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2016 Kiss My Asana #13: This Contender Has Class! February 14, 2016

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Books, Changing Perspectives, Confessions, Dharma, Donate, Faith, Fitness, Gratitude, Healing Stories, Health, Hope, Karma Yoga, Life, Mantra, Men, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Movies, Music, Pain, Peace, Suffering, TV, Twin Cities, Volunteer, Wisdom, Women, Yoga.
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“You know, we just don’t recognize the most insignificant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, ‘Well, there’ll be other days.’ I didn’t realize that that was the only day.”

– Burt Lancaster as Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham (in Field of Dreams)

When I first started practicing yoga, I often heard my teachers say, “How you do yoga is how you do life.” Since then I have heard a teacher say, “How you do anything is how you do life” –and, while that second statement may also be true, the bottom line is that some things mimic the highs and lows of life better than others: boxing, poker, yoga ….

While not a sport, the physical practice of yoga can be like practicing a competitive sport in that its rules and guidelines create a safe space to play, experiment, test your limits, learn, and grow. If you show up to practice and learn the rules, you get to study yourself as you encounter challenges. Study yourself as you encounter challenges and you start overcoming the first set of challenges, and prepare yourself to meet new ones. Greet the new challenges and you begin to realize that the practice is just like life: you can do all of this while you enjoy the moment and have fun – or you can spend the whole practice stressing out. Either way, you have to get your mind straight. Either way, (to paraphrase Timothy Gallwey and Matthew McConaughey) the only person you have to best is yourself – and, in doing so you become your best self.

“Winners are simply willing to do what losers won’t.”

– a poster behind Hillary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerald (working the heavy bag in Million Dollar Baby)

Yogi #13 (Dennis L.) came to one of my classes because of his dear friend Meghan G (Yogi #12). He had heard about some of the benefits of yoga. He had heard why his friend loves yoga. And, ultimately, he decided it was only one hour. What could possibly happen in one hour?

“Even if you’re down there for one hour, you’re down there.”

– Kirk Acevedo as Tommy (in Invincible)

Like Dennis L., a lot of people come to practice with their friends. While it’s great to see that community building and strengthening on the mat, I always celebrate a little when someone who seems to come because of their community, starts coming even when their friends aren’t available. First time I saw Dennis L. practicing on his own, I knew he was hooked! I knew he was committed. And I was a little awed, because I realized he was a contender!

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!

– Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa (in Rocky)

“If I was thinking straight I’d go back home, find a used trailer, buy a deep fryer and some Oreos. Problem is, this the only thing I ever felt good doing. If I’m too old for this then I got nothing. That enough truth to suit you?”

– Hilary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerald (in Million Dollar Baby)

There may be times when you’re injured, tired, filled with dis-ease, or feeling your age. There may be times you’re having a bad day (or what feels like a bad life). And, what you do in those moments is your practice.

Truth be told, there are times when we all feel like tapping out. And, when we have those times, there’s always going to be someone – sometimes, even someone in our corner – who’s going to support that decision to just throw in the towel. But, in such moments, it’s important to remember that life (like your yoga practice) isn’t actually a game. Giving up is not your only option.

On the mat, you can go into child’s pose; you can take a comfortable seated position and just breathe; you can take a modification; you can explore another style or tradition. Off the mat, you can go into child’s pose; you can take a comfortable seated position and just breathe; you can stop focusing on what your goal looks like on the outside and remember the intention that’s driving you; you can explore another way of doing things.

On or off the mat, remember: We’re not competitors; we’re on the same (joyful KISS MY ASANA) team!

 

~ 2:26 ~

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