I began the New Year with a very special event: yoga with my friend and teacher Kristen. What a delight! One of my New Year’s resolution is to deepen my yoga practice. In another blog I will share more about my journey and how yoga has been so beneficial for me. But, back to my New Year’s yoga class here is the lesson.
As you might know there is a little bit more in yoga than the mere physical exercise (a.k.a. asanas), actually a lot more! The traditional view includes 8 limbs and the physical practice is only one of them. The rest are other practices such as meditation, breathing techniques and philosophy of living. That’s why many yoga teachers refer as ‘yoga on the mat’ and ‘yoga off the mat’. In principle the practice of yoga on the mat has lessons that one can take off the mat into everyday life. Another characteristic aspect of yoga is the cultivation of a level of awareness while in the practice, in other words, trying to be present, here and now on the mat, as supposed to let the wild mind ramble around to-do lists, unfinished work, plans for the weekend, etc.
Ok, back to January 1st, yoga class: during the class our teacher instructed us to be aware and “catch” some of those thoughts that run in our head constantly, some of them not necessarily empowering, while we were in class, on the mat. It’s very interesting what you can ‘hear’ when you are struggling to hold a posture in a New Year’s yoga class after a long break! Later, after the class and off the mat, she made us reflect on our New Year resolutions and to detect those feelings or thoughts that might get in our way to keep the resolutions. She reminded us to think about what we “caught” on the mat. Guess what! Yes, she was right!!! Same thing! The thoughts I was finding as excuses to hold a posture, or to try to go deeper in another, were the same thoughts I identified as limiting beliefs that can get in my way: the same ones that were coming while on the mat! That I’m behind many others, that I’m not there yet, that I’m not as good as, or that others have already done what I want to do (namely personal projects), agh! This is to certain extend true, and so what?! For example, this is only my third entry blog. Surely others have much more experience blogging, and I can get much better, but if I never start or don’t show up I will never put my words out there and I’ll miss the opportunity to connect with you guys. And same applies to many other areas.
The take home message for me was: it’s very helpful to recognize the thoughts in our heads, those inner critic voices that may get in our way to achieve dreams or keep resolutions. Once we have ‘heard’ them we are much better positioned to deal with them. Remember, thought comes before the action, so if we don’t want a thought interfering with my desired actions we have the option to change that thought for another, maybe more aligned with the outcome we want, more supportive, more empowering. So, I’ve been working on re-authoring my thoughts, for example “I’m becoming stronger, wiser and richer in every experience”, that way when I’m in a yoga posture feeling like quitting I call my empowering thought and let it support me in my action of surrendering to it.
Could you relate to this? Do you recognize dis-empowering thoughts that might prevent you from doing your desired action? How could you re-author them? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment. Back to my resolutions and mitochondria, I will be posting once a week, I will continue to show up and next time we’ll talk a little bit more about mitochondria ; -)
Happy empowering thoughts!