I went to a gentle yoga class the other day thinking it would be good to stretch, slow down and breathe. What I got was much less, and much, much more. As we climbed in and out of postures, the pace was slow… much slower than I had anticipated. When I realized this, I had 2 choices: complain to myself that it’s not what I wanted and resist the experience, or open to exactly what was being asked. Contrary to what my 20-year-old self would do, I chose the latter.
“Not so much, not so much” the teacher gently and lovingly said as she adjusted my form minutely. “Flex your foot a tiny bit more”, “chin up a few millimetres”.. tiny, tiny adjustments to keep perfect alignment. Apparently my idea of my centre line was way, way off. I relaxed into it, slowed my breath and focussed on moment-to-moment awareness. Strangely enough, the larger postures came easier, more efficiently and naturally.
Halfway through, I realized that large, flailing big muscle movements seemed clumsy and almost funny. The patterns I had created that way over time were strained and somewhat out of alignment. This had shown up in repetitive muscle strain in my shoulders and hips. Then I realized that most of my and other’s lives are performed that way….going for the final shape, and we miss a lot along the way.
The patterns we create are mostly unconscious until we really, really slow down to observe them. It’s the tiny, minute shifts that we make into alignment re-sets our direction which doesn’t seem like a lot but the trajectory is much, much bigger. As mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat Zinn quoted a student in his class who said “I turned my head for a moment and woke up 20 years later.” Small changes compound over time.
What tiny re-alignment would make all the difference to your direction? Is there a course-correction that would change your outcome in 10, 20, 40 years? Maybe it’s a tiny change of habit, a switch from negativity to gratitude, an opening to something you are resisting, saving a little money each paycheck, a different focus at work.
Set your direction. Then take a tiny step… keep going.
Come and practice simple shifts that will make all the difference this Monday night:
Lots of love,