Painful feelings are, by their very nature, temporary. They will weaken over time as long as we don’t prolong or amplify them through resistance or avoidance. The only way to eventually free ourselves from debilitating pain, therefore, is to be with it as it is. The only way out is through. — Kristin Neff
Self-compassion is the act of understanding yourself without any judgments, being kind, developing acceptance, and loving yourself as a response to feelings of suffering or inadequacy.
One can learn compassion in numerous ways, as there are various perspectives to it. However, yoga is simpler to embrace, most of which can be practiced effortlessly and ultimately empowers us to stay connected with ourselves. Building compassion is generally a “relationship-based work”, but it all starts with the relationship we have with ourselves.
“To feel more connected to others it's important that we first connect to ourselves.”
Teachings of yoga often go overlooked like Kripalu Yoga tradition (Kripalu means “compassionate” or “merciful” in Sanskrit) and thus this blog is a reminder of how beautifully you can emphasize and encourage self-compassion while practicing yoga.
Here are 3 amazing mindful ways to build self-compassion while doing your favorite yoga asanas-
#1. Treat yourself with kindness
At times, you will find yourself practicing a challenging yoga pose and that moment may feel exhausting or painful, you may also have multiple thoughts like- ‘What if I fall? What if I get injured? Will I be able to do it perfectly?’ and these doubts may lead to self-judgment.
So, in such a situation, tell yourself that, first- I am not a “Yogi”! I am not supposed to be perfect; I will get better with time. I believe in myself. Whatever I am doing is the best I can do at this moment.
Secondly, remind yourself that this pain is temporary. Soothe yourself, as you would motivate a loved one or good friend. Give yourself the space to think, if it is possible for you to back out of the pose for a few seconds and re-perform it? Alternatively, you can perform a relaxing pose (eg: Child pose) instead to gain your strength again.
#2. Cherish your existence and reconnect to your breath
The quality of your breathing helps to have a better command of your body. Deep slow breaths calm the mind and body making it an easier plus effective approach to asana practice. Focus on your breathing during your yoga practice. Pay attention to the change in the depth of your breath- if it becomes difficult to breathe or it starts turning shallow.
Try changing your breathing pattern, not only will maintaining a slow deep breath stimulate compassion, but it will also help moderate stress levels, tension, and suffering as well as bring more liveliness and awareness to your yoga practice.
#3. Close your eyes during the practice
Closing your eyes during yoga poses will help you to let go of the need for external validation and diminish egocentricity. Do not pay attention to what the pose looks like or if you are doing it up to the mark and rather emphasize what you feel when you perform the pose.
There is no need to compare yourself with others in the room. Turn your focus completely to yourself rather than letting others drive your actions. Doing so will reinforce self-motivation and self-esteem.
Yoga has played an active and essential part in growth journey & transforming life of many people. By developing yoga discipline, we can feel our internal self, the form of our bodies, and we can even build the capability to sense the movements of the bones and muscles. With persistent attention, we can experience the “prana” or life force flowing in the body that removes blockages and provides mental clarity. That feeling of calm during the practice helps you go through the bad times and develop self-compassion.
If you have been suffering or experiencing hardship, yoga can help you sail through that rough patch. Head to The Wellness Corner app and explore a variety of guided meditation and yoga curated by experts on Wellness TV.