Berthoud Consulting

Berthoud Consulting

Yoga and karate: Recognizing the present

I used to study martial arts. I loved it. It was the ballast to my activist life. It was where I discovered my athletic self. Then, after about 18 years, I fell while hiking and hurt my back. There went my martial arts career. No more jumping, kicking, punching hard. After about a year of a modified schedule, I gave it up.

I decided to take yoga classes. For a few years, I moped. I went to yoga because I couldn’t go to karate. Yoga was just OK. I know many people love it with the enthusiasm I had for karate but for me it was a poor consolation prize. Now several years on, I have a renewed respect for and appreciation of the discipline. It ain’t easy. There are requests I make of my body that don’t get fulfilled. I’m amazed by what I can’t do and yet how much healing has happened for my back. I am working my way back to vigor with this new (to me) art form.

True, I don’t love yoga like I did karate. I met karate at a time and place that’s very different from where I am now. But I no longer expect to have the same experience. Instead, I love yoga on different terms. And I’m grateful to it. Yoga has given me my athletic self back.

Actually, this post isn’t about yoga and karate; it’s about finding the joy in what’s available, recognizing the present circumstance, as an individual, organization or movement.

  • Have you moped as I did when the thing you wanted was no longer available?

  • When have you failed to recognize a setback, instead plowing ahead as though if you worked just a bit harder, things would turn out as you wanted?

  • When have you dismissed the gift of what’s next because it wasn’t what came before or what you expected?

  • How long do you resist the possibilities of the new because it isn’t the old or what it should be?

  • What happened when you eventually met the new situation as a possibility?

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