I love this juncture in the year. As the leaves change colour and the fresh cooler air signalling Autumn breezes in, I find myself checking in with myself to take stock of where I’m at and where I am going.
Something that has been a hot topic in conversation recently is self-compassion. It’s a big topic. How we treat ourselves is not how we would treat a friend or loved one, yet we think it’s normal to talk to ourselves negatively.
Patanjali’s second sutra (which most of us know by heart) reads: Yogas Citta Vritti Nirodhah. The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga. Our entire world is created from our thoughts. Take Autumn, for example; one person they may love this time of year and all it offers, but to another it signifies the end of summer. The differing thoughts of each person create delight or sadness of the same context.
Criticisms of ourselves are thought patterns – citta vrittis – when we’re quick to judge ourselves (and others), we get caught in a trap of negative self talk which only serves to hold us back.
As a yoga teacher, standing up and holding space can make our minds vulnerable to the critic within. However, we can change those thought patterns again and again, with a little help and self-awareness.
Meditation is a great place to begin, and a brilliant researcher called Kristin Neff has a series on her website that you can do alongside exercises to change the way your thoughts work.
As my Autumn pledge, I’m diving in, so my students, my family and everyone around me can reap the benefits. Join me.