Yoga has become a huge part of my life. I love everything about it. I love the physical work, because....Exercise. I have also noticed some changes in my body since I started yoga. I'm stronger. I'm more flexible. Some of the poses are easier (which should happen after two months of consistency). Some poses, I'm still working on (looking at you crow - I got up and stayed up for like three seconds once; didn't immediately come down. IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN SO JUST COOPERATE WITH ME!). I leave class feeling refreshed and at peace. I wish my schedule allowed for me to go every day. I can usually work it so that I can make it to class three times a week, plus choreoyoga on the weekend (which is just FUN!). This is the first class (admittedly though, I haven't taken many) that I've looked forward to. I get annoyed if I have something come up and I have to miss a class. I enjoy my spin class too but yoga ranks right up there with running in my little bubble.
The thing with yoga is that it really does become part of a lifestyle. It can release so much from the body that a person can feel different (better?) mentally too. When you feel better/different, you start to see things around you differently too. Yoga is about self-care as well as how you behave toward others. When you feel better, you're more likely to treat others (and yourself!) better. I've never had much of a problem with the treating others well thing. Sure, there have been people who I've allowed to "get to me" at times and I reacted. I never used to be good at standing up for myself. Once I found my voice, the fighting spirit within me was like "helllloooo there!" In terms of reactions, if someone was mean to me, I wasn't going to let them get away with that and in doing so, I was mean to them too. Over time (this was even pre-yoga), I realized that the mean things people said, which typically were exaggerated, didn't really matter. In the end, it comes down to... Why would they treat me that way?
When people are asshats to you, there's a reason. You did something they don't like. You have something they want. They struggle with their own feelings so your success or celebration brought out their anger. Jealousy. Greed. Lots of things can cause people to be jerks. That kid who is mean to everyone? He's probably struggling with something - home life, self-esteem... None of which is a reason to be a bully, but there's something behind it. Unless that kid wants to be mean for no good reason, which is another type of problem.
Generally when I've been an asshat it's been in response to someone else's high level asshat behavior. Or because I've been standing up for others. Or because someone needed to be called out on whatever was happening. I mean, communication... If you don't tell someone what is bothering you and discuss it, it festers and turns ugly. I guess I've not been a total asshat with that type of thing. People hate criticism and usually the response to it is negative. So, maybe that wasn't as much me as it was a reaction turning it into more. Or maybe I was mean about it. Could be either.
I was getting better at the whole "letting go" concept prior to yoga. I was working hard to stay positive and be happy that issues were no longer issues. I decided that people who really truly know me, know me. They know the positive as well as the negative (because we ALL have negative). The people who know me take time to understand me, to talk, and to listen. People who really know me will ask if they hear something. They'll want my part of the story. People say that there are three parts to every story: yours, theirs, and the truth. I hate that concept. Sure, sometimes things are exaggerated but just tell the truth. We avoid the truth because we don't like to look bad, we don't want to admit to our "faults" and we want everyone else to just love us without question. Here's the thing - the people who love you will love you without question despite your faults. I've become pretty good at saying "I did this..." or "you know, I said this and it probably wasn't so great." People, it is okay to admit to your own problems. The more you hide them, the more people start to realize it.
Yoga has brought all of that out even more, but in a different way. I'm learning to be more peaceful about things. Acknowledge and move on. You can't change what anyone thinks or says about you. If they really want to know you, they'll watch and they'll listen. They will give you a chance based on you rather than what someone else said.
My fighting spirit is still there. It's just there in a different way. I'm trying to react to hurt (although, thankfully, I haven't faced much of that recently) in a different way. Instead of reacting and behaving in the same manner, I'm working to better my response.
So, in terms of treating others well, I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I suppose that's because it's my life.... It comes easy. I've always been a good listener, empathetic, and I've always just cared. For a long time, that was my big flaw. Others first, me....Somewhere down the line. That's not okay. There needs to be balance.
Over the years I've struggled with self-esteem. There's never been much "bad" that anyone can say about me. I'm smart, I'm driven, I'm motivated, I'm kind... The one thing people will always attack is the thing that they know (or think) is the thing that should bother you the most. For me it was always my appearance. Those "fat" comments or lies about what others may have said are what really got under my skin. People find out which buttons to push and they push them. For a long time because of how I felt and viewed myself, I sometimes let others treat me badly and I took what they said to heart.
I'm done with that. I'm taking real, true criticism better (from valid sources). What's different is I like and appreciate myself even more. I am better able to look at the positives before the negatives. Most of the time. I still get on myself about not losing weight fast enough (scale obsession doesn't die even though I know that lifting can impact it; even though I look different/my body composition is different). I guess I don't want to be (sorry if I offend you; this is a personal thought - just for ME not my view of anyone else) one of those people who is like "this is who I am and I'm good with it." Maybe I worry too much about just being "okay" with my body. There is a very fine line with accepting yourself and living behind a belief that isn't really for you. And that's me. I'm happy for anyone who loves themselves no matter what and who can live being over weight and own it without hesitation. I can't do that. It's not for me. I want to see change (various change, not just weight). If you really love who you are, awesome. If you want to change, do it. I guess I worry that if I'm too accepting I'll become complacent and stop striving for my goals. That's not what I want.
We put a lot of emphasis on weight/thinness/bodies. I'd say most women have had some struggle with their appearance at some point in their life. It impacts how we think about ourselves and each other. People are mean. Everyone wears judgey-pants but some people are just cruel and don't see any fault in it or feel remorse later. I if I think something judgmental, I analyze it. I think it's human nature to judge, but how we handle it and what we learn is important.
This morning at yoga, I cried. A little bit. Only a few tears, but they were there. I also had the whole tingly nose thing going on as I tried to stop them from really flowing. I've heard that this happens at times. I think it's because yoga is mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes it just happens. Kinda like when people sometimes fart during certain poses. I've read articles about it. I haven't witnessed it. Or haven't noticed it. I guess it's because I'm so connected with what I'm doing, that I don't notice what others are doing so much.
I have a really hard time just clearing my mind and listening during savasana. It is one of the most challenging poses for me. Physically it's not hard to lay on my mat. Mentally, a totally challenge. Just listening and clearing my mind is hard. My mind always wants to go. It's on to the next thing on my list before I'm there. I think that in our society, this is a common problem. Think about it - even when you go to sleep, your mind is thinking of things before you fall asleep and while you dream.
Today I got the "listening" angel card. I've gotten it a few times and think "why this card? I listen really well. I listen all day. I listen to people in conversations. I feel like people are listening to me when I speak. I feel validated and important." Today, as I made a conscious effort (because I remind myself of this after EVERY class) not to let my mind wander as much. I wanted to really be present, listen, and reflect. And I did. As our fantastic teacher, Lauri, was talking, so much of what she said was clicking. Naturally when someone says something your mind comes up with a response. That was me today. I was truly listening to what she was saying and it reached me. The message came through and I reflected. As I did, I felt tears in my eyes. I guess it was just an overwhelming, emotional feeling of making a specific connection. Now I have learned something else about myself and need to work to move through that.
That darn Angel Card. It got me again.