There's a worthwhile documentary on yoga called Yoga Unveiled. Rodney Yee is interviewed in the film, and I really liked something he said:
"Yoga is to bring us back to our true nature, whether it's the nature of our body to be open and flexible and responsive, or also to the nature of our mind, which is to be like a little child -- the mind becomes one of observation and not judgment. So that it brings us back to our natural state..."
This week I'll be talking a bit about attempting to practice nonjudgment on and off the mat. Sometimes we especially need reminded that we should say nice things to ourselves while we're on our mats (and in the rest of our lives too). We can get caught up telling ourselves stories about our abilities and inabilities or about the people on the mats around us or the people back at the office or waiting for us at home. The yoga mat is a place where we can begin making our thoughts and the stories we tell ourselves more positive and beneficial.
We can also start to bring our practice to a place of meditation, where we are deeply in our bodies and able -- even if for just a few seconds at a time -- to merely observe our practice instead of getting caught up in thoughts and judgment. And, during those minutes spent on the yoga mat, our practice will be making our bodies --and our minds-- stronger, more open, and more flexible.
As you practice this week, check in with yourself from time to time. Are you saying nice things to yourself? Are you focusing on your breath, allowing your mind to take a break from the constant judgment and stories we often loop round and round? When you focus on your left big toe or pulling your belly in, you are giving your mind a break. The benefits of this are huge, and you will find yoga even more valuable if you try to make your mat a positive, safe place. Remember, it's just yoga -- don't take yourself too seriously! -- and see if you can't send yourself some good energy while you're practicing.