“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” – C.S Lewis
I have been listening to women pick themselves apart my entire life; my mother, my friends, my clients, women in the gym, women in Yoga classes, at the grocery store, at parties – everywhere. I understand it all too well, because that used to be my internal dialogue too. It used to stop me from taking chances, from receiving love, and from fully living. By no means am I immune to it. Now I just catch myself sooner when my “inner critic” tries to steal my joy.
In fact, I am so passionate about this topic, that my best friend and fellow life coach, Ashley Cebulka, and I have developed a program called “Perfectionist Rehab,” addressing just that: how to deal with your inner critic. When you find yourself in a Pure Barre class, and picking your body apart and feeling low, perhaps the following tips can help you as much as they help us and our clients on a daily basis:
• While waiting for class to begin, make a gratitude list in your head. When we turn our attention to all the blessings that are around us, we take attention away from our fears and limitations. Through daily repetition, abundance, self love, and self acceptance become our new normal.
• Slow down and practice being in the moment. Pure Barre class is great for this. Pay 100% of your attention to the muscle you are isolating, or your breathing, or the sensation of the stretch. Let your mind and body fully connect. When we allow ourselves to be fully in the present, there is no room in our minds for judgments about ourselves and others.
• “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Start looking at others as your community members, not your competitors. Know that we are all just looking for happiness, harmony, laughter, and peace. We are all in this together!
• Choose to be your own best friend, your own cheerleader. Our internal dialogue is all we have. Be sure to reach for more positive communication inside of your head. Use powerful affirmations such as: “I am good enough.” “I am willing to love and accept myself unconditionally.”
• Allow yourself to have fun. Only you hold the key to freedom. Allow yourself to have a great time in class by enjoying the music, enjoying the sensations in your body, and letting the ‘burn’ be louder than your thoughts.
• Have a giggle at the funky moves and take things lightly. Smile at someone in class.
• Practice non-judgment and radical acceptance towards yourself and others. Different shapes and sizes are normal and wonderful.
• Look at everyone you meet as a new possibility for love and friendship. You are not defined by your body type. The shape of our body says very little about what is inside. Look beyond the exterior and be willing to get to know the inside.
• Radically accept your imperfectly perfect self. All of it. Be yourself. I love to close my eyes during class to connect to my inner peace.
• See yourself as a messenger of love. And your body as the vehicle.