Most often yoga is believed to be a series of postures we do to stretch our bodies, find relief from pain and find some relaxation and clarity. Yet the practice of yoga extends to some bigger principles that play out in our lives off the mat. Flexible bodies equate to flexible minds. Knowing where we are practicing with tree pose leads to clarity about where we are in our jobs, relationships and in life.
These bigger principles of yoga are called yamas, and the first one is something called ahimsa, which translates to non-violence.
Relatively straight forward right? Do not kill. Do not injure. Do not harm. Most of these are not so hard to abide by in our typical workday. Is it safe to say rarely we harm each other in the workplace?
This begs the question: what does it mean to harm others? Or ourselves?
Harm can be quite hidden when we do it to ourselves. How often do you sit at your desk for hours on end without a break to take a short walk, get nourishing food or stretch?
What about the way you talk to yourself during the day? Are you letting your inner critic go wild with messages that are a barrage to your esteem? These are forms of harm that we are so used to that we don’t even realize the short and long-term harm they are doing to us.
Your thoughts and self-talk are very powerful and they create a mental and physical landscape from which you operate every day. When you are kind and compassionate with yourself it’s like having a beautiful, comfortable landscape supporting you, like your favorite breezy spot on the beach or the spot by your favorite waterfall.
When you are critical and hard on yourself it’s like trying to work standing up in New Orleans on a steamy hot July day. Not a good environment for clarity, creativity or joy.
So why do we do it? It becomes a habit. You’ve gotten used to it by doing it over and over again. That’s what habits are. So the first step is noticing…you might be surprised when you really begin to just notice. Don’t go off with more criticism when you notice you are doing this, just notice. Then see if you can replace those negative thoughts with some kindness.
It may be hard at first, but keep with it. I know when I get tired and cranky I become a real grizzly bear with myself. I know what I really need is some compassion for myself. I need one of those super soft teddy bears to soften me up so I can find my way back to compassion. This week don’t try to change it all up at once. Just notice what is going on. Just see what you discover. And go buy a super soft teddy bear.
deliver me wellness