The five main ideas in class are Patience, Determination, Self-Control, Concentration and Faith: but there are many more core ideas that students hone through the practice. What qualities have you been able to access and sharpen through your practice? For me, here are five other main ideas.
Listening. I like to joke the hardest parts about sweaty yoga are the laundry and the listening. Being a better listener allows a practitioner both to listen to the teacher — to move according to the instructions — and ALSO to listen to his/her body and move according to ones own ability on any given day. The residual benefits of listening are too numerous to list — use you listening in your relationship, your job — even your grocery shopping — and see how it enhances your …. —>> EFFECTIVENESS.
Effectiveness. I would define this quality as the ability to get what you want/make it happen in the world. This ofter requires leadership, listening and appropriate responsiveness. How effective are you? Look at what you have — is it what you want? Don’t confuse this with equanimity (loosely defined here as having what you want and wanting what you have.). Just stick to that question — do you have what you want?
Poise. Pressure under fire. The ability to respond appropriately and thoughtfully. To be present in the critical moment. Hot yoga is constantly training its practitioners to be prepared.
Courage. It takes courage to try something new — let alone waling into an 105 degree heated room and doing so. I think of all the postures, triangle pose has taught me the most about courage.
Commitment. When I think about commitment, I again think about triangle pose and I think about surfing on a big day. In the critical moment, at the absolute peak there is a split second when I have to absolutely commit to the wave. Even if I stand up, I have not necessarily committed as I may not have FAITH that I can make the drop. Through the DETERMINATION that NO MATTER WHAT, I am dropping in, I make the commitment to the wave. Sometimes I’ll catch it. Sometimes I won’t. But without the commitment, I wouldn’t even have a chance to begin with.
What other main ideas have you cultivated through your yoga practice?
Photo by Dan Schwartzman