Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Breathe and Smile!

I took a Yoga class after a long time yesterday. I entered the studio later than everyone else so the only place left was the front corner, right in front of the mirror. Somehow, no one likes this spot. Maybe because it is too close to the instructor, or too close to the mirror. I like to be there only when I have been practicing for a while and when I really like looking at myself in the mirror. Yesterday was definitely not one of those days. After two weeks in France, I could literally feel all the pain au chocolates around my waist. But I had no choice so I took the spot and unrolled my mat.

Throughout the class, I could hear a really annoying voice in my head.
"Look at you! You used to be able to do this so easy a year ago!"
"That pose is just not flattering. Uff! What am I going to do with you!"
"That's it. No carbs at night. You cannot look like that. It is unacceptable."
"Okay. If one hot yoga class burns 800 calories, then how many should you eat during the day to lose weight?"

It was persistent, constant and unbelievably annoying. (un)Fortunately, I am so used to doing this to myself that it doesn't reach or activate any emotional centers in my brain. It is just the same effort I make when I reject data with high standard deviation in the lab, or when I repeat an experiment because I am not happy with the result.

At the end of the class, the instructor said the usual nice things that the Yoga teacher is supposed to say
"Thank yourself for taking these ninety minutes out of your day for your body"
"Thank your body and mind for sticking together through this practice"
"Look in the mirror and smile at yourself for doing this"
"Be compassionate towards yourself and your body"
"You deserve all the love and happiness in the world. You are beautiful"

A girl in the very last row broke down into tears. The instructor walked over towards her and kissed her on the head. And for the first time in those hot, sweaty ninety minutes, the voice in my head stopped.

Why is it that when someone else says something we really want to hear, it brings us to tears?
If we really want to hear these things, why can't we just say them to ourselves? Why are all these essential emotions, like being compassionate towards yourself, so difficult to practice? 

Even though we live in a world that constantly subjects us to comparisons and judgements, I am starting to believe that our acceptance of unfair judgement from others starts within. It starts with that mechanically annoying voice inside our heads. You first fall victim to your own judgment and then somehow, you see the world around you mirroring your own thoughts back at you.

If we become strong enough to shut that voice, we would become strong enough to cross that judgment barrier. And perhaps, we can all be happy! :)


Raj said...

Reminded me of this. :)


Saee Keskar said...

Thanks for that! It is really amazing how people from all disciplines agree on what could make us happy!

शिरीष said...

If you could achieve this you will be called Sant Sai or simply Didiji