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Self Compassion..

At the start of a yoga class, often we set an intention, traditionally known as a Sankalpa. Your intention can be anything, a promise to yourself, a dedication to someone else, a vow to do something. Your intention can be whatever you need at that time.

If you can't think of an intention, you can often take inspiration from the theme of the yoga class you are in. This week across my classes, we will be considering self compassion and quietening the inner critic.

Our intention will perhaps be something very simple:

"I will be kind to myself"

"I will rest when I need to"

"I am won't compare myself to to others"

What made me think of this intention? I was listening to a podcast by Pat Divilly (I highly recommend having a listen) on this exact subject, self compassion and quietening inner critic. He made a really valid point; in episode 223 of his podcast he asks who speaks to us the most? Whose voice do we hear the most?

The answer is our own voice.

Most of the doubt we feel comes from the things we tell ourselves. We often speak to ourselves in a way we would unlikely consider acceptable to speak to others. We are our own harshest critic. Why though? Because we wouldn't judge others the way we judges ourselves.

The inner critic often shows up at yoga when we are first beginning. You may find yourself comparing yourself to others in the class, or criticising your own capabilities, or pushing yourself because you expect more from yourself. This is not yoga.

Let's imagine we are looking at the yoga posture Downward Facing Dog, or Ardho Mukha Svanasana. It is a challenge in the beginning, especially if you are new to yoga. As the teacher in the class what will I think if you decide you have had enough in that posture and you would rather take a restorative Childs pose, or Balasana? Will I think you aren't good at yoga? No. Will you think you aren't good at yoga? I hope not.

Because what you are doing by taking that Childs Pose is the very essence of yoga.

Taking that Childs Pose shows you are in that moment, listening to what your body is telling you, in Yoga this is the practise of Ahimsa, one of the Yama's of yoga - yogic guidance if you will. Ahimsa means to practise no harm towards yourself and others. This isn't just actions, it's words too, which takes us back to our inner critic.

There is no room for your inner critic on your yoga mat. So this week in class I would love you to do the following:

  • Praise yourself for simply showing up on your mat

  • Enjoy the movement simply for the sake of moving

  • Remember to breathe deeply, it will help to calm you

  • Lose all comparison - enjoy where you are at today

  • Speak kindly to yourself

Why is this important? Well, once the expectations we put on ourselves or the judgements we make in our own heads quieten down, that is the point where the magic happens. That is when you can be present, in the moment, content just as you are.

I am looking forward to seeing you on the mat this week, just as you are. If it is your first class with me don't be nervous! You will be wonderful, exactly as you are.

Love and Kindness

Steph xxx

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