I have begun to realize in my most recent yoga practices, that my yoga is no longer just my own.
I practice in my living room, on a rug, that my dog loves to play and roll around on. And every time I roll out my yoga mat, my cats think it is an invitation for them to lie down and get comfy. Now with a baby growing inside of me as well, I feel little kicks and jabs with every forward fold, or child’s pose. Mostly I love this experience of my practice. I play fetch with the dog as I move. I stretch with the cats, mirroring their postures. I sit more still than I ever have in meditation to be able to feel those little kicks. But every once in awhile something goes wrong…
The cat and dog get into a tussle and send my stereo and tea cup flying.
The cat swipes at my heels with her claws.
Sometimes this results in a moment or two of loud scolding and expressed frustration. Then I look at their faces, and the apologetic big eyes melt my anger, and I remember to breathe. Every parent or pet owner has experienced this. It is unconditional love. My question is, do you offer this same love to yourself?
Do you easily forgive yourself when you have made a mistake?
Do you withhold judgement from your faults, fears, limitations?
Do you speak to yourself with kindness every day?
Loving yourself, really, truly, unconditionally, can be very hard. Looking at all of yourself, every part, and still allowing yourself to feel love, not despite any part, but because of it, takes work. The work of learning to love yourself does not happen in a day, not a week, not a year.
Truly loving yourself is a constant remembering of who you really are. You are divine. You are goodness. You are free.
And the thing about having this kind of love for yourself, is that you not only build a better relationship with your own heart, but you also allow your heart to give and receive love from others more openly, honestly.
Now who doesn’t want that?
So here are some words to remember, expressed by the great, gentle man Swami Kripalu.
My beloved child, break your heart no longer.
Each time you judge yourself,
You break your own heart.
You stop feeding on the love
Which is the wellspring of your vitality.
The time has come – Your time – To live – To celebrate –
To see the goodness that you are.
You my child, are divine. You are pure.
You are sublimely free.
You are God in disguise.
And you are always perfectly safe.
Do not fight the dark, just turn on the light.
And breathe into the goodness that you are.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Happy Month of Love. Remember… loving yourself is the first step.