It was my Saturday morning yoga practice, with one of my favorite instructors. (Truth be told, they’re all pretty much my favorite instructors!)
“If the pose doesn’t bring you joy,” she told us, “don’t do it.”
What a concept! I am generally not one for opting out of what I’m supposed to do. Or what I think I’m supposed to do. As I told a friend after the class, if something is put in front of me, I will do it and I will do it well. Pretty much no matter what the consequences. Which isn’t, I pointed out, always a good thing. (Even though people almost always tell me they wish that had that abnormality.)
What a concept. To not take a pose in my yoga practice if it doesn’t bring me joy. Though I will proudly confess that I absolutely modify my yoga poses when my body limits my ability to hold a pose. When I’ve injured my shoulders, I modify my poses. When I’ve stretched my hamstrings too far, I modify my poses. I am able to gracefully not take a pose if I have physical limitations, but to not take a pose if it doesn’t bring me joy? What a concept. To not do something if it doesn’t ease my heart.
Our instructor suggested we visualize the word joy and place it in our minds. In our attention. In our intention. She suggested we breathe in joy and breathe out stress (or push or pressure). She reminded us, over and over, to only do a pose if we could hold ourselves in joy while we held ourselves in the pose.
I’ve decided to take this approach to my day, to see how it works out. If something doesn’t bring me joy, maybe I won’t do it.
Now I know there are things that I need to get done. And there are things that I need to get done that can be more of a chore. But, as the instructor proposed over and over, it’s possible to bring joy to my chores. It’s possible to do the dishes in frustration or boredom, and it’s possible to do the dishes in joy. It’s possible to write a proposal (or this blog post) out of duty…or out of joy.
It’s possible to consider, in each moment, whether or not what I’m doing is bringing me joy. Whether or not there is a way to do what I’m doing in a way that will bring me joy. Whether or not I want to choose to have more joy…or not.
If it doesn’t bring me joy, I’m not going to do it.
Try it with me – and let me know how it goes!!!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
I had to take a double look at your picture. It looks just like me when I was a teenager!
Really??? Send me a picture of you so that I can see!!!!
I love how you’ve switched around the concept somewhere in the middle….. it’s not just “don’t do it” if it doesn’t bring you joy…. it is also to evaluate whether you can bring joy to what you are doing (proposal, dishes) — and then do it with joy.