Today I feel like a buzzing reed on a soulful clarinet. I feel like a sun who’s slowly discovering her planets. I feel the dance emerging from my bones to resonate, once again, in my muscles.
I celebrated the grand opening of my yoga studio’s second location this evening and saw so many of the people who I have begun to love all in the same space. I admire the way they all love each other, and felt full with the hope that I will only get to know them better in the years ahead.
With the challenge wrapping up (will she ever shut up about this thirty day challenge?), I figured that it might be a fun time to share a look at the way I conclude each and every yoga practice.
They’re little affirmations that I’ve carried, changed, and added throughout these past two hundred days, and after each practice when I'm laying in savasana, they’re there waiting for me. Starting with the first one:
I am open.
I love all of my affirmations, but this one always feels like the biggest reminder why I am where I am. It reminds me what I’ve been working on, and why I continue to practice. I am not only physically more open and flexible, I am also open in a larger way to the world around me.
This phrase allows me to ask for more patience with myself and with others, and encourages me to slow down my judgments with things like questions and context. It also helps me to “drop in” to my intuition without self-judgment or cynicism. I am open to experiencing things I don’t understand, specifically because I do not understand them. I am open to change.
I am healing.
This one came around when I first created my affirmation practice. As you might have guessed by my last post, I was in a dark headspace last year around this time and I needed the reminder that each day that went by meant I was getting a little better. If even just for the fact that I made it through another day.
But I’ve used it in the physical sense as well, where I’ve reminded myself that yoga is a healing practice (especially versus running for me at this moment in my life), and is good for my twiggy bones. I’ve used it to remind myself that I am gaining that weight I haven’t been able to gain, that I’m working more towards a well-balanced diet and hormonal situation, and of course, to try and stay positive about my acne. It’s a reminder that it’s all a journey, and that time and intention will certainly help carry me to where I want to be.
I am growing.
One day in class, I started to say I am healing in my head, and out of nowhere I heard a voice in my head say I am growing instead. It was my voice. She’s aliiiive!
That was a pivotal day in practice for me, because it made me realize that while I still have plenty of work to do, that I’m not as wounded as I once was. It’s not as important, and certainly not as helpful, for me to dwell on past emotional and physical injuries as it was when I started doing yoga.
Instead, I am now expanding upward and outward in new and beautiful ways, and I remind myself of that during each class. I still say I am healing, but remind myself that growth is happening alongside it.
I am capable.
This is the newest sheep in the flock, and it’s been phasing out I am healing. I’ve felt the need to shift into a place of self-encouragement rather than self-reflection. This affirmation makes me feel strong, and has been born of all these wacky thirty day challenges I’ve been doing. Because guess what? I’m way more capable than I ever thought I could be, physically, professionally, mentally, emotionally.
I am here.
This one is really rich. I always accompany it with a big breath in, and a deep breath out clearing any bad vibes or negative energy points I can feel in my body at the time. I like to imagine that a fish net is just scooping up all the crap and lifting it all out of my body with each exhale. If you’re open to it, practice doing this with each area of your body. It’s a trip.
I also use breathing here to spark myself into the present moment. I focus on my heartbeat, on the way every inch of my body feels in savasana. I feel for the electricity and try to spread it out into every fingertip.
The a la carte affirmation: by my own effort.
When I need an extra boost, I add on “by my own effort” to each affirmation:
I am open by my own effort.
I am capable by my own effort.
I am healing by my own effort.
I am growing by my own effort.
I am here by my own effort.
It feels so badass to remind myself that I have power in my life, and that so much of this would never have come about if I hadn’t decided to get off the couch and start. Of course, I can’t disregard the community of people who have lifted me up out of those dark days, and I could even add “thanks to this community” to the end of each affirmation as well.
I am open thanks to this community.
I am capable thanks to this community.
I am healing thanks to this community.
I am growing thanks to this community.
I am here thanks to this community.
When I’m done saying these sweet things to myself, I turn to my breath.
When my mind is already off processing my next thoughts, it’s a battle to spend a few minutes with my little brain factory shut down. I say these things alongside my breath to calm myself and remind myself I am safe:
I support you.
I love you.
I remind myself that my breath is supporting my life, and let the relief of letting everything go with the exhale is an act of self love.
If you want to create your own affirmations (or guiding principles, or mantras, or grounding phrases), spend some time in silence and let your chatty little ego chill out. Ask yourself what it is that you really need—Nurturing? Courage? Support? Kindness? Reassurance? Strength? Presence?
Let them come and go, depending on what you need. Don’t force something that doesn’t feel right—this is a practice and an exploration, not an assignment.
You don’t ever have to share your affirmations. You don’t even have to tell anyone you have them. You can say them after a yoga practice, or during your commute, or right before bed. Make them special, let them make you feel special. Because you are.
And remember, when all else feels hopeless: