This month the theme at the studio is “accepting imperfection.” As a student and teacher of yoga, this is one of the hardest areas for many of us. As we live in an urban community where competition is around every corner it is hard to not strive for perfection.
Perfection hides itself in many forms and hits us when we least expect it.
Comparison: When we constantly compare ourselves to others we are forced to have an internal dialogue about how we measure up against others. Feelings of inadequacy can come up when we compare and hit us when we least expect it.
Desire: Yoga teaches us to be present. As we think about goals and planning it often comes with desire. We are looking forward to that one day when ______. THEN our lives will be better. We do not feel perfect until we have_____. Accepting our situation, job, etc as it is in this moment and finding gratitude for how blessed we are allows us to be grateful for the steps we may need to take to reach those goals and letting go of desires that may not be as attractive.
Physical Limitations: As a yoga teacher that works with athletes, I see many people coming to the mat to get a quick fix. Yoga is a practice for a reason. For many yoga is a life-long practice. We step onto our mats in order to gain flexibility, but walk away with work on our mental and spiritual practice. Knowing when we have reached our limits physically can be hard. Our ego, Atman, can get in the way and start to compare, desire, and challenge what we can do physically. Becoming aware of this is the first step in looking at how accepting where we are on the mat today is exactly where we should and need to be. Every day our yoga practice will be different and every time we take the opportunity to step onto the mat we grow both physically and mentally.
A loving-kindness meditation to take with you.
As many of us begin our summer travels, we will step off the mat. Enjoy some time away from your mat by practicing one of these practices.
Visual Acceptance- Bring a mental picture of yourself or an interaction with someone that brought you joy. Think about this image. Be in the moment. Smile.
Reflect- Bring one thing to mind that you are grateful for in this moment. Something or someone that brings you happiness and peace. Send love, happiness, and peace.
Auditory- Quiet the internal dialogue by repeating an internalized mantra. Use “loving-kindness.” When you think about accepting imperfection and quieting the inner critique repeat this mantra.
This practice does not have to be a seated meditation. It can be done waiting in line, sitting at the airport, or taking a walk.
Namaste and Gratitude,