Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yoga is Forgiveness

Birds in Tree

Week of October 2, 2011:

Yoga: Wednesday

Pardon me for a moment, as I go out of chronological order with my posts.  I’d like to talk about yoga today, specifically last night’s yoga.

Yesterday was not a great day for me.  It wasn’t an awful, out-of-control day, but it was one of those days when I felt like I was doing work that doesn’t matter, regulatory paper-pushing work so that someone else could put a checkmark in a box that I had fulfilled XYZ state-mandated task.  A wiser person would just get this stuff done and move on with her life, but paper-pushing almost always puts me a bad mood.  I acted on that bad mood, sending a tart e-mail to someone and (in a separate incident) making a joke that was in poor taste, which I immediately regretted.

I realized that my behavior yesterday was anything but professional.  Or maybe a better way to put it was that it wasn’t classy.  When I think about how I want people to perceive me, professional is the lowest rung, but what I really want people to say is, “She’s a class act.”  Classy implies professional, but it’s more than that: it’s a certain kind of warmth and kindness and intelligence, on top of being professional.  Classy people are the kind of people who make you feel good about yourself and what you do.

Last night, I was thinking about all of this while I was on my mat, right before bed.  I felt bad about my day.  I felt bad about how I can’t seem to rise above some of the petty expectations that I must meet.  I laid in child’s pose, and I had an epiphany: I must forgive myself.  If I’m going to do a better job tomorrow, I must forgive myself for today so that I can move on and be classy tomorrow.

And so I did: I forgave.  And today I’m feeling much improved and more determined than ever to be the kind of classy person I admire.  This is why I love yoga: because it continues to inspire me to be the best person I can be.  It doesn’t turn me away because I have failed, but it gives me a chance to make things better.  Perhaps yoga itself is the classiest example of all: accept yourself as you are, and keep striving to be better at your practice.  Both endeavors are worthy of your efforts, if you can wrap your mind around the paradox.


  1. I just got your email and immediately came over to check out your post. I have definitely been guilty of sending tart emails and of making jokes in poor taste.

    I'm trying to change some of my ways, though. I read an article in this past month's yoga journal about approaching all aspects of life and its various tasks with honor and treating them as sacred, and it really resonated with me that I should do this. It might mean that I get less done, but it would mean that I would do things with greater care and probably do a much better job.

  2. Ah, don't we all have some bad behavior to shame us now? And those of us who don't are not much fun to have around :-)

    I really like that suggestion, of taking greater care with all aspects of life. I'm going to hang onto that nugget of wisdom. I am definitely guilty of trying to speed through things just to get them done. I think I'd be happier if I just slowed down, and I bet I'd still get done in a reasonable amount of time!

  3. I agree with your definition of classy. I've been trying to be more thoughtful myself - asking people how they are before complaining about my day, bringing a baked good to every party, sending get well cards in the mail. Little things that go a long way.

    That said, I have definitely regretted things I've done or said and it's the worst feeling. I think I often take it harder than the person my regrettable actions were directed toward! And forgiveness is essential. I'm glad you could realize that through yoga.

    I must find the yoga journal article that Raquelita references. I get that magazine every month and they tend to stack up for "when I have more time." Which basically means, "never." :)

  4. I think you seem like a very thoughtful person, Chrissy! But yeah, I think we all slip up or embarrass ourselves from time to time. Such is life. I'm with you: I am definitely harder on myself about things. I know that during yoga, you're supposed to be letting go of everything, but sometimes yoga is my best chance to work through things. Yoga makes me feel softer and more forgiving--must be all that time spent in child's pose :-)

    Do you like yoga journal? I got a few issues as a free trial, and I didn't get into it enough to buy a whole subscription. Thoughts?