How Yoga Helps Me Love Myself

I just love my yoga teacher, Nicole Mohr. She creates a compassionate space for our practice that actively encourages me to begin practices right there in the studio which I then carry outside to the rest of my life.

As we stretch and flex our muscles, flow with the music, and combine our individual practices with the community of the class, I learn about self-acceptance, about being present in the moment. I have learned the shocking lesson that sometimes you need to do less – to not reach with ambition, but to enjoy what is. To find the sweet medium of right effort, knowing that every day, my abilities and limitations differ.

It is one thing to know these lessons intellectually. It is entirely another to feel it viscerally, to experience it in the moment and ingrain it within oneself.

The lesson for this week was to not focus on transformation, but on inclusion. Rather than trying to become another level of ourselves, learn to be with all of ourselves. Invite all parts of us to the mat.

At first, I was resistant. Who wants to invite the nasty side? Doesn’t that encourage more of it? But it didn’t. It actually calmed me down. I felt it in my body. I said, ok, you are all invited to join me – my judgmental part, my jealous part, my lazy part, my happy part, the side of me that has to be perfect, the side of me that revels in the nuances of imperfection. I even invited my resistance.

When I invited all the voices were to participate, the chatter inside me died down. I realized that they just want to be heard, to be acknowledged, not stuffed down. To be expressed. That is all.

At the end of the class, I was all relaxed in the final pose, the room still and quiet, except for the low chanting of the music.

And then my cell phone made a noise. Yikes!

Immediately, I beat myself up. Why can’t I be perfect? How embarrassing. Now I am THAT person. The one who ruins it for everyone else.

So, I took a breath, and again invited the part of me that wants so desperately to be perfect, the part of me that isn’t, to the mat.

And you know what?

I felt whole.