Yoga Tip: Off the Yoga mat – How much risk is there in a smile?


Increasingly I have noticed a brisk attitude with which many strangers address one another in grocery store checkout lines, passersby in the street, and other public locations. It seems people frequently fail to recognize any value in expressing courtesy or friendliness. Are we too busy? Have we become so goal-oriented that we’ve forgotten basic rules of etiquette? Or have we yielded so much our personal authority to media-hyped threats (I rarely tune into news reports on TV or radio anymore due to the depressing focus on violence & failure in society rather than celebrating victories) of random violence that we are simply afraid to smile at a stranger? I’ll confess that last month when I began riding my bicycle to the yoga studio, I got so focused on making good time that I barely cast a second glance at other riders & pedestrians. Two weeks ago I felt the ambient level of fear/incivility when I greeted a woman in our Yoga Passion parking lot with a smile/hello & was shocked at statement of apprehension on the woman’s face. By the way she looked at me, one would think I’d injured or threatened her in some way. All I did was smile and say, “Hello.”

Exactly what does this topic have to do with yoga? Well, think of it. If we’re rushing around in such a hurry or are simply afraid to be courteous, then what does that say about the world we’re creating within and around us? Can you relate to this message? Is there a way we can take the openness/clarity from the yoga mat and bring it into other arenas of our lives? How much a risk in there in a smile? Extending ourselves to loved ones, colleagues, friends, and strangers in new ways … how might that effect our lives? If we greet one another with fear, isn’t it likely we’ll be responded to with more fear? Greeting someone with love is no guarantee that we’ll get love back. These days there seems to be so much fear in the ambient field of human consciousness. But how can anyone stem the tide unless we take the small steps of shifting our own attitudes and sharing our victories within our own communities? When we live with joy in our hearts, it is essential to share it. Otherwise joy turns rancid. Share the love. Share the joy. Share the peace. Personally I seek to constantly expand my awareness and take new risks leading to fulfillment. Have I mastered it? No … but who cares? Life is too precious to wait for mastery. Why not simply get on with opening my heart to ever-expanding circles of love? I invite you to do the same … & share the bounty & inspiration with those with ears to hear and eyes to see … even if that person is someone with whom you’ve held a grudge/judgment … or if he/she is a complete stranger … please note that this eYoga tip is not an invitation to indiscriminant foolishness … but rather an open inquiry into how each one of us can transform our hearts, our homes, and our lives. As at all time … love is the way … and the way is love.