Words of Wisdom from Around the World and how it Speaks to us as Yoga Teachers
Everyone has a mantra. Words to live by, a philosophy we follow throughout our lives–some we create from a conglomeration of our experiences, Others passed down from our family tree, finally a collective belief from different nations. These organically grown philosophies come about from years of generational and geographical influence that have shaped us as a people likewise, as individuals. We are going to explore how we can apply them to our business
What most people don’t know about yoga is that it is an ever-evolving tradition. Like all things in life, adaptation is key to survival. Yoga has re-invented itself by taking inspiration from disciplines such as calisthenics, pilates, dance; the list goes on. These different beliefs from around the globe, each with a seed of knowledge to impart in our practice which will later filter on how we handle our careers. In this article we will define each one and apply that for our industry. Sounds good? Let’s get to it!
I first heard about the word Lagom through an amazing conversation with a Swedish colleague. A treasured talk if I might add because it gave me a better sense of what the word meant to the people who live it day-to-day. If we define Lagom as the search for balance, we’d be missing out on the essence. Which is just-right. Knowing what’s enough for your business, what is fair for your teachers, the right sequence of the day for your students. These days the internet is saturated with the solutions for your company, claiming that you need these products. When the reality is that you don’t need much. A clean space, a simple booking system , and yourself.
Hygge is the Danish art of enjoying the simple comforts life has to offer. It is also about enjoying the present. A paramount lesson on yoga as well to live in the actual moment thriving In the pause. By combining the art of Hygge with our practice it gives us an approach to our industry with peace of mind. How? By creating rituals that accomplish little things every day in our business to keep us productive and more importantly satisfied with ourselves. It also teaches us to let go of the things that make us uncomfortable in our business. Letting go of the things that don’t serve us.
There are no perfect teachers, there is no perfect way to do yoga, and that’s ok!
Ikigai is the Japanese secret to happiness and longevity by finding your reason for being. Maybe some of us can tick that third box because we found yoga. Ikigai also teaches us to play the long game. Our business has a life of it’s own. It flourishes as well as flounders. At 2020, most of our careers are on the latter side. Still, if it is our passion, we shouldn’t give up on it. For example, If we have to take a second job, keep your schedule open to provide a weekly online class. It will keep your brand afloat, your spirit high and have that extra income. By letting your business take on a different form right now does not mean you losing it’s essence–you are keeping it aflame.
The Japanese being a culture with very well-preserved traditions, it’s no coincidence that it has double representation in this article. Wabi-Sabi is about finding the beauty in imperfection. A perfect example is in Kintsugi, the art of highlighting the cracks in broken pottery. How does this apply to Yoga? There are no perfect teachers, there is no perfect way to do yoga, and that’s ok! I always tell my students up front that my teaching style has more asana practice than a spiritual one. That gives them an idea of what to expect. When there is an advanced pose I can’t do, I’m honest with everyone about it. That doesn’t mean we won’t try–sometimes it turns into one of the best classes. It is a perfectly imperfect practice.😉
Niksen and Wu Wei
Niksen is the dutch life concept of doing nothing. While Wu Wei is the concept of doing something by doing nothing. Same bridge, different sides. Niksen uses the act of doing nothing to pause your brain. The more we take time to practice this everyday, the more clarity we acquire. In the Taoist concept Wu Wei, we do nothing because we are observing the flow of life before we make any decisions. Whichever point of the ‘bridge’ you prefer to start with, the message to be still remains. Right now, we are struggling with a global crisis. Some of us are at a standstill, others are at a crossroads between keeping live classes and transitioning to an online platform, and a few are digging deep to maintain their establishments. Whatever your status is, take the time to recuperate a bit everyday.
In French, it means to tame, but the life concept is all about forming a bond and taking a chance on someone. By forming strong ties with the people around you, you become known, endearing, even treasured. Forming and strengthening connections with the people we delegate to are key in any successful venture. It makes you an exemplary boss or a valuable employee. In a world full of boundaries, we end up missing out on connections.
Bayanihan is a traditional event in a local community wherein the whole town helps a family who are moving by literally picking up the house and moving it to a second location. Again the literal translation is often overshadowed by the word’s spirit. Bayanihan is about being a part of a community and all that it entails. Helping each other in our time of need, collaborating with other teachers to create well-rounded courses and trainings. Working with different studios or retreat facilities to create fair shares between the establishment and our professional fees. We don’t need to be enemies, we don’t need to compete for students. With the growth rate of our industry there will always be students for our classes.
This collection of credos teaches us what is enough to get by. It encourages us to be comfortable with our daily activities. It motivates us to find purpose and keep at it. It opens our eyes to see beauty in the flaws or that taking time off for yourself brings good things. Lastly, we’re made to understand that we need to form strong bonds and to cultivate those connections by creating community. Now doesn’t that sound like yoga to you? I hope this article serves you well.