Easier said than done, right? If you are anything like me, you may struggle at moments to really slow down and appreciate your own success and self- value. I kept finding my eyes wandering to that person in the front of the room who is in an insane sage pose that I would not yet dare to try. However, yoga is teaching me an important life lesson—self-love and appreciation. How did I begin this lesson of silent gratitude? I will tell you.
I Started Out With A Beaten Body
I began practicing yoga about six months ago and I went in full time, full force, practicing four times a week. I loved it. I was a dancer my whole life until I went to college and once in college I needed to bust out of my leotard and do something freeing—so I started to run. Throughout my four years of college I trained for a 5K, 10K, and eventually a half marathon. I was so proud of myself but with the hundreds of miles I was running, my body was being beaten and I could not handle it anymore. I needed something with the “quiet, me- time” that I found dancing and also while running music free. What to do?
Then I Found Yoga
Searching online and talking to friends about peaceful yet challenging activities I came to yoga. I did a lot of research and I mean a lot! I read almost every blog I could get my hands on and started viewing as many poses and their benefits as possible. I immediately loved my yoga practice. It has helped me delve into my spiritually, relieve my anxiety, while also challenging me physically. Then, I hit a wall and fell off my mat.
I Started Comparing Again
I was falling into my old ways of comparing myself to others. My anxiety was running ramped with the start of my masters program and I kept asking myself, ‘why am I not good enough?” That is the debilitating question that was holding me back. I could not work through it and try to practice yoga truthfully and free of judgment, that includes self-judgment, my yogi friends. So I decided to slow my practice down and focus on meditation at home. I made my “Brenna’s Buddhi Board” to help me focus on what fills me with joy as well as inspire me. Silly, I know, but it helped me focus on what feeds my heart and stop fueling my stress and anxiety.
I will not say I have found the answers to all of my spiraling questions but I am ready to get back into the studio with my mat.
So Friends...Slow Down And Close Your Eyes...
Yoga serves a different purpose for everyone and it is only going to cause you harm if you constantly compare yourself to others. You may be working towards increased flexibility to alleviate pain, while your yogi neighbor may be practicing to increase strength or alleviate stress. Close your eyes and picture yourself succeeding not ogling at your neighbor.
Some people you meet are naturally as stretchy as a rubber band and that is fine. That is their body and your body is yours. My hip flexors are tight and my low back spasms. Do not push yourself too quickly. Take your practice home where no one is around. Just meditate and focus on what you are feeling. Love yourself for who you are in the true moments of naked silence.