Why am I practicing yoga and mindfulness?

Holiday is a new opportunity to discover your life and have a mindfulness experience.
So I want to share with you my last yoga class in French Riviera specially the final mantra I have writen to my students:
Kabat-Zinn says in Full Catastrophe Living, ” it is impossible to become like somebody else. Your only hope is to become more fully yourself. That is the reason for practicing yoga in the first place”. The worst thing you can possibly do is to look around and compare yourself to somebody else, whether it is in yoga or any other field of endeavor.
To be yourself is more simple like to drink a cup of tea but we forget how to do it in our life and we find ourselves busy trying to be like somebody else and comparing us to somebody else who has more beauty, more flexibility, more strongnesss, more anything than us.
Here is my first point, nowadays I have difficulties to find in yoga shala and in life enough moments where someone ( a teacher, a lover, a friend, a yoga mate…) say to another: ” try to be yourself” or just to find somebody who loves you like you are, or even better “try to walk in your life respecting yourself and knowing that you can recieve love just because you are you(rself), not because you are somebody else”!
In many case I have heard people talk about yoga-mindfulness but I keep asking for myself do they really know what is yoga or mindfulness… Sometimes I met acrobatic yogi or some others who practice daily meditation on the rocks and so many others, but outside of their mat they start to be so different, like to be someone else into life or with their family, so I asked for me why should it be like this?

The answer I have given to me for the moment is that one is too much outside of oneself and too much in competition, too less inside onself, too much in conflict and so on.

In many cases the first step to fond ourself is to find more compassion for our fears and our feelings. So while you meet one of this fears comes you can choose to start to create a new tension because you don’t accept this limit or fear and just after increase tensions and pains (or you can decide not to do so).
If you want to change your life you have to come back to a simple option: to be in love with yourself, with your fears, body and mind limits, pains, tensions. If you start to accept who you are, you can help yourself in many moment of your life when may be something not so good happen. At the same time, when you start to reconnect with your breathe, with your heart and yourself you can love your partner with his/her fears, limits, stress, tensions, pains, this is my way to love. My beloved Thich Nhat Hanh would have said if the fear come into your mind just say “Hello my dear fear (inhale). I say you Good bye (exhale). As many times you need”.
I like so much to practice Jivamukti yoga or Ashtanga yoga but I believe that in this society there is too much space for our body and competition and there is not enough space for mind, heart, mindfulness… also when you go to the yoga shala and practice you can forget what does mean this practice, not only how use your breath or performance but how to accept yourself, how to love, how to use your tenderness and only throught this way to change your life! This is the power of yoga and mindfulness, not to be perfect, but to give a new opportunity to you and your life. Yoga and mindfulness starts when your vinyasa yoga workout ends up.
In this summer yoga time I’m here in Antibes to teach in a new studio, after many days I’m thinking what I want to introduce in my life and in my yoga classes and I think we need more compassion, more patience with ourself that means for me need to give more space to what happen inside not outside and give more space to our family with the same patience and love everyday.
So if this summer you want to share your yoga with me, please write to me your story, why did you start to practice yoga and mindfulness in your life? Or why not?
Is it possible that you can start to love yourself trought your limit and fears now is right time!

Benedetta Spada
Thanks to Marc A. Vincent for the english translation.
Photo credit: Marvin

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