So what do I mean by “right action”? I want to start out with this little introduction:
Ethics (or Moral Philosophy) is concerned with questions of how people ought to act, and the search for a definition of right conduct (identified as the one causing the greatest good) and the good life (in the sense of a life worth living or a life that is satisfying or happy). The word “ethics” is derived from the Greek “ethos” (meaning “custom” or “habit”). Ethics differs from morals and morality in that ethics denotes the theory of right action and the greater good, while morals indicate their practice.
In yoga, when we have discussed “right action”, it allows us to make the right choice for now. In that moment. I am quite literally doing what feels agreeable to myself in that moment. Whether it is to hold a pose longer, to try the harder variations when the teacher says to move on, or to listen to my body if I feel I am not quite ready to move forward.
The other night, I was reminded of how far I have progressed in 5 months. During class, I didn’t take a certain pose to the last possible variation. I was afraid to try it because I wasn’t quite sure of the placement of my arms and shoulders…and how people were moving forward. There are times people appear to flow effortlessly into the final pose. You know how the teacher says “You are in the pose now, but if you want to move forward…”, well I do want to move forward. So, after class I asked how the pose looks as you are moving into it. Two of my friends were there and are able to move on so they showed me this pose Bird of Paradise. I was quite surprised when one said to take the washcloth, and try it, and I actually got my shoulders right.
Well, let me remind you if you are new, way back in the past blog archives here, you will read about months I couldn’t move my shoulder and how manipulating my shoulder-blade at all was almost impossible. So when I am in yoga, I don’t exactly always allow my right action to move forward as I am somewhat blocked by memories of pain. Whether that pain was brought on by the flare up of Epstein-Barr Virus, Hashimoto’s, or fibromyalgia, I no longer care. My “habit” if you will, was to stop because of intense pain, but the memory of it is still there. My new habit, or right action, that really aligns with my practice now, is to stay after yoga, ask about that “hard” pose, see how it’s done, and move forward at my own pace.