Real-talk confession (read: moderately judgmental but totally honest statement): I cringe when I hear anyone equate ‘taking a yoga class’ to ‘going to the gym.’ Something along the lines of, ‘Oh, I’m not going to pay for a yoga class because I already have an unlimited gym membership and I work out there all the time.’
I mean, I’m glad you’re moving. Sitting is the new smoking, so please, run and bike and walk and jump around on boxes and over tires and in front of swinging kettle-balls-of-death during your gym-rat time as much as you want. But please, don’t equate that workout to yoga.
Yoga is not an exercise routine, it is a path to finding freedom from self-inflicted frustration and a path to uncovering your heart’s desire. It is a science that requires deep introspection and examination of all the mental patterns which generate your daily reality and create the lens through which you see and understand the world. It is a path to understanding yourself, your habits, your behaviors and learning to love yourself through that understanding.
“Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Through yoga, I’ve learned to understand and love myself despite my tendencies to be self-judgmental, anxious and worrisome. I’ve learned to understand and love myself even when I’m not perfect and feel inadequate. I’ve learned to understand how I automatically respond to guilt, shame, and fear, and love myself into being more vulnerable and forgiving. It was a lot of work. It required commitment, daily practice, and trust in my Teachers.
The meaning of yoga is ‘to become whole’. We only become whole when we are truly capable of understanding. Understanding how we came into this world, why we are here, what life is for, and how we can love ourselves. Then, we get to love others with abandon… and that’s the fun part!
I challenge you to understand yourself better. I challenge you to move into becoming whole and by learning to love yourself.
- Set your timer for 10 minutes and have a journal and a pen nearby.
- Find a comfortable seated position
- Speak your intention aloud. Ask: “How can I love myself more fully?”
- Sit quietly and listen. When the timer goes off, write down whatever you are thinking.
- Repeat for ten days. At the end of ten days, review what you have written in your journal. Make a new habit, a new thought pattern, and start loving yourself more… immediately!