Unclench Your Jaw: A Lesson in Rigidity

If you practice yoga regularly, you know your body responds differently day to day. Some days you melt into kapotasana, some days you can barely reach your toes in a forward fold. The body is an ever-changing, maleable subtance. Muscles tense and relax. Joints are more lubricated some days than others. You work with what you’ve got, and for some reason it’s taken me a long time to learn that this also applies to every other aspect in my life.

I spent my first year of practicing yoga angry with myself for not being able to do the things I thought I should be able to do: why can’t I get into this pose? Why can’t I just unwaveringly focus on my breath during meditation? Why can’t I do the most basic pranayam without getting antsy? It wasn’t until I completely released expectations of myself that I actually made progress (and found peace in my practice, which is the whole point, isn’t it?) I stopped comparing and expecting, instead settling into something that slowly weaved it’s way into many aspects of my life.

So this week I am working on releasing rigidity from my life; emotional rigidity, mental tension, physical tension.

For some this might look like working too much instead of spending time on your own wellness. For me it means releasing negative self talk because of rigid expectations for myself. It means compromising with my kids when they respond differently than I anticipated (which is basically every time they do anything, am I right??)

Negativity has been all-consuming lately and after much reflection (reading The Untethered Soul and journaling) I realized it’s because of how much negative self-talk goes on in my mind all day. I swim in a soup of negative thoughts all day, so why wouldn’t that affect my perception of everything else? I’ve realized that the people I am around that are most negative also happen to be the people that talk about themselves negatively regularly.

So this week I am unclenching my jaw. I am correcting myself when a negative thought arises (because they will!) and I am trying to sit in peace with myself.

Be gentle with yourself today.

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