I taught an interesting yoga class a few days ago;
one, I am ashamed to say that I regarded as the ‘worst class ever!’
Definitely not because of the people IN the class, but because of the circumstances surrounding the class…
– I made (what I considered) a horribly inconsiderate comment based solely on my own naiveté right as class began
– I allowed myself to walk into pride and felt pressure to ‘perform’ in this class rather than to lead and guide
– I allowed a few music glitches to distract me, which brought me to a place of frustration
– I had allowed some negative self talk to enter my mind moments before class started
– and I started a few moments early, creating more distraction when a few students entered the room, creating a crowded feeling rather than a “more the merrier” and “everyone is welcome” ambience
I can enumerate a million reasons why I felt the class went unwell, but basically, I lost sight of my “why”
-Why am I here?
-Why do I show up to my teacher mat?
-Why do I love sharing what I love so much?
Anyway, I went home and drowned my frustrations in mindless social media. Luckily, one of my yogi friends posted the question on a facebook challenge “What does YOUR yoga look like today”?
My dismal reply was, “I’ll answer tomorrow, today didn’t go so well”
As I was finishing up this post on Kriya Yoga, I found some old notes on the yamas and niyamas of yoga- Basically, these are personal commitments that support our relationships with ourselves and our surroundings. I came across this quote that I reflect on often in my morning personal study as I pray for those who may need a friend or a smile in the coming few days
Though I am aware of how easy it is to talk poorly to ourselves, I hadn’t realized how much of an impact this negative mind chatter has on our hearts and our minds: on our overall physical and emotional balance, until I left this class!
Ahimsa is the Sanskrit word for non-violence, which is far more then no hitting, no fighting, no spitting, no biting…
Violations to the practice of ahimsa can be as blatant as gossip and abuse and as subtle as ignorance, selfishness, and negative thoughts.
In this particular class, I had asked a question out of my own ignorance as class began and allowed my embarrassment to take over my thoughts rather than letting my heart dictate the flow of class. As a result, I fell head first into the sea of negative mind chatter and drowned in my own self-abuse!
As an act of forgiveness and kindness to myself, I have decided not to give the gorey details; instead, I offer my awareness that these words existed in my head and affected my heart.
So I ask you, when you last looked in the mirror, what did you SAY to yourself? What did you THINK of your yourself?
When you last got dressed, what did you think of your outfit or your body?
Have you wondered if your efforts as a parent are really making a difference?
Do you feel so drowned in the day to day that you feel your reach is minimal at best?
Very often, as a yoga class is coming to an end, I will guide my students through a series of three reclined child’s postures and two twists, one to the left and one to the right. In reclined child’s pose, I suggest that we pause for a silent affirmation, something we needed or wanted to hear in the day, week, or month but did not; suggesting that some of our most needed words of kindness, love, and acceptance must come from ourselves.
Ahimsa suggests that though it is always important to be honest, it is more important to be kind…
But this kindness MUST begin within ourselves. We are our own worst critics and our own worst enemy… but these harmful words we say to ourselves have more impact than we realize. With each criticism or cutting dialog we give to ourselves, we dampen our own light that shines from within. This light not only guides us but allows us to guide those in our circle. A candle under a bushel does no good to those struggling to find their way! A candle held under a bushel, will eventually burn the basket or worse, lose its flame.
It might be dark, the picture a little out of focus, but Let YOUR light shine for all (including you) to see!