The Evolution Revolution

Change one part of the system, and you change the whole system.

That nugget of yoga goodness, which I learned from the inimitable Leslie Kaminoff, is definitely on my short list for the most-important teachings of yoga. Wanna see it in action?

OK, then. First you must pause in some way, so that you can step in to observation mode. Ready? OK. In this moment of pausing, how do you feel? Where is your attention? What is your mood? What sensations do you notice in your body?

Don’t critique what you observe. If you feel great, fine. If you feel lousy, fine. If you feel nothing, fine. Just notice how you feel, just right now.

Now. Purposely slow your breathing down. Don’t worry about the details—just make the breath slower in some way that isn’t straining or stressful.

Now—only if you want—add a little pause between inhale and exhale, and between exhale and inhale. You are in charge of how long you pause, just like you are in charge of how slow you want your breathing to be.

Do this for as long as you like.

When you’re ready to stop, stop. And go back to observing: how do you feel now? Where is your attention now? What sensations do you notice now?

The effects of this practice can be subtle, but they can also be profound. And I bet that over the course of this experiment something about you shifted—whether it was attention, mood, sensation, or something else.

However subtle the shift was, imagine that its ripples are now traveling through your body, your mind, your life. To me, this is the magic of yoga: it emboldens us to transform any given moment, and empowers us to enhance and evolve our perceptions, actions, and attitudes with simple techniques that pretty much all of us can do.

And I suggest to you: Think of how many different ways you can approach this idea, how many ways you can start that evolution—in your body, your thoughts, your relationships, your community, your country. When you change one part of the system, you change the whole system.

And just like that: Revolution!