Things I have heard since I have been teaching yoga:
- I walk like a gorilla
- I wish I looked like her
- I am uncoordinated
- Wow! Did you see the cover of that magazine – I will NEVER be able to do that pose…Heather, show it to us. “Um…my body is not ready for that pose yet either. “
- I am fat
- I am not GOOD ENOUGH
- I am too fat to do yoga
- I can’t balance
- I am not flexible enough to do yoga
- My toes are ugly
- Yoga is for girls
- I am so unlucky
- My life sucks
- I can’t touch my toes, so I CAN”T do yoga
- I am awkward
- I have got to keep moving or I will get fat
- I can’t.
- I am not like you (talking to me) so I can’t do yoga (I don’t even know what this means!)
- I can’t turn my brain off
- Are you crazy? I can’t do that!
- My butt is too big
- My arms are too fat
- I am too old
- Only pretty people do yoga
- I can’t, I can’t, I can’t….repeat x 1,000,000
In the previous post I introduced the Niyamas. The Niyamas are basically a yogic guideline on how to treat ourselves, observances, or self-study. How can we be pure in our thoughts, have contentment or surrender to God if all we do is say “I can’t, I am not good enough, I am fat?” Being content means being satisfied with WHERE YOU ARE NOW. You are an amazing child of God, NOW. No matter what you say to yourself, this is true.
I really do believe that how we view and treat the outside world, or Yamas, have a profound effect on how we treat ourselves. But, let’s discuss how we treat ourselves – then we can see how it weaves back into how we view the rest of the world. Today we will focus on Purity and see how the Niyamas can help squash the negative monster inside your head.
1. Saucha (Purity): Pure thoughts, pure food, pure images, pure air…hard to come by isn’t it? Maybe since we never see anything pure on TV, in traffic, in our homes, or in a magazine; we seldom have honest/pure/clean thoughts when it comes to ourselves. With all of the magazine ads, covers of yoga magazines, and hot yoga bootie shorts for sale at your local Wal-Mart it is not surprising people think that they can’t do yoga. This is where I ask you a question. What is your intention by practicing yoga? If its to look like the model in a magazine – then maybe you need to have a reality check because that model (read: not a yogini) has been airbrushed, made up, posed and coiffed – all to look natural and strong in an advertisement. If your intentions are pure, even if it is to shed a few pounds and have strong lean quads, then you are on the right track. If you are comparing yourself with a model…then it may be time to reevaluate your self talk and intentions. There is nothing wrong with wanting a healthy body, just be content (another niyama) with were you are right now and know that you CAN change. Yoga will change you for the better, even if you do not look hot in bootie shorts. What does that have to do with anything anyway? Wouldn’t you be happier, just to be happier?
****Author’s note: This is a process, not a magic pill. I am working on this myself, so going back to the person who told me that they could not do yoga because they are not “like me,” um…I am just like you! Human through and through. I am not sitting in full lotus pose, with a halo over my head, looking down on you from my supreme yoga perch. I look in the mirror and get upset at my pooch etc…that is where a good teacher comes in handy – even (especially) for yoga teachers themselves. ****