Yoga is union. And a teacher once said forgiveness is finding that union internally as you connect that which has been disconnected. Forgiveness embodies so many components of yoga. It teaches us how to connect deeply with who we are and how to let go. When we are angry with ourselves, or someone else, it is likely not about the act itself, but rather the things that surround us.

Notice the moments that you are angry with yourself as an opportunity to reconnect with who you truly are. If you are angry about the way you acted in a certain situation, it is likely because you are defining yourself by those things or relationships. But remember, you are not those things. You are not your mistakes. You are not your job, or your relationship. No matter how lovely or flawed, you are not those things. You simply are. Forgive yourself as you reconnect with who you truly are.

Ever since I was little, I would let the tiniest mistakes tear me apart. Not mistakes that I have done towards myself, but those done towards others. Mistakes that might make me appear less than perfect to someone. In my mind, I feel a need to be perfect to those around me in order to feel good about myself. I have a tendency to let the tiniest interactions define how I see myself. The silliest, most menial things used to tear me apart. Like in kindergarten, I remember making my leprechaun in class without following the teacher’s instructions, and I was so upset when she found out that I was sick to my stomach for the whole day. I have to learn how to work through these little mistakes as a practice for forgiving myself and others of the bigger ones that will inevitably come.

Practicing forgiveness teaches us to accept our imperfections. It teaches us to let go of our desire for perfection, our anger towards ourselves, and of our attachment to our thoughts. You are never going to be perfect. You cannot be the perfect friend, worker, teacher, student, anything. You cannot be perfect. You can simply, be. Know that. And remember it when you start to beat yourself up about the menial things.

One of the most powerful reminders I have when I make mistakes is, “how perfectly human you are”. For, to be human, is to be imperfect. The mistakes you make are perfectly human and recognition of your humanity. Forgive yourself first, so that you may forgive others, for you can only be as kind to others as you are to yourself. We all need to show ourselves, and our sisters, a bit more compassion.

Practicing forgiveness:

  1. Recognize
    • Bring awareness to the feeling of being upset at yourself. Notice what is upsetting you and see it as a reminder of how perfectly human you are. Notice where you feel it, sit with it, and breath through it.
  2. Speak and Repeat
    • Say “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, and I love you” internally or aloud. Repeat it over and over again until you feel it. I learned this mantra during my RYT and it continues to heal me. Also, try incorporating a loving-kindness meditation as you see fit.
  3. Reconnect
    • Take a moment to step back and reconnect with who you truly are. Sit with your thoughts. Notice where you might be defining yourself by your thoughts, actions, or relationships. Recognize that you are not those things. Let it go. Connect with your breathe. Sit and remind yourself who you truly are and then continue to move through your day. And remember, forgiveness is not a one-time thing, it happens over and over again every single day.

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