When we move our body in a yoga class we are concerned with the gross overall body movements to get us from one pose to another. Once we are roughly in a pose we can start to change and form it by making micro movements in our body. If we for e.g, push down under the base of the big toe we might feel energy and strength up our leg. If we squeeze our legs inwards we might feel a lift of the pelvis and more stability. If we soften our gaze we might find the pose less stressful. This is how yoga can teach us to feel energy. One small change can send energy through your body changing the whole feel and look of the pose.
In chaos theory this is referred to as the butterfly effect. A butterfly flapping its wings in America can make a subtle change in air currents. This new energy travels and snowballs until there is a tornado in China. Doing something so small can have effects on the weather and also on the way we live our lives. Small gestures, smiles, words, a minor adjustment to how we do something or see something can add up to big changes in our world and for those around us. Maybe we want to change a habit, lose some weight, start exercising if we take small steps sooner of later we will have made a big shift in our lives.
I remember the story of how someone once smiled at a man crossing the road who was on his way to kill himself. The man having felt the love of someone changed his mind and saw a reason to live. Sometimes we will never know the effect of our small deeds on others. Today I was sub teaching for someone else and one student said at the end of class something like ‘it was nice to have you here’. This little gesture put me on a high for hours after. So little, so big.
Here are some everyday ways to make small changes into big;
Smile at people, look them in the eye.
Acknowledge your partner/child/parent talking even if you have heard it all before
Open a door for someone
Compliment a person that you have some difficulty with
Change your mind about one small thing
Pick up some rubbish/recycle/do something for the environment
Help someone out
Spend time with someone
Come home from work early/stay at work a bit longer
It doesn’t matter what you choose. It will have an effect somewhere if your intention is good. Maybe it will affect you, maybe someone else. The point is you engage in the process and you don’t get hooked up on the outcome.
Practice for today: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, Lao Tzu. Take that first small step today