Good evening! I have been behind on my posts lately but there are some good reasons for that. First of all, my boyfriend has been moving in (yes very exciting) and I have been helping him pack, clean, move, unpack etc. Secondly, business is picking up so all the extra time I used to have in between clients is getting less and less, now that’s a good thing! But I promise I will continue to provide you with useful (I hope!) health, fitness and nutrition tips every Monday and Friday via my blog.
I haven’t posted anything ‘yoga’ related lately and I was inspired to write this post after meeting a friend for coffee and having some deep discussions…
I recently read a book called “Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life” by Judith Lasater and found it to be very empowering and have learned some great lessons from it. To give you a brief summary, the author does a great job of explaining the ancient teachings of yoga and how it can be applied to our lives (aka yoga off the mat). I love this stuff and even if you’re not currently practicing yoga I highly recommend this book if you are seeking guidance in deepening your relationships with yourself, your family and friends and the world around you (who isn’t??)
What I love the most about this book is how each chapter is divided into 5 parts: a verse from the Yoga Sutras or Bhagavad Gita (aka Yoga Bibles), an essay, a guided practice, more suggestions for practice and Mantras (‘manas’ means mind+’tra’ means to transcend=helps you to transcend ordinary ways of thinking) for Daily Living. The practice sections will help to support your exploration of ‘living your yoga’.
One chapter in the book in particular really resonated with me, Chapter 4, Self-Judgement, and here’s why…maybe you can relate…
My whole life I have been someone who has worked hard in everything I do, school, sports, relationships, work. I always strived to “be the best” whether it was to get straight A’s in school, be part of the starting line up on the basketball or volleyball team, I wanted everyone to like me, be number 1 in the company etc. In the past I have also been very hard on myself and found that my inner dialogue (yes I talk to myself sometimes!) was somewhat self-judgemental. If I wasn’t successful or things didn’t turn out exactly the way I had hoped I would be really hard on myself and blame myself for not getting what I wanted. This is where the “no pain, no gain” mindset all started but after reading this book Judith recommends we should practice an attitude of “no pain, no pain” instead. I like that! It applies to all areas of our lives, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.
I have included an excerpt from the chapter that explains ‘self judgement’ really well;
“…I discovered something even more disconcerting: there was no way that I could be harsh towards myself and, at the same time, be compassionate to others. I realized also that the process of silently putting myself down was actually a form of egoism. If you expect more from yourself than from others, you are saying that you are better than others and, therefore must perform at a superior level. I do not mean that you should not set goals for yourself. Rather, the question is, how do you react if you do not meet these goals? Honestly admitting that you may have not done your best is not judgement. It is judgement when you draw a conclusion about yourself based on your ideas about failure. Honesty involves taking responsibility, judgement has to do with blame. To view yourself as bad or a failure because you did not accomplish what you set out to do is judgement. To state clearly and simply that you did not accomplish your plan is taking responsibility “.
Pretty deep stuff but very profound! This got me thinking and I have been ‘practicing’ being less critical of myself and others. It is quite liberating and I am finally beginning to feel (after 29 years) that I AM perfect just as I am. Sounds silly but I am sure many of you can relate to the feelings of “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not worthy” or “I will never be able to lose weight/run a half marathon/gain muscle….” this is very self-judgemental. The first step in freeing yourself of these thoughts of self-judgement is to be aware of them. In the book, Judith provides some great ways to practice changing your attitude or inner dialogue (for example repeating the mantra “I am perfect just as I am”) so you’ll have to read it to learn more!
So if you have made it to this point (the end!), you are either a) interested in learning more about ‘living your yoga’ or b) you can relate to being judgemental towards yourself or c) you just really really enjoy reading my blog (not matter what the topic) or d) all of the above!
If you have any more questions or comments about this concept I encourage you to share your thoughts…I am still learning soooo much about the yogic philosophy but feel the need to share some insights once in awhile. There are so many great books out there that I need to dive into! Ever since I have become a yoga teacher I am becoming more interested in the spiritual side of yoga and less concerned with the physical practice.
Good night and remember YOU ARE ENOUGH and YOU ARE PERFECT JUST AS YOU ARE! Don’t forget it 😉 And tell yourself that once in awhile…you will begin to believe it!!