“The greatest tool of self-love is self-awareness. Once you truly know yourself, love is the only option.” ~ Vironika Tugaleva

When we sit in meditation we often experience physical discomfort, mental chaos, emotional highs and lows and the illusion that we are alone, separate from one another. The idea is to feel all these things fully and recognize that you have the ability to stay with something uncomfortable and not get up to grab a bag of chips, that you can experience anxiety and not have to have a drink, or be sad and not go shopping or glorify your busyness. You have the ability to sit in the moment and feel the sensation and stay, without reaction, until you move through it. But this takes practice and that is why we sit or go to a yoga class. To practice for the hardest yoga class we will ever take; our everyday life. What we eventually experience is not perfection in mediation, not the perfect yoga pose or the perfect yoga body, but self awareness. Self-awareness without judgement, expectation or criticism. Self-awareness without the negative commentary we normally live by. Self-awareness as the objective observer in the moment. Self-awareness as the silent witness who responds rather than reacts. Self-awareness that will, one day, lead us to radical self-acceptance. And we will bask in this self-acceptance until we experience complete self-love for the sweet person we see in the mirror every day.

What would a world look like where we all put our happiness at the top of our “to-do” list? Where we all followed our heart and stopped judging and criticising ourselves? What if we allowed ourselves to fall without condemning the learning process? What if we trusted that we are supported and that we were all meant to succeed and that there is enough to go around? I watch students try so hard in yoga to perfect the pose, to do it right. I first took a private yoga class because I wanted to make sure my triangle was on point. But the world around us is not perfect, our limited human bodies and minds can never be without imperfections. All we can do is hold steady the vision of our happiness, our truth, the notion that is the premise of yoga philosophy, that we are of God, that our heritage is divine. Not part of a man-made religion but of GOD, we are all made of the exact same material and that is infinite intelligence. So what if we started seeing, first ourselves, as that? What if we started treating ourselves as divine? Talking to ourselves like we were part of the unconditional love that created us? If we truly believed in the notion that we are not God, but of God, we couldn’t help but begin to see each and every person and each and every thing in this world as just that.

These two quotes are so beautifully matched because self-awareness will lead us to self-love. But first we have to observe without judgement, criticism or expectation the ways in which we have blocked this love. We have to observe the noise, our habits, our patterns, our tendencies before we can make a present moment choice as to whether they are drawing us closer to our spirit or father away. We have to observe our humanness with radical acceptance before we can know our truth. We have to allow our tree poses and are meditation to be messy and awkward and uncomfortable, just like life is, before we can see that is all truly magical.

The yoga pose is not the goal. Becoming flexible is not the goal. Standing on your hands is not the goal.
The goal is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are.
The goal is to love, well… You. ~ Rachel Brathen