The other day while discussing my virtual yoga studio with my 86-year-old Dad he asked me, “Don’t you just teach the same class every single lesson?” I think he was concerned that I would become bored or be boring to my students. This is an assumption of many people who don’t regularly take a yoga class. It’s an understandable conclusion and yes many of the same poses are practiced at most classes, but they are never the same.
Let me explain. I teach an Ashtanga Yoga class each week and the series of postures we do are always the same, but the practice of these postures are never an exact replication because you are never the same in doing them. In other classes I may invite practitioners to do the same sequence with a different physical or mental focus. For example, focus on your pelvic floor muscles, practice with your eyes closed, coordinate each movement with your breath. Each of these seemingly miniscule alterations transforms the movement and practice, and your body and mind adapt to a whole new experience. Often times a student brings their own burdens or delights, and they are personally moved to experience postures as never before.
We have a choice on how we perceive things. Perception and mindset are how we navigate our world and shifting them is always within our grasp. There is simply more to taste when we allow ourselves the flavors of different perceptions; we allow transformation.
This brings me to the concept of resiliency. Resiliency seems to imply an element of unchanging—returning to one’s original form after being bent. But the beauty of true resiliency is that it is, more often than not, an evolution. It can be a conscious choice to grow and adapt to the changes around you. Bend, instead of break; pivot, instead of staying rigid. You can move in a new and perhaps unexpected direction and be okay with that; you can stay true to yourself through change. This can make for a more fulfilling life. I hope that I help people see this possibility in themselves. I hope to assure them that they have the resiliency to change their mindset or focus, to add more color or flavor to their life.
Right now, we are living in a time when resiliency and perception can save us. Yoga studios have been closed and may stay closed for a while longer. We can close ourselves off, shunning alternatives. Or we can adapt. Take yoga virtually. Learn to practice with a different perception, even when the cat likes to climb on you while you practice.
Choose resiliency. Choose to pivot. Choose to thrive.