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Forget about self-improvement

Hi friend! As many of you know, Dave and I have been remodeling a house for what seems like 100 painful years (turns out it was not as fun and easy as it looked on Fixer Upper!)…and we finally, finally moved in last week! As I stared at the mountain of stuff surrounding us after the last item was carried inside, it occurred to me that this new house looked a lot like most of us humans: very put-together on the outside and, well, kind of a mess on the inside. At first glance, all you could see were boxes, boxes, and more boxes…but if you looked carefully and shifted a few things around, beautiful nooks and crannies started to emerge. The bay window I’d always dreamed of, the exposed shelves decorated with my Anthropologie plates, and the cool brick wall Dave installed became visible. These lovely spaces and details were already there the day we moved in, we had just temporarily covered them up with our baggage.

Donna Farhi (big-time yoga authority and author of Yoga Mind Body & Spirit) states: “Yoga is not about self-improvement or making ourselves better. It is a process of deconstructing all the barriers we may have erected that prevent us from having an authentic connection with ourselves and with the world. This tenet is an extremely important one because the effort to change and improve ourselves is often fraught with the risk of subtle self-aggression that only produces more unhappiness.”

We live in a culture obsessed with self-improvement (have you seen the size of the self-help section at Barnes & Noble?!) Bombarded by images and ads encouraging us to get whiter teeth, better hair, faster cars, and more interesting jobs, it’s almost impossible not to feel  like we are lacking in some way, that we need to spend our energy tucking, trimming, adjusting, and improving. But what if we chose to value self-love over self-improvement? What if instead of fixing anything, we simply shifted our priorities in such a way that we could uncover and nurture what’s already beautiful within us? What if we stopped trying to trade ourselves in for a better model and simply dusted off the “features” that make us uniquely us?

As we prepare to greet a brand new year, I invite you to move all the  junk you may have accumulated over the past 12 months (fears, judgements, disappointments, and insecurities) out of the way and get a clear view of the beauty that’s already there. This month at Yogaleena, we hope you come to your mat not to get better, but to get real, and that you practice in a way that honors who you are, just as you are.

From the very bottom of my heart, I wish you and your families a joyful holiday and a love-filled 2018. Thank you for being part of the Yogaleena community and for choosing to see the best in me.


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