I just came back from a kickboxing class. It’s my third in 2 weeks. Before that … well it has been years. I took karate for a long time and back then the dojo floor like my second home. But tonight I felt like a guest on the floor and in my own body. I am definitely not who I was back then! So I’m thinking about self acceptance. How can yoga help us to honor ourselves? Exactly as we are right now.
Maybe you fear that people will judge you – your choices, who you are, what you’ve done or what your body looks like. I know a lot of people at the dojo and when I took classes with them several years ago I was much stronger and faster. Tonight I couldn’t help but wonder what they thought of my technique now.
I came home and cried a little. Mourning what I used to be able to do. But yoga is teaching me to accept things, accept feelings. And the negative ones can be especially hard. But I think it’s true that if you can accept what is present, without trying to change it, you will find a certain peace.
Easier said than done … but the physical practice of asanas can help you to be in the moment. There’s really not much choice if you are focusing on your body and breath.
Try this Self Salutation (adapted from Guiding Yoga’s Light by Nancy Gerstein) to help bring awareness to who you are now. Begin with a moment of gratitude for yourself. Then as you practice, I love Nancy’s suggestion to “Feel each asana in your soul and the vibrations of healing in your body.” Do the entire sequence on one side and then do the other. You can either hold each pose for 4 or 5 breaths or go through the sequence a few times as a flow (not holding the poses but transitioning like you would in a sun salutation).
|1. Tadasana (Mountain)
(Standing forward fold)
|3. Crescent Lunge
|4. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
|5. Uttitha Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle)
|6. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Sleeping pigeon – fold forward)
|7. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward dog)
|8. Yoga mudra with hands interlaced behind the back and crown of the head on the mat
|9. Balasana (Child’s Pose) Pause humbly in awe of the self!
This week, I invite you to join me in setting an intention to honor your own inner light. Maybe this sounds a bit corny or new-agey … but it is simply about respecting yourself and where you are at. Make a commitment to practicing the Self Salutation over the next few days. Take the time to really feel each pose in whatever form it takes for you. Because that is exactly where you are supposed to be.
Try it out and leave a comment below to me know how it goes. I would love to hear about your experience!