Yoga & Self-Love

For me, yoga is the definition of self-love. It is a practice that connects your body, mind, and spirit at a deeper level. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali teaches us how to incorporate self-love through yoga. Listed below are a few concepts from the sutras and other Sanskrit terms that teaches us how to incorporate self-love into our life. This list is not exhaustive by any means, but it is a place to begin practicing self-love through yoga 

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Tapas

In YTT, we were assigned to pick a sutra from part 1 and 2 that resonated with us. After much reading, rereading, and researching, (because seriously reading the sutras is like reading an early edition of the King James Bible), I chose Tapas as the sutra that I most resonated with.

Tapas is the practice causing positive change, or self-improvement. It means “to heat.” The heat from tapas is thought to burn away impurities and allow us to live authentically. Most people connect with tapas through exercising (such as asana), but it is so much more than that.

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Readiness and Commitment

As part of my yoga teacher training, I’ve been studying the yoga sutras from the book The Path of The Yoga Sutras by Nicolai Bachman and Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by B.K.S. Iyengar.

 

The first chapter of Bachman’s book, is on Atha, Readiness and Commitment, which is translated as an indication of auspicious beginning. Beginnings are often exciting and scary. It takes readiness and commitment to get through the various feelings of beginning a new journey. Bachman discusses how it is important to have an open heart-mind to allow the information to flow in without learned barriers getting in our way. He also discusses how commitment provides stability and structure allowing us to return and maintain a consistent yoga practice.

 

This chapter reminded me of the readiness and commitment one must take when embarking on a journey to improve their health. Instead of seeking instant gratification, we must take the time to truly understand what it is we are seeking then learn what works for our bodies and lifestyle. I believe this is where most people give up and lose steam.

 

 
Readiness and Commitment - Balancing Bites Nutrition.png
 

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle, start a yoga practice, improve your current performance or whatever your goals are, the following steps will get you there as long as you have patience.

 

1      Self-refection 

During self-reflection, ask yourself questions until you get to the heart of what you desire. What is it you truly want? I’ll use the example of want to lose 10 pounds. Why? What will life be like without those 10 pounds? It might not be the loss of 10 pounds that will make you happy, but feeling comfortable in your body will. Write down all of the reasons why want to accomplish your goal.

 

2      Self-experiment

This one might take time, but remember this isn’t a sprint. What will fit your lifestyle? Perhaps you don’t have time to workout for an hour, five days a week, but you have time to fit in 30 minutes. What can you get done in 30 minutes that will give you the biggest bang for your time? Write down a few actions that will fit your lifestyle and help you reach your goal. Then take action. If they work great. If not, try something else.

 

3      Commitment 

Now that you’ve taken the time to figure out what fits your lifestyle and is enjoyable, it’s time to commit. Commitment requires you to be consistent, which over time will result in progress. This is where you find the time to do what must be done to reach your goals.

 

Learning, integrating, and repeating positive habits to improve your health over time requires readiness, commitment, and patience. In time you will reach your goal. Then you can set new goals as you continue on your journey.