I have been teaching at Prana Yoga in Cambridge for a few years. I often ride my bike and park at the same pole in front of the studio. When I leave class, it takes a few minutes to unlock the bike, turn it around, cross the street and jump on to proceed home. The other day, upon my arrival, I noticed there was a bike at my regular parking space. When this usually happens, I park a little bit further down. But for some reason, on that day, I decided to cross the street and park in the direction I’d be going in when I was done with class.
When I came out of the studio, it was much quicker to just cross the street and hop on the bike to ride home. I felt like I’d found a new way to approach something I’d been doing the same way for years. Now, this revelation certainly isn’t ground breaking but it got me to thinking: how else could I apply it to other areas of my life? Could I find different ways to approach my teaching, my finances, my relationships or the challenges in my life?
The definition of insanity, according to Einstein is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” We are creatures of habit and I see this all the time in yoga class. I see it in students’ bodies as they try to shift from unhealthy patterns of alignment into healthier positioning; I see it in students who practice the same way with unhealthy alignment and then note to me that they have a certain strain or injury that keeps recurring. I hear students express their concerns about their health, their jobs, their ability to “get it all done” and wonder if maybe what we all need to do is look at ways to re-frame our way of thinking. This is often best done with those things that we can’t change or feel powerless to change. It could be that we’re feeling frustrated at our job but need the job to pay the bills. It could be that we feel frustrated about a relationship but value having the relationship in our life. In these and other situations like it, how can we change our approach to the situation to find more freedom and less stress?
Start to take a look at your biggest stressors. Identify them by writing them down. Then start a list of completely different approaches to each one. Try them on one by one and see if just maybe, if you open your mind to it, you can find a new way to approach an old problem.