I spent last weekend with 51 amazing students who attended the first PYC Muskoka Yoga Retreat of the season. A lot of our time in meditation and practice was spent bringing more awareness to what our mind is naturally drawn to and with that, deciding if we need to set the intention to focus on something else.
In theory, a boathouse yoga studio is filled with the perfect sounds to fuel your practice. Birds chirping. Water lapping. Wind rustling. It sounds pretty dreamy doesn't it?
In reality, there's lots of other sounds. Machinery helping the boys work hard at the marina. Boats pulling up for gas with music blasting through their speakers - sometimes it's Van other times it's Gangsta Rap. Kids shouting that they've finally found a frog. The pounding of a hammer fixing something at a cottage across the way.
You never really know what you're going to get on any given day.
It's a completely uncontrollable environment.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.
I love that my studio forces all of us to create peace from the inside out. Unlike most other yoga studios I've been to, we don't have four walls surrounding our practice space. There's no setting the mood, the lights or dictating the sounds. That's all decided for us. We just have to show up each day, as teacher or student, and work with what that day decides to give us.
Sounds a lot like life, doesn't it?
I often play a little game when I'm in the boathouse - I notice what I'm hearing. Is it the man-made, 'annoying' sounds in the distance? Is it the birds chirping? One is obviously more pleasant than the other, yet - surprise, surprise - my mind is often naturally drawn to the sound i want to get rid of. I tell myself: if I could just stop the machinery, then I'd be able to hear the birds. But then, if I take a step back and realize that machinery is out of my control and I simply choose to pay attention to the birds, they get louder. Whatever I choose to listen to in that moment gets bigger.
You can play the same game with life. Notice what you're seeing. Are you zooming in on what's wrong with yourself and others and life? Or are you focused on what's good about yourself and others and life?