This week I am drawn towards focusing on Precision. Again, there were other themes that I had intended to discuss, but the idea of precision kept jumping up and waving its arms, very obviously needing to bump ahead in line.
Precision is a word that conjures up images of layers of plans for skyscrapers or detailed works of art. It is the opposite of casual. It implies that something is important—important enough that what goes into it must be precise.
There are a lot of imprecise things out there and certainly not every moment is meant to bear the responsibility of precision. But it occurs to me that more than a few things would benefit from being treated a little less casual and little more precisely.
I feel this way about yoga poses. There is, after all, a correct way to do each pose. There is a level of precision involved in every one. There is a correct way to teach each pose. Language requires precision as much as action. When we accept that doing the pose, each pose, is important to us, why not also observe that if it is important, it is worthy of precision?
Every pose has a purpose, and if the pose is not performed correctly, that purpose will not be met. Sometimes this results in a person wasting their time and effort in doing that pose. Other times, a lack of precision might result in injury.
There seem to be a lot of throwaway pose moments these days and I could spend days looking at pictures on the internet the same way you watch a haunted house movie, gripping the side of the chair and saying “no, no, no… don’t go there!” and knowing that a little precision could help each person achieve the pose they are in.
I also see a lot of throwaway moments in life these days. There are a lot of conversations rushed, not achieving the purpose of having them and often creating more confusion instead of clearing it up. There are a lot of jobs rushed, resulting in poor workmanship and dissatisfaction. We all experience these things and we all seem to be getting more and more used to them. But to what end?
It’s common for people to spend more time picking out what they are going to wear than they do in researching what they want to do with their lives, something that will enhance their happiness for more than a “moment”. I believe the reason is because we are looking for one thing, but trying to achieve it through another means. We are not precise in identifying what we want and need. Buying a house does not make it a home. An outfit does not make a yogi. We have become very accepting of casual and very used to complaining or grinning and bearing. But, if you want to live successfully and happily you can begin with being precise about where you focus your time and energy, and identifying what is casual versus what needs a little work to be put into it.
There was a time when I needed to spend more time on the things that were important to me and I needed to be precise in performing them. Once I started doing this, life began to flow in a very natural and exciting way. It is invigorating and strengthening to take responsibility for yourself and your decisions. It is a wonderful thing to know how you feel and to be authentic not just at times, but all of the time!
And that’s what Yoga For a Year is all about: what works in yoga works in life and what works in life works in yoga.
It’s not always easy—far from it. But when we decide that something is important to us, is it not worthy of our extra effort and precision? And I believe you will find that the things that you have been precise with and worked for become much more valuable to you.
If there is a pose that troubles you, take the extra time to be precise. Move a little bit more slowly and pay attention to each step along the way. Do not settle for imprecision.
If there is something in life that troubles you, take the extra time to be precise. Move a little bit more slowly and pay attention to each step along the way. Do not settle for imprecision.
The results are always worth the time and effort spent.