What Is Beautiful About the Pose?
Recently I enrolled in an online yoga class which teaches safe and sustainable alignment for all bodies. I couldn’t wait for the class to start! I anticipated learning a lot about alignment and anatomy. But the very first thing I learned was a pleasant surprise, and like much of what I learn, applicable to all other areas of what I do.
When looking at a student in a posture, we never look for what is “wrong,” I learned. In fact, any adjustment actually comes last. Instead, we were instructed to first look at what is beautiful about the student in the pose. Does the student look graceful or strong? Comfortable? Confident? Do the feet look grounded; is the head held high on a strong spine? Then, once we as teachers have noticed and acknowledged what is beautiful, we can then look closely at the posture to see what tiny adjustments can be made to transform the pose and help the student feel the posture even more deeply.
What is Beautiful About the Person?
I was touched by this. This suggestion is not only useful with yoga students but is also what I strive to do with counseling clients! In the end, it is not about “fixing” what is “wrong” with a person, but rather looking for what is strong and wonderful first, and then making tiny shifts which have a holistic effect on the entire system. A mere tweak such as pressing more strongly into one edge of one foot can dramatically change an entire yoga posture; a mere addition of a gratitude or mindfulness meditation practice can have a transformative effect on the wellbeing of a human being.
What is Beautiful About This Moment?
I loved this so much that I have begun applying it to all other areas of life. I have found myself asking, on walks or in moments of solitude, what is beautiful about the moment, and felt my heart warm as I realized all the extraordinary subtleties which make seemingly mundane moments precious and unique.
Recently, before bed, I’ve also been journaling all the things that were beautiful about the day. I’ve discovered I can come up with an entire page or two of beautiful moments at the end of each and every day. This provides me with a way to review my day in a mindful way, re-experience the joys I’ve felt throughout the day, and go to bed with satisfaction in my mind and warmth in my heart.
If this resonates with you, I encourage you to pause in moments of struggle, when you catch yourself being critical, in mundane moments, in lovely moments, or at the end of the day, to ask yourself “what is beautiful,” and watch this question transform your body, your perspective, and your entire system. Just like a really good yoga adjustment, this question can catalyze a powerful perspective adjustment.