I think it is a really good idea to try new things every once in a while so we can stretch our limits.
It helps us grow and keeps our lives interesting. With that in mind I took up yoga three years ago.
My goal was to meet new people and to try to develop my flexibility so I would be able to maintain an active life for as long as possible.
I only really started taking the class seriously, however, when I discovered the main reason for twisting and stretching into those weird poses is to increase awareness.
The idea is that by becoming more aware of where our limbs are and which muscles we are using we eventually become more aware of other things as well… like what is going on around us and the needs of other people.
I really like that and I believe increasing awareness is the single most valuable things we can do to improve our lives.
With the yoga, however, I’ve found that if the poses themselves become too important, they can get in the way of that higher goal of personal development.
Our room can easily accommodate 25 students but the people who are there when the class begins tend to spread out to fill the available space.
That means when the late arrivals come in we need to move a bit to give everyone enough room.
If we were all there to increase our awareness that wouldn’t be a problem, as a matter of fact it would be an additional opportunity to ‘be aware’ and help the late arrivals.
That’s not the way most people see it though.
They either get irritated by the disturbance to their routine or they just don’t notice the additional student and often no one moves even after someone has squeezed into an undersized gap.
I don’t know this for certain, but it seems to me that doing the poses as well as possible has become the main goal for many students, instead of using the poses as a tool to help them reach a higher goal.
This obsessive behaviour that focuses on little things and loses sight of the main goal is not unusual and I know I can be guilty of it myself.
Soon after I got into yoga I decided to take up archery to further develop relaxed effort and concentration.
I love it and it gave me a reason to clear the bush in the back garden so I could create a 30 metre archery range behind my house.
As the garden has developed, however, I often find that I spend so much time taking care of it that I don’t get around to shooting any arrows… which means I’m missing the point.
My worry is that this sort of thing can happen with our jobs and our desire to make money.
At first we want to earn lots of money so we can have a better life, but after awhile some of us just start chasing money for its own sake even if it ruins our health and limits our experiences.
So I guess what I’m saying is in order to keep an eye on our goals, we need to work on our awareness – even when awareness itself is the goal.