People often believe that yoga is simply a conglomeration of poses sequenced together to only benefit the practitioner from a physical standpoint, but really the poses are only an eighth of an overall yoga practice. The 1st limb of yoga is the yamas which are considered the outer disciplines. There are five yamas with the last being Aparigraha, Non-Attachment.
Many times, we become attached to what is comfortable whether it be a job, a relationship, or material things. This same dilemma is often realized on our yoga mats – we become attached to a certain pose, a certain spot in class, a certain teacher…the list goes on and on. It is often difficult to let go because it requires us to step outside of our comfort zone and trek into the unknown, not knowing if we will succeed. Oprah said it best, “There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.” So, in a sense, every move is a success, because we are constantly learning something about ourselves along the way that is guiding us toward our divine purpose. We will never know what we are capable of accomplishing when we don’t take the chance to step out on faith and challenge our personal edge. When we hold on to things, we do not allow God to bless us with more. A closed hand cannot receive, but instead, rejects other blessings, not allowing God to really show out in our lives.
As an Industrial Engineer (IE), I remember one of my favorite professors, Dr. Bonnie Boardman, often referred to us as “Agents of Change.” As an IE, we are constantly determining ways to improve processes and systems. Dr. Boardman warned us that throughout our career, we would run into naysayers, cynics, and resistors who would fight us along the way because they were not ready for change.
During my internship at a manufacturing facility, my counterpart Mikey and I were given a project to study, assess, and implement improvements to the shipping and receiving dock at the facility. Upon our arrival, we were met with glares, cold shoulders, and heavy resistance from some of the employees because they knew that IEs could potentially make their work harder. This was certainly true because any time we are presented with an opportunity to make an improvement, it does require work. While innovation requires work, there is definitely reward on the other end.
Mikey and I continued with our project and slowly began to make changes to the receiving dock layout and workflow. We made sure to include input from the employees as they had worked there for years and did have certain knowledge that benefitted the overall process. Little by little, we laid tape and transferred data from papers to the enterprise database, improving the workflow. After we completed our assignment, we reviewed the changes with the employees and walked them through all the improvements.
After a few days, the employees expressed great gratitude for all the work we put in because the changes had enhanced their overall quality of work, making their lives much easier! Two years later, Mikey and I came back to the facility, and saw that our workflow implementation was still being utilized! What a success in creating positive and sustainable change! We were so grateful to the employees who allowed us into their workspace and worked with us to make the necessary modifications to transform their workspace…but only after putting in the work – stepping out of their comfort zones, letting go of the familiar, and being open to change.
As a yoga instructor, I often offer adjustments to students who I feel are ready and would benefit from a loving touch to get them deeper into a pose. Many students prefer not to be touched due to injuries which is perfectly understandable. Then there are those who steer away from advanced classes, poses, and adjustments because they have always done a pose a certain way, and are unwilling to step out into the unknown, but if you “do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always got.” There is no growth in stagnation. Anything that does not grow will eventually fall behind, stunting growth, innovation, and advancement.
The only thing constant is change. Change surrounds us every day from the change in seasons to the growth of our children and pups to even our own growth whether it be physical, emotional, or even spiritual. We should strive to constantly innovate and transform.
I want God’s perfect will to be done in my life, and many times that means stepping out on faith – letting go of our own crutches and getting out of our own way, not letting fear take hold. I no longer want to stifle my blessings by keeping a closed fist around what is comfortable. As we make these leaps into our purpose or divine destiny, know that we do not have to do all of this alone. I constantly strive to improve my physical abilities and my faith by allowing God to work in and through me.
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