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- Yogis and inner life
Loving one’s body can be a difficult task. Media, culture and social surroundings create norms about how we all should look and how our bodies should be. In reality, people come with different body shapes, sizes and capabilities. Some are more sportive, some more artistic. Some are more feminine, some are more masculine. Some have more healthy bodies than others. And some have a lot of curves when others are very slender.
We can change our thoughts, surroundings and even our social circle to some extent, but we can never truly escape our own body. The body is our temple and we are destined to be with it our whole life, so why not make the relationship as pleasant and fruitful as possible. The body gives us so much pleasure and knowledge once we just learn to appreciate it and listen to its messages.
It is possible to celebrate all this diverse bodies. And it is possible to make a good relationship with ones own body . But how can we areach that? Here are some considerations.
Treat your body as your dear friend.
Many of us talk every day badly to our own bodies. If we talked to people around us like we often talk to our body, we would not have friends at all. What a sad thought.
Luckily, there is another way to talk to one’s body : you can start complementing yourself kindly and with affection: “Yes, I have such a nice smile. And I really like my straight posture.” Once one starts talking, even when not believing the words in the beginning, the attitude towards the body begins to change. One starts noticing positive things in the body and negative things will be pushed aside.
It’s not just positive psychology. Your cells might actually hear the compliments and bloom out of thankfulness. ;). Trust the positive talk. Try it. There is nothing to lose.
Close your eyes and sense your body
It’s nice to feel one’s own soft skin under the fingertips. People often notice that after some time of yoga practice one’s skin becomes smoother and softer. Also, when going deep into the asana practice, one can really sense new, different things. Suddenly yogini feels the warmth of the breath, the wonderful feeling of a long stretch in the back or the light wind on one’s face in yogashala. One feels and notices more sensations in the body and one enjoys the sensations more. One learns to avoid bad and harmful sensations. These are all nice miracles of yoga.
Find the joy of movement, let your body free
Imagine yourself floating freely on the sky with no restrictions at all. The body is all flexible and loose, there is no stiffness, ache or other bodily limits. You can throw legs and hands care freely in any way want, twist body to different asanas with no restrictions. What a joy!
The joy of movement can be found also in asana practise. In vinyasa flow yoga the breathing combined with movement gives a great feeling of being alive. The practise comes especially enjoyable, when joints are turning to their whole capacity and muscles are strong and flexible. This needs practise. But why not practise when the rewards are so nice.
Sometimes movements can be very small and sophisticated. A very small turning of the head or a stretch ofa toe can feel wonderful when it is done with full awareness.
Enjoy the stillness
In sanskrit the word asana means seat. Asana also means sitting still in a comfortable steady pose. When body is healthy and comfortable, it is easy to detach thoughts from it and concentrate on other things. In yogic meditation one can concentrate on emptying the mind and being alert but still relaxed.
In yin yoga, where one stays still in each asana for many minutes, every asana is like a small body-meditation itself. During the stillness one can listen body’s energy flows, notice unfolding emotions and feel juicy stretches.
Give time to your body to be still. The body will appreciate it and grow more aware and sensitive.
Love your imperfections
You do not need to get fit or flexible or have a great muscle stamina before you can love your body. You can start loving your body right now, just as it is.
At first it might be difficult. But if you just start repeating the “mantra”: I’m good enough as I am now”, after a while, you might start to accept this thought and eventually it becomes natural.
Loving yourself as you are does not mean that you’ll give up entirely on improvements. It’s just a lot easier to work with a body you already love than with a body you don’t like. Once you start loving your body, it naturally leads to taking better care of it and imperfections get less space in your thoughts.
Listen to your body
Your body holds deep wisdom inside. It’can tell you when you are hungry and when you need to rest. It tells you when it is graving for some salty things and when some sweet things are in order. Pains in your body hint that maybe you have worked your body too much and given it too little rest.
Listen carefully to your body. It truly knows a lot. And you’ll begin to love it’s wisdom.
Leant to love things that are good for your body
Yoga will gradually change your thinking patterns so, that healthy eating and exercise will become natural parts of your life. Sooner or later you might notice that even when forgetting to take care of your body you make good choices for it naturally. You’ll choose fruits and vegetables over grease and sugar anytime.
Learn to love things that are good to your body. The knowledge is everywhere, just look for it, find it, listen to it and learn from it. Your body will thank you.
Bring out your femininity
Sometimes femininity might be narrowed down only to mean superficial focus on looks and sexual appearences. In reality, femininity is the other big force side by side with masculinity. Femininity gives beauty, warmth, deepness, care, stillness and intelligence to this world. Femininity is not only about mothering, it’s about being feminine and masculine throughout the life. Finding ones own true balance.