Travel is awesome. It always leaves me feeling like I have experienced life through the lenses of a child. Everything is new and my curiosity is at its peak. After returning home from a fantastic trip with my husband to Italy, Spain, and Demark, I started thinking about perspective and how one’s own perspective changes how we experience reality. There is an example of the power of perception that I love from the book Nourishing the Teacher by Danny Arguetty. The book asks you to think of the definition of darkness. What is darkness? For most, it is defined as the absence of light. Scientifically speaking it’s quite the opposite; darkness is actually defined as an area or space with low light. So you see, even within the darkness, there is the presence of light, and therefore everything is, in fact, a matter of perspective. It’s how we choose to see things. When I am traveling, I am choosing to see these places through the lenses of someone who has never been before (because I have never been there before). I see how people live their lives, what food they eat, what customs they practice, and I am overjoyed by the experience! It allows me to open up to new ways of thinking and being. But, what if I could choose to see the mundane in the same way? The routine I have back home. What if I could look at the repetitious way I live my life, what food I eat and what customs I practice from the vantage point of someone who has never done it before. What an intriguing idea!
I think this could be a fun experiment on the yoga mat. Every time we come to class, we can expect to practice the sun salutations, standing poses, some form of back bend, inversion, and twist. It’s an absolute joy to do and feel the safety and security of the movements that bring balance and ease to our bodies, but can we explore something new each time whether it’s the first, tenth or one-hundredth time? Perhaps it’s the way we transition in and out of each pose. The choice we make in where we set our gaze. Can we see something different like the way the light reflects or casts shadows on the walls? Can we invite the mind to take the breath to places we have never felt before? We can choose a different place in the room to set up our mat or perhaps grab a prop that we don’t usually go for. There are endless ways to be creative and invite a fresh perspective to your practice. The Dali Lama has a wonderful quote that I think adds a bit of richness to this idea: “A new way of thinking has become the necessary condition for responsible living and acting. If we maintain obsolete values and beliefs, a fragmented consciousness, and self-centered spirit, we will continue to hold on to outdated goals and behaviors.” To me this means, there is always room for growth and it all starts with how we choose to open our minds by inviting in a fresh perspective.