The Enlightening Mat: Humility & Creativity

humble sagebrush

The meaning of "humble" has its roots in the Latin word humus "earth" or "on the ground." Humility is a virtue central to many spiritual practices; however, our modern, competitive society seems to consider this characteristic a weakness. Where seeing yourself as lowly or no better then the earth is an obstacle to living the good life.

I notice that when I stop being humble, it's usually out of fear. I'm afraid someone may see that I'm not competent enough or I perceive that one of my personal needs is threatened. As soon as I displace myself from humility, I create emotional disconnection between me and other people and set up a battle of wills instead of a meeting of hearts.

More importantly, being humble seems to be fertile ground for learning, growing, and receiving creative ideas. The moment I stop acting without humility, I close the door to curiosity, creative problem solving, and changing my perceptions.

Humility cultivates creativity.

One of the places where I have learned to practice humility is in the Bikram yoga studio. In the beginning, when I first started doing Bikram yoga, I remember having a secret goal of getting better and better until I was so good I wouldn't need to rely on the teacher's instructions. I don't know when I stopped thinking in this way, but after awhile it wasn't hard to abandon the notion of an endpoint. 

Now I walk into the Bikram yoga studio with the humility that I know nothing. Some people might hear that and feel disheartened that mastering yoga is so difficult. However, it doesn't feel disappointing to me. In fact, it's just the opposite. Each day of yoga is a complete mystery. My body, thoughts, and emotions are all different so I never know what I'm going to learn. 

Walking into the Bikram yoga studio, with the humility that today is just like my first day and the teacher will always know and see more then I do, puts me in a place of being open to receive new information about my body and soul. In these moments when I open to new learning, I tune my heart to the great creative river that flows through everything.

The Enlightening Mat is a blog series exploring moments of awareness that come to Beth Hemmila while practicing Bikram Yoga.

To shop for yoga charms that celebrate the different poses click here to view this blog post Sterling Silver Charms for Bikram Yoga Postures


  1. What a beautiful post, Beth. It brought to mind something a friend of mine told me this summer: That all fear is based on insecurity. I admire your path and welcome your thoughts as they encourage me.

  2. YES!! Humility keeps us open to continue learning, doesn't it? Love this post...had this experience when I taught my first workshop...humility in a teacher/instructor/facilitator is so important too...


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