Tag Archives: yogi

Don’t Compare

It’s hard not to notice that many in my yoga class are more limber or better balanced than I am. Some can bend at the waist and touch the floor with their palms, their knees only slightly bent. Others can stand on one leg seemingly forever. Not me.

“Don’t look around,” Mana intuitively instructs the class. “This isn’t a competition. Honor your own body and your unique abilities. You’re perfect just as you are. Don’t compare yourself to others.”

Don’t compare myself to others. Easy to say, hard to do in this ego-ravaged world.  So the lesson keeps presenting itself to me. Prior to a cranial-sacral session with Mana, I tell her of a friend who is not conscientious about his health habits yet is seemingly healthier than I am. Where he definitely has the edge over me in healthful lifestyle is that he doesn’t worry. And that makes me wonder if my stress and anxiety are canceling out my good health habits.

I tell Mana that I want to be more like him, that I need to change.  She immediately responds, “Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Neither is better than the other. You’re just different.”

I nod, not fully embracing the again-repeated lesson. My blood pressure is high; his isn’t.

She continues, “Self-compassion is important. Otherwise, you can end up feeling guilty for who you are.”

Feeling guilty for who I am. When seen in that light, what a shame, and how debilitating, to carry such guilt around. Of course I could do better. But I don’t need to be like anyone else.

Later that night, I have an unexpected good cry. And then fall into a wonderful night’s sleep. Thanks to the wisdom of my 82 year old yogi.

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Filed under Journal Arts, Soul to Soul Blog, They Live On

Go Ahead and Cry

Many people have told me that they’re trying not to grieve the loss of our friend and yogi, but instead celebrate her life. That’s a noble and admirable goal, yet it’s also important to allow ourselves to grieve.

Our society doesn’t fully honor the death of an elderly person, labeling it as “the natural order of things.” Did you think they would last forever? is the unspoken question. In truth, we did. And that can leave us feeling disenfranchised and alone in our grief.

Unresolved residual grief must be expressed or it comes out sideways in our health, relationships, and/or work. We’re sometimes reluctant to allow ourselves a good cry because once the flood gates open, we fear we may never get them closed again. But we do, and feel so much better for it.

The therapeutic benefits of cleansing ourselves of bottled-up grief – simply by crying and talking about it – are immeasurable and essential to a healthy mind and body. Isak Dinesen wrote in Seven Gothic Tales, “The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.” Mana seemed to know that; she would tell us to “release the toxins.”

She not only honored the light in us – she honored the darkness in each of us as well, helping so many find their way through life’s challenges.

So, go ahead and cry. It’s good for all of us.

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