Sometimes after meditation, you may feel pretty peaceful. This can be a signal to your higher mind that you’re ready for deeper challenges. It may be time to face your shadow self on the yoga mat.
When you start this spiritual journey, you’re beginning to work with (or sometimes against) the habit patterns of the mind. We have many good habits, but some of us are battling with destructive habits that we may not even recognize in our conscious, waking lives.
When you realize you have these seeds of negativity within you, it may be hard to face. We don’t always want to look at the things we don’t like about ourselves, and you will run into obstacles like these a lot on this spiritual path of yoga.
Please don’t be discouraged. Shadow work isn’t easy, but every step you take on this spiritual path is progress, even if it feels like a step backward. There are no rules here that say your spiritual journey needs to follow a linear path, and if shadow work feels like it’s taking you two steps back, maybe that’s the point.
Shadow work is your opportunity to forgive yourself. During my meditation practices, I have invited you to recognize when your mind wanders away and how to bring it back with your breath. These little exercises in observing your breath are practice for the shadow work.
If you feel your thoughts circling around the negative habits in your mind, bring these thoughts back to your breath. You don’t need to be on the yoga mat to practice your breathing. You can take advantage of any space or opportunity to find your center and bring your mind back to your breath.
There’s no need to add more negativity. Speak kindly to yourself, observe these negative emotions, and bring your focus back to your breath. Every time your mind wanders and you forgive yourself, it is a practice in self-forgiveness that is so necessary on this journey.
Meditation brings the tool of equanimity to our yoga asana practice as well as our daily routines. It helps us face the many failures we experience on and off the mat and gives us the strength to learn from these situations without judging ourselves negatively for making a mistake.
The more you practice meditation, the more flexible your mind becomes. And a more flexible mind creates a more flexible body and a more flexible heart, which makes it easier and easier to not only come to your yoga mat every day but to also face the uphill battle that is our reality.
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