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.
How to Live with Purpose: The Eight Paths of Yoga
The word yoga is translated literally as union but there are so many different forms, types and practices in yoga that it can often seem confusing. Although the eight limbs of yoga and the eight paths of yoga sound similar, it’s important to differentiate them.
The eight limbs of yoga is explained in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as an eightfold path called ashtanga, which means eight limbs (ashta= eight, anga= limb). These limbs are suggestions for living a life full of purpose and meaning. They act as a compass for self-discipline, integrity, and connecting to the divine within ourselves as well as the world around us. They are: yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and Samadhi.
The eight paths or forms of yoga are Hatha, Bhakti, Jnana, Karma, Tantra, Raja, Kriya, and Kundalini.
The eight paths or forms of yoga each incorporate at least one or more of the eight limbs of yoga. All forms are practices to accelerate the process of yoga, or what the Bhagavad Gita refers to as, “the science of creating union between the Individual Consciousness with the Ultimate Consciousness.”
Each yogic path essentially is a set of practices designed for a certain type of practitioner. While Karma yoga uses action and service, Bhakti yoga focuses on love and devotion as means of attaining union. Raja yoga is known as the yoga of concentration and Jnana yoga is the yoga of knowledge.
Different from the branches of yoga, explained in Ashtanga, the eight paths each have a unique history and origination. As a yoga practitioner, you might want to review the origin and meaning of each, try the exercises below and journal or meditate on the answers to determine which form you will choose to explore next. Remember, you can only master so many forms in a lifetime.