“Do not think of yourself as a small, compressed, suffering thing. Think of yourself as graceful and expanding, no matter how unlikely it may seem at the time.” –Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar
Have you ever noticed how much your thoughts affect what you think of yourself? If you believe that you’re strong, you act like you’re strong. If you believe that you’re weak, you’ll act as if you’re weak. Why is that? Why do we let our thoughts about ourselves be what defines us? And if that’s how we are, why can’t we always think positively about ourselves?
As many of you know, I’ve been working with doctors to diagnose what is causing a plethora of symptoms for me. It’s been over 10 months now, and after countless tests, we still don’t know what’s wrong. And over these months, especially during times when my fatigue is really bad and my pain gets bad, I definitely find myself getting really down on myself and thinking all kinds of negative thoughts. When I catch myself doing that, I do my best to try and turn it into something positive. After all, I am still able to function. I can go to work, and though I have had to modify what I normally do, I can still practice yoga, run and bike. And when I remind myself of these things, I truly feel like I can do anything.
My yoga practice has certain evolved through all of this. What used to be a strictly powerful, active practice has morphed. Some days I have the energy to do that, but most days, I have to take it down several notches. I have become a really big fan of Yin Yoga, even though my body is so tight from whatever is going on inside. Even though I have a difficult time due to the tightness in my body, I always walk away from my Yin practice feeling open and free. Being in each pose for minutes at a time forces me to focus on my breath, my mind and my body….which translates into me not thinking about my problems for a nice chunk of time. Bliss, I tell ya!
So next time you’re on your mat, when you come across a challenging pose, don’t think of yourself as weak or inflexible. Find the grace in each pose you do, because I promise you that it’s there. When you can do that, watch how your mind and attitude transform. You’ll start to think of yourself as graceful, open and free…and before you know it, it will move with you off the mat in countless ways.