I’m honored to feature a guest post by my lovely friend + yogi Cara Gilman on the blog today. (You may remember her from my “Healthy Chicks in the Community” post a while back.) Aside from being the most genuine, smiley gal I know, she also gives killer advice on mindfulness and looking within your soul to find the answers. I mean, she is a yogi after all!
Today she shares her thoughts on why it’s what is on the inside that matters most. I’ll let Cara take the floor from here.
Growing up we were constantly told to not judge a book by it’s cover. To let go of physical appearances and to look deep within ourselves and others to find love. Even in our yoga practice it can be challenging to not get caught up in the physical appearance of the practice. That’s why it’s essential to remind ourselves that our practice gives us so much more if we open ourselves up to it and let go of self doubt and negativity.
Growing up, I was not the nicest teenager to myself. I felt so uncomfortable in my physical body that I did not allow myself to feel any true love. The only love I would feel would be from compliments or attention. No connection was made with myself. The only voice I heard was negativity. I was never good enough. Even when something good happened, I was too focused on the next thing or positive attention that I never took the time to be grateful. Interestingly enough, I was almost afraid to love myself in a way. If I let down my guard and let love in, how would I motivate myself to keep growing and to be better?
This all changed for me when I ran my first marathon. There was something about the training and doing something I never thought I could ever do that lit a flame within me. To even get to that starting line, I needed to believe in myself and the training process allowed that to finally happen. Crossing that finish line gave me a sense of confidence that I will never forget. Wow, I CAN DO ANYTHING I put my mind to. Love was finally there. A connection within myself was finally made.
To this day, what keeps this fire going is my yoga practice. It keeps me real. Sometimes it brings awareness of the ridiculousness of my thoughts when I’m not being very nice to myself. Sometimes it lets me know what exactly what my body needs that day (a longer childs pose instead of a sun salutation or early savasana) or sometimes it brings my mind back to focus by realizing what “stories” I’m wrapping myself up in. All these lessons reminds me that, Its really what’s on the inside that counts.
Let go of the perfection. Let go of what things look like and ask what does it feel like? The asana of our yoga practice is fun but don’t let it be the focus of your practice. Challenge yourself to make it more than just physical. Allow it to work inward and you’ll open yourself up to so much more. Give yourself some true love. Namaste!
What do you to keep your spirits high and to get in touch with yourself?
Cara Gilman is lover of movement. She is a yogini, a marathoner, a cyclist and a bootcamp enthusiast. This combination of strength, endurance, flexibility and mindfulness bring balance and grounding to her life and she incorporates these same elements into the yoga and cycle classes she teaches. You can visit her website at CaraGilman.com