Written by: Lisa Taylor
I had never considered or used the word transformation until I met yoga.
Now it seems like I reference this word so often that it occurs as overused or commonplace. So maybe what is better fitting is the word metamorphosis. It is the opportunity to make something wholly new, not because it isn’t good enough in its current form but because there is an opportunity, unawakened.
So, metamorphosis is what I want to manifest when I say transformation.
A metamorphosis denotes a potential that exists at all times in all things.
For instance, every yoga pose has the infinite possibility of transforming you as you practice. It is why we practice, for the opportunity of a creative process that will leave us with some new mindset, body sensations, or relationship to ourselves.
Not all potential needs to be realized in one moment. Even with something as seemingly magical as metamorphosis, there is a perfect moment when it can all come together.
Part of the fun of practice is noticing and choosing changes, pose by pose. Kind of like those books you might have read as a child where you are constantly choosing one of two following potential pages and, therefore, the story’s outcome. In the storybook, you have to read again and again, choosing from the many possible outcomes to experience all of the possibilities and know the book.
There are unlimited outcomes available in our lives and within the realm of possibility.
To discover something new, you need to go deep.
Going deep means staying with a familiar route to discovery instead of constantly changing the path. Otherwise, in the quest to know ourselves, you can never really know if you are changing or the pathway is changing.
For this reason, at Evolution Power Yoga, we practice a set sequence, again and again, not as a drill or because we seek to get good at the practice, but rather to know the differences we are experiencing each time we do practice. In doing so, we get to know ourselves through our bodies, and the practice is infinitely revealing.
It’s not about the game, it’s how you play.
You might have heard a yoga teacher say, “we practice principles, not poses.” These are the timeless rules of the game.
I think of this much like formulas in math class, proven rules that work because they are agreed upon and constant. It is the application of the rules that usher us into discovery. So, with the poses remaining the same, there are many rules you can apply to access curiosity and discover yourself newly through the yoga practice.
What results from this approach to anything is adaptation. A quality of being always present, increasing and decreasing the intensity of each pose, each moment, and transforming into new poses from the old.
The practice isn’t boring, you are boring.
When I began my yoga practice, it was purely for the physical.
I discovered a fun new way to exercise; it felt a little bit like my sport, gymnastics had felt but was much more appropriate to my age. I had no idea what people spoke about when they said yoga changed their lives.
As a studio owner, I found myself quickly becoming distracted in the classes I was taking in my own studio. But, of course, I thought that was the fault of everyone and everything else, not me.
To be honest, I was bored with yoga classes and not very interested in attending.
I laughed out loud as I gasped at the confronting quality of her statement. Once I settled down, I realized she was talking about me. What I was lacking was any access to being present.
Before yoga, I had never experienced anyone talking about being present.
I didn’t know anything about it, nor was I exploring how to have it in my life. In fact, I was quite the opposite. Growing up very shy and introverted, I was perfecting being not present when I was in uncomfortable social situations. I had become very practiced at “not-present” as a skill and tool.
Little did I know I was generating more anxiety as I lived more frequently in my head and increasingly less in the world as it was. So, when I learned about presence being something I might want, I had no idea how to access it.
Your North Star.
I once had a teacher whose subject was vision and goal setting, and I was learning to be a leader in her type of work. The concept included setting a vision, why it might derail, and the kinds of mission and core values that will have you achieve bold new futures. We even studied body language and what it indicates about when and where the quest for a vision runs off course. Additionally, I personally experienced these methods working and understood the components of leading individuals through the work.
Later, When an opportunity to lead a powerful group of individuals as a team tasked with taking a group through a week-long training presented, I knew this was exactly the work I wanted to do with the team.
As a group, we would set a vision for the training and then put in place the mission and core values we would use as our north star, guiding us in the moments where we might otherwise be lost in the program’s challenges.
Well, my efforts failed miserably, right from the first meeting.
When I later reviewed where I might have gone wrong with my teacher, she gave me some profound insight. A group does not have access to setting a shared vision if the individuals that make up the group do not have a vision already set for themselves.
You define your life.
You do your work, and I do my work, both in relation to what is uniquely important to us as we create our own lives. This is a rule, and it is what frames the work of transformation.
No one else can define how you are experiencing your life.
Yes, they can influence the circumstances, but not your perception. If you have ever read Viktor Frankl’s Man Search for Meaning concerning his time in a Nazi concentration camp, you have an inspiring example of what it means to be at cause in creating meaning from your circumstances.
We each have this power. It is a superpower.
So here we are.
It is a new year, 2022 – who would have thought in January of 2020 we would be here, still grappling with a pandemic?
I wonder if it endures because we need more time, suffering, boredom, disconnectedness, and uncomfortableness in order to grab our attention.
What are we not getting?
We certainly won’t “return to normal.” There is talk of creating a new normal but, what if that isn’t it either?
Could this pandemic be the same as the deep discomfort of a pigeon pose, which is meant to pull our attention to the present, right-now-moment? Is this our opportunity to get present to the possibility of a wholly new future?
What would that take?
There is evidence of our culture shifting. For the first time in history, much of the planet is connected, understanding more about each other’s daily lives, sharing thoughts and ideas widely. This connectedness makes transformation possible in our time and on a scale never seen. We have an opportunity for a true metamorphosis in what it means to be connected, experiencing community.
For this reason, it is time to do the work.
If you aren’t already working, or if you are, step it up!
Much like an orchestra, every instrument has its part to play, different from the others, and yet, in the end, they make beautiful, moving art together. Be on the quest of a transformation, a metamorphosis of your own, nothing less.
Start from where you are because you are whole, perfect, and complete – right here.
The work is that of seeing and opening up to new possibilities from where you are. This will require you to dream a new dream without knowing its limits. Limits develop from what you already know. Get present and create.
Once you start and continue your own work as a moment-by-moment creation, you are ready for your place in a finely tuned orchestra. However, an individual’s work needs a consistent practice with generally agreed-upon principles, so too does the work to transform a community.
At Evolution Power Yoga, we participate in a program developed by Baron Baptiste in his book called 40 Days to a Personal Revolution. This program provides a set of parameters for working on oneself within a group. When a lot of people doing similar work create a personal transformation simultaneously, a group transformation is possible that is larger than the sum of its parts. Nothing short of lasting change in what it means to be human is possible.
Groups transform as a critical mass of individuals transform.
It starts with you.
Now is the time, and you are the person. So, what will you be up to this year? No pressure! You define what transformation looks like according to your goals and vision of what you want in your life.
That will be perfect, and just what is needed – but, get on it.
Create from a moment-by-moment approach as your life unfolds each day. Utilize tools to stay present, see the possibilities available, and live a chosen life each and every day. It might not seem important, you might not feel like your efforts make this kind of difference, but they do!
What each of us puts out into the world each day is our world.
It is our community.
Each person contributes, and each person matters.
Your work is vital.
I often think of Dr.King’s quote, “whatever your life’s work is, do it well.” Being up to living a life of possibility doesn’t mean your life as it exists now isn’t worthy of transformation, needs to change in some way, or is wrong. Instead, consider your life as the practice to show up to regularly and consistently, then go deep. See what you see, be present to what you are experiencing.
Be available to the possibilities. Get curious.
There are miracles everywhere, in every way of doing life. Metamorphosis of a magnitude not yet imagined is available from your life to your community into the world.
Accordingly, take it one step, one practice, one day at a time.
You’ve got this, and we’ve got this!
Written By Lisa Taylor: Female Business Owner, World-Class Yoga Instructor, and Owner and Founder of Evolution Power Yoga