“Remember, in our inmost being, we are all completely lovable because spirit is love. Beyond what anyone can make you think or feel about yourself, your unconditioned spirit stands, shining with a love nothing can tarnish.”
How do we cultivate unconditional love of Self?
My Journey to Self Love
So much of my daily practice is connecting with a deeper sense of self. I came to yoga following a divorce that left me lonely, depleted of mental and emotional resources, and scared of being a single mother of two small boys. I was in my mid-30s and I was terrified. At that time, I was suffering with the deepest and most debilitating kind of depression that left me motionless for weeks, unable to care for myself or my boys. I was ashamed and embarrassed by my illness and tried to hide it best I could. My body stopped working and my mind, body and soul slowed to a crawl. I feared that my quality of life would never improve and that I would never be able to connect deeply with my boys who I love more than life itself. I cried daily, not knowing how to get better. I felt hopeless and lonely. My illness made me feel broken and unlovable which was what I feared most in life. My yoga practice taught me how to create the space I needed to heal and find hope for the future. It took years to find the inner resources to make progress. My daily practice helped me delve into the spaces in between thoughts, fears, and mind-chatter to create something new. It also allowed me to face those memories and experiences which I was embarrassed & resentful for. Through yoga, I learned to stop looking for approval from others and to create that deep connection within myself. Those feelings of worthlessness that my depression had heightened slowly retreated as self-love replaced it. I dealt with feelings of being a bad mother to my children and slowly forgave myself for the past. Yoga taught me that those feelings were illusions of my mind which I had cultivated, believed, and embodied. I slowly started acknowledging the things I did well with my boys, and let go of those feelings of inadequacy–accepting that I have both weaknesses and gifts to share as best I can. This acceptance is what taught me the most about empathy on my journey with yoga. Being ok with what is, instead of always wanting something else. As I learned to be empathetic towards myself and others, I grew from the ground up. My roots became stronger and I had the energy to give back and help others. I didn’t love what I saw in the mirror for years and with compassion I learned to let go and love myself exactly as I was in that present moment. Yoga taught me that self-care is my responsibility and that I had a responsibility to myself. My practice enabled prana, essential life force, to slowly energize my body to heal–emotionally, physically and mentally. Today, my daily yoga practice allows me to stay connected to these principles and reminds me to stay humble, open to learn and to exude the light that I want others to feel. My hope is that the daily work you do on your mat at Pineapple Yoga Studio also enables you to heal past wounds and find the deepest and most profound kind of love–unconditional love for the Self enabling you to find inner peace, love and happiness.
Om shanti Om, Claudia