You don't have to be in a yoga class to observe the life lessons the ancient teachings of yogis have to offer! Here are 8 unusual places you just might find some wisdom:
1. Your Pet
That cute fuzzy face begging for food and attention has one thing on his mind--the present moment. He is not worried about the future, and forgives you for any misgivings of the past. The difference is that we humans have to make a constant, conscious effort to clear the mind of unnecessary thought patterns and focus on what matters most: Right Now.
2. Your Hair Stylist
When you sit down on the chair, what’s the first thing that happens after the initial question; "what are we doing with your hair today?" The chatter that follows is often laden with gossip and complaints about others, bragging about a vacation, etc.
Is any of this useful or productive? How are your words serving you when the conversation is empty? We have to learn that sometimes, and in certain moments, it's best not to say anything at all.
3. Your Mom
Yes, the person who knows you better than anyone else in the world (or at least thinks she does). Long-term relationships with family members are often complicated by memories and past 'samskaras' or mental impressions. So the next time you see your loved one, try to look at them with fresh eyes.
Ask them how they are, and make it a point to listen. Ask questions that you wouldn't normally ask them, forgetting the assumption that you already know since you know them so well. Bring up that thing that you are afraid to talk about. Chances are, they will understand.
4. Your Boyfriend
Building a relationship with someone based on trust and love is a beautiful thing. But there also may have been times when he let you down, or didn’t call when he said he was going to. Am I right?
Are you already worrying about when he will give you a ring, or take you on a romantic vacation? These are all rooted in expectations, which inevitably lead to disappointment when left unmet. Your boyfriend, and being in a relationship, can teach you to let go of expectations. Learn to let go and allow the relationship to progress in its natural way. Just like in yoga, don’t force what doesn’t feel right for the sake of what you think “should” be.
5. That Mean Lady At The Checkout Counter
Don't take it personally! Really, it has nothing to do with you. If you are constantly allowing other's bad moods affect yours, you are wasting energy and harming your positive prana. Instead of texting everyone about your bad experience at the store, take a moment to take a deep breath, offer a smile, then a sincere compliment (even if it's as simple as their sweater!), then let it go. Don't take things personally.
6. That Yoga Student Next To You Who Smells Funny
Every time we encounter someone or something new, we make a judgment call. It's not always necessarily a bad thing, but hanging onto those judgments is not healthy. Yes, it might be true that the yoga student whose mat is next to yours is a little smelly! And maybe they can't do all the postures. But so what?
You should be striving to have the mind of a new yoga student; open to the challenges of this new experience. That person that you judged negatively may end up being a really good friend and inspiration to keep going with your yoga practice.
The yogis say, "be child-like, not child-ish." Keeping that young, free-spirited attitude full of wonder and adventure becomes harder the older we get. Often bogged down with worries, responsibilities, and stress, it almost becomes an effort to let go sometimes. With the practice of meditation and yoga, it becomes easier to let go of unnecessary chitta (mind-stuff, chatter). When the mind is clear, the heart can be light, and laughter prevails.
You are your own best teacher. In the documentary Kumare', the True Story of a False Prophet, an Indian man born and raised in California attempted to understand why there is such a strong desire to find an old and wise yoga guru. So, he grew his hair and beard, made up his own yoga postures and chants, and before long had a strong following of students.
After revealing his true identity, what he ended up teaching them was astounding; the only teacher you really need is yourself, because there was nothing that I taught you that you didn't come up with on your own. None of his concepts were ground-breaking or unique. He simply sat each student in front of a mirror, and had them tell themselves things they wanted to change. From that experience grew a greater personal love and trust that was not understood before. They also got a harsh lesson in the masks that other people wear, often for personal gain.
So trust your intuition, and turn towards inner reflection. Sometimes, in the end, the best yoga teacher you can find is yourself.