Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Even Madonna Falls Sometimes

Human beings are judgmental. I do not mean to say this in a pessimistic manner, since there is such negativity associated with the word "judgmental," but in a factual manner. It is in human beings nature to judge.

This is right for me:

That is wrong for me:

These likes, dislikes, preferences are great things that make each person unique.

So why does being judgmental get a bad rap?

The word "judgmental" gets a negative connotation when people become hyper-critical and harshly impose their judgments on others and/or themselves. This kind of negative judgment can stem from insecurity, fear, even boredom at times.

I do not mean to look down upon anyone that exhibits this behavior nor do I condone it. Most people (including myself) have been judgmental in a negative way towards themselves and others at times. I don't think it's a characteristic that any of us would like to cultivate in ourselves or others. Not only do most of us have negative judgmental moments, but also fear judgment from others. It seems like a sick cycle...

So how do we stop it? How do we stop the voice that breeds insecurity in ourselves and others?

I think that Michael Jackson sings it wisely in his song Man in the Mirror.

Although with much jazzier lyrics and dance moves, Jackson gets at the heart of the point: be the change that you want to see. Look inside yourself and find your truth. It's pretty difficult to stop cruelly judging others, if you don't stop cruelly judging yourself.

Yoga is a great way to connect to others, by practicing together, and to connect to yourself, by looking towards your inner being. So, I offer this yoga exercise to hopefully help you connect to the deeper intention in your heart and rid yourself of negative judgment.
I suggest getting into this balancing tree pose after warming up your body with a few surya namaskars or sun salutations and/or however you feel best warming your body up. This instructional video from Expert Village shows a great demonstration for different levels of tree pose:
For the purpose of our exercise, try your tree pose on each side on two different days. On the first day connect to your inner being and ask yourself some or all of these questions: Do I feel balanced? Do I wabble? Am I angry or embarrassed if I shake in the pose? Is this hip opener uncomfortable for me? Can I lift my arms up? Do I enjoy staying in the pose for 5-7 breaths?
On the second day ask yourself the same questions. Take note of the differences in the answers to these questions from one day to the next. Perhaps one day you are more stable than another day. Do not judge. Simply be aware. This awareness of body and self is amazing and can deepen one's practice on and off the mat.

In yoga, as in life, feelings and poses differ day to day. The stability of balancing poses, like tree pose, can and do waver each day. Rather than judging oneself for these differences in a pose or in one's life, take the opportunity to be grateful for the awareness of these differences and for the malleability within the mind and body.

Remember even Madonna falls sometimes:
Elegant klutzes live on and get right back up, even after a fall on national TV. 

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