self pity and yoga: is there any room for feeling sorry for yourself in your practice?
Are your cry-baby tears destroying your practice or strengthening it? As a millennial who loves the feeling of solidarity in celebrating her wounds and failures with others, I can easily get trapped in the downward spiral of self-pity.
My source of belief is "I am not worthy" (thank youuu, Break Method! ) and therefore I have dragged around self-pitying behaviors my whole life. I've sought out others who were fluent in cry-baby to justify my lack of inspiration to actually DO anything about my problems ... then Buti Yoga came along.
Once I began the journey of Buti, a lot of pent-up emotions were begging to be felt - anger, sadness, joy. Right here, right now, on this mat. In front of whoever. It was rare that my Buti workout was ever just a workout - but I left my mat having shaken off all my B.S. and walked away feeling like I had shed some of my skin. The #butibliss was real.
There's a lot of talk of empowering feelings of Buti, but sometimes the challenging nature of the practice can leave you feeling like an open wound. Post-Buti insecurity and vulnerability caused me to doubt myself, "I'll never get this pose right" "I'm not cut out for this - if I were skinnier, more flexible, better, smarter...." "I really outta just go back to cycling at the gym for 5 hours a day...."
These are REAL thoughts I've had in my head during Buti.
As I continued on in my practice, the self-pitying thoughts would ebb and flow ... Eventually, I began to gravitate towards the opposite end of the spectrum in an attempt to step in the badass Butisattva I knew I could be. I didn't tolerate a word of negative talk ... I was all about POSITIVITY and being a cheerful GO GETTER ... until what I like to call The Humbling Tumble happened.
I was brave enough to sign up for Buti's Yoga Alliance 200 HR Teacher Certification and I was preparing for my first weekend. I definitely went against advice I was given and overtrained.
The Buti Yoga Nutrition plans I religiously follow even spell it out clearly; NO OVERTRAINING ... but a combination of ego and insecurity told me that this rule didn't apply to me. I would wake up early, practice Buti, identify weaknesses in my practice and work on those for HOURS afterward. If I was slacking on cardio, I would then go for a long run. If my chaturanga was weak, I would go lift weights for hours, day after day after day.
Any slight inclination my brain had to say, "Hey kiddo, maybe we should get some rest. It's really hard for me to keep pushing myself when you're not giving me much time to restore," I would shove it away and say that's just negative self-talk and the self-sabotage continued.
It wasn't until one fateful day, my 3rd Buti Tone workout of the day, when I was pushing my sore body to its very limit that things collapsed.
I was in Down Dog static shake when my ankles buckled, my elbows gave out and I landed FLAT ON MY FACE and was gifted by the universe a gnarly nosebleed.
I took about 20 minutes in that incredibly vulnerable position to cry. I had a sharp, mean thought in my head, "Get up and keep going, ya baby!"But then a sense of peace came over me. That was what I needed, to lay down in blood and tears. I needed to hold still long enough to see what I had been doing to myself. My body and my emotions went heavy as a way to hold me down for a minute and reflect ... and what I saw was not good.
Ever since this newfound discovery of my tendency to lean toward self-pity, I have run in the opposite direction of it and asked too much of myself and refused to accept help. This is no good either. FORTUNATELY, I am still going through the Break Method program and I have plenty of work to do!
So, is there space for self-pity in your Buti practice? If you take the time to honor yourself and nurture yourself with the breaks you need - yes. If the self-pity is productive (i.e., "I need to sit here and feel this while I think of a solution, but once I feel restored, I am back in the game!") and not pointing fingers and trying avoid blame ("This practice is too hard and it's my instructors fault for not stopping to give me the modifications I need!").
Being angry at the world and pointing fingers is not productive. Call it whatever you want, but be sure your self-pity comes from SELF-LOVE and not from a desire to ESCAPE your problems.
Buti is designed to be FELT through and through - don't try to fight it or find any loopholes in the system, let your body and brain do the work required to succeed and achieve TRUE Buti Bliss.