“It’s not about you.”
That was one of the first things my yoga instructor announced to the class of about 30 wide-eyed, eager yoga teacher trainees. What? I thought. Of course, it’s about me. I came here for me, to study yoga, enhance my leadership skills and get a killer workout while I’m at it.
Over the next 10 months, I would meet with my fellow students for once a month, Saturday and Sunday from 12pm-8pm — that’s 16 hours of yoga in a weekend —and I would realize just how little I knew about the practice. During this time, you are also forced to face yourself, many of your fears and reservations you have about others.
Teacher training taught me many, many things, but perhaps one of the most prominent lessons that surfaced was my issues with my relationships, both friendships, and partners. My failures, shortcomings, and insecurities all bubbled over, and while it was very, very painful to realize, it ultimately helped me grow to love myself more and in return be a better friend and partner. I realized these are universal concepts that can be applied to anyone who may be experiencing friction in their relationships, and wanted to pass along a piece of the wisdom I acquired as a student of yoga.
Read on below, you’ll find three things yoga did that helped me cope with my relationships issues.
Those walls you think your partner has up against you? Those are actually your insecurities you are projecting onto them
Your partner may very well have been burned from previous relationships and has a whole rotating baggage claim of issues that they’re dealing with. But consider this: Dharana, the sixth limb of yoga, invites you to focus on handling the distractions the mind creates so your mind can concentrate on a single idea. And those distractions can be menacing: Bursts of jealousy. Suspicion. Self-doubt. Without intending to, we project this into our relationships because we are unable to take responsibility for the poison our mind creates.
When faced with conflict, my first instinct is to withdraw into myself to find a safe space where I can process my thoughts and emotions. My foolproof theory is: Ha! You can’t hurt me when I shell up. But then, what happens when an argument isn’t in my favor? “Why won’t you let me in? Why aren’t you talking to me?” It’s almost comical. This dawned on me during a particularly emotional weekend where we had all yin workshops. Yin, a slower, restorative type of yoga instructs you to hold poses three-to-five minutes. During those few minutes in each pose, it’s normal to get angry, frustrated and even sad to the point of giving up. It’s a damn mess going through a whole spectrum of emotion.
But once you cross that threshold, you realize your thoughts create your reality and you are in charge of how you feel.
Take a good, long look within yourself and identify a few issues that you might be locking in deep inside you. Those who hurt or disappointed you in your past, what are you holding onto? Things that do not serve us should be let go: toxic friendships, abusive relationships or individuals who don’t have your best interest in mind. Once you realize this, you can begin to tackle the source of this pain you might be projecting.
Stop taking things so fucking personally
Listen. Sometimes, it’s exhausting being in my own head. I am extremely sensitive and I feel everything. That barista at my favorite café didn’t make a lot of eye contact with me when I gave her my order today. Is she annoyed with me? My roommate vacuumed the living room last week, does she think I’m messy? My friend never texted me back about dinner plans, is she ignoring me?
These are all thoughts I’ve had, and they are all trivial because they had nothing to do with me. One of the books we had to read for yoga teacher training was The Four Agreements, and one of the agreements is “Don’t take anything personally.” It’s a fine read overall, you should check it out.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. That barista? Her boyfriend broke up with her the night before, and she was having a hard time that day. My roommate? Just doing some tidying up. My friend, who didn’t text me back? She was busy and eventually got back to me later. We create these stories in our head when the reality is that 99 percent of the time, the situation has nothing to do with us.
All that grief could have been avoided if I had just reminded myself that. Similarly, if your partner seems unusually quiet or in a bad mood, don’t take it out on yourself because chances are it could be a result of a long day of work, some bad news they heard, some asshole that cut them off in traffic on the way home, or any million other factors. It’s not about you. Seriously. It’s not about you
You are enough
This is probably the most important lesson yoga taught me. When I go into the yoga class, I know I don’t have to bend myself into a pretzel to impress anyone. I learned that every day is a practice and progress and I’ll get a little farther today than I did yesterday. But as a woman, we’re constantly faced with accusations that we aren’t enough: slim enough, pretty enough, smart enough, bold enough. And the media does a good job of reinforcing those insecurities. It tries to convince you that you are not beautiful without Rihanna’s complexion, or desirable without Jennifer Anniston’s figure or sexy without high heels and long, flowing hair.
When it comes to goals, whether personal, professional or romantic, the only person you should be competing with is yourself. Likewise, yoga teaches you to carve out space for yourself and just be. The key here is a balance. Find peace in chaos, that point between effort and ease. Quiet your mind and the chatter around you and recognize that you are a vessel of compassion, love and bright, vibrant energy with a lot to offer. Once you recognize that light within yourself, people will see your glow from miles away.
Finally, It’s Yoga Practice, Not Yoga Perfect
While I graduated with my 300 hours months ago, I still recognize that every day is only a practice. I’m constantly learning and applying new things in hopes of helping others realize their light. As I trained in yoga, I realized it wasn’t about me. When I teach, it’s about serving others and knowing what they need in their practice that day. I learned that even when I’m not teaching, I’m still teaching—in my actions and words, such as the ones you read above. I hope they serve you.
?❤New video out, featuring @liforme __________?__________ This mat is honestly regal. When you unroll it, it pretty much feels like you are setting out a red carpet for your practice. I know you're probably thinking "ok, calm down Tyra Banks," but I'm serious. Your yoga mat has collected puddles of your sweat, spit and tears. It is your throne when you feel your most powerful. It is your cradle when you feel your most vulnerable. This mat is worth it, and you should see all the ways it can be your silent partner in your practice. __________?__________ Check out the full review video in my most recent article on yogalifestyles.com and YouTube. To watch and read the whole thing: ➡️follow the link in my bio, click on Yoga Lifestyles.
I leave you with a meta-meditation and my insights on it –
Compassion can be difficult to achieve at times. It’s simple to offer to those you love and are very close to you, however sending compassion to someone who has hurt you in the past is a much more challenging feat. This is something that can be worked on that will not only help you be kinder to yourself but also flex your forgiveness muscles. It’s called Meta Meditation
How to perform the Meta Meditation
Author Bio: A few days ago, when I was browsing my Instagram feed to find some inspiring people for my next post on YogicDesire, I came across Melody Beuzelin. Melody is the writer and editor at YogaLifeStyles.com. She is also a 300-hour registered yoga teacher certified by Warrior One in Orlando, FL & a certified fitness professional too. For more than five years, she’s written in a variety of voices, from juggernaut brands such as Wyndham Worldwide to growing nonprofit organizations such as Lauren’s Kids and helped develop brands in the health/fitness/lifestyle industry. Her background in public relations, storytelling and digital marketing and entrepreneurial approach keeps her involved in multiple projects ranging from branding, product development, and film production both in front and behind the camera.Most recently, she’s launched PassionSavage.com, A blog/community hybrid that offers thought-provoking content to encourages women to break out of their comfort zone. It’s a collection of “lifestyle content that won’t bore the sh*t out of you” and provocative, uncensored content featuring poetry, short stories and more. Her goal is to live authentically through her mantra: “I don’t care about the weather we’re having or that it’s Tuesday or where you got your shoes from. Tell me, what lights that fire behind your eyes? I want to know what makes your soul burn.” Find and follow her on Instagram where she posts snapshots and updates @melodyinternational.