Once upon a time I taught yoga in Hong Kong, managing the yoga studio at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It was an intense phase, living in the big, bustling, money-worshipping city. I had a hard time relaxing into the pace of that life.
What I learned then was that yoga practice has to involve a transformation of mind, otherwise you don’t really get the full benefit of practice. When yoga practice includes working with the mind–sometimes called mindfulness or meditation — then lasting evolution occurs. Since my time in Hong Kong, I’ve spent alot of time meditating.
This past week I re-visited my old neighborhood friends and realized how experience is colored by our state of mind. Whereas my previous time there was often characterized by struggle, something in my current state of mind allowed me to appreciate the beauty of life in that city. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So if you live in a state of contentment, you can find beauty anywhere. The best way I know to access that peaceful state is through a constant application of mindfulness, learned through meditation practice.