Yoga teaches us to accept our personal limits, our individual states of mind and body. Instead of judgment and competition, we practice acceptance.
This, to me, is the most beautiful lesson yoga had to offer me. There is a powerful yoga mantra, “I am at peace as I am,” that leads to acceptance. The feeling of acceptance brings to our practice (and life) a state of calm, release, and even confidence. Our own “perfections” as well as our “imperfections,” are equally part of who we are.
Initially, I had to learn to accept my body as it was, day after day. But the more time I spent on the mat, the less accepting I became of my body. I wanted to be more flexible, got frustrated with how tight my hamstrings were, or barely having strength in my arms. Without noticing, I had developed a goal-oriented practice.
Not only on the mat but in my day to day life, I have found myself asking so much from myself, want to change all my habits in an instant, constant pressure to become better. And it is nothing wrong to want to be better, as long as it comes from a place of self-acceptance and self- compassion, and we take one step at a time, not rushing, nor forcing anything.
I had to relearn to accept myself once again.
I had to learn the value of persistency and consistency.
“If there is one thing you can offer your students – it is acceptance of who they are in this body and this moment” ~ Tamika Schilbe
The best way for me to teach this is to practice it myself and so, for now, I am focused on accepting myself the way I am and from there working with kindness to become a better version of myself.
Accepting life, including its burdens and hardships, helps us thrive despite these stressors. Instead of making these stressors bigger than they are, we simply need to recognize and accept them as part of the journey.
Do you know that pose that you always want to avoid in a yoga class? maybe is a warrior or downward dog. For a long while, I would try to avoid as much as I could Downward Dog. It was too difficult, too hard, too much. Didn’t like it. It took me a while to change my way of thinking and my perspective, to understand that I was creating that story in my head about how hard it is. Learned to accept it for what it was and work from there.
I had the same approach on my day to day life. Disliked many things: cleaning the house, pairing the socks, dealing with emails, etc. Simply changing my perspective, accepting things for what they are (pairing the socks is simply that and it doesn’t have to be a burden unless I choose to make it so) made a tremendous impact on how I live now. Looking back, I realize I was making all these bigger than they were.
I want to conclude this article saying that Acceptance is not Apathy.
“Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there`s all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it.” -Anne Covey