I’m reading a new book my daughter gave me for Christmas, called “Perfectly Imperfect” by Baron Baptiste. Mr. Baptiste is a yoga “lifer.” His parents were avid yoga instructors before yoga entered the mainstream and even though he vowed he would not follow in their footsteps, Baron absorbed the lifestyle and daily practice they embodied. He has since created a small empire through his yoga instruction and is known worldwide for his “power yoga” style. In his book, the author says there are only two ways to show up on our yoga mat and in life: as a yes or as a no.That’s pretty black and white. No room here for the undecided, or hesitant-to-commit. You’re either one who demonstrates a willingness to learn, expand and move in a forward trajectory or you come to your mat, and your life, with resistance and rigidity. So, I ask myself, which am I?
Yes. I’m definitely a yes girl. I think. Or I could be a no. As I get older I have heard the word no slide off my tongue a little easier than it used to, but does that make me rigid or stubborn? I don’t think so. In the context of life, being a no is similar to stomping your foot on the brake. When I was kid, if I asked for something and my dad said “no” I knew there was no room for negotiation. He put a lid on my request, locked it up tight, and buried it with that one, simple word. No. But if I was a no in life, I would not be living in this beautiful community. I would not be teaching yoga on the beach. I would, very simply, not be writing this article. If I was a no I would have remained within the boundaries of my quiet Iowa life, and been content enough, but unwilling to step beyond the perimeter of comfort.
Arriving on the yoga mat as a no excludes the exploration that can happen there. This is especially evident in the poses we like the least. The poses where we say, “I can’t” or “I won’t,” so we don’t. We give up too soon or modify to something we like better without giving “yes” a chance. And what about meditation?
When I say “yes” to meditation, I pull the plug on distraction and mind chatter. Yes, attention to the present moment. No, anticipation and expectation.
When we show up for life as a yes, we open ourselves to what’s possible. Yes is vulnerable, changeable, teachable and powerful. Being a yes in life, and on the mat, blows a breeze of energy into the moment you are in. Yes says trying and failing is preferable to not trying and never knowing. However, according to Baptiste, when we say “yes” to one thing, we automatically say “no” to something else, and if we can’t identify what we’re saying “no” to, then our “yes” means nothing. When I moved to Florida (yes, yes, yes!) I said “no” to sub-zero wind chills and ice storms. But I also said “no” to living within a stone’s throw of family and friends.
On the yoga mat, and in life, we work toward balance. For every action, there is inaction. We balance work with time to rest. We appreciate joy because we have experienced sorrow. We have the choice to be a yes or a no when we wake up in the morning, and when we interact with those around us. As we step to the mat, we can be an explorer of what’s possible or be bound within the protection of what’s familiar. In our approach to life we either stand rigid with resistance or walk with the freedom of fluidity. What will it be for you… yes or no?
Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.