must always begin your poses with silent sitting, giving and taking: with thoughts of helping someone you know - and eventually of helping everyone there is. Because on that day it is these seeds that will send you forth - you in countless shapes and forms - to stand at the side of every living creature in whatever likeness they personally can relate to at that moment; to help them along a little further, every single day they left before they themselves send forth these forms, to others. And send the forth they will, for it is the greatest miracle of all, that each of us must become the one saviour of every world there is."
I love this last quote for two reasons. One, it talks about the giving and taking and being there for other people in your life. Two, the book often refers to meditation as "silent sitting." That's really all it is. Yet so many of us struggle to meditate because we don't know where to start or how to do it. But if we think of it as something as simple as silent sitting doesn't it sound more accessible? You can do that. Totally. We expect it from kids all the time don't we? Be quiet! Sit down! Yet as adults we struggle to do it. So try it next time when you get to class. Get there a couple minutes early and sit quietly. Think about who you want to dedicate your practice too. And let the magic fly! And remember, yoga is everywhere. Not just on your yoga mat.
This perspective shift in your yoga practice can make a huge difference in your life. It can create massive shifts in the way you interact with those closest to you. It can help you be more loving, compassionate and kind. Get into the practice of being and let go of some the doing.