How Bikrim Yoga Taught Me To Be Kind To Myself

I’m a Bikram Yoga Girl. Every class in the past has been torture…pure torture. Why do I keep going then? Well, because it is a great workout, I felt like I was doing something good for my body, and it has kept me out of the chiropractor. It wasn’t that long ago that I was thinking of quitting.

YES QUITTING. (Ever feel like that while following a exercise program or healthy eating plan?)

My husband said to me, “Why do you keep going if you seem defeated afterwards?” The real reason is because I don’t want to go to the chiropractor if I can simply fix my back problems more naturally.

After some some injuries back in August and neck adjustments (not because of yoga mind you), I decided, I was going to go to yoga (despite the pain I was dealing with) and be more gentle with myself. If I kept going like I was I would quit. Instead, I decided that I was going to go to these classes and smile at myself in the mirror, if only inwardly. This has proven to be far more helpful than the thoughts I was previously having like…

  • “You’ve been coming to this class for a year and you still can’t lift your foot! It’s that girl’s first day and she’s doing it! Why are you so hopeless!”

Go figure.

I’m also not going to push myself so hard that the class isn’t fun any more, but rather move through the postures with grace and allow my body to go where it needs to go today. Tomorrow will be different.

You know what? It’s really been transforming my life. I leave class feeling better, feeling happier, with more energy and the best part, I’m not dreading my next class.

We All Have Those Days

We all have days where we get up in the morning and we don’t feel we look our best. Maybe we haven’t been eating well or exercising and we take it out on ourselves in the mirror.

We are harder on ourselves than anyone else (at least most of the time, critical parents excluded, hahaha).

But seriously, how often do we tell ourselves things that we would be appalled by if anyone else said those things to our face. There are people who look in the mirror in the morning and say things to themselves, like, “You’re so ugly today”, or “Gosh I’m so fat.” Or my usual, ” Oh, geez, that’s a little scary” or “That’s going to need a lot of help (referring to makeup).” Or maybe you say things to yourself like, “I’m not further along in my career because I’m not smart enough,”  or “I’m not as smart as my colleagues,” or  “Look you’re the fattest person in this class.”

After all, we’d never let anyone else say such things to us so why would we allow ourselves to say these things, besides the fact that THEY ARE NOT TRUE! We tell ourselves these lies that do nothing but bring us down. I mean really, if we’re going to lie, why not tell ourselves things that bring us up and help us achieve our goals?

We ALL have these voices. It’s worth the struggle to control them and use them for our own benefit.

What I Learned From my Bikram Yoga Class

I’ve been applying what I learned from my Bikram Yoga class into other aspects of my life. Lessons like, I need to smile at myself in the mirror in the morning, not just in my Bikram class. I’m not going to force myself so hard (aka work so hard) that life isn’t fun anymore. I’m going to move through this life with a little more grace. Here are some action steps that I’m working on that I encourage you to use as well.

  • Like instead of saying, “Woah, scary looking girl, you’re going to need a little extra concealer for those bags today,” I might say “Isn’t it amazing that I have a body that works this hard and still keeps giving?”
  • >
  • When my body hurts from working out too hard, instead of saying “I am sooo out of shape,” I might say “Great workout yesterday, thanks for working so hard.”
  • >
  • Instead of planning a 4 course dinner every time friends come over (classic Francey move) and stressing myself out, I might do a sushi party (learn to roll easy, no fuss sushi here). Everyone rolls their own sushi, using the ingredients they like, whether, they’re vegan, vegetarian, allergic to onions and so on, so I don’t even have to think about it. Instead of complicated appys, I serve a simple miso soup to start, which is essentially just hot water with a few simple ingredients. And for dessert, the coconut oil chocolates I happen to have on hand for ourselves that take less than 5 minutes to make.
  • >
  • Instead of saying “Why am I so tired all the time?” I might say, “Time to kick up your feet and read a chapter in a good book, you need a little break.” Being tired all the time is not the truth. My body works hard and gives me so much, if I’m tired, it’s because I need to rest. Simple stuff, right? I wish it was for me. This is stuff I work at every day.

 

The 3 Keys To Being More Gentle with Yourself

I have found the keys to controlling these thought for me, has been to show myself more kindness, more compassion, and more love. The beauty of this technique not only allows those nasty inside voices to subside, but it allows me to flow through life with a little more grace.

So if you fall off the exercise band wagon, or miss your boot camp class, be gentle and start again. It’s supposed to be hard, but it still needs to be fun.

