How Practicing Yoga Leads To Self-Love
By Elyse Grossman
“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees. For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.” — Mary Oliver
It is so easy in today’s world to get both inwardly and outwardly lost, to feel like you are constantly repenting and suffocating beneath society’s demand for perfection. We live in a world that keeps telling us that we need to be “liked”, and in order for that validation, we need to be perfect: the media, social networking sites, school systems and society have been mocking us all about how perfection is the only standard worthy enough.
Turn to the mat: a beautiful reminder that life does not have to be perfect; rather, life is about learning how to show up, how to let go of expectations and how to practice: not perfection. Life will be messy and break even the most perfect of us; yoga allows us to look at circumstances like a beautiful mess. It provides a space to settle, unravel and anchor oneself in the right here and now. In moments where the outward distractions and the fluctuations of the mind can take pause, healing opportunities arise through this peace of mind and letting go of expectations. Yoga invites us to come to ground- to feel the earth beneath our feet in times that just feel so unstable.
Yoga is about finding freedom from worry by providing a safe space to sift through thoughts. Humans have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, and according to some research, as many as 98 percent of them are the exact same thoughts we might have had the day before; clearly, the mind gets stuck in patterns. Yoga allows us to observe thoughts– to realize that we are more than our thoughts, and that we do have the power to transform and change these negative thoughts. In the present moment, a person can find peace. We live in an extremely fast paced digital world that steals and rips our presence out from under us. Before we finish one task, we are making to -do lists and have moved on to the next thing. Without acknowledging or even taking the time to notice our accomplishments, we are checking off the rest of the list. I ask, where is the love and reflection in that?
Yoga offers what we all need- time to unplug and go deeper than the physical, beyond the body to the mind; yoga allows us the grace to let go of the ideal that we need to be perfect. In reality, we all just need to be.