I’m an exercise bore. I’m always chiding my family to do it. They don’t share my same passion for movement. They can sit for hours on end doing nothing. I’m not sure how I ended up in this family. It doesn’t move as much as I would like it to.
Exercise is a discipline. We can exercise our body, our will power, our mind but we don’t often think about exercising desirable traits in ourselves. I’m sure my yoga students are silently hoping the day will come when I stop saying ‘if you are not breathing properly, if you are not connected to what you are doing, if you are not being kind to yourself, you may as well be downstairs on the treadmill’. For even though I love exercise I want them to stop seeing their yoga class as a way to the body beautiful. I want them to take what they learn in the class out into the world.
Here are my top “C” traits that we can learn to work out everyday. They are living breathing words that you just can’t become, they are processes within everyone’s reach.
Compassion; Karuna. Compassion towards yourself first. It’s OK to ask for help, no, you are not a burden. It’s OK to say no, this will give you the time you need to heal, rest or recover. It’s not OK to say to yourself, what a fool, I’m stupid, what a loser. It’s not OK to beat yourself up if something doesn’t go to plan, you fall or fail. It’s OK to treat yourself, rest, go on holiday do nothing. It’s OK to tell people you need time out. It’s not OK to treat yourself in a lesser way than you would treat others.
Connection: Namaste. In some way we are all connected, we all share the same breath. It’s easy to feel connected to small fluffy animals, your children and partner. It’s a bit harder to feel connected to pests, annoying people, people we dislike, people we don’t know, homeless people, drunk people , people that don’t quite live up to our expectations of how people should be. We can practice connection every day by noticing. We can notice who is around us, who is in need. We can pick up paper that someone else has dropped. We can sit next to someone we would consider undesirable. We can reach out to those in our community who need help, the sick, the old the lonely. We can remember to phone people. We can stop mentally or physically blocking people from our lives. We can share what we have.
Courage: We can strengthen our resolve to practice courage by looking truthfully at ourselves. What part of us needs to change? Where do we need to soften and where do we need to be stronger? What is it we need to do that we are afraid of doing? How can we look at ourselves without running and still practice compassion? Courage requires us to see exactly who we are, not what others want us to be. We can practice courage by expressing our truth with compassion. We are not practicing courage when we distract ourselves from what needs to be done or tranquilise ourselves to block out the monsters. Courage requires you to stare at things straight in the eye.
Practice for today: Contemplation. Have I made space in my day to be kind to myself, show some courage and to connect to someone in a meaningful way? Tick Tick Tick!