This morning, I found myself closing a restorative home yoga practice with a two-minute plank. Even I had to laugh at that. I had stayed home rather than go to a class, as my lower back felt a teeny bit off, and when my body gives a signal like that, it is time to take it down a notch. My injuries have been great teachers, but I’d rather not have too many more “lessons” of that kind. I have found in the past that long plank holds lead to serious release in my spine (especially cervical), and as I was winding down my practice, that popped into my head as exactly what my body wanted.
How can anyone view a two-minute hold in plank as yummy and restorative? It’s all in perspective. I chose to see it as a spine release, not some feat of strength. Just like when doing side-to-side oblique work from boat pose; I love to feel the massage of the piriformis. It is all about finding the good, rather than always thinking about the bad. Changing one’s perspective can make everything once viewed as “hard”, easy. And why not choose easy?
This way of thinking extends far beyond the mat. Sometimes if I get a little ruffled by the NYC streets, I play a game I call “find the beauty”: every person I see, I figure out what the most beautiful thing about he or she is: beautiful hair, smile, eyes, great legs, etc. Finding the positive and beauty everywhere I look, changes my mood instantly. Thoreau is quoted as saying, “The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise.” So, I say, stop being a fault-finder! If you are having a bad day, change the way you are looking at things. Maybe even flip your perspective literally and spend some time in inversions.
You have the privilege and power of choosing your thoughts, so why not choose positive ones? I am not telling anyone to ignore the negative that inevitably creeps in, but rather than seeing the negative and wallowing in it, why not look at perhaps what this negative feeling or experience can teach you? Find the good and the ease in everything. I promise, it is a much nicer way to live.