Its a headstandy kind of day....
For many people, the thought of entering a yoga class is quite a scary prospect. With images shared across social media of well-sculpted people doing postures that look as though they have learnt the art of levitation, it can fill even the bravest person with fear!
I was worried for years about entering a studio for risk of being the biggest person in there, or not being able to get into the postures without falling over, and there are still times now that I can be nervous before joining a class.
Thankfully, throughout my yoga teacher training, my teacher (Ian Davies) taught us the importance of being non-judgemental in yoga. In a yoga class, it is very easy to be judgemental throughout your entire practice; "Why am I not as good as them?', "Why is my tummy not so flat?", "How am I supposed to do that?"-and believe me, I have had all of these thoughts at one time or another. However, Ian taught me that yoga is not about what other people can do and how we can berate ourselves constantly. Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind (Yoga chitta vritti nirodha) because sometimes, our mind is our worst enemy.
How many times have you chosen not to take part in something for fear of being judged? How many times have you not spoken to someone as you have judged them before even engaging in conversation? And how many times have you felt inadequate or not worthy? I'm sure we would all reply 'frequently' - which is why I believe we all need a little yoga in our lives.
Yoga is called a 'practice' for a very good reason. We need to 'practice' at it to work towards a goal. We need to turn up, work within our limits for that day and time, and little by little, things improve. If we leave our negative self-judgement at the door, and completely focus on ourselves throughout the practice, we can slowly realise that we are more capable than we first thought. By being completely present and focusing on ourselves, by not looking at everyone else in the room to see what they are doing, we can gradually learn to be become kinder, happier and healthier (especially to ourselves!) .
The picture above is me doing a headstand. I could not do this a year ago. I judged myself as a person who couldn't do headstands unless I had someone stood behind me, or the safety of a wall to fall back on. But as you can see, this is me, in the middle of the lounge, dong a headstand. This did not happen over night, this has been a year of trying, failing, trying again, failing once more. I could have stopped at this failure and lived with jealousy of those who could do headstands and believing that I was not a 'headstand type of person'. But I knew that with every sun salutation, with every plank, my core was getter stronger, my confidence was growing and therefore without judgement of myself, I tried once more, with success!
So let's join together for the next week in trying to not be so harsh on ourselves, to try and calm that little voice of doubt and negativity niggling away in our minds. Your are strong, you are brave and you are capable of more things than you believe you are!
This week's classes will all be focused on non-judgement (especially of ourselves).