Recently I have been taking Yin Yoga classes and I’m surprised how much I love it. For those who are not familiar with yin yoga, it is a form of yoga that requires you to hold your posture for longer than usual and hence it gives your body a deeper stretch. It tends to run at a slower pace and it can feel like a moving meditation and highly restorative. The class may look very quiet and not much seems to be happening if you are just observing the class. But if you take part, you will realise there is a lot going on beneath the surface, both in our minds and body when we are TRYING to keep still and stay calm.
This reminds me of what Marianne Williamson often said in her lectures, when we go to the gym to workout, we train our muscles to be strong and so we can move better and faster. Spiritual practices like meditation or yoga train our mind muscles to be still and present. It takes time to build up our muscles and it requires consistent practice to stay strong. And it applies for both our body and mind.
To be strong inside and out, both body and mind, it actually requires both kinds of muscle.
Now keep still and stay calm may sound easy but it can be challenging for us, the busy minds.
When we are constantly bombarded by stimulations, distractions and stress that come from all parts of life, it is not easy to stay focused and centred. We want to keep moving and stay busy as a way to feel we are progressing and achieving more. However, if we act like a scattergun and running all directions, we actually won’t get far.
Also, if we are too busy chasing, we may even forget what we are chasing after. What is that we really want? The treasure we seek may get lost in the pursuit, as we simply forget why we are doing it in the first place.
When we become still and quiet our mind, we will experience a new sense of clarity. We remember our WHY. We know and breathe our WHY. We pull back, stay on track and focus on what truly matters and relevant.
Going back to my yoga love story. 10 years ago when I first discovered yoga, I loved those highly dynamic classes that made me sweat and felt sore after. I wanted to see and feel the physically benefit right the way. The younger me wanted to control everything: career, relationships, THE FUTURE! I didn’t like to feel missing out and so I paddled really hard on everything I came to.
Then one day, I was watching a detective show, and one of the characters said to the sidekick that she got to chill out, there are many tools in the toolbox and stop being a hammer all the time. It just doesn’t work!
I know I probably have accumulated some level of self-awareness and life lessons learned at that point, but sometimes it is one of those saying that really put me straight to the point. (plus I love the visual of an animated hammer just banging and making noise all the time)
Fast forward to now, I am certainly older, and hopefully wiser. I have gained a different approach to life. Sometimes we need to move fast and push, but sometimes what we need is to pause or even pull back a little. Yin and Yang. In order to have MORE, sometimes we need to do LESS.
The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule or the Law of the Vital Few illustrates that 80% of effects arise from 20% of the causes or 20% of your actions will account for 80% of your results. Since not all actions are created equal, when we picked the vital few but do them very well, we may get to what we want or where we want quicker.
In order to know what are the vital few, we need clarity and focus. It comes back to my point all along that when we are still, calm and centred, we become super aware and hyper intuitive. We just know what to do. And more importantly, we then go and do it well.
Is there any area of your life that feels like you’re speeding? Perhaps it is time to slow down? Or there is uncertainty and you need to figure things out? If so, more than ever, it’s time to pause, take stock and re-evaluate what is on the surface and what may be beneath it all.
Take some quiet time, unplug from your social media or emails for the weekend.
Give yourself a break. Take a yoga class. Go for a walk or swim. Sleep in and journal. Meditate or pray. Simply tune in, and connect to your inner voice or inner wisdom.
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