Are you a good listener?
In the beautiful bustle of summer, it can often be more challenging for the yoga student to find quiet time for their practice. In the spirit of Karma Yoga (the yoga of our actions) try the art and practice of Listening. You might discover it to be as profound and transformational as any other yoga practice, from deepening the breath, to balancing in a pose, to noticing glimpses of peace in meditation.
Truly listening means we don't have any agenda, that our attention is solely focused on the other, that we don't try to advise but simply listen in an attempt to understand. Maybe we say nothing at all...maybe we reflect back what we hear...maybe we ask what we can do to help. (A wise person once told me "to witness is enough".)
Listening is an important component of our Yoga Teacher Training programs. We learn to listen to the student in order to know how to talk with them about Yoga, and in order to offer the benefits of Yoga in a way that is appropriate for them. Many report that an amazing thing happens when they REALLY listen. The wisdom needed comes in some way and there is an "aha" moment for both involved-yet neither know exactly where the information came from. (The student usually thanks the teacher, who quietly thanks the Yoga.)
Learning to listen to ourselves has a similar quality-we need to show up and just listen, without an agenda, without a million tasks and ideas already in mind. When was the last time you sat down and just listened to yourself without any desire to change or judge? Some find journaling helpful and discover a wonderful guru in their pen.
Finally, listening can save our world. When there is not love between two people, it is because there is misunderstanding on both sides. Can we seek to understand one another without having to change the other in any way?
Let listening be your yoga practice in some way today and notice how profound it is!