1. The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything
When you hold this understanding, you carry the power to evolve in any direction you choose, one subtitle step at a time. You can start to improve the way you do the simple things in life, rather than tackling the big things, and by default, the big things will begin to transform as a consequence.
When you do
something anything, how you do it will transpose into how you do everything else.
Consider, for example, how you approach your practice and compare it to how you approach anything in life. I’m willing to bet you find commonalities between the two.
Can you see the patterns of your practice, reflected in the patterns of your life off the mat as well?
Perhaps you’re ultra-relaxed with the amount of effort you exert, or maybe you relentlessly peruse the ultimate expression of each asana? Do you let yourself out of a pose too early because it’s uncomfortable to hold steady in the presence of a challenge, or do you hold strong until it’s done?
This lesson is interesting to me for several reasons:
- One, it helps me to remember that while doing anything in life, even the seemingly mundane things, or while facing a challenge… It’s important the quality of attention and effort, I give to the experience.
- Two, it brings attention to the common threads of our own behavior and emotional states. We may feel justified in doing something a certain way because the current external circumstances call for it. But you may quickly realize it’s simply the way you do everything. External circumstances aside, remember “It’s Only Yourself You’re Ever Really Dealing With”.
- Three, the subtlety of this lesson captures the realization that all we ever have is the present moment. So of course, the way we behave in the moment we are doing something, is the way we behave in every moment; since every moment only exists in the present.
2. The Quality of Your Breath is the Quality of Your Life
I’ve spent several days meditating on the meaning of these words, and continue to find inspiration in their wisdom. I’ve written more extensively on their meaning, in a blog post here… In summary…
“The quality of your breath…” A “breath” is an inhalation, an exhalation, and the space between the two. I ask, what makes a breath (high) quality?
- A high-quality breath is stable. It’s consistent and reliable in its rhythm and intensity. It occurs naturally. While it recognizes current conditions, it lives undisturbed.
- A high-quality breath is acknowledged. It is witnessed on a subtle mental plane, as well as experienced intimately, on an energetic level.
- A high-quality breath is tranquil. It reassures, that all life pervades within, and it reminds that we permeate throughout all life.
If you maintain your breath as stable, acknowledge it by giving attention to the life-force you’re receiving, and welcome the tranquility of its companionship, surely you will experience life in the same way.
3. Your Practice is a Two-Way Street: If You Want to Improve the Way You Experience Life, Improve the Way You Experience Your Practice.
Over the years of teaching, and assisting students in self-guided classes, I’ve recognized that the way a student moves their body, is a direct reflection of their personality, and their current state of mind. If someone has trouble remaining present, for example, they may fidget with their clothes. If someone is resistant to introspection, they may not fully manifest each pose as they move through them, because they rush onto the next.
In other words, your state of mind has a way of expressing itself through your body’s actions.
Conversely, your body’s actions shape your mindset. Recognizing this is powerful stuff. Reread it if you need to, because I don’t want you to miss this point!
Your Practice is a Two-Way Street.
Your state of mind impacts the way you move your body, just as the quality of your movement impacts the quality of your mind.
If you have found it difficult to change your mindset, instead focus on changing the way you move. You can transform your mind simply by being present, fluid, and intentional in the way you move through space.
This two way street between mind and movement is relative both on and beyond the mat. So, don’t limit yourself to mindful movement only on the mat. Try moving with intention during any daily activity like, while in the shower, or when you prepare your morning coffee, or when you walk to your car, for example.
- The way you do anything is the way you do everything.
- The quality of your breath is the quality of your life.
- Your practice is a two-way street: If you want to improve the way you experience life, improve the way you experience your practice.