I absolutely love yoga… if it is a sport, it’s my sport.
I’ve been practicing for at least two years… and I’ve had the pleasure of practicing with many beautiful beautiful people over the years. Different flows, different posture recommendations, the ones that are super spiritual, the ones that feel more like a pilates class…. You get it.
For me, it’s that hour that I have where I can just disconnect and breathe. Yes, we all breathe all the time. If we couldn’t breathe, we wouldn’t be here after all… I get it. But when you’re practicing yoga, you REALLY breathe. It’s the most conscious, meditative, beautiful breathing I do every week.
I can’t get enough of it.
Perfect example, last week I sat in long meetings for days and when my mind wandered, it wandered to yoga. After sitting in a chair watching presentation after presentation, I wanted nothing than to be in a beautiful supine twist, downward dog, or even savasana.
I’m hooked. I love my practice.
When I was in Temecula two weeks ago, I went to my friend Crystal’s gym and took a vinyasa class while she killed it on the weights. The class was incredible. Dimly lit with candles and the most perfect flow.
There was only one problem with this class… and it was that huge plane of glass in the front of the room: The Mirror.
While yoga is typically my hour of peace, the mirror was right there staring back at me and giving me an opportunity to peek at how my body was behaving in most postures. I got to check my alignment in warrior 2, which was helpful, but I also took time to judge my body which was not helpful at all.
For some reason, peeking at my thighs and checking out how my curves looked compared to the girl to the left of me was oh-so-subtly acceptable from my vantage point. In the end, the self-criticisim was not okay, but it was what my eyes were immediately drawn to. And like a new episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians… I just couldn’t look away, even if I wanted to.
Like a dark cloud that crept in over my practice, this reflection was completely consuming. I escaped only during the final savasana and found myself once again before the closing “namaste.”
While class ended and the day went on, I found myself returning to this question: Why do I do this? Why do I pick, pick, pick at myself?
The amazing thing is that if you were practicing next to me, I would never EVER judge you in the way I judge myself. I would be your biggest cheerleader, applauding your efforts if my eyes fell upon you. Wondering why I wasn’t more bendy/athletic/wore a flattering shirt like you did/etc. For years, I’ve taught myself to criticize only me.
Much like I learned to shut of my mind during yoga and to stop checking my to-do list during poses, it’s time to break the cycle of self-criticism while working out… and, frankly, all of the self-criticism that I have going on.
Anytime in my life where I’ve adopted mantras, I’ve experienced great change. I’ve felt better. I’ve smiled more. I’ve overcome. As a result, I’ve implemented a new mantra to use when I hear that “Judge Judy” in my head criticizing my body.
[pinterest]I say it during yogic breathing. I say it when I don’t like how my jeans are fitting. I say it when that very same body is working hard on a Colorado hike. I’ll say it when I’m the biggest girl at the pool. Mostly, I’ll say it….
Simple words to reflect upon, simple words that could cause great change. While I haven’t conquered it yet, I’m doing something to stop the insanity. To stop the criticism and to appreciate all that this beautiful body does for me every single day.
I’ll repeat it today, and maybe even a few times tomorrow… whatever it takes. I’m too proud of myself to let this bully get me down… especially when I have full control over her.
How do you combat negative self-talk?