As I was lying in shavasana today after my hot yoga class, I found myself gazing at the ceiling thinking how far I’ve come in yoga, and in life in general.
Today’s class was a rough one, since it was my first day back to hot yoga in quite a while. It takes consistency to get used to the heat, and my body was most DEFINITELY not used to the heat!
After the first 25 minutes of class, I felt myself getting light headed. This is actually quite normal when you’re not accustomed to the high temps of a hot yoga room.
I know my limits, so instead of pushing myself to the point of passing out, I simply sat on the floor in lotus pose (meditation pose), closed my eyes and started to focus on my breath.
I was extremely gentle on myself. I just kept telling myself over and over again that it was ok, that I can’t do it all, that it’s my first day back in a hot yoga room in over a year and it will take a bit of time to adjust.
I reminded myself that I was there to meditate, sweat and enjoy, not to beat myself up for not making it through all the poses.
Then it dawned on me during my shavasana…
I have heard the yogi’s say that the way you practice yoga is generally the way you practice life.
Just one year ago, I was handling my lightheadedness in hot yoga class very differently. I was pushing myself until I felt nauseous. I was feeling guilty/frustrated/angry for not making the most out of class by pushing through all the asanas. I was thinking things like, “Hey, why can she do it and I can’t?” I even felt mildly embarrassed looking at all the people around me who could just do it all and be ok. I wondered what they thought of me.
I was literally self-criticizing pretty much the entire class, plus more afterwards about how I didn’t make it through all the poses!
Now, today on the other hand, one year later, was a very different story.
I was practicing patience with myself. I was caring for my body and mind, honoring exactly where I was, and praising myself for showing up and giving myself the chance to try it out again. When I felt dizzy I would sit and meditate, rather than arguing with my psyche about why I couldn’t finish.
I made it a point to enjoy class, and to accept whatever it may bring.
Then I made the connection during that shavasana of mine. The connection between how I’ve been practicing yoga and how I’ve been practicing life.
The past year has taught me a lot of lessons. Unlimited lessons, in fact.
And most of my life lessons have stemmed from my regular yoga practice.
I realized today in that final resting pose, that the way I do yoga now, is also the way I do life now.
I am no longer hard on myself. I strive to be gentle with my body, mind and spirit. I am encouraging, caring and content.
When I’m having a rough mental day, I don’t criticize. When I’m having a rough physical day, I don’t push myself to the limit.
Instead, I encourage myself and lift myself up. I take note that it’s not the best day, and I give myself breaks as needed. And most of all I talk to myself as if I were my own best friend, reminding myself that I am doing a great job. That I’m doing my best and that is good enough J
So the question I have for you is, how do you practice life? Do you criticize yourself, argue and guilt trip? Do you push forward even when you know you need rest? Do you worry about what others think so you try and mold yourself into what you think they want you to be?
Or do you treat yourself with love, kindness and care? Do you give yourself time off and rest when you need? Are you reminding yourself how incredibly awesome you are? Are you respectful?
It is something to be examined, and I found my answer today in my yoga practice. If you decide to try a yoga class, or you already have a practice, I encourage you to examine your thoughts and emotions as you move through.
If you’re criticizing, angry, guilt-tripping, etc, it may be time to examine how you are treating yourself in your daily life.
You are amazing, and important enough to treat yourself with kindness and care. God wouldn’t have put you here if you weren’t.
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