What really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside.
This journey in yoga or in meditation is really an exploration you take of yourself – an inward journey of discovery. In our yoga practice, it really doesn’t matter what our poses look like on the outside – it’s what they are doing to us on the inside that counts. Pay close attention to how your practice makes you feel. Let this feeling shine back out into the world.
The pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes.
We hate to admit it to ourselves, but we are not perfect. We all make mistakes along the way. Making mistakes is ok and is one of the qualities that makes us human. It gives us an opportunity to learn and grow. When you practice don’t focus on your mistakes. Mistakes happen. Perhaps mistakes are the best way we all learn. Focus on the learning that is happening and the growth that comes from it.
Use your own internal eraser on your journey. Rub out your mistakes, take a do over, and learn from them.
Sharpening the Pencil
Now and then, we have to stop writing and use a sharpener. Sharpening makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, it’s much sharper and better for writing.
Over time, tools become dull. Honing or sharpening is used to restore tools to their proper working condition. Honing creates a more suitable edge needed for proper use. Sharpening brings a point to the pencil allowing us to more clearly express our thoughts.
The same goes for our practice. A little suffering – those little pains or sensations that come from holding a pose perhaps a bit longer than normal and noticing our muscles complaining, helps us become sharper, and refocuses our practice. A tough yoga practice brings up sensations. Those sensations help us go past the limits that our mind sets for us.
Honing or sharpening improves the tool making it much easier to work with. A sharpened pencil enhances the writing experience. A little challenge in your yoga practice makes you an improved yogi. Use your practice to hone yourself to a sharper version of yourself!
In the next series of blogs we will explore why your yoga practice is very much like a pencil. Can a pencil really inspire us? Discover five qualities of a pencil than can change your view of this simple writing instrument.
Write Read on! *
(*This series is inspired by Paulo Coelho and his story The story of the pencil)
You are capable of great things. There is a hand guiding your steps.
A pencil can do nothing until a hand picks it up, holds it, and writes with it. The pencil is a tool and the hand uses the tool to do great things. Yoga also is a tool that you can use to do great things for your body, for your mind, and for your spirit.
Having a guiding hand to help you is important on your journey. It is still the best way to start a new practice. So in the beginning of your journey, finding a teacher to help guide you can be very important. Be it that hands-on adjustment, a little verbal instruction, or exploring yoga at a deeper level, finding a teacher is useful in helping guide you on your path of greatness.
But, at the same time, always remember – you are always your own best teacher. Make sure you honor your own limits and find your own path to your journey. Listen to your own inner voice.
Now is the right time to keep your practice going or to set the intention of starting a new practice. Wishing you well in the holiday season and the upcoming year.
I do yoga in the autumn woods.
Nature is my teacher.
The sky is my Om.
The soil of the ground, my mat
that I lengthen in an upward dog.
The tree is my pose
that stables my imbalance.
The black slate is my plank
when I feel weak and unsure.
The leaves crackle under my feet
as I reverse my warrior.
I skim the stones of mindfulness
across the shallow creek
of glistening waters.
I breathe in the scent of pine and maple
with Ujjayi breath.
I stretch and unwind
under an emerald-blue waterfall
to loosen the tightness
of my grip.
via Poem: Yoga Nature — Crow On The Wire
For a little inspiration on keeping up your practice read the story of the Three Meditating Monks.
Three Monks are meditating silently in a cave. A year passed. They remained silent sitting and meditating.
A few more months pass by and there’s a noise outside the cave.
Six months of silence follows and the first Monk says: Did you hear that goat?
A year of silence follows when the second Monk says: That wasn’t a goat. It was a cow.
Two years later the third Monk says: “If there is going to be any bickering, I am leaving. You are disturbing my silence!”