What do Math and Business Have to Do With Yoga?
There’s the theory of something, and there’s the reality. What people actually do. You’ll find this in work or with family, in yoga, tai chi, wellbeing practices, pretty much everywhere. It’s so unusual to find places where these two are the same. And so helpful when we can stay closely connected to what’s most real, what people are actually doing and experiencing, right here.
I was just reading through some good discussions in our Strala Guidebook group for training graduates, and one particular talk caught my imagination this morning. Someone was working in their job to implement Lean practices, following a set of manufacturing and efficiency principles first developed in Japan. And I wasn’t the only one who found this interesting.
There was a spirited conversation going on here, asking if Lean is just like Strala, a way to move efficiently, effortlessly, without creating problems to fix. Or is it a form of rigid control, something completely different!
We’re all people, doing people things
You might think discussion of Lean manufacturing principles has little to do with yoga or wellbeing. But for some reason I think there’s something really interesting here. Maybe because whatever we’re doing, we’re all people, doing things.
It reminds me of my three years working in a steel mill. A couple of us went to Motorola University to train in 6 Sigma, a set of manufacturing and quality principles that have been tried in many industries, so we could use some math to look at the mill’s operations. At the end of the day, it turned out the problems were less operational and more psychological. Family business.
There’s the theory of a thing, and there’s the reality. The theory was a struggling manufacturing business probably has manufacturing problems. The reality was it’s a human business, with human problems. Which reminds me also of yoga.
Human business with human problems. And opportunities.
In particular, it reminds me of my time learning “alignment-based” practices like Anusara and Jivamukti. There was so much talk about drawing or spiraling your energy in and up, to protect your joints.
Occasionally some of these ideas were nice ones. But they weren’t what we were actually doing. Maybe we were pretending to do it. But the pileup of pain and joint injuries suggest reality wasn’t matching with theory. And possibly, if we weren’t holding bad positions, we wouldn’t have found our joints in so much need of this unusual protecting.
So even if were were pulling some energy in and up, it’s a tough place to be. Always compensating for bad position and tension-filled movement. It’s a lot of energy, just to fix so many basic mechanical mistakes. Better to put some attention on moving well in the first place, to be here, and get there.
So it’s not that I don’t enjoy a good theory from time to time. But also it’s good to stay close to what people are actually doing and experiencing, wherever we are.