Did you start your exercise program with good intentions but weren’t being realistic with where your current fitness levels are? Do you need to start out a little more gently? If you haven’t exercised in ages, maybe start by going for a walk everyday for 20 minutes and adding in a few lunges instead of jumping right into a crossfit class. Start by taking the stairs if that’s a big effort for you and then congratulate yourself for making the effort and smile.

If you’re craving junk food, make yourself a big bowl of popcorn (non-GMO preferred). Toss it with olive oil and some sea salt.

If you’ve fallen off the healthy food band wagon, that’s ok. The train didn’t leave the station, you can get back on today. We learn more from our failures then we do from our successes. That’s how human beings learn. So take a minute to evaluate what happened, what went wrong, adjust and start again. If you need an action plan, check out my free video series where I share the 3 Keys To A Successful Health Transformation.

Were the meals too complicated so that cooking was no longer fun? Do you need to simplify your meals more? Did you not have the food in the cupboards or fridge to be successful? Did you give yourself the tools to be successful, like meal plans or prepped veggies and snacks? Do you need to eat more so you don’t binge out later?  Remember, 2 steps forward and one step back is still moving forward.

After all, we can always be grateful for the lessons we learned today, whether it’s in food, exercise or life.

And if all else fails, speak to yourself the way your best friend would!

 

I’d love to hear what issue you’re struggling with that you could show yourself a bit more grace and compassion. Tell me what that struggle is and what supportive thing you can say to yourself instead.

 

I’m sharing this with Mangia Monday, Monday Mania, My Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty TuesdayFat Tuesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, and Foodie Friday.

12 Responses to How Bikrim Yoga Taught Me To Be Kind To Myself

  1. Lauren Lagergren October 28, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    The quote, 2 steps forward, one step back is still moving forward, describes my progress. I recall hearing an aunt getting down on herself. She grew up in an era when fear of punishment ruled. All I know is that life is much easier when we treat ourselves with kindness and compassion…esp. in the midst of pain whether emotional or physical. It’s better used as a signal that something isn’t quite right rather than used to punish ourselves.
    Love and Light on your Journey,
    Lauren

    • France Morissette October 29, 2012 at 4:39 am #

      Lauren, Beautifully put. Thank you for sharing that with us.

  2. Rachel October 28, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    Nice. Thank you. It always comes back to loving kindness.

  3. Koko October 29, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    Fantastic post France. Everyone needs to be reminded of these things once in awhile! Thank you for that.

    • France Morissette October 29, 2012 at 4:40 am #

      Isn’t it funny that as humans, even though our experiences are all so different we still have similar struggles.

  4. Dor October 29, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    Thank you, France. I try to remember these things, read the right books, subscribe to daily inspirations, motivations, etc. It’s so good to hear it from someone like yourself. Thanks again!

  5. Joanne (eats well with others) October 29, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    SUCH a great post! There are definitely days when I don’t want to exercise either…but when I push myself to do it, I am always so grateful afterwards!

  6. KL October 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    I actually “quit” Bikram. It was stressing me out way too much physically as well as mentally. I am so much happier now.

  7. Olivia October 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    i’ve tried bikram and just regular hot yoga. i did not like bikram. the style of instruction was weird– military style barking. i don’t know if it was just this one place, but it was not pleasant. and neither was the smell…though i did feel great afterwards.

  8. inspirededibles October 30, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    Wonderful post France with some helpful, supportive ideas. I especially like the notion of being kind and gentle to ourselves and understanding that there is no definitive start or end
    time. None of us have it ‘right’ all the time. It’s ok if you mess up today because tomorrow is always a new day to practise. I also smiled about the self-talk… for me it was my darn ‘athletic’ looking calves… Oh how I yearned for slim, girlie calves through my 20s (even though beautiful Juliette Binoche had the same kind ;-) – until I finally woke up and came to realize that my strong legs carried two wonderfully healthy, energetic, 10 pound babies into the world! Now I thank the universe for these healthy stong legs that keep on working so well for me and our family. Our attitude and perspective is everything. Thank you for these reminders!
    http://www.inspirededibles.ca

  9. Anne-Marie Cain October 31, 2012 at 3:30 am #

    France, this is a great article. We all need to be gentler with ourselves, don’t we? I know I do! I’d love for you to share this on my new blog hop, {Wheat-Free Wednesday}! Hope to see you there! :)

    http://www.annemariecain.com/wheat-free-wednesday-blog-hop-party/

  10. Amber H November 2, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    Great post, France!! Thank you for sharing.

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