Minding your p's & q's in Yoga
I was teaching this week & stated an intention to use the 3 P’s of yoga, patience, perseverance & practice, then I thought was it perseverance or persistence…. does it matter, they are similar & both great things to practice. I took the idea of the 3 P’s from an article many moons ago, & come back to it again & again, but obviously that detail eluded me. So, as I was teaching from this intention this week, other P words came up into my mind:
pranayama - control of the breath
pratyahara - control of the senses
pause The List could go on….
Can we be mindful of these P’s in our yoga & in life?
That got me thinking of the saying: Mind you P’s & Q’s. What does that mean?
I remember my mother saying it, & it took it to mean, remember to say “please” & “thank you” to those around me. I got thinking more about it & even asked some students & got answers like: I think it stands for pint’s & quarts….which means not to drink too much? So I looked it up & saw there is more than a few stories behind this saying.
The one I liked the most was back in the time of when words were only printed on paper, you had to put the typeset backwards so when it printed the letter would be the correct way around. Often, p & q got mixed up & if you did that, the print was ruined & had to be redone due to the typo’s.
So mind you p’s & q’s meant to pay attention to the details. Please & thank you is a detail to show respect to another, seems like a logical explanation.
I see that all these p words that have come to mind are details that can be important to yoga & our practice of it. That yoga is about the details, not to be perfect in them, but to be aware of every breath, movement, feeling, awareness…. you get the gist. At first these details can seem a bit much & can even overwhelm. However, with patience & perseverance in our practice, we can see these details as a way to help us allow our True Self to come into the picture while the other parts (our body, mind, emotional state) can change.
So minding the details in our practice & life can be seen as being mindful of our actions, words, thoughts & feelings. My original understanding of mind your p’s & q’s, the please & thank you’s, can be important in our practice too!
Anne Cox E-RYT 500