The Heartware

On a “bad” day of Yoga training, I turned to Instagram for some downtime. 

The training session was “bad” because we tackled the fancy poses (headstands, handstands, arm balances) of which, I could do very little. Yet considering that I had never attempted these before, I fared well. Still, I felt inadequate being surrounded by a bunch of folks who could do a lot more than I.

So while on Instagram, I came across a fellow classmate’s post. She posted that there are days where she feels disappointed at what she cannot do, but if we focus on the intent, not the outcome, progress comes quicker. Reading her post in turn reminded me of an approach to Yoga that we learnt about in class – Karma Yoga. In essence, this is focusing on the intent which would in turn drive the action and lead to an outcome, of which you do not have any pre-conceived notions. Living in a result-oriented society (i.e. focusing on the outcome which would drive the intent and action), this already is a challenge. Afterall, to not know the result that you want is to set yourself up for failure, no? 

Depending on the task itself and one’s definition of “failure”, this could mean many things. In a materialistic world, I have been taught that if the reward of one’s task is not tangible, that constitutes “failure”, never minding the intrinsic success. This set me thinking. I began to examine my thoughts more closely. Instead of focusing on getting the postures right, I decided that my intent for each training session was to give my best. The result? I feel happier. I feel empowered to try more and can in turn do more. I have more energy to push myself a little more each day. These are my outcomes, the fruit of my focus on the intent (which I did not plan!).

If this were a once-off reward, it’ll be easy to say that this approach yields fleeting happiness. You know, how you embark on a getaway because #YOLO (you only live once) and you need to find yourself and runaway from the world? That happiness is fleeting because once the getaway is over, the back-to-reality mode kicks in and the happiness once felt is now gone.

But I can say that the rewards of such an approach is not in any way fleeting. It reminds me to celebrate what I can do, empowers me to try, and takes care of my mental wellbeing. I am less affected by my surroundings (people, things, situations) and can genuinely applaud others if they achieve a difficult pose without feeling that tinge of enviousness. In short, it celebrates who I am, which is not swayed by how others are or how others view me. And this reminds me that I tend to empower others and my environment much more than myself to live this life!

Hardware or heartware? The world goes outside-in. I think I choose the latter. I’d rather go inside-out.

Glee (200-hour Yoga Teacher’s Training, weekday group)
Personal Reflection 2