Developing Self-Compassion


January 19, 2016

How can we be compassionate with ourselves on and off the yoga mat? I chose this heart opener or Urdhva Danurasana because it is a pose I need to have a lot of compassion for myself when practicing. Backbends are tough for me. I see very little progress with these poses and often wonder why my back isn't more flexible. I remind myself that this is my journey and to not get caught up in trying to achieve some advanced version of a pose. Maybe one day I'll have a beautiful curve in my spine but then again maybe I won't and that's perfectly fine. In the end it doesn't determine how good a person I am or even how dedicated to my practice I am. 

Off the mat I feel tremendous amounts of compassion for others but I need to cultivate more compassion for myself. I remember one of the first days at the ashram, we shared our stories of how we came to yoga and Ayurveda. I was so moved by each woman's story and if they cried, I cried. So many of the women echoed sentiments I feel regularly and felt such a kinship with them. However, directing that same sense of compassion to myself is much more difficult. I hold myself to a very high standard. Too high in many ways. I expect perfection and feel down about myself when I fail to live up to these unreasonable expectations. I allow my mind to get caught in this endless cycle of replaying my mistakes until I'd dissected and understood each nuance so that I wouldn't make the same error twice. I messed up. Big deal. There's no point in dwelling. These sentences need to be my mantra. I have to extend the compassion I have for others to myself.