“The way you move on the mat is often the way you move off the mat. Practise being kind and more sweet with yourself on the yoga mat and you will do the same off the mat.”
That’s taken from today’s accompanying email, and is pretty much what I’ve been trying to get at in a few of my posts – that changing attitudes and approaches on the mat can begin to change them off the mat.
There was a lot of focus on self talk today, which is a Big Thing for me. My self talk is almost entirely negative: I should have done X, I shouldn’t have done Y, what’s wrong with me that I did/didn’t do X/Y, why aren’t I better at Z… etc etc. I know that this massively affects my mood and how I deal with any difficult or frustrating situations (or even just everyday neutral situations, to be honest), but when your mind has worn down those familiar thought pattern grooves, it’s very difficult to start carving out new ones. Adriene’s suggestion today was to “shift the language to be sweet and supportive”. I don’t see “sweet” just as meaning “nice” here, but would expand it to include things like kindness, gentleness and understanding. Those are things that I don’t get from myself very often! If I’m honest, it’s not something I feel particularly comfortable with, but it’s all about carving out those new grooves and things probably will feel a bit weird at first.
From a physical perspective, today’s was just the sort of practice I like. A nice gentle start and finish, with some strength-building in the middle. I particularly loved the flipped sort of side plank pose (I really can’t think of any other way to describe it), although I found that my wrists weren’t having the best time of it today. I wonder if they’re just getting a bit behind in terms of gaining strength. I tried to carry forward the focus of yesterday’s practice, being in the moment, and to marry it with the shift in internal language that was today’s focus. So no negative talk about what had happened or might happen, just sweet talk about the present moment. Being unashamedly nice to myself did feel a bit odd, but not exactly in a bad way. I should do it more often.
In other news, I’m on my third day of cutting down the amount of sugar I eat (maybe I’m going for a “more sweetness in my life, less in my diet” vibe) and damn but my head hurts. More on that (cutting down sugar, not just my headache…) tomorrow.