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The Power of Acceptance

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Last Wednesday night I attended my first prenatal yoga class in several weeks. The instructor prompted us to set an intention for our practice and the word that popped directly into my mind was “acceptance”. Since I left the class, the word and the word meaning has been bobbing around in my mind. What is it I need to accept?

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What is Self-acceptance?

The Merriam-Webster definition of self-acceptance is  the act or state of accepting oneself : the act or state of understanding and recognizing one’s own abilities and limitations”.  

The definition is pretty straight-forward; however, implementing acceptance can be the problem. Pregnancy is such a vulnerable time. In a way, it is almost an out-of-body experience. Hormonal shifts, sleep disruption, and physical discomforts all play a role in this and I often give myself a hard time when I am not functioning at optimal levels.

I tend to have an “I can do it all mentality”, and the reality is that I can’t and I don’t have to. That is what makes a family, a family. All hands need to be on deck to keep things running. Slowing my mind down and changing the way I talk to myself is how I have been able to implement self-acceptance.

Being aware of both my strengths and weaknesses, understanding my talents and capabilities and being satisfied with myself despite having a slower day or making mistakes along the way.

Writing Your Story

Yoga is always a good practice and reminder of what is going on in my mind. Ruminating on my intention and practicing self-acceptance brings me back to a lesson I have learned many times. A key thread in the Yoga Sutras is ahimsa– or non-violence to others and self. In each moment you’re either practicing self-acceptance—or you’re judging yourself.— Linda Arnold

When I am telling myself I am not a good enough wife, mom, entrepreneur, or writer I am being violent to myself. I am actually putting a lot of negativity in my mind rather than fruitful, accepting thoughts. When the negative, violent dialog enters, I take a breath and do something that feels positive or productive.

Taking a moment to journal and write a positive, opposite thought from what I am feeling is another helpful tip. I do this frequently, it is almost writing MY truth because the negativity is just a lie I am telling myself to discourage healthy self-esteem.

Wednesday is upon us again, and this week my mind feels a little less cluttered and down. I know I will leave my practice with another piece of my personal puzzle and I look forward to finding out what I need to reveal to myself.



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Judgement Free Zone


Tuesday evening I watched my son receive his green belt in Tae Kwon Do. Several times a week I sit in the dojang waiting on his class to end. I look around and see the tenets of Tae Kwon Do on the wall. As a yoga practitioner, it hit me that his tenants are very similar to what Patanjali spoke of in the Yoga Sutras. This is a book of attitudes and behaviors, if we embody will lead to a more purposeful life. The Sutras are a list of to-dos and restraints that we can align our actions towards.

Lately, I have been contemplating judgement. This would be addressed in the TKD tenet of courtesy and in yoga as ahimsa or non-violence. How we judge others is often a reflection of how we judge ourselves. If we are self-critical, we have a near constant stream of internal dialog running. For me, I started contemplating judgement because everything I do in my profession is of service– as a mother, a doula, a yogi, and an entrepreneur. How can I truly serve people if I am coming from a place of judgement?

I took a video of my son doing his form for his belt test, when I went back and watched it I can see that he is very aware of his body, looking at his feet and his arms to make sure his form was in proper alignment as he was supposed to be in a place of stillness and strength. Feelings of insecurity, unworthiness, fear or worry about the past and future  are often the culprits of any sort of judgement. This can cause us to become our own worst bully. The things we think are energy, and judgement creates an energy of criticism.

Becoming aware of our thoughts is the first way to begin to make a change. Thoughts have a lot of power. They are in fact, things. If we are intensely thinking negative, we can quickly downward spiral because thoughts become words, words become behaviors, behaviors become habits and our habits then become our values. Svadhyaya in yoga is self-study or observation. When we become aware of how we think, how much energy we give to certain thoughts, whether constructive or destructive we can begin to make a change. The opposite of judgement is love and compassion, so when a thought of judgement of self or others come up, quickly switch to a loving thought.

For me, the place I see my self-judgement the most is when I sit to meditate, which mimics what I see in Keenan’s forms class. I will sit and bring my focus on my breath, and that is where the judgement begins and my breath will constrict and become shallow. I judge how I breathe! I tell myself I will never be able to do it right! Breathe?!? This is something I have been doing naturally, each and every day since the moment I was born. Pretty ridiculous to judge and stop myself from breathing, lol. Being gently aware of this, I can begin to release the judgement and criticism. Love myself one breath at a time!