Beating yourself up during class

Photo by Monica Felix @ www.monicafelix.com

Beating yourself up during class

When we first start practicing yoga, we believe that things are supposed to go well.

And so, when we slip and fall during class or confront a challenging backbend, we assume that something must have gone horribly wrong.

But it didn’t. It’s simply life doing what it does. And we need to accept the fact that, along with nine billion other people on the planet, we’re flawed and imperfect individuals, and we’re just as likely as anyone else to be hit by the slings and arrows of outrageous, but also perfectly normal, misfortune.

Buddhists call this approach to life maitri, which is developing loving kindness in our unconditional friendship with ourselves. And it means putting an end to a few of our unhealthier habits.

Like heaping blame on ourselves when we stumble.
Like judging ourselves for having been wrong.
Like berating ourselves because we expect too much out of our own behavior.

Whatever misfortune happens upon us, big or small, none of these things help. If we’re busy treating out mind like a battleground where we tear ourselves up, maitri has no space in which to enter.

Yoga postures are only microcosms for the larger postures of normal life.

We must treat ourselves with unconditional positive regard when things don’t go as well as we feel they should.

What’s your favorite way to beat yourself up during class?

Scott Ginsberg is the author of 40 books, a TEDx speaker, the world record holder of wearing nametags, and the author A Year in Hot Yoga: Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat. Scott is a Community Leader at Yoga Tribe Brooklyn, where he is a daily practitioner and the Managing Editor of their award winning blog. Learn more at  www.nametagscott.com

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