Life Lessons From The Mat

Core”. I believe the sole mention of this word would make most people cringe/moan/tremble in fear during a yoga class. Core exercises (e.g. crunches, sit ups, leg lifts, yogic bicycles, navasana) are generally unpopular because they are painful and torturous. To be honest, I, too, wasn’t a fan of core work when I first started my yoga journey. Although I’m still not a huge fan now (am trying!), yoga has helped me to recognise its significance; one thing I learnt is that having a strong core is important for us, both on and off the mat.
Let’s face it: whether we like it or not, we need a minimal level of core strength to hold advanced asanas (e.g. arm balances, inversions, balancing postures) and achieve progress in our practice. And in order to get that core strength, we NEED to invest a certain amount of time and effort. Unfortunately, this concept seems to be widely neglected these days.
Many students often overlook the importance of mastering basic techniques and force themselves into advanced yoga postures even though their bodies aren’t ready yet. Although this “short-cut” can help them collect many instagram-worthy pictures and garner numerous ‘likes’, they are placing themselves at high risk of injury as they lack a strong foundation. In addition, by rushing through the process, they’re missing out on a huge part of the precious learning process.
The same idea of “having a strong foundation” is also very much applicable to life. In today’s fast-paced society, many of us have a habit of taking short-cuts, as we want to achieve the most in the shortest time possible. As such, we often view things on a superficial level and rush through our work without a basic understanding of things. Although short-cuts do offer a quick solution at times, they are not 100% fool-proof. The results of such work are also often inconsistent and of lacklustre quality.
Yoga has taught me that quality results can only be produced when we dedicate time and effort to master the basics. It’s not about doing things fast, but rather, doing things right. After adopting this mentality, I found myself becoming a more effective learner both in school and at work. Interestingly, my productivity also increased because I no longer have to spend time learning the “right” way to do things each time. I also found myself enjoying the learning process a lot more. Hence, the next time before you rush things through, do take a step back and think, “STRONG CORE”. Yes, it may be an arduous and painful process but trust me, that amount of time and effort is definitely worth the investment. 🙂
Namaste
Li Xin (200hr YTT Weekend Batch)

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