Wednesday, October 8, 2008

breathe, relax, & smile

Yesterday afternoon I subbed a yoga class at a local gym. After finishing up class, and thinking I couldn't possibly feel any yummier or juicier, one of the yogis proved me wrong. She came up to talk to me and ended up saying I reminded her of Bryan Kest--one of my all-time favorite yoga teachers! This absolutely made my day! Nine years ago, when I started exploring yoga and educating myself about the practice, he was one of the most influencial teachers I studied. He has definitely been an inspiration.

A few years ago while attending a workshop with Kest, he said something that has stuck with me, and I often use in my classes. (This will be paraphrased.) So for all you yogis out there, imagine you're in the middle of an athletic and challenging yoga class, perhaps even imagine being in one of your most difficult postures. Now, imagine hearing this:

In all postures we should be challenged yet at the same time relaxed and calm. If I were to take a photograph of your face right now and send it to a loved one, they should not be worried about you. If they would be, perhaps you're trying too hard.

Saying this always gives people permission to relax and even smile or laugh while practicing yoga. Sometimes we take things a bit too seriously--and as a recovering perfectionist, I am definitely guilty of this much more often than I'd like to admit.

So, next time you're in half moon, revolving triangle, or even in an uncomfortable or challenging life situation, take a moment and think of Kest's words. Ask yourself: Am I trying too hard? Am I taking this situation or myself a bit too seriously?

If the answer is yes,
and Smile.



Caroline said...

Oh that's great. Take a picture and send it to loved one...such a great way to keep everything in perspective.

Connie said...

I always try to remind myself in those challenging positions that this exact place is where I dream of being when I'm at now. Then I start to relax a bit!!!

Peace & Love.

Lisa said...

Thanks for that image - I thought about that in yoga class this morning and I smiled (and didn't go beyond my edge) the whole 2 hours.