Updated: Dec 10, 2022
I was at a dinner party and a friend was talking about her love for dancing and an uplifting evening she had dancing. I said "dancing is such good exercise." She smiled and said "exercise" and plugged her ears for my response. Another friend who also loves to dance laughed and said " exercise". I tried to defend my point and my one friend conceded with a smile " yes, exercise is a side affect of dance", he gave me a look like I did not get it. When I left, I realized I was missing the point. Dancing is something that could free the soul from it's confines. When we attaching any outside benefit or need to it we take away from it. The focus no longer on what we love about it, but some need we want to gain from it. How often do we do this in life.
I did this for a long time with my yoga practice. It was part of my 'wellness' routine. I was going through the motions and missing the depths of the practice. My mind was on how I was doing the postures (asanas) and criticizing myself internally, if I had trouble with a posture or when in a class my neighbor was getting deeper into it. The breath work (pranayama) and posture ( asanas) are tools they are not the practice. The tools are given to help us quiet our mind. It gives a focus. Yoga means union of mind, body and spirit. Eventually, I started to get this on a deeper level. I started removing my labels from my Qigong, Tia Chi and Yoga practices and just focus on being fully present. Enjoying myself. Yoga, Qigong and Tia chi have helped in recovering from different challenges, but to be honest it's not what motivates me to have a daily practice. What motivates me is something in the practice speaks to my soul, like dance speaks to my friends.
What ever practice it is that speaks to your soul, try and do it without labeling, comparison to others or judgement of yourself. Sometimes knowing the benefits of a practice can help motivate us to develop a daily practice, but then remove the label. Allow yourself to have fun. Allow yourself to be ok with who you in the practice that very moment. It's human nature to always be reaching for some brass ring in the distance. The problem with is, it takes us out of the moment. We could miss the blessing this moment is offering us. There is a quote "this moment holds a gift , you have to be present to receive." I found this to be true. The more I took judgement out of my practice the more I enjoyed the practice itself.
I think when we remove labels it could help us in all areas of our life. Remove the expectations. I remember at a place I use to work, they set up bench marks for productivity for the staff. I am someone that wants to please and was trying to meet my bench marks, but there was things happening during the day that were outside of my control. A lot of us were struggling and getting angry. I would spend my days running around and getting frustrated when things did not go smoothly. Then one day I decided I had enough. This was not a beautiful peaceful surrender into the now. This was more like *BLEEP* it. I am going to do the best I can and then let it go. The end of the day I saw many benefits to this approach. First I was not carting around anger and frustration all day. I was more patient when my day hit snags. The funny part was my productivity increased. Functioning from a more relaxed mind I was able to do things quicker and problem solve better. I took the pressure off myself. I think this is good advice for work and life in general. We all have to set goals and expectations and then let it go. Remove your label of how things should be and allow yourselves to bring more joy and peace into your lives and practice right in this very moment. You are ok now...in this very moment. #dancing#removinglabels#holistichealth#yoga#mindfulness