Be Gentle With Yourself
At yoga practice this past week our instructor lead our group as usual. She has a gift of acknowledging the yogini’s as a whole and the range of ages and capabilities. I am in awe of these beautiful women and at times wishful that I could be like them. Their presence grounds the room, their laughter is a song as sweet as any and their hearts larger than the state of Texas.
When we meet each week I enjoy observing them greet one another, hug, share small gifts from their gardens or even clothing or shoes they no longer need. These women are exceptional in every way. From the first practice I took with them it was l clear that there was something unique about this collection of beautiful souls who have practiced together for over 25 years. They seem to have a special pace or energy about them. They travel the world, volunteer in their communities and care for their families like many do.
On this particular Sunday our group was small. We began in our usual way, stretching, aligning our spines and breathing. Taking in the peace and energy of the room and breathing out the days of the past week. Near the end of the practice came a very strong message. Not a new pose, but a message in the form of a lesson. As we moved into the Boat pose - Navasana (nah-VAHS-uh-nuh) she said, “Just take your time and be gentle with yourself”. She continued to encourage us to do what we could do at that time, not stressing our body to do what we were each capable of without causing harm to ourselves. She encouraged us to breathe into the tightness or to the area we felt the most resistance. Gently releasing the area as we took our time.
I felt rather confident in my ability to move through the pose. I am not as accomplished as the other yogini’s but took her words into action. I continued to breathe through the tightness and resigned myself to what I could accomplish instead of continuing on in discomfort. Such a small detail as being gentle was it was thought provoking and worked. Be gentle with yourself.
As I made my way home down dirt and gravel roads I thought about conversations I have had with people recently. Two are Superpower women. Giving and caring for others with relentless energy, another a friend who is a extraordinary volunteer in her community, and another a male friend who experienced a head injury that has changed his life in so many ways. . A common thread through many of these conversations are feelings of being tired, that they have not achieved some level of completion or perfection for themselves, or they just are not doing enough. Like the yogini’s I practice with I admire each of the people as an individual and I want for them to be gentle with themselves and give honor to what they accomplish.
I often observe others in their pace of life. Life is a pace not a race. I compare seeing the course we are on as the the starting line of our life journey. Acknowledgement of our individual pace and abilities without guilt or feelings of failure is the ultimate finish line. Doing what we can do within a reasonable pace and not in race mode seems to be a more gentle and healthy pace in life. As I observe humans who race to win, it appears as thought they are not winning. There is a a tone of defeat in the feeling overloaded or not doing enough. And as I write this blog I will openly admit I have been there and at times do that. 2018 has been a year of acknowledgement for me personally. As 2018 winds down I am proud to say I have earmarked several ways to do less and be gentle with myself and it feels good.
As you go about your week I encourage you to find one or more ways to Be Gentle With Yourself and appreciate your individual pace in life.