By Anita Grace Brown, Guest Contributor
If you’re anything like me, you probably have expended a lot of time and energy attempting to minimize the qualities that make you human such as jealousy, distraction, judgement, frustration, playing victim, ungratefulness, and entitlement.
Just to name a few.
I have found the practices of yoga and meditation tantamount in creating space for myself to begin to observe these thoughts and emotions from the place of the witness, allowing me to respond instead of react.
Case in point: I’m on my mat and a sub is teaching for my FAVORITE teacher, whom I have not seen most of the summer. I tell myself to let go of any disappointment and remain open to possibility.
I notice my desire for her to nurture me. I notice my wishing she would run her hand down my spine, make a connection and honor my conscious choice to rest. I notice my disappointment. I breathe and let out a big, loud exhale.
I see the other women: fitter, stronger, thinner. I notice my urge to compare and decide to let that go too.
Inhaling I choose space, exhaling I choose emptiness.
We are about to enter fish pose and I grab for my block. The teacher unwittingly takes it before I can and places it under her spine to demonstrate the pose. I notice my upset. I grab the other block near the top of the mat, and I CHOOSE to breathe into the feeling of disconnection and judgment. I lie back, open my heart, and surrender into the earth.
I tell myself to keep using my tools: press into the earth, rely on my breath, and engage my core—the VERY CENTER of me.
If we can notice when we have given our peace away, it is much easier to draw it back. It’s living in the space of being off-center and not recognizing our own power over the situation that leads to a downward spiral of moodiness, anxiety, over-eating, or depression.
What started out as me not feeling well could have easily spiraled into a bad day and a story in my head of victimhood. Eventually, I would probably take this negativity out on my unsuspecting husband.
In savasana I fully embraced nurturing MYSELF. No one else needs to do this for me. I fully leaned into being human and having thoughts and emotions that in the past may have led me to judge myself. Through learning to witness instead of judge, I have come to honor that my thoughts are not the real me. Rather, they stem from a place of disconnection with my true self.
My Highest Self desires peace and wholeness, and that can only be embodied when I allow plenty of space for every human emotion to exist and flow through me.
I won't ever again dare to trap my wild, flourishing, and tender self in a cage of disparaging thoughts. I am FREE!!!!
About Anita Grace
Anita Grace graduated from yoga teacher training in 2014 and aims to create a safe place where students can practice yoga and meditation, let go of all judgment and distraction, and release self-doubt. Her unique approach marries Eastern mindfulness practices with the Western Christian message of transformation and grace.
She enjoys sharing yoga with underprivileged communities, primarily inner city Camden, New Jersey, and the incarcerated. She is honored to return as the guest instructor at the Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina this summer.
Anita Grace's primary goal is to help others feel empowered to transform their day, which in turn will transform their entire life. Learn more about Anita Grace and her teaching and workshop schedule at SmilingHeartYoga.org.