I was sufficiently motivated to get out of bed at 5.45am on a cold, wet, rainy London morning to go for a yoga class in this sweet little studio in Fulham. (Little known fact: I don’t enjoy yoga classes; I prefer to be outdoors jogging).
But since my first class here yesterday, I was motivated to come here. The teacher this morning was Harry, who is as unlike a sprout-munching, pony-tailed, sandal-wearing yogi as you can imagine. Harry was very different from that image: he was a a bath tub restorer before training to be a yoga teacher in 2013!
Harry said a few profound things in class. This is one that I remember most:
Focus on the integrity of the posture, and depth will find you.
As a yoga teacher and teacher of yoga teachers myself, I can resonate with that. New students often want to rush to the impressive postures without wanting to “waste time” on the basics, namely the integrity of the postures: where you place your weight on your feet when you stand, your fingers, alignment of your spine, direction of your gaze. They get bored with the basics.
In life, too, we aim for depth without first building the integrity. We dig deep hunting gold, without sparing a thought for the wildlife and habitat we are destroying. We seek depth in a relationship with grand gestures, without honouring the little things that make the relationship work in the first place. You can’t have depth with someone if you only had good times without having lived through tough times that test your integrity.
Depth will find you, when the integrity is in place.
I find this definitely applies to parenting. My children’s father and I focused almost exclusively on getting the integrity in place (politeness, kindness, family love, good health, memories for the future years) rather than academic achievements and extra-curricular accomplishments, and in the span of 30 years, that seems to be a very good strategy as our children grew into strong, resourceful, balanced adults who remain close to the family – and yes, they do have their career successes and extras despite those never being part of our parenting Key Target & Objectives. You can’t find depth, it has to find you.
Integrity: sitting straight, consciously engaging your core, elongating the spine, honouring both gravity and body architecture.
Harry also said, “Take time to find yourself in the mirror”. Yes, that is depth. For how can you love anyone, without loving yourself first? How can you relate to the world you live in and the people around you, without first having the connection to yourself?
And often, finding your own eyes in the mirror and holding that gaze without judgment, ego and thoughts is the most difficult thing to do.