Why shifting perspective will make you a better person

As part of my yoga teacher training I was required to take some yoga classes as an observer. I was partially looking forward to that and partially unsure what to expect. Could this teach me become a better yoga instructor?

I found the hours very valuable to me, not only as a teacher, but also as a person and a yoga practitioner. Observing the teacher, the class flow and other students was very eye opening and reminded me of a very simple thing: Perspective.

As a yoga student and as a person who leads the class I was very hard on myself. I had high expectations of what each yoga pose should look like. I often was really wondering if I could be a teacher if my poses weren’t as “perfect” as I thought they should be. I looked around the studio admiring the skills of other students. I was hard on myself. I expected perfection, even if I just started working on a new pose. I questioned my abilities and my body. Sometimes thinking that everyone else is better than me. What was I doing in a studio with people who seemed to have bodies of athletic performers.

When you are observing something, you are no longer an active participant. You have the opportunity to gain distance. During the observation sessions, I was sitting off to the side with my notepad listening to teachers’ instructions, glancing over the student and the flow of the classes. I realized how from where I was sitting the class looked completely different from my usual perspective. People had different motion ranges, some struggled with the very poses that I enjoyed, some had limited range of motion, some broke in midst of a pose, some seemed to move from pose to pose with ease. In certain ways, the practitioners’ bodies let them know their limits. And that was fine.

It hit me that the simple change of where I was sitting and what I was doing changed what I saw. It shifted on how I felt about my skills and my level of knowledge about the practice of yoga. This shift, although so simple, gave me a new perspective on my own practice, on my cueing, on how I perceived the human body.

So, you might ask how does this all apply to being a better person. One of the things that I have been practicing this past few weeks is trying to see things from a different perspective.

If I looked to solve a problem, I tried to change my perspective. How could I come up with a solution that is more practical or easier to implement? What other ways can I look at an issue to find a better fitting solution. Obviously, it’s not always the perfect answer, but it’s worth exploring. You never know what will come to you and what truths you can uncover when you explore other avenues.

Different perspective can also help you better understand the people around you. How can you change your perception to get a better understanding of who they are and what obstacles they face? Is your point of view based on your own believes or is it based on facts? I find that truth is tricky and we often feel the need to comment on something based on our opinions, not facts. So often we talk to people about their outfits or weight or lifestyle. But really, does it matter what we think if the person is happy with that dress or their weight, or living in particular circumstance? Why are we so eager to force our views on others when we could take a few minutes to try to see things from their point of view. I think that this is something that we struggle with when dealing with loved ones. We want to help, but often we only offer an opinion from our point of view.

Shifting your point of view will help you be a more tolerant person. It will open your eyes to opportunities. It will allow you to connect with people on a much more personal level. Perception helps you see things from their perspective, it helps you understand their sorrows, their problems and how you can support them in solving those issues instead of forcing your way.

Not only does this perception shift help you in interactions with others, it also helps you see you. See you as a different person. Often this perspective shift can help you find something that you can learn to love. You find that what you offer as a human being is enough. Sometimes is a matter of gratitude for what we already have achieved, sometimes it’s realizing that we have plenty to offer to others and our helping hand, which might be no big deal to us, can seem like a world to another person. You can change your perception by volunteering, helping someone in need, spending a few minutes talking to your neighbors. Surround yourself with people from different walks or life, different cultural backgrounds, different race.

You can find solutions that weren’t evident before you started your journey. Sometimes all you need is changing where you sit.

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