Today we kick off UW Yoga Month with an article by Danny Arguetty discussing how we can practice more acceptance in our everyday lives and with yoga to tackle life’s many curveballs. If you have not already signed up for UW Yoga Month, be sure to do so here! We have a month full of opportunities to slow down and practice yoga.
Yoga is a practice that has been handed down to us from past generations and from the spiritual traditions of the East. While it has evolved here in the West, it still carries potent invitations for daily explorations that welcome us into the inquiry and conversation of basic, relatable, human themes. From space, breath, gratitude, connection, and peace, to feeling full, engaged, honoring change, and adaptation; there is often something for everyone as we traverse and navigate our own yoga path.
This year we find ourselves in a world like no other. While challenges continue to mount, the reality is that life continues to flow on. In that we all have a choice of how we show up for ourselves, our families and friends, and our larger community. In these small choices lies immense power to shift our physical wellbeing, mental outlook, motivation, and capacity for compassion.
With this in mind and in heart, this year we begin the journey of Yoga Month with the invitation for acceptance. To honor exactly where you are now, in this moment.
Maybe you are joyful, energized and ready to go, or perhaps you feel down, frustrated, burnt-out, or you might be in a more neutral place cruising along. Can you step into fully welcoming whatever is present for you?
In life, if we do not first acknowledge the reality before us, it can be challenging to make skillful choices as we move forward. It would be great if we could yield a magic wand and change outer circumstances rapidly—but with some predicaments that isn’t possible. Moreover, when we deny the truth before us it can create even more obstacles and unnecessary pain as we pretend to live in a place that doesn’t really exist.
Acceptance doesn’t mean you can’t be hopeful for the future, or wish for your situation to be or feel different, or be angry about all that is going on. It does however invite us to take inventory of reality, for the sake of making decisions that will yield the best possible results. Practicing acceptance isn’t always easy but you can begin by exploring this on and off the mat in smaller ways that will build and hopefully make our daily journey a little easier.
On the Mat
Flow with the instructor even if they aren’t your regular teacher.
Practice based on your energy level today vs. where you were at yesterday.
If you are working with limitations/injuries be compassionate to yourself, accept them fully.
Follow the signals your body gives you. You are on your own journey with yoga, growing in strength and ability over time.
Off the Mat
Notice how many times you criticize (passive and aggressive ways) your partner, friend, sibling, or offspring. Feedback is valuable and what would it look like to just accept them and restrain for one hour? One day? One week?
Observe how often you are unkind to yourself with thoughts and words (I am too ______, I should do _____, I am not _____). What would shift if you brushed these thoughts off, thanked them and moved on without giving them much power?
When something doesn’t go your way accept it instead of taking action to change it. (Take note this is just an invitation for this inquiry not as an everyday, every situation strategy. 🙂 )
A yoga teacher (and teacher trainer), nutrition/life coach, and a lover of the environment, Danny Arguetty, M.A., is author of Nourishing the Teacher and The 6 Qualities of Consciousness. Passionate about helping people flourish through mindfulness, wellness, and personal self-development, he has over a decade’s worth of experience in group facilitation, one-on-one coaching, and experiential teaching.
Danny has guided workshops throughout the United States, led basic and advanced yoga trainings in the U.S. and India, and spoken at Facebook, Olson Kundig, and Gravity Payments (all in Seattle). He served as adjunct faculty at Williams College, leads a quarterly course on Intro to Mindfulness at UW, and is a faculty member at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. Read more about Danny here.