There’s been a lot of talk the last few years about women, how we see ourselves, how we are treated, and how we should be treated. I say the last few years, but really, this has been an ongoing debate since before printed word. But the conversation has been amping up with the growth of social media and the online conversation that never ends.
As the conversation continues, and as we as a society and a culture move forward on equality, I find myself looking back at how I have perceived my place in the world throughout my life. I was raised by a strong woman who empowered me to think critically about how I was treated by others. However, she didn’t apply the same principles to self-treatment. For herself or for me. While others weren’t allowed to short change me, I learned how to sabotage myself in a number of ways.
I wish that she were with us today. I think she would be very proud of the progress we have made in gender rights and civil rights. She would have marched with her pussy hat on and sign in hand. She would have held #metoo meetups for local older women who wanted to share their experiences. But for her, as well as for all of us, this would have been just as much a road of progress from her own behaviors of self-hate and double standards.
This progress, I believe, is one of the catalysts to the growing yoga movement in the United States. In yoga, we practice asanas, or poses, that are healthy for our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. After class, we feel peaceful and present, letting go of that inner judge that tells us that we can’t be this or do that. We are more in touch with our inner truth.
When we practice yoga regularly, we commit to honoring our mind and spirit as well as our body. As our bodies become stronger, more flexible, and more balanced, so too does our emotional health and well-being improve. We are more resilient. We make choices that better serve our true selves and the world around us. We sense that connection with others and concentrate on what makes us similar instead of fearing what is different.
Becoming aware of our personal behavior patterns, then shedding them like an old skin we have outgrown, that is honoring ourselves. Letting go of perceptions and societal dogma that is outdated, and gently challenging the world to accept us on our terms, rather than bowing to someone else’s. Slowly moving into this place, baby step by baby step, acknowledging when we stumble, that is our journey into honoring ourselves.
My mom would have practiced yoga, if she were here today.
You can start right now. This very instant. Don’t wait. Yoga will meet you where you are right now. Honor yourself. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Ask the question. “How can I honor myself right now?” Take your time, breathe and listen to the answer. When you are ready, open your eyes and stretch your arms to the sky and feel a little gratitude that you took this moment. Then do it. The thing your heart said was next.
Do it with a smile, because you are on a great journey to the best version of yourself. That is truly honoring yourself. Moving forward, always.
And you are not alone. You never were. We have all been with you the entire time. (Que Never-Ending Story theme song)
Thank you for sharing your journey with me. I look forward to practicing with you.
Namaste (I honor that within you that is also within me)