The new year brings self reflection, motivation to change and setting audacious goals as we have a fresh start and a clean slate for creating the life we want. But in reality we have the ability to start anew each day, even each hour or minute. So why the big rush to change?
We feel the need to change because society asks for it. As information moves at increasing speeds, we are inundated with ads, commercials and social media feeds. Societal pressures are higher than ever. They command conformity and perfection and fuel consumption. All of this translates to a greater need to change, to strive for something more, whether that’s to lose weight, eat healthier, meditate more, minimize, decrease social media time, upgrade your car, wardrobe, home… your life!
What if this year instead of swearing off those things that are bad for us and vowing to create new healthy habits we simply practice self-acceptance? Yoga teaches us so much about this. In fact there is a famous quote from yoga guru, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, that says, “Yoga is not about self-improvement. It’s about self-acceptance.” Yoga is about discovering yourself through asana, self-inquiry, stillness and devotion. It teaches us about self-love and compassion as we honor our joint ranges and biomechanics on our mat and hold space for our emotions when we sit in stillness.
When we accept ourselves more fully, we relax into who we are, knowing that everything is perfect. We are right where we are supposed to be, learning what we are meant to be learning. Through acceptance, we give ourselves permission to live our purpose without the fear of judgment or shame. We know that we are uniquely designed to bring something special into this world and no one can do it the way we can. This is when our creative potential ignites. This is authentic living and this where our deepest desires become reality…where we live our greatness.
Try this “off the mat” yoga practice today. Do it everyday for 30 days and watch your internal dialogue become more compassionate.
Start with a deep, relaxing breath and say either to yourself or out loud: “I completely love and accept myself, exactly the way that I am, even if I never change.”
You feel lighter already, right?!
By practicing self-acceptance, we decrease mental negativity and even become more compassionate towards others since our interactions and perceptions are really only a mirror of ourselves. We raise our energetic vibration.
Cheers to a new year of compassion, self-acceptance and love.
Sarah Balmer, BS, Yoga I.S. Certified RYT-200, Certified Health Coach
Yoga I.S.® Instructor