Treating oneself with reverence and love.

Yoga for me, first began at a CC near home. My mom had been practicing yoga for at least 10 years then, and was encouraging me to try it out since i had always been physically active throughout my growing years.
I gave it a shot and finished the entire 3 months’ term feeling… a mix of curiosity and excitement. Whatever for – i still hadn’t known, then.
Less than a month later, a friend of mine asked if i wanted to try out a Beginner’s yoga class at a quiet and lovely little studio . I agreed, and the trial unexpectedly extended to an almost 2-years long practice made up of daily (almost)  2-3 hour sessions, with a buddy i met there that would mark the beginning of a beautifully strong friendship built on similar values, a never diminishing craving for whatever knowledge our yoga practice could bring us (and maybe, just maybe… our appetites and love for similar foods, too!). Fast-forward to almost 3 years after my first yoga class, and i’m here… taking the Teacher’s Training Course.

Through yoga, I’ve learnt to celebrate (think mental mini cheer, haha) even a sliver of progress and to forgive myself on days i felt absolutely crappy; when progress would take a back seat.
It is okay to be tired. It is okay not to be able to bend myself into a yummy little pretzel today. It is okay if i have trouble focusing on my flitting thoughts during meditation due to a long and hectic day.

What matters, is my ability to :
appreciate myself for making the effort to practice, even if its just a little, no matter how tired i might be feeling;
appreciate myself for making the effort to consciously quiet the active/busy mind and repeatedly attempt to draw the focus back despite the many distractions/difficulties i might be facing;

All because i know how beneficial this practice is to me, in so many ways.

Through the years, alongside my physical practice, i’ve learnt to love, respect and be compassionate to myself even more. And from there, i’ve moved on to refining the next step: Doing the same for others. Whether it is to love, respect and be compassionate to them, or helping them to do the same for themselves…

It wouldn’t matter. And it wouldn’t faze me. Because i’ve learnt to overcome one of the greatest challenges, being my harshest critic – Myself.
As quoted from a verse by the Buddha in one of his conversations with a particular King & Queen:
“Searching all directions
with your awareness,
you find no one dearer
than yourself.
In the same way, others
are dear to themselves.
So you shouldn’t hurt others
if you love yourself. “
Jolene T (200hr Yoga TTC 07/14 Weekend)