Yoga Tips: Talking to Yourself
Yes you read that correctly, today we're talking about talking to yourself while you practice. There is a rumor that you are supposed to not think while you practice yoga but that's not necessarily true. As we practice we calm the fluctuations of the mind but instead of talking about calming the fluctuations, let's take a look at those fluctuating thoughts!
During an average yoga class there are many thoughts that can flow through our minds. There's a range of them. We can go from what should I have for dinner to I can never do that pose and everywhere in between. So today we're going to go through 3 common thoughts that our minds pull in during practice and talk about how we can shift those thoughts to ones that are more supportive 😊
Phrase 1: "I could never do that pose!"
Beginning with a classic. This is the phrase that can stop us from stepping on the mat and even if we make it to the mat we swear the entire time. There a couple ways to approach this shift:
1. One way to shift this thought is to tell yourself that you're not there... yet. Instead of closing off the door completely, leave it cracked open. Give yourself room in your mind for imagination envisioning that one day you will be able to accomplish it.
Example: Shift "I could never do that pose!" to "I'm not there yet but I will be one day!"
2. If you're not for the method above. Try being in your body in the moment. Give it a scan. Ask your body what it would need in order to accomplish that goal (avoiding thoughts about body size/figure). Then begin to work on those areas to accomplish your goal.
Example: Shift "I can't touch my toes!" to "How are my hamstrings feeling? Ooo they're a little tight. How's my low back? Hmm a little tight too. I'll keep tapping into these areas and one day I might touch my toes. Let's keep trying!"
Phrase 2: "Ugh, I have to do laundry, make dinner, clean etc."
Oh the listing thoughts. These thoughts tend to pop up when we're "left in silence" for more than 2 seconds. A lot of times in a deep stretch or in savasana. Here are a couple ways to avoid going down the endless list:
1. The first way to approach this is to keep 2 thoughts in your mind. "Now I inhale." and "Now I exhale." It may seem very "Instagram quote" but focusing on breathing can help you mind reign into the present. You might even think of it as a mini meditation.
Example: Shift "I have everything in the world to do after class." to "Now I'm inhaling, now I'm exhaling, now I'm inhaling, now I'm exhaling..."
2. The second method I'd like to offer up is to follow each thought with "I'm on my mat right now." This is a method I like to use to acknowledge the thought that is coming up and politely send it on it's way.
Example: Shift "I have to do laundry, go to Target, cook dinner etc." to "I have to do laundry later but right now I'm on my mat. I have to go to Target later but I'm breathing into my hip right now."
Phrase 3: "They look so good doing that pose! I wish I looked like that."
I say this with so much love, STOP IT! Now for 2 methods to help shift this thought:
1. First is as the first sentence says. Practice not looking at other people while you practice. Shift your focus to points on your body or mat.
Example: Let's say you're scanning the room during a warrior 2. Instead of looking around the room. Look to your middle finger. (Depending on the shape you can even try closing your eyes. Not only will you not see other people but you might be able to sense what your own body is feeling during the pose, giving yourself a more internal experience.)
2. Second is something that might become a little more natural with practice. Begin to acknowledge that 1 pose can look different on every person in the room (and zoom). Both fortunately and unfortunately we live in a social media driven world. Meaning we can easily get caught up in what every "stereotypical/pretty" person looks like doing a pose. This also means that we can do a little digging to find people that look more like us doing poses. Meaning we can even get some inspiration on how we can find a pose in our bodies.
Example: Instead of saying "I wish I looked like that." Start saying "That's how that looks on them." or "This is how the pose looks on me. Cool!"
Note: This doesn't apply to alignment. Please protect your body in a way that works for you!
There are 3 shifts you can start to make to support yourself in your practice! Trust me even after 8.5 years I'm still shifting my mind on the daily 🙏🏾
If you have a favorite way to shift your thoughts or have thoughts that could use a shift, leave a comment below 💜