To be compassionate is to be conscious of distress and to have the desire to ease that pain, others or your own. Observe yourself throughout your day. How are you meeting and welcoming yourself in the situations that you encounter? Is there negative self-talk or negative beliefs? Are you a cheerleader or are you putting yourself down? Through this yoga month, meet yourself (in each situation, thought, and moment) with loving kindness. Notice when you experience distress, pain, and suffering; what is it accompanied with? A desire to ease the pain or negative self talk like "Oh, it's just my luck," or "I deserve this" or anything else your negative self talk tries to convince you to be true. Create a compassionate thought to replace the negative, disliking, fearful thoughts with. For example: "I did my best, and that is all I can do. I love myself." Repeