A friend told me he tried yoga, but found the classes “too hard.”
How could this be?
The instructor made them do things a certain way, the pace was too fast, and some of the postures hurt.
Has this happened to you?
You don’t have to put up with this. Only you make yoga hard, or fast, or even “right.” No one should pressure you to do yoga any way other than YOUR way. Not the instructor, not your friends, no one.
And it all has to do with sandwiches.
Yes, the lowly but lovely sandwich can be our guide to yoga. How can this be?
First off, can you make a sandwich? Even my little brother enjoyed making spaghetti sandwiches. Two slices of standard bread, mass of spaghetti in the middle.
The foundation of every sandwich is the bread. One slice on top, one slice on bottom.
The bread is the easiest component. Even though it’s simple, you still have many choices. Toast? Grilled? Rye or whole wheat? Baguette or ciabatta?
The yoga equivalent of bread is also basic, something easy. The two things you’ve been doing since the beginning: listening to your body, and breathing.
What’s this? Since when is breathing and body-listening part of yoga? Did your instructor never talk about these things? No?
That’s sad, so sad, because yoga is so much more than physical activity. The whole “moving your body” part of yoga is only a small fraction of what yoga is all about. Don’t get me wrong, asanas or posturing is very important, but so is the rest of yoga.
In fact, the very first most important part of yoga is about YOU…
… getting to know …
The best way to do that is to be still, and listen. Listen to your heart, listen to your breath. Feel your breath, feel your heart. Do these things while sitting in a chair, sitting on the floor, lying in bed, lying on the mat. Do them at your desk, do them in a meeting. Do them anywhere, anytime.
You’re doing yoga.
Here’s something I learned the hard way, and it still makes me smile.
At first I thought it was silly, refusing to do it. Then I started doing it, as a joke. Then I started doing it more, because I realized I was getting better at it. Then I realized it wasn’t silly, and started paying more attention to it. Today, I do it every single time I think about it. Heck, I’m doing it even as I write this.
I calm down. My heart slows. I feel better. I work better. I live better. I love better.
Practicing listening to myself made me a better listener, to myself.
This is only the bread portion of yoga. Next time, the rest of the yoga sandwich.
Thanks for reading! Now, go make a sandwich.