Tuesdays @ Triad Fitness/Thomasville YMCA – 7.22.14 (Ahimsa – Self Love)

Another great night at the Triad Fitness Center and the Thomasville YMCA.  It still amazes me that we went through the seven chakras in seven months and now are almost done with our first month of the Yamas and Niyamas. 

For me, self love is a very tricky subject.  I feel like I do a pretty good job of supporting myself in my job (middle school math/science teacher), in leading yoga classes, and in other ventures in my life.  The hardest part for me is when there are no distractions and you are left by yourself.  It happens late at night for me.  It is bedtime, but I can’t shut my brain off.  I often let things creep in that can frustrate me and spiral into a sense of doubt and lack of competency.  I sit almost lost as the minutes and hours pass by on occasion.  I’ve become accustomed to equating love with the amount of tasks I completed in the day.  I don’t know where the idea came from, but that is how my brain functions.  I wish it would let me be content.  Self love is often difficult for me.  However, I do truly hold on to the notion that for me to give love to others that I must first love myself.  It excites me to know that I will have more to give when I can reflect during those quiet times.

Here is our meditation from tonight.  Enjoy!  Namaste :).

Self Love
Mantra
– I am excited about my incompetencies.

How we treat oursleves is in truth how we treat those around us.  If you are a taskmaster with yourself, otherws will feel your whip.  If you are critical of yourself, others will feel your high expectations of themselves as well.  If you are light hearted and forgiving with yourself, others will feel the ease and joy of being with you.  If you find laughter and delight in yourself, others will be healed in your presence.

Love lies at the core of nonviolence and begins with our love of self.  Not a love that is ego-centric but a love that is forgiving and lenient; a love that sees the humor in the imperfections and accepts the fullness of the human expression.  Finding this love for all the parts of ourselves means we have to forgive ourselves.  Without forgiveness, we carry guilt like a heavy burden around our hearts.  Guilt holds our love for self and others hostage and keeps us bound to a one-sided expectation of the human experience.

Our inability to love and accept all the pieces of ourselves creates ripples – tiny acts of violence – that have huge and lasting impacts on others.  Attempts to change the self, rather than love the self, keeps us trapped in vicious cycles that we can’t crawl out of.

Where fear creates harm and violence, love creates expansion and nonviolence and the true safety that we seek.  Nonviolence is woven with love, and love of other is woven with love of self; these cannot be separated.

Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele

Flow w/Fred – 7.17.14 (YFD – Loving Yourself)

I would say that the hardest part of life is accepting ourselves where we currently are.  Popular culture and society are constantly putting pressures on people to produce the next best thing.  So in doing so, it is extremely easy to throw on a face and walk out the door.  I’m guilty of it a lot of days because it can help you survive through even the hardest of days without letting the world know that you’re normal.  It is completely normal to struggle, to deal with pain, to make mistakes, and to fail.  Does it mean that we don’t continue to strive in the present and enjoy the experience?  Not at all.  I continue to strive daily.  But at the end of the day, you live within your own mind.  The words that you speak softly to yourself and reinforce with your actions allow you to build love for yourself.  It doesn’t happen overnight and I know that I struggle with this.  The practice of Yoga allows for the connection between the body and the mind so that loving yourself becomes the norm.  You can only give something that you have to someone.  Why not give them the love that you have gathered up inside you for yourself?

Loving Yourself
“Every single physical act triggers a change in your brain chemistry so the more we do positive things like practicing Yoga, eating foods that are good for us, listening to inspiring music, reading poetry, seeing inspiring art, the better we feel.”  Every time you step onto your Yoga mat, if your intention is to listen to your body and honor your limitations, you are giving yourself the opportunity to practice self-love.

“You can’t really love somebody else without loving yourself.  You can only extend to others what you have offered yourself.”

The kinds of messages you send to yourself, on and off your Yoga mat, make a difference in how you feel.  When you give self-doubt and criticism free rein in your mind, you are setting yourself up for a felt experience of depression in your body and mind.  Yoga can help you talk to yourself more gently.

For thousands of years, Yoga has addressed our thoughts and how we can reframe them, not only through physical practices that alter our perceptions and through the use of affirmations, but also through acceptance.

This self observation without judgment is the beginning of change.

BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab