Why Bother Accepting Unsolicited Advice?
Some time ago, I had the idea to train for a triathlon. The event called to my sense of competitiveness, and my need for a good challenge. The race would include swimming one third of a mile in a lake, biking twelve miles and running three. I signed up, trained and competed. I liked it enough to do another triathlon again the following year, but this time for longer distances; one mile swim, twenty-four mile bike ride and a five mile run. I trained and competed four more times in local triathlons. They gave me a good challenge and satisfied my need to compete.
Stepping Into Yoga
“Yoga helps keep your ligaments supple,” I’d overheard another triathlete say to their friend after an event. So, on a whim, and while training for the next triathlon, I stepped into my first yoga class. I was surprised that it was harder than swimming, riding a bike or running.
First of all, yoga wasn’t about going as fast as you could to cross a finish line. There was no one to compete with because yoga is not a competitive sport. Secondly, swimming, riding a bike and running did not require me to think too much; I simply switched into cruise control and ran, pedaled my bike or pulled my body through water. Yoga, on the other hand, required me to pay closer attention.
“Tuck your left leg under your right, and wrap your left elbow around your right standing knee.” Huh? “Don’t forget to breathe and notice how your back feels in this twist.”
Thinking about how my body felt while in a particular pose was completely foreign for me as was breathing full belly breaths. When racing, one just pushes through whatever one feels; pain or weariness, in order to complete the course.
But, I kept showing up for yoga class, drawn to how it slowed me down and made me notice more. And though I wobbled in my one-legged balance poses while others moved with grace and ease into forearm stands, the instructor cheered us on; “Make it your pose. Every body is different.”
Then after class one day, a friendly fellow yogi lady in her seventies, approached me with some unsolicited advice that changed my life.
“Yoga fits you,” she said with a smile. I nodded my agreement. It did fit, better than I thought.
“I’m training to become an instructor and I think you should too.”
She was in her seventies, and she was becoming a yoga instructor? And she thought I could too? I smiled as I noticed how her unsolicited advice ring true for me. It fit my need for a good challenge minus the competitiveness.
So, I found a program, traveling to a little town in Canada on the weekends and after 200 hours of bookwork and classwork, I crossed the finish line, but with a deep, slow breath.
Now it is my turn to give instructions, “Tuck your left leg under your right, and wrap your left elbow around your right standing knee,” while reminding others, “Don’t forget to breathe, and notice how your twist makes you feel.”
Why bother accepting unsolicited advice? You just never know how it could just change your life for the rest of your life and that just might be worth it.