Every once in a while I do yoga. For a pretty fit dude, yoga is hard and so I tend not to stick with it. But on days like today I remember why I should and it has nothing to do with fitness or flexibility. Yoga is one of those practices that does more for your internal than your external self. It calms the mind, it broadens your awareness and it gives you focus. But it gives you focus on things that don't cause worry. In fact, it brings you focus specifically on the things that bring and cause you joy.
But you need to find a good instructor. One who embodies the essence of these qualities. Someone who is competitive with themselves to perform more and more intricate poses is not going to give you the insight. Someone who is a natural is probably not the best person to teach because they haven't had to struggle through the learnings. I say it's important to find a good instructor because it's the tiny, throw away comments as you move through the poses that take you to this other place.
Today's comment came near the end of the practice as we were largely meditating:
Lift the crown of your head up to the sky to straighten your spine. But don't just lift, pretend as though you are being lifted up from the corners of you mouth.I encourage you to try it. Try and lift your whole body starting with the corners of your mouth and not feel uplifted. It's a gift to you and it's a gift to those around you too. But it's a comment that can only work when delivered genuinely from someone who you can tell truly derives joy from their yoga practice...and it's contagious.
But it helps me in other ways too. When you come to realize the power of these little throw away comments you tend to become hyper aware of what you say all the time, and to whom. That sideways comment to your spouse or that distracted platitude to your kids could be having far more of an impact than you think, so make the comments positive. Bring joy to others by accident and you'll find that they'll follow you anywhere.