Every week I hear it from my students. “That class was tough.” “It felt so easy today!” “That was the roughest class I’ve had in awhile.” “That was great! I had so much energy!” Or if I compliment them on their great work, they give me a look that indicates they are thinking the exact opposite happened in the room or a bright smile that let’s me know they had a good class.
We all put so much judgment on what our yoga practice looks like. Most of the time we’re not satisfied with where we are. It would be great if there were a shortcut, some way to make a leap in improvement.
Having been practicing for over 7 years now, I have come to understand that there is no good class, no bad class – there’s just class. 90 minutes of working to push your limits both physically and mentally to create better health. When it’s done, it’s done. You did what you could do and tomorrow you have another chance to work at it.
Though there were moments I wished for more in a given posture, now that time has passed and I can see how much I’ve progressed I would never give up the classes in my memory that got me to the point I am at today.
But as we drop the judgment or opinion of our yoga practice and our appearance in the mirrors and begin to accept where we are in the given moment you can’t help but drop that constant judgment of others and their life choices. As we treat others so we treat ourselves and vice versa.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve come across multiple articles and situations that concern judging others. We’ve all done it – in fact most of us judge something at some point everyday. It could be ourselves, others, the weather, service at a restaurant, having to stand in line at the grocery store, the price of gas, the guy in front of us in the hot room kicking out without a locked knee and, as you know, the list goes on and on. We’re human and we’re living in a world of contrast. Day and night. Black and white. Hard and soft. Good and bad. It’s hard not to have an opinion or preference.
Because of this I wanted to share this short story with you:
The Cookie Thief
Written by Valerie Cox
A woman was waiting at an airport one night, with several long hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shops, bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.
She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, that the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be. . .grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between, which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.
So she munched the cookies and watched the clock, as the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock. She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by, thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”
With each cookie she took, he took one too, when only one was left, she wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half, as he ate the other, she snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother. This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude, why he didn’t even show any gratitude!
She had never known when she had been so galled, and sighed with relief when her flight was called. She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate, refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.
She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat, then she sought her book, which was almost complete. As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise, there was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.
If mine are here, she moaned in despair, the others were his, and he tried to share. Too late to apologize, she realized with grief, that she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.
The reason this story tickles me is because we have all been the cookie thief at some point. We have all had the wrong perception of a situation or had a misunderstanding that has formed our opinion of a person or experience. The more open and accepting we become of ourselves perhaps we may be able to drop our judgment of others and the situations that they are encountering on their life’s path.
So get in the hot room. Let’s sweat out our own “stuff” so we can gain compassion for everyone else’s “stuff.” Let’s get stronger physically so we can be stronger mentally and emotionally.
Be kind for everyone is fighting a hard battle.