As I have mentioned, we recently adopted a puppy. I was anxious and fearful leading up to her arrival and began to feel relief once she actually came. Now, a few weeks into the journey, I have been inspired by all that I have already gotten back from the experience. What you put in is what you get out as the saying goes. I found this beautiful quote that partnered with this theme. “It’s your Attitude, not your Aptitude that determines your Altitude” That became my inspiration for my classes last week.
I paired these together because there is an assumption that putting in the maximum all the time is going to get you the maximum return, not the case on our mats…or off for that matter. Rather, the inspiration comes both by committing (being in the moment) and by being true to what we need to receive and give that out.
As we began our practice last week, I asked my students to connect to what they wanted to get out of their practice that day. Perhaps they needed to be compassionate to their bodies and they would get that compassion back. By reminding themselves that it’s their attitude (perspective) not their aptitude (what poses they performed) that would offer them altitude (lightness and flight) on and off the mat, we set our Intention.
From Sun Salutations we moved into Parsvokonasana (Side Angle pose) and then Trikonasana (Triangle pose) and I asked them to draw the belly in and get taller..find their altitude; not sink into the hips but instead cultivate lightness and space in the spine.
We also used the Bandhas to explore this idea of “What we put into our practice is what we will get out”. Both Mula Bandha (Pelvic floor) and Uddiyana bandha (Abdominals) can add a deepness and lightness to the physical practice. We practiced Bakasana (Crow Pose) once without Uddiyana Bandha (nicknamed the flying bandha) and then with the Bandhas engaged and we found our Altitude.
In Lizard we moved to Eka Pada Koundinyasana (arm balance) and then even tried to fly back to Chaturanga. This practice was about letting the Attitude lead us, not getting caught up in the Aptitude of it all, and then who knew…perhaps we would find Altitude.
As we slowed the practice with a long pigeon pose I came back to my puppy…the inspiration for the week. I shared that my daughter had to learn the same lesson we were practicing. In the first days with our puppy, my daughter was upset because she couldn’t understand why the puppy didn’t automatically love her. I explained that she needed to put the work in, to show our new family member that she loved her…not once for five minutes…but over time. And I assured her that if she was patient and loving and consistent, that she would get all of that back from this little furry creature. In Pigeon pose we offer the same to our hips, by showing them that we love them, patiently over time, we get that love back in the long run. We find lightness and altitude…we can fly.
That is what a Yoga practice teaches as well. If we are patient and compassionate and loving of our bodies and ourselves, we will get all of that back in return. Our Attitude will dictate our Happiness, our Lightness and our Altitude way more than our Aptitude ever will. Namaste.