Learning How to Learn

Once you learn something you can’t go back and unlearn it.  Whatever the content is, whether it be about a certain subject, a person, a group, or a way of life, you can’t just erase it from your mind.  To learn something is different than just being told something .  You can be told a piece of information time and time again and have not achieved the understanding that comes with actually learning it.

If you really pay attention to the cycles of your own life you can see how the same situations persist until you learn from it what you need to, to then move on.  It is only then an entirely different situation will present itself so you can continue to learn something new, ultimately cultivating a deeper understanding of yourself and this life.

For me I was always looking for approval outside myself.  Being a singer, actress, and dancer I was in this constant cycle of having people’s opinions really weigh on me.  If I didn’t get the solo, the role I was dying to play, or the feature in any given production I was crushed.  Sure, I had an incredible poker face exuding the look and space of a powerful, self-possessed and confident female, but honestly was a disaster internally.

And because I was constantly giving my power away, I was on a rollercoaster ride with my emotions.  Happy one day, crazy sad the next.  Up and down, in and out, and all around.  It wasn’t until I truly learned to approve of myself that I was able to move on and begin to learn a different life lesson.

Approving of your self is no easy thing.  It means you love yourself enough to not be swayed by the opinions of others, or the tug of the tide of humanity that constantly says you’re not good enough.  You approve of yourself and that’s enough.  You can then go to sleep each night and know that you did the best you could in every moment, aware that in some moments you might choose a different reaction the next time it comes around, as you continue to reach for the best possible outcomes.

I feel that yoga is the best place to learn how to learn.  You can hear the same correction or piece of the dialogue time and time again, but there has to come a point in every posture where you truly learn it.  You embody the look and feel of the given asana.  There is that first moment where the mind and body ultimately connect to make this happen.  To get the elbow at exactly the right spot in Triangle Pose, or realize that the grip in Standing Separate Leg Stretching is intended to tap into your strength to create the flexibility in the lower spine and outer hamstrings. These are the most glorious moments in anyone’s practice.  When you truly understand it.

But this can also be the most challenging part of the yoga.  Because as I stated earlier, once you learn something you can’t go back and unlearn it.  And the right way is usually the way that feels somewhat uncomfortable and demanding.  It’s hard to get the elbow in the right place in Triangle Pose – can’t you just forget what you learned?  And this is when your discipline has to kick in.

You came to the yoga class to challenge yourself – to be better than the person you were yesterday and to continue to grow, not only in your practice, but in your life outside of the class as well. So, when you learn something new that will deepen your practice, relish the moment and continue to take what you learned to your mat day after day. Build on your knowledge. This is the way you come to realize what you are truly capable of and tap into the posibilities of all you can achieve within this life.

Your life is your message to the world.  Make sure it’s inspiring…

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy reading:

How to Fail Gracefully at Life, Love, and Yoga…

The Big Picture

Correction Connection

9 thoughts on “Learning How to Learn

  1. Learning how to learn is more important than the thing you are learning – I totally subscribe to that philosophy. If you just follow along and ‘know by rote’ – it doesn’t help you learn anything in a different situation or how to apply that knowledge beyond that circumstance. Once we learn how to learn, we have endless possibilities for growth in all different situations.

    Ah Triangle pose – so much to learn in it! But I now love it – my feet finally feel grounded and not ‘slippy’ but my brain still hasn’t learned to trust that they won’t until I’m actually in the pose. My body is trying to show my mind that it knows best!

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