July 18, 2013

Through Streams of Thought & Sweat: Toward Radical Self-Acceptance. ~ Tanya N.

A sweaty mess brought forth weighty realizations.

I enjoy indulging in different styles of yoga—with different teachers at different times.

I liken it to what I understand from the tantric philosophy; in that, every expression and creation is the universe reflecting itself back to itself, simply delighting in it’s own divinity. By exposing myself to various forms (styles/teachers/views) of this dynamic practice, I receive glimpses of different reflections and expressions of this wondrous play.

Most recently, this play led me to Bikram yoga, just for the mere experience of it. While wanting to experience another form of hatha yoga, it has taken quite some undoing to actually, deliberately lock body parts (knees and so on) that are never to be locked in the styles I was trained in and even keep my stamina up for poses I could normally easily do and push through, regardless. But, in being open, I’m trying to really surrender to the full experience and philosophy. (At least for the sixty day challenge!)

Through the various sweat sodden classes I’ve taken in the past few weeks, I’ve been more than aware of a heightened sense of embarrassment, as I’d slide out of the studio soaked—hair plastered to my head, clothes sloppily hugging to my skin and towels engorged with drippings of me.

Vanity was never one of the vices I thought it necessary to address. Meaning, I am, and I like it that way. So, this was very unsettling.

Which brings me to today.

The art of self criticism

While lying in streaming pools of my own fluids and mascara half off, hair as noted, staring at the ceiling, sporting the new little mini-shorts I had hoped would somehow make the process easier—I began to go through a litany of self-judgments, the familiar process of self criticism.

Are these tiny shorts ugly on me? As, I fidget and fidget. I must look disgusting in this sweat, as I pull my hair off my face. I suppose on one hand, it’s not such an aberration to think those things, as not everyone appreciates sweat—laden people. Least of all, me. And well, I’m just not used to exposing that much flesh.

The realization

But, the thing is, this process of negatively evaluating myself wasn’t just a heat induced anomaly wrung into me through the ‘tribulations’ of hot yoga; it was a continuation of the pattern deeply rooted in my psyche of self wrung out.

The musings and more that followed

What if I just accepted?

  • My legs—no matter what form they’re taking.
  • My hair—even if I don’t particularly like how it looks in any one moment.
  • My presence—even if there could be a chance that others wouldn’t.
  • My body—as it healthfully reacts to the environment.

What would my life look like if I really accepted and embraced myself with love?

  • What would I look like?
  • Would I carry myself differently?
  • Would I have a different house or career?
  • Who would I be?

The Fear

  • But, wouldn’t that mean letting go my standards?
  • Settling?
  • Would I let myself go?

The Intellectualizing

Naturally, self-love and true self-acceptance wouldn’t include “letting one—self go”. Not if we really are coming from a place of love, anyway. It would seem that this concept of “happiness” we all seem to be aiming for, would necessitate a shear radical self-acceptance, no matter what the outcome.

And now? Perhaps, we grant ourselves the permission to do so.

The proposal & the living of it

Meditate on total self-acceptance. Sit with it.

  • What would your life look like if you practiced radical self-acceptance?
  • What if you really embodied it?
  • Can you maintain it?
  • What if you stopped, even just right now, and eased up and gave yourself total, entire compassion and acceptance?

Let me know how it goes.

Despite the paragraphs here in describing this process of thoughts, the collective ensemble was really a flash, perhaps consisting of a sweat-laden minute of knowing, thoughts and understanding all at once.

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{photo: via Herbvaceous Lady}

Assist Ed: Tawny Sanabria/Ed: Sara Crolick

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Tanya N.