This weekend I went to my Level 2 certification class in Indianapolis, IN. It was a great weekend full of watershed moments for my personal practice and really incredible yogis. It was the perfect culmination of my 30 minutes a day January practice. I feel so fortunate to have participated.
In the YogaFit path, Level 2 focuses on communication between teacher and student. Communication in general is huge to me; I’m very interested in interpersonal communication on both large and small scales. Anyway, one of the things we focused on the first day was creating positive self-affirmations and sharing them with our class, and then transforming them into mantras.
Now I don’t want to give away all of the YogaFit secrets, because I don’t want to get sued, but in order to write our self-affirmations, we did a lot of introspection and used lots of feeling words.
What I took away from this session was something I already knew – a lot of my negative self-talk in yoga, and in life, stems from comparisons I draw between myself and others.
It took me years of having terrible body image as a teenager to realize that I needed to just stop looking at other women and comparing their bodies to mine (and it’s still harder than it sounds). It applies to yoga (my asanas probably won’t look much like the cover of Yoga Journal anytime soon), but it also applies to life.
My career, my salary, my family, my house, my choices – they all have one thing in common: they’re mine. They’re not anyone else’s. So drawing comparisons between my life and others is not only harmful, but also unproductive – it doesn’t even make any sense.
My negative self-talk can also be self-defeating. When my confidence wanes, I am guilty of sometimes telling myself “I can’t do it”. Even the way I phrased that sentence is self-defeating because I placed guilt on myself, so it’s definitely a vicious circle. And as we know, “I can’t do it” is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sometimes in a tough yoga pose I feel like I give up before I really need to. For obvious reasons, I’d like to change that.
So there we have it. My mantra: I am strong. I am me.
Tune in tomorrow to read about how I used this mantra to eliminate negative self-talk during practice!