You Are Beautiful: 3 Ways to Release Self-Judgment
What if you woke up one morning and decided to stop judging yourself? Rather than looking in the mirror and thinking ” a face only a mother could love,” you might say ‘hi beautiful.” When you dress for the day, you might pick clothes that make you feel like a superstar instead of clothes that hide your body. You might choose to melt some sinfully delicious dark chocolate into your oatmeal and add a pinch of cinnamon rather than stuffing down the same old boring ‘weight loss’ breakfast. Maybe you will smile at other drivers on the way to work, rather than swearing or sharing a few choice non-yogic mudras. (Yoga mudras are hand positions that allow the flow of energy to travel in specific ways around the body, such as in the prayer or Anjali mudra with palms together at your heart center).
What if you moved your yoga mat to the front of the class rather than hiding in the back corner unseen? Perhaps you could compliment yourself on your ability to hold Warrior III a little longer than normal today, rather than comparing your balancing skills to other yogis in class. Maybe you could even say “thank you” to yourself for attending yoga today while enjoying a few blissful moments in savasana or corpse pose.
The things that we say to ourselves, and the ways in which we treat ourselves, are of utmost importance. We hear and believe our own thoughts and act upon them. When we judge ourselves, we are giving others permission to do the same. When we treat ourselves with love, it is only natural that we will treat others with love, too. And magically, according to the Law of Attraction, others will respond and treat us with love in return.
Below, find a short list of ways that may help you to release self-judgment, and love yourself more.
1. Surround Yourself in a Blanket of Love. This may sound a little bizarre, but love really does come from within. Sit or lie quietly, relaxing or meditating, and allow your mind and heart to imagine that you are totally engulfed in a soft, cozy, warm blanket. The blanket fills you with love and at the same time, allows all things that are not love within or around you to be released with ease.
2. Wear a Blue Topaz Crystal. You might decide to wear a ring or a necklace with a pendant, or carry the gemstone around in your pocket during the day. Blue topaz is the color of the throat chakra, the area that allows us to communicate our truth to the world. Begin by communicating positive and loving truth to you.
3. Catch and Correct Yourself. When you hear yourself judging yourself or others, or thinking negative thoughts, catch yourself and turn the statements around. Think to yourself: I am beautiful. I am loved. I am confident. I am.
The 8 Limbs of Yoga Explained
Yoga is more than the practice of asana, or physical postures. Living yoga means integrating the principles of yoga into your thoughts, words and actions; it means taking yoga beyond your mat. Learn more about living yoga and explore a variety of class option such as Tantrik Meditations, Yogic Paths and Injury, Inquiry and Insight to expand your practice.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
The Eight Limbs of Yoga are core principles that serve as a compass for living a meaningful and purposeful life.
Yamas are ethical considerations to help guide interactions with others. There are five yamas:
- Nonviolence (Ahimsa)
- Truthfulness (Satya)
- Non-stealing (Asteya)
- Chastity and fidelity (Brahmacharya)
- Non-coveting (Aparigraha)
At first glance, these considerations mirror the basic morals taught in kindergarten, but have depth in their continued practice. Here are a few alternative versions to consider:
- Ahimsa: practice nonviolence in thought, word and deed; practice self-love
- Satya: tell the truth; opt for silence if your words may harm others
- Asteya: do not steal, even in non-material ways, such as withholding information or time
- Brahmacharya: use your energy wisely and with intention; avoid excess or overindulgence
- Aparigraha: you are enough and you have everything you need already
Please keep in mind that there are many interpretations of the Yamas and Niyamas; find the definitions best suited to your personal practice.
The Niyamas are practices that inform self-discipline and worldview. The maxims below generally reflect the essence of each Niyama:
- Saucha: “Leave a place cleaner than you found it” (cleanliness)
- Santosha: “Don’t worry, be happy” (contentment)
- Tapas: “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going” (willpower and self-discipline)
- Svadhyaya: “Learn from your mistakes” (study of self and sacred scriptures)
- Ishvara Pranidhana: “Have faith” (surrender to the divine)
Asana refers to the physical postures practiced in yoga. Derived from the root word as in Sanskrit, which means seat, asana is designed to prepare the body and mind for seated meditation. The term asana refers to the ancient yogic tradition of taking a seat close to your teacher. Beyond the physical, asana refers to an outlook that life is full of opportunities to learn, even through obstacles: find the teacher in all things.