When we understand how to respect all people and things around us, then these people or things may reflect the respect to as well.
The very first yoga class I cooperated with student A, he brought a yoga mat which was so old like with a long history, and as well as two historically-looking yoga blocks. The surface of the yoga mat was very damaged, the thickness was very thin, the length was only about 150 cm, and it was also attached with a layer of dust that couldn’t be wiped off. As a result, during the practice, whether the hands support postures or kneels support movements, he couldn’t concentrate, but had to continue moving his hands because of the hands slips during the movements. Moreover, he had to change knees position during the actions due to the hardness of the floor. The surface of the yoga blocks was also pitted, and the weight was lighter and incomparable as well. Originally, these tools were used to assist his practice, but had become the main cause of instability.
After the first class finished, I asked student A if he was considering repurchasing yoga mats and yoga blocks. He answered very calmly, “No, this can be used.” I respected his choice so I didn’t recommend again. However, in order to enable student A to be unaffected by these props during the practice, I asked him to bring a towel for assistance next time, at least I could provide him for suitable exercises by a “limited tool”.
We had used the towel to assist his practice for four sessions. In fact, this kind of assistance was not suitable enough, especially when Student A sweated, the problem of slipped hands still existed, and also he couldn’t always complete knees support movements even there was one more layer of towel. Even when Student A lied down whether in prone or supine positions, his whole body especially for legs and arms were directly placed on the floor beyond the mat.
After the fifth class, student A suddenly asked: Do you have any useful mats?
I was stunned in my heart and thought if he wanted to change the yoga mat.
I asked curiously: Why ask for a useful mat?
Student A replied: Well…… I recently want to do some exercises at home, but…… I found my mat was difficult to use.
Therefore, I provided some yoga mat information for his reference, and meanwhile I did not give up asking if he wanted to replace yoga blocks as well. Of course, his answer was still the same, “No, it can be used.“
After spending a few more classes with the “new yoga mat” and “old yoga blocks”, one day he asked me to help him replace the new yoga blocks.
When the “new tool” were completely prepared, one day student A messaged me and asked me if it worked since he decided to start the daily self-practice, and also wanted to record what he did and how he felt. I certainly hundred-percent respected his choice. Meanwhile, my heart was full of surprise.
Since after student A’s decision of practicing yoga daily on his own, his attitude began to change before the class.
Originally, every time when student A came into the classroom, he brought a chaotic yoga mat, and then laid the mat on the floor, sometimes half of the yoga mat was still twisted. In addition, he always threw out the yoga blocks on the floor. I had never pointed out that he must improve his attitude towards the props. I only respected his habits. I just thought maybe entering the classroom and throwing things at random was his way of releasing pressure. The only thing I could do was to help him to level the mat and put the blocks in a convenient position.
Nowadays, student A carried his yoga mat and blocks in his canvas bag, even in his suits, he changed suits from trousers with many pockets and zips, and large T-shirts were also replaced with sweatpants and sweatshirts.
Student A: In fact, is this quite effective? Isn’t it?
Me: Can you tell me more about the “effective”?
Student A: (pointing to yoga mats and yoga blocks) It’s like these. (Pointing to what he wears) Like wearing this shirt is a big impact.
Me: Oh? Can you tell me more about that?
Student A: (pauses a moment) Well…… at least I don’t have to think that the mat is slippery, or those blocks make me fall, or I am stuck in my trouser as I am practicing…… hm…… at least I feel much smoother because of these stuffs. Well, I feel that there are still many spaces in yoga I can practice, but not just getting sweated.
Me: (smiling) Congratulations, you are on board!
Student A: Do you think where I should practice more or progress more?
Me: Just practice only if you want or need.
I respectfully leave some spaces for student A to explore by himself. I knew that he had been acting yoga, but it was too natural for him to discover it.
When Student A began to change his attitude towards yoga props and clothes, it meant that he began to respect his own yoga practice even if they were just lifeless items. Furthermore, the changes were all from his willingness, so he knew how to take care or use these items properly, therefore, these items became his best assistance.
Mencius said, “The man who loves others is constantly loved by them. The man who respects others is constantly respected by them.”
If we view “the man” broadly, it does not only represent the human being, but all the species on this earth.
Now, please take a moment and think about this question: “What kind of “respect” in my own yoga practice is required?