considering my passion for blending yoga and daily life, i felt it appropriate to muse on the yoga of making challenging decisions and handling life's daily twists and turns. having a tendency toward self-induced drama, i often think to myself "how much more can i handle?" as i wipe my brow. and then - poof - i'm given yet another interesting challenge.
life is full of these lessons/opportunities/challenges and despite the struggle, we are always sure to come away stronger because of them. after making a challenging and saddening decision recently, i took a moment last night to reflect on how lokah samastah sukino bhavantu applied to this situation. the mantra translates to "may all beings everywhere be happy and free. may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all." yoga teaches us to be grounded, fearless, strong, flexible, aware, loving, compassionate, reflective - all sorts of yummy stuff. it's easy to be all of the above when life is going smoothly. but how to embody yoga when things are hard, when presented with tough choices, when coming up against yet another obstacle? THIS is living your yoga.
growing up in oklahoma, where drivers have a tendency to wave when passing on country roads, i learned the expression "kill them with kindness" and i feel like it is appropriate in urban everyday living, too. being nice is so much more pleasant. why not thank the barista for doing great work? why not thank your partner for doing the dishes? why not tell your dog walker that they are doing a great job? when in the midst of a challenging discussion, it is a must to stay grounded, breathe deeply, and speak kindly. this is yoga.
by remembering that our thoughts, words, and actions have an effect on others, it makes all our decisions even more powerful. over the past many months i have been inundated with decisions to make - from tile to flooring to staffing to financing to paint colors to interviewing. these daily decisions and challenges are our yoga practice. what is the point of a beautiful crow pose if we are tormented inside? one of my favorite teachers states that you can tell if you are progressing as a yogi by how much peace you are experiencing in life (not how long you can hold headstand). i love that gentle reminder and i reflect on it often.
when betrayed, hurt, let down, confused, or exhausted, i encourage you to explore what the lesson is that underlies the challenge. is there a flower that will blossom through the unsightly soil? when one door closes, another is sure to open. letting go is never easy. change is never easy. making tough decisions is never easy. staying authentic to oneself is never easy. but THIS is our yoga. trust in it and stay connected with your core. you'll emerge even stronger. namaste.