Yoga For Self Reflection
Posted On March 20, 2020
Self-reflection is a hugely important part of maintaining our emotional and spiritual well-being.
What is self-reflection?
Self-reflection is defined as ‘serious thought of one’s actions and thoughts’. Technically, this is correct of course. However, I think this sounds a little too serious!
Self-reflection underpins many useful aspects of personal development, but it doesn’t have to be so intense. It can be light-hearted and fun, and you can enjoy the process, regardless of what the self-reflection shows you.
Yoga can help make the process of self-reflection a little more light-hearted and easy to incorporate into a daily routine.
If you can’t effectively self-reflect, then it’s very difficult to evaluate where you are and change the course of direction if you need to.
The most effective and successful people are able to self-reflect. Because things don’t always go to plan, life isn’t always going in the right direction. When we become aware of this and self-reflect on what is going on for us right now, we can effectively change course if needed.
This is important because there’s no point going head first into something if it’s not helping you get where you want to do. Your time is precious, and to save wasting it, we need to evaluate how things are going right now.
Awareness comes first
In order to self-reflect we first need to have a sense of awareness.
And this is where yoga comes in.
Although there are many different forms of yoga, most yoga practices place a focus on awareness. Staying aware during your yoga practice is crucial, so you can make sure you are aligning your body is the correct positions, avoiding injury and strain.
And first and foremost, you also want to be enjoying your yoga practice! You don’t want it to feel too challenging, but you do want to feel a comfortable stretch. Awareness is key to keep checking in with yourself and adjusting where need be.
This might look like taking a moment during your practice to check in with yourself, and realise that you can’t feel the stretch as much as you would like to. You can then take a deep inhale, and as you exhale lean deeper into the stretch to reach the point you’d like to. Without this awareness, you may not get everything you’d like to out of your yoga practice.
Or, it may go the other way. You might check in and feel some pain, and become aware that the practice or pose is feeling a little too strenuous. Then, you can adjust by giving yourself a bit of a break and coming out of the pose.
Utilise yoga for self-reflection
When we turn inwards throughout our yoga practice, it’s not just our physical body we become aware of – we become more aware of our thoughts and beliefs. We may feel certain things coming up time and time again when we are practicing yoga.
This may cause us to wonder why these thoughts keep coming up and we can reflect on this. Whilst these thoughts can come up during our yoga practice, we can take the time outside of the practice to self-reflect.
If you do find certain thoughts coming up often whilst you’re going through your yoga practice, don’t try to push it down. Accept it for what it is, and try not to look at it with judgement. These are your thoughts – treat them with kindness, treat them with compassion.
It’s possible that becoming more aware of your thoughts will make you feel more aware of challenging thoughts or negative emotions. And our first reaction might be to suppress these and we might find it really uncomfortable. This is actually a step in the right direction, and is a really positive thing.
Once we become aware of the thoughts and beliefs, we can work to challenge them, and ask ourselves if they really are accurate, and whether we should keep them with us or let them go if they are no longer serving us at the present time.
Benefits of self-reflection
Although this may feel quite strange at first, and can even feel quite uncomfortable, there are many benefits to self-reflecting.
One of the main benefits of self-reflection is strengthening your emotional intelligence. Not only does self-reflection go hand in hand with self-awareness, it also strengthens self-regulation. Self-regulation enables us to control and re-direction our emotions or behaviours if we need to.
If we have poor self-regulation, we may act more impulsively, we may give up on things when they get hard, and we might find it difficult to deal with and process our emotions.
Self-reflection can also help us to feel more confident. When we look inwards and think about our behaviours, thoughts and feelings, and re-direction the course of action if we need to, we might begin to feel more confident. We might feel more in control of what is going on for us.
When we feel that we are in control of our thoughts, behaviours and emotions, we can walk through life knowing just that – that we are in control. We walk through life knowing that nothing can touch us because we are confident we will be able to take a step back, evaluate and re-direct the course of action if we need to.
Doing this helps us to live a life more in accordance with our deeper values and goals, and gets us out of the grips of emotion and impulsive behaviours.
Just see how it feels!
I’d really encourage you to give self-reflection a go. And just see how it feels. See if it encourages you to change anything about your yoga practice, or even your life at this current time.
You could also reflect on how the self-reflection is going. If you find it difficult, why do you think this is? If you enjoy it, what benefits do you think it could be bringing into your life?
There’s nothing to lose, and all to gain. And this is an important process to go through if you want to rapidly transform your life.
Let me know how it goes!