I have been assisting the beautiful, inspirational, generous and downright angelic Martine Allars at Fitness First in Darlinghurst, Sydney, for the past few weeks.
One thing really struck me the first time I attended. The wooden floors. And by that I don't mean I stacked it and face planted, the floor striking me as hard as I struck it. What I mean is that I recognised very, very quickly, how clumsily and without consciousness we often walk, clumping around. In past yoga classes I have attended some people sound like mini-elephants pre-class as they frantically gather their props, stepping dangerously close to my face (I have had my hair stepped on than once!), as I try to settle in Sivasana.
I noticed while assisting that throughout the class that it is an energetic and mental effort, to stay aware of your movement and its impact on others around you (to avoid stepping on anyone's neck!), or even the sound and speed of your footsteps and impact on the floor as you walk.
I am now much more aware of stepping gently, deliberately, and often moving much slower in life. It tends to eventuate in a better outcome all round, and feeling much calmer.
I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous workshop by the incredible Dice Lida-Klein last weekend, and during partner work for arm balances he pointed out that any force we inflict on others has an equal and opposite impact on ourselves. He gave the example of hitting a door with your hand, and noticing that there is no way to do it without also hurting your hand.
Perhaps this is a valuable lesson: of course 'do unto others..' is a well known cliche, but to really be mindful, aware and receptive to the messages that you send out to yourself, others, and the world around you. One day you may just receive those messages back (ideally it won't be in the form of a stumble on your face!)
for more on Martine's classes see http://www.littlelotusyoga.com.au/
for more on Dice see http://bryceyoga.com/about/dice/