Path to Integration

Every time I come to the mat, I try to be all there. This is no small feat for me- a woman who is often caught up in planning for what ifs in the future or mulling over supposed failures of the past. Being here now is a state of mind that I strive to cultivate and yoga helps me do just that. Because when I show up to class and try to hold a difficult pose, it’s not my body that sabotages me from holding it most of the time. It’s my mind.

When we do the dreaded plank pose for one minute, I can feel us building up to it and my mind starts whirling with thoughts, fears, what ifs. Those little seeds of doubt creep in and my mind distracts me from my purpose. When I lower myself into it, I’m already spinning the negativity in my head. I’m not telling myself things like “you can do this!” but instead saying things like “this sucks! you’re so out of shape!”.

And when I do that? I can’t hold the pose for sixty seconds. I have to drop my knees and that failure feeling washes over me. A self-fulfilling prophecy. The rest of class is spent trying to shut off the berating tirade my mind is yelling at me. Thankfully I have a teacher who is good at reminding us that it’s about the process, not perfection. I need to hear that message a thousand times a day.

My yoga practice reinforces this truth: the thing that is most often stopping me from success or from moving forward is, in fact, me. My own negative thoughts. Me being so damn hard on myself. Me not believing in me.

So sure, I’d love to be in great shape and be able to hold plank pose for an entire minute. I’d love to flip myself into an unassisted handstand. But getting there is going to take a lot of self-belief, patience, and trust in the process. The things that come easiest are not the most appreciated. Having something to strive for or improve is not a detriment but a gift.

On so many levels practicing yoga allows me to love myself in a whole new way. I get to feel my body’s own strength. I get the chance to try to quiet the chatter of my mind and focus on one thing only. I get the opportunity to practice being patient and kind to myself. It is more than just exercise. For me, it’s a path to my best self.

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17 thoughts on “Path to Integration

  1. Ok, so I don’t know if you watch RachelZoe, but I do… and last night? They showed a photoshoot with a famous model, wearing only simple white yogawear. It was very simple, and clean, and graceful…and she looked so beautiful, holding these poses. Like an origami bird, carefully folded…and in that moment of watching the serenity she was conveying with her poses? I thought of you, dear friend. Yes, You.

    The beauty and the serenity, it’s allllll in there. You just need to believe it, and let it shine outward. 🙂

  2. Negative self talk is my worst enemy. I would never be as mean to someone else as I am to myself. I think it is important to encourage yourself/myself as much as we both do for others.

    Your teacher sounds great.

  3. And here I thought you were going to somehow relate your yoga practice and lessons learned to “integrating” your life with Mr. Darcy’s in your newly combined living space. =) Really, yoga is this amazing practice that is so much more than moving slowly from one silly pose to the next. I love that you’re loving it.

  4. I thought the same thing Nilsa did. 🙂 Yoga rules. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone went to yoga and experienced the sorts of insights you’re having. Super zen. Keep it up.

  5. I thought of you last night when the yoga instructor had us do this VERY weird pose. I had never done it before and from what I could gather, neither had the rest of the class. We all attempted and some did fine, but most of us kind of struggled with the cock-a-mamie contorted position we were all trying to accomplish.

    Half the time-, I’m not clear what all the words mean, so I don’t remember the proper yoga terms…but it was along the lines of this…

    The instructor said “see how you can just focus on your breathing and ease into the stretch and then hold it there. Feel your back and hip pressing into your joints…”

    I said aloud “not really…”

    And a few of us laughed, including the instructor.

    Aside from my belly holding me back from some of the positions, most of the time, it is my mind too.

    xo.

  6. I love it. This is what I’m working on too. And telling myself, you’re doing great! At least you’re pushing yourself and it’s hard but awesome. And I’m not just talking about yoga, everything. You can do it, Ms Sizzle!

  7. i’ve found that my mind MUST be fixed on my breath. i know it sounds a little crazy and hard, but i use ujjayi breathing the entire class and when i am completely focused on breathing, negative thoughts simply do not exist. try it!

  8. You sound so centered or something in this post. Maybe like the things you’re saying are things you’ve really learned (emphasis on really) so when you write them, they come across very clearly. I’m actually going to try to make it to yoga today — it’s my last chance to practice with my favorite teacher since my schedule has changed. I’m going to keep this post in mind, especially how the thing that sabotages me is my mind, not my body. I’m too used to blaming my body for everything. I love your yoga journey!

  9. What is weird is when that “the process is what’s important” approach that we encounter in yoga class starts to seep into other parts of life. It’s subtle, but I’ve definitely had a few times where I was comfortable with imperfection or letting things be because I had learned to do so through yoga.

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