Reaching for Great: A Daily Practice that Changed Everything

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Perspective is everything. As I look at this picture, I remember standing in that stairwell at the Crater Lake Lodge, in Oregon’s most stellar, majestic National Park. We experienced all sorts of beauty in the park that visit, then stumbled across a bit of architectural beauty hidden in a stairwell!

Beauty and wisdom aren’t always found where we expect it. And, getting lean, beautiful and healthy, is a truly, fantastic journey. Loving life and loving self right here, right now, just as life is, just as the body exists in this moment: Now, that is wildly joyful and freedom producing experience!

As I wrote my last blog and talked about all I did and didn’t do over the past two months to reach my goal to lose ten pounds, I realized I had a breakthrough that completely revolutionized my quality of life: My perspective changed. When I explained the new ways I was thinking and feeling, a dear friend said, you had a paradigm shift!

I REALLY am living life on life’s terms. I don’t need anything beyond what I now possess. I am on-my-knees grateful, to my core. I REALLY am just fine, right here, right now.

So, what shifted my perspective?

One word: Yoga.

Three big concepts about yoga.

1. Listen to the body.
2. Follow the breath.
3. Accept where the body is in the moment of practice.

There’s a tuning in to the physical with yoga practice. Every day is different. There may be a tightness in the hamstrings one day. Maybe balance isn’t as good today, as it was yesterday. Maybe there’s a caffeine buzz, or a situation at work that is distracting. As yogis, we try to leave it all at the door. Being aware of the physical realities in the moment make yoga satisfying, and safe. If we don’t listen and respond, we get hurt.

Following the breath keeps us in the present moment, and keeps us grounded in the physical. Staying with the breath also lets us move in tune with our own rhythm: in and out; breath and body; flow with it; keep moving. Mind and body are in sync.

Bringing that perspective forward into my life, connections with people are deepened. I am more aware of that smiling person facing me.

Then, the key that unlocks it all: Acceptance. We are, where we are. Comparisons to our neighbor, or ideas about where we “should” be are completely irrelevant. If we fall out of half moon pose, ah well. If tip over on our head in crow pose, it’s all still fine. We say in yoga, “practice not performance.”

Yoga is more than just exercise. We can find community and a spiritual grounding in practice with other yogis. We are moving in unison. We are breathing together. We are sweating together. We are present and accepting. Then, at the end of class, we are both grateful for our own practice and grateful AND appreciative of each other. Seated, with our palms in prayer, we bow and smile to each other and whisper “Namaste” which means: “The Divine in me sees and acknowledges the Divine in you.” As we walk from the studio, we carry that perspective with us through the day.

Oh, and there’s one more thing: Hmm.. Making a commitment: We do yoga. We show up. It’s just what we do. If it hurts we adjust, but we don’t stop. If we’re tired, we rest in child’s pose or down-dog pose, then we get back to it. In the studio, we are all committing to practice together. Breathing together.

Yoga: Listen. Breathe. Accept.

Then, hopefully, we flow into an attitude of “no big deal.” It’s just practice, after all.

Be Very Well,
And Love Sooo Well (yourself most of all),
And, today, as all days: Namaste.

Kathryn

Photo credit: Lance

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