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That’s right: as far as yoga is concerned, nothing is wrong with your body.

I can hear a few specific yoga students in my head protesting already.

They’re saying words like “sciatica,” “ACL tear” and “rotator cuff injury.” And following it up with the word “REAL.”

I know. I get that you are injured. I have been injured too.

And more importantly {because I see it more pervasively}, I get that you may not like your pounchy tummy, flabby triceps, shoulder tension or weak balance.

I get that you may not like your body — at least not all the time — because I don’t like my body either, all the time. Fifteen years ago, I went into therapy to get over an eating disorder, and even though I technically got all cured up… well, perfectionism’s like a freakin weed. Hard to kill.

But really, whether your body is injured, sick or just not rock-hard enough for your liking…

There is only one reason that anything is wrong with your body: because you think your body should be different than it is.

You know what it’s like not to have that shoulder tension or ACL tear. Or maybe you’re even lucky enough to know what it’s like to have a six-pack.

But yoga isn’t about CHANGING what is. It’s about ACCEPTING what is.

I know. How annoying, right?

But this is not a bunch of psychobabble or new age mumbo-jumbo. It’s powerful stuff.

Consider this: The INFORMATION you observe about the state of your body is so connected to your JUDGMENT about it that you might have forgotten the two are separate.

In other words, to observe you have a flabby tummy is to observe truth.

To observe that you have a belief that this is wrong and something to be corrected is also to observe truth.

However, to link them together — “I have a flabby tummy, and this is wrong” — is NOT observing what is. It’s an unconscious judgment.

Judgment is a sign that you are in the past or an alternate mental reality — not in the present moment.

And entering the present moment is what yoga is all about. The more effectively you can do it, the more healing and empowering your yoga practice becomes.

This is not to say that the ability to judge — to discern, evaluate, compare, synthesize, analyze, or any other fancy cognitive ability — is not important. These are all very important, and we’ve done well to develop them as skills.

Perhaps too well? They are skills, and skills only.

Until they take over and become our defacto way of being and experiencing the world. When that happens, we become slaves to them. We might describe this to our friends as

  • “being in our heads”
  • thinking too much, or
  • having a “monkey mind”.

When you believe that something is wrong with your body as you practice yoga, you are reinforcing those “monkey mind” patterns.

And you know what? Your practice could be helping you balance those patterns out again.

Yoga could be helping you get more present — more able to accept reality, which is the first step to enjoying it or changing it.

As someone who has spent the better part of my young adulthood lightly obsessing over bodily imperfections, let me tell you: This is really freeing stuff.

It takes energy to judge, energy to control. And when you release that unconscious grip, two things happen:

  • you clear the path, making it easier for change {healing, development, etc.} to occur, and
  • you free energy, which WAS being used in judgment and control, to feed that change.

In other words {like every great lesson yoga teaches us, right?}: it’s a freakin’ paradox.

I like the way Carl Rogers said it best:

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

If you are trying to heal, or improve, or in some other way achieve a goal with your yoga, it’s fine — and even important — to have an intention.

But you still have to work in the present, not the future or past, in order for yoga to do its magic.

The doorway to this elusive present? Acceptance… of exactly how you find your body in this moment. There is nothing wrong with it, except in your mind.

There is only what is.

The fascinating thing about the present moment, to me, is that it’s boundless. You can always go deeper into it — for juicier results.

My favorite way to help people — even experienced yogis — see their blind spots and become more present is YogaPlay.

This workshop combines yoga with basic improv games and has won praise like:

  • “As I implement what Lauren teaches, I notice life becoming richer … There is a transformation taking place.”
  • “Lauren’s technique and guidance have allowed me to reach levels of presence within myself that I didn’t know existed.”
  • “Lauren helped me understand being present with even more dimensionality and depth.”

Interested? Join me for the next YogaPlay workshop this Saturday! There are still a few spots left. 🙂

Meantime, thanks for reading, lovelies. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

 

Warmly,

Lauren

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