Integrity

by Carl Massy.

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“Excited.”

In a word, that sums up what I am feeling when I sit in the epic main yoga shala at The Practice, looking up at the expansive bamboo spiralling roof and think about the boundless possibilities for everyone that has the good sense to poke their nose in and join us. I fortunately had a moment of clarity back in 1999 as part of a major life changing process (which including the standard dose of pain and confusion), and stepped into my first yoga studio in Bondi, Sydney. From a physical perspective, I loved how it stretched my body, and it reminded me of my younger days doing gymnastics and martial arts. I loved the grace of it too (though for the first few months I was anything but graceful). I can’t remember if it was love at first bite, or it just felt right. Whatever the feeling, yoga has continued to expand, grow and lead to amazing adventures for the previous 16 years.

I was very fortunate back in 1999 to find an amazing yoga instructor who had started practicing yoga when he was only 5 years old. He not only showed up with an incredible depth of knowledge on the philosophy of yoga, but he integrated it into a highly successful business and entrepreneurial career. From the earliest stage of my training, I was learning that there was much more to yoga that whether you could twist yourself into a pretzel. There was a way of being. A way of showing up in the world. A way of practicing yoga moment, by moment, off the mat. I was being introduced to yogic principles you could integrate into your life to create more ease and amazing synchronicities. In fact, for me, it was the philosophy of yoga that became my foundation for life, and the physical practice on the mat was just one of the physical applications of that philosophy. I have always been about honouring the philosophies of yoga, on and off the mat. I need to walk the talk and as a Coach and public speaker and I ALWAYS aim to practice what I teach. That is how integrity shows up for me.

But here is the kicker. Walking the talk is not easy. At times it is downright uncomfortable or completely petrifying. There are times when I have the feeling that I want to run in the other direction as opposed to doing the work I know is right and needs to be done. As Reverend Michael Beckworth says when he talks about doing what is right, when you don’t feel like doing it: ‘What does not feeling like it, got to do with it?’ In other words, the feelings of discomfort are not a good enough reason not to live a life by design, as a positive role model and with a high level of integrity and authenticity.

Living with integrity is about doing outwardly what is reflected by your inner values. When you do things externally, that are in conflict with what you feel internally, I can assure you the end result is not a pleasant one. One of the worst battles we can ever have is one with ourselves – when we are not happy with what we are thinking, saying and doing. Integrity for me is about external actions being aligned with my internal values; the internal values that sit in the base of my heart. The all-knowing values.

So here is a practical activity for you (and me) to practice the integrity thing:

For the next 72 hours, be 100% honest with everyone (and yourself) and see what happens. However, there is one small caveat. Do it with empathy and compassion (so you don’t get yourself slapped and then blame me ;-))

Also have an awesome start, middle and end to 2016; and I hope to see you at The Practice one day soon.

Carl Massy is a Strategist, Coach, Author and international public speaker. He has written two books (The Guidebook to Happiness and The Guidebook to Optimum Health) and is currently working on The Guidebook to Authentic Success. The first part of his working life was as a Major in the Australian Army, before leaving to consult on Olympic Games around the world. Carl started practicing yoga back in 1999 and these days he is the Business Coach for The Practice and a key teacher when it comes to the practice of yoga off the mat.

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