Yoga changed my body and mind, but more importantly, it changed my relationship with my body and mind.
That’s the practice. In those little moments when we feel afraid and insecure and limited, we refuse to allow judgment to add fuel to the fire of our emotions. Because that only damages the relationship with ourselves further. Judging ourselves for having a problem can actually be worse than the problem itself.
For example, students make mistakes in postures every class. And in the name of having high standards, the temptation is to berate our bodies for not doing things right. Because we haven’t lived up to our own demands on ourselves. Our body hasn’t acted in a way that our precious little conscience approves of.
Look leg, we had a deal. I know you can rotate ninety degrees. I seent it. You did it yesterday. What’s your problem?
However, instead of turning on the man in mirror in harsh judgment, the breath takes over. The muscles behind the eyes relax. We practice softening to the pain rather than tensing up around it. And that allows us to make progress in our journey to freedom.
As the recovery mantra goes, we attempt to live our lives in this manner, and we attempt to have compassion for ourselves myself when we don’t.
That’s the beauty of yoga. Surrendering. Facing reality and transforming our relationship to it. Even if there is always a judgmental axe ready to fall.
What practice will help remind you that forgiveness is not something you will ever be done with?
Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and work study volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.