Don’t you love it when you need something, and the Universe just hands it to you? That happened to me yesterday. I didn’t feel like it, but I got out of bed at 7:30 on a Saturday and drove my tired ass to hot flow yoga. I’ve been having a love affair with yoga on and off for about ten years. I feel better about myself and my life when I practice regularly. There is something about being on the mat and breathing through my discomfort that is religious for me. It’s where my soul connects with God through sweat and sometimes tears.
But yesterday, I wasn’t feeling so lit up about working out my issues out on the mat. The voice inside my head chattered incessantly all the way to class. She complained about the pain in my right temple, the way my thigh spreads out on the seat every time I hit the brake, and that I should have worn the Lululemon shirt, which is more flattering than the one I chose. By the time I unrolled my mat on the bamboo floor, I was ready to kick her ass.
Just before that nasty little voice and I had it out, the Universe intervened. The teacher (the awesome Annette Scott) sat down on her mat and reminded us why we were there to practice yoga. We weren’t there so that we look better naked. (Well, that is a benefit, and one of the reasons why I practice.) But, why we were really there was to practice being kind to ourselves.
In yoga, it’s easy to judge yourself and have that voice filling your head with garbage. It’s a challenging practice. You are willfully putting yourself in uncomfortable positions. There’s a big, unforgiving mirror that reflects back to you every imperfection in your body. And inevitably, there is always someone who is more flexible, in better shape, and looks more spiritual in tree pose than you do.
When faced with these challenges in a yoga practice, we are given the opportunity to work through them with grace and kindness. It’s our time to practice tuning out that voice in our heads and see ourselves with loving eyes. And when you practice long enough, you begin to understand that the discomfort, the criticisms, and the voice are all just illusions. What is real is the kindness and the love that flows through your spirit.
And with that, I thanked the Universe for sending me a wise messenger. With my hands in prayer at heart center, I hit mute on that voice inside my head, looked at my reflection and smiled. It was time to get to work, and I wasn’t going to waste another second listening to the nonsense in my head. My spirit was there waiting to guide me through another opportunity to practice being what we all truly are – kind and loving.
Yoga is my outlet and my teacher. But even if you don’t practice yoga, you can still silence that voice that fills your head with untruths. You are not that voice inside your head. You are not the things the voice says you are. You are a child of God. So be kind to yourself, with or without practicing yoga. If you are, however, hoping to look better naked, get to a yoga class immediately!
Your Fun, Sexy, Spiritual Homework:
If you live in Tampa, or if you’re lucky enough to visit, and you need a yoga high, take one of Annette Scott’s classes at Yogani.