No Complaining! | iHanuman


Love, Service, Devotion, Yoga

No Complaining!

One of the lesser-known benefits of establishing a regular yoga practice is that we complain less. It's probably a surprising and an unintended result ... most students don't come to yoga to stop complaining! But it happens almost automatically ... and surreptitiously.
Complaining is wishing reality to be different than it is. It is resisting "What Is". For example, you're annoyed that we're working on back bends because your back hurts from gardening, or you'd rather not be working on forward bends because you hate them. Perhaps you're out of sorts because you did not get the job you wanted, or you don't make as much money as you want ... and the price of gas has doubled! But despite your fretting, reality is the way it is.
Learning to complain less happens in yoga as a result of regularly making your best effort in class and in your home practice. When you regularly look at a situation and don't resist it, but decide how to do your best in that circumstance, you automatically train your mind to stop complaining. Your best in this situation may not be the same that it was last week before you tweaked your back. You learn consistently to take your limitation into consideration and do the appropriate level of the pose for you in the here and now. You learn that even though you don't really like some poses you can give them your best effort anyway.
It does no good to wish for the perfect situation. It is wasting our energy to wish that reality were different than it is ... that turns into magical thinking. To be in the flow of life, we first have to accept reality and then decide what is our best response given the circumstances. This opportunity for choice happens over and over again each day, and it's the little choices over time that train our minds; it is these little decisions all day long that make the difference in the quality of our life.
Recently I had an opportunity to practice making the best of it. I went to Guatemala last March to co-lead a women's retreat, and broke my ankle. The next day we were scheduled to take a field trip, and now I could not go. However, I was reading a great book, so decided to make the best of it by taking a cup of coffee out on my balcony to savor my book. The kitchen had made Guatemalan hot chocolate that morning and one of our creative participants discovered that combining Guatemalan hot chocolate with Guatemalan coffee was better than a Starbuck's mocha! So I quite enjoyed myself!
John Friend was scheduled to make a Florida visit shortly after I returned home. By that time I had been outfitted with a big black "boot" to stabilize my ankle. I was not able to do any poses at John's first workshop. I was still learning to use my new Mac computer and sat in the back and took notes on it. It turned out to be a great experience: I learned so much from watching the workshop, learned how my new computer worked, and efficiently took notes without having to transcribe them.
There was also an unexpected benefit. A series of yogis approached me to ask if they could help - could he carry my mat bag? ... or my computer? ... could he put money in the meter for me? ... or get me lunch? I got so much attention! It was great! I've saved the boot and have it waiting in my closet. When I need a little extra attention I can whip it out and put it into use again! (I also rent it out for $25/day!)
So instead of complaining about my misfortune, I kept making the best of it... making lemonade out of lemons. And by the end the lemonade was quite tasty!
Yoga teaches us to do our best in the situation we find ourselves in... and as we learn that on the mat, we take it off the mat and into our lives. As we do our best in any situation our best gets better, and we are able to make the impossible possible. Along the way we encounter more joy in a life that continues to unfold and delight us with new possibilities! May you open up to greater possibilities today!


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