A few days ago, I wrote about what I left behind at the Women’s Retreat. Today, I want to talk about the other half of that question which is what I chose to take with me.
While I chose to leave behind judgment, I chose to take with me self-acceptance. In a way, self-acceptance is the counter balance to judgment. In thinking about my practice, self-acceptance means several things to me. First, it means taking my postures where they are. So not only do I not judge myself, but I accept whatever depth and form I have in a posture at that moment in time.
Self-acceptance also means accepting my mind as it is that day and at that time. Sometimes we go to class in a good mood, and very focused. Other times, our days are rough and our mind is jumping around and less focused. I can’t force myself to feel a certain way, be in a certain mood, or be more focused. I can acknowledge where I am at and then go from there. You know, don’t fight it. Just go with it.
Finally, I also have to accept the condition my body is in that day. This isn’t just about accepting the depth I can achieve in a posture. It’s about accepting when my muscles are stiff, sore, or when everything is very open (or when just some aspects are more open than others).
I think about it like this: I have had days – granted they are few – when I am able to do great backbends. The next day? Not so much. What I have to learn to do in these cases is accept and celebrate the days when I have both types of backbends. In short, I have to accept and learn to be content with what each day brings me with my postures and my class. This means accepting and being fine with wherever I am physically, mentally, and emotionally. Self-acceptance is about more than being ok with myself. It’s an all encompassing outlook that I need to bring each day to my practice.