I taught a class on Halloween and set out to set an appropriately themed intention. While I joked that “why do you put your costume on” was too deep of a concept for a fun night, I think there’s something in it to think about. More to come on that later but I set the intention as “trick or treat.”

When we practice and encounter a pose we don’t enjoy, that’s too hard, we trick ourselves into the pose. We breathe faster; mentally check out; start an internal dialogue about something else; or even come out of the pose entirely. This avoidance to the pose tricks us into thinking we’re actually processing the shit that is coming out.

Within this time, we learn how to better treat ourselves with the same poses. We can breathe slower and deeper; we can send breathe to that body part that’s screaming for attention (or avoidance); we can get curious about why the pose is having that effect on us; and most importantly, we can feel for shift in our mental/physical/or emotional body. We treat ourselves on the mat by learning more about that which drives us and which challenges us.

And from the mat, we can apply to our life off the mat. How often do we check out during a conference call? Where does your mind go to avoid work that needs to be completed? Daily, we find a new and different way to trick ourselves into inaction. Why not flip that? Why not begin to identify the triggers that encourage you to avoid the issue and instead, get curious. Why do you dread the conference call? It may be the subject matter, the other callers, or feeling time is more precious. If we flip that and dedicate our entire selves to the matter at hand, how much can we improve our attitude, the attitude of our peers, and the final product.

I have a phrase as the footer of my emails that has hung with me for years “Dedicate yourself to the effort.” It’s not always the final product or destination that matters; but the path we take and the lessons we learn along the way. And shouldn’t that be the treat of life itself?