One of my hopes as a yoga practitioner and teacher is to practice what I learn on the yoga mat, in the rest of my life.
There is always the most expected benefits: When you start moving more during a class (no matter the format), you will move better in your daily living. I used to believe this was just a certain age group, I now know that it doesn’t matter your age. Yoga helps everyone move better. This includes getting up and down, bending over… possibly getting taller and definitely feeling stronger.
Then there are the internal changes that most don’t anticipate. Or at least I didn’t. More patience. Noticing when I was resisting doing something, and how I would react when the resistance showed up. We typically avoid, run from (maybe not physically, but mentally), and/or blame someone else for what we are feeling…. This is valuable knowledge about ourselves, that can change your relationships with others in beautiful ways. But there is another benefit I would like to talk about today. The repair work that can happen within ourselves that can carry us a little further on our healing journey. And I’m going to talk about this work, from a slow fashion perspective.
You have probably heard the Japanese term, wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is the philosophy of embracing the beauty of imperfection (similar to perfectly imperfect), the natural process of aging and decay, and the opportunity to view aging and maturing as a part of life that can impart wisdom, depth, character, earned beauty that couldn’t otherwise be attained. Wabi-sabi also embraces the ways in which nature alters an object (wood, tarnished metals… creating a new beauty or even a revelation.
And there is another element to wabi-sabi: the aesthetic of “just enough.”*
In sewing, wabi-sabi encourages us to mend what we have, rather than going out and replacing with something from the store.
In yoga (and life) staying focused on the present is hard, and even harder when we are always thinking about the next pose, or are comparing ourselves to someone else we have seen practicing yoga (via social media, or in a class). When this happens, we are missing out on our wisdom, and on the beautiful way our own bodies move and support us.
“Just enough” leaves room for joy, rather than joy being crowded out by comparison.
In our culture, mindfulness, being present to what is happening right now, is a challenge. The perspective of coming back to where you are right now, and then allowing where you are right now is just enough and good enough is hard. And choosing to think this way doesn’t mean we don’t have goals and desire to be a better person. It’s quite the opposite, when we can choose being present, and catching when our mind drifts off, we are giving God room to teach us and help us grow in areas of our lives we may have felt stuck in, or were blind to before.
So, my question to you is, how can you practice, just enough and looking for the beautiful in your aging, or your life experiences, today? I’d love to hear, please leave a comment below.
*Mending was a way to stay warm and clothed when there were not the resources to make purchases. The resource I used to learn more about wabi-sabi can be found in the amazing book, Mending Matters, by Katrina Rodabaugh