One of the most powerful lessons I took from daily Ashtanga mysore yoga practice is that we are different every day. Mysore practitioners follow the same sequence of postures, or asanas in their daily practice. I was skeptical of doing the same practice six days a week but saw it as a way to improve my discipline and focus. As the weeks passed by, I noticed how profoundly different I was every day. Some days my mind was still, and other days the torrent of thoughts made it difficult to focus. One day my balance was better, while other days I was more flexible. At times the practice was a struggle, and sometimes it flowed elegantly.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said you cannot step twice into the same river. He recognized that neither the river nor the person stepping are ever the same.
Observing our daily variations. Every day we are different, be that physically, mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually. That directly impacts the way we all show up, yet most people have no awareness of this. A daily practice helps us observe our personal oscillation. While Ashtanga practice is a great daily check-in, you don’t need to run to the nearest shala. You could meditate or mindfully walk your dog – anything that gets you in touch with your true self.
Bringing our whole self to work. When we appreciate the variation in ourselves, we deepen our understanding of our environment. The notion that there is a work ‘self’ and a home ‘self’ is a relic of the past. It’s nonsensical. People carry their issues around all day whether we like it or not. As a leader, I appreciate an individual’s ‘whole self’ instead of pretending that some parts do not exist. If we create space for our teammate’s ‘whole self’, we can be mindful in our interactions and look for ways to help them find balance.
Cultivating consistency. In my experience, people commonly value consistency in their colleagues. Is consistency not just the ability to navigate the ever-changing daily conditions in ourselves and others? My morning practice brings awareness to where I am that day. It provides techniques to regulate my energy level and as a result, I am more likely to show up the way I want to.
By no means do I profess to have perfected this. It is a constant challenge and I am an ongoing project! Daily practice helps me navigate the river of my ever-changing conditions. I suspect even 15 minutes each morning would do the same for you.
(originally posted at ChiefYogaOfficer.com)