Stop Judging Yourself to Love Who You Are

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John Doe

Please meet Deeana Olson. She is Mind Body Flow Yoga’s featured student for this month’s newsletter. Deeana has a beautiful yoga practice and was generous in sharing it with us, as she demonstrates tripod headstand pose (Sirsasana II).

Deeana Shares Her Yoga Journey

When I first came to MBFY, I was going through the most difficult time in my life and I had been searching for something to help me get through it. I was overwhelmed and devastated by the discovery of infidelity in my marriage and ultimately trying to get through a divorce. My best friend for almost the last 10 years and my partner in life for the last 2, was now a stranger to me. It had been “us” for so long that alone I felt out of place and insecure. We had a plan and now those hopes and dreams were gone too. I did all I could do to keep it together as I celebrated new engagements, weddings, baby showers and sweet celebrations of my friends. I was looking for something to make me feel like I belonged, like I fit in the world somewhere.

When my personal life fell apart, I felt heartbroken, betrayed, alone, scared and most of all not good enough. My marriage and relationship for me had always been the most important thing in my life. It was what I put the most energy into, what I valued the most and what brought me the most happiness. Now that what I had worked so hard to build for so long was gone, I didn’t really know what to do. I have strong faith in God and an amazing support system of friends and family, but as much as others tried to help make me feel better, I still felt horrible about myself. I felt worthless. Finally, I began to ask myself what was left in my life that really made me happy. I quickly realized that for so long I had been doing everything possible to make my husband happy, because I thought that making him happy would make me happy. I was done leaving my happiness up to someone else. I knew that I was the only one who could bring myself real lasting joy and I tried my best to find new things that could make me happy.
I tried everything under the sun that should have helped restore myself back to feeling somewhat like myself again but nothing seemed to work. Then, I decided to give yoga a try. I will never forget my first experience on my mat at MBFY. As class began, I was anxiously awaiting what was going to be expected of me. Growing up, I was a dancer and it had been so long since I had danced. I was nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up. As class began, I moved into child’s pose and Marina began to read a passage about struggles in life and the strength to overcome them. The message in the passage shared could not have been more perfect. How did she know I was struggling? How did she know I felt like this? As class continued I remember feeling so many emotions at once. For the first time in so long I was forced to slow down and connect to my body, mind and soul. Really do the hard work that I needed to do.
By the end of class, I was exhausted from truly feeling all of the emotions I had been dealing with. At the same time, I felt a sense of relief that I hadn’t felt in so long. I began to feel grateful for my able body and thankful for all that I still did have in my life. Yoga was the best medicine for a broken heart and spirit. I had breath in my lungs and a beating heart that gave me a sense that everything was going to be okay. This sense of comfort and calmness that I felt after practice continued to draw me back to the studio, time and time again. Before long, I felt like I was a part of the MBFY community. This beautiful place where everyone fit. Where there were no expectations, but to come and breathe. No one knew what I was going through and no one was judging me. It was such a beautiful thing.

Now my yoga practice is an essential part of my life. Yoga is a journey that continues to teach me more about myself and how I want to live. Before yoga, I was always so concerned about everything being perfect and going just right. I tried to control everything I possibly could to keep my world exactly the way I had planned it. I was often anxious, nervous and worried about what was to come. I knew I couldn’t control everything in my life but I sure tried. Now, because of my practice, I am more present, more self-aware and more compassionate. It has helped me to accept things as they are, especially those things in life that I can not change. It has helped me to let go of the judgments that I had placed on myself and learn to love who I am now.
Because of yoga, I am more calm and grounded. I am gaining back strength, self confidence and happiness. It has helped me to let go of my past and all the things I don’t need anymore, to make room for my best self, a healthy loving marriage, and all of the exciting new things to come.
I am so thankful to be continually supported and challenged by Marina, all of the other teachers, and the MBFY community. MBFY and this practice has positively impacted my life in so many ways and I am forever grateful.
Thank you, Deeana, for sharing your story.
What stood out the most for you in Deeana’s journey? Please share it below to let Deeana know you appreciated her story.


What is this Pose About?

*If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
This is a grounded upside down balancing pose. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the arms, legs, and spine. Watch Deeana enter into this asana from Mountain Pose (Tadasana). She will exit the pose and land back in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) as well.
Here are a few things to keep in mind, if you decide to try this pose, or if you have already started to experiment and play around with it.

  • Walk the feet in to shorten the stance of your Downward Facing Dog.
  • Pick up the right leg bending the knee and place it lightly on the right triceps.
  • Bend and place the left knee on the left triceps as well, so you’re in a tripod.
  • Instead of letting the weight bear down on your arms, keep the triceps engaged by pushing them into the knees to resist the weight. This will help you keep the shoulders lifted as well.
  • Take a deep breath in and lift your knees off the triceps. Lift the hips up as the thighs draw tight to the chest. Stay as compact as possible to help your center of gravity and core engage.
  • Every few breaths remind yourself to lift the shoulders and keep the elbows in. Once the hips stack over the shoulders, the weight of the legs will lessen and the core will engage. Squeeze in through the lower belly to lightly pull the knees off the arms into a pike position in your chest.
  • Keep the inner heels and big toes touching as the legs draw up towards the ceiling. Feet are flexed powerfully.
  • Hug the inner thighs to the midline, expand through the backs of the knee caps and spread the toes.
  • From here you can reverse the process back into Child’s Pose or keep the feet flexed, keep the body strong like plank and float into Chaturanga.

Benefits

  • Calms the mind and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Strengthens the arms, legs, and spine
  • Stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands
  • Strengthens the lungs
  • Tones the abdominal muscles
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Therapeutic for asthma, infertility and insomnia

Caution

Avoid this posture if you have:

  • Use caution with this pose if you have a back injury, headache, heart condition, high blood pressure, menstruation, neck injury, or low blood pressure.
  • Pregnancy: If you are experienced with this pose, you can continue to practice it throughout your pregnancy. Keep the duration brief (ten or so seconds). However, don’t take up the practice of this pose after you become pregnant.
  • Tripod headstand (Sirsasana II) is considered to be an intermediate to advanced pose. Do not practice this pose without prior experience or unless you have the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Enlist the help of an experienced instructor with Camel Pose if this is your first time trying it.
Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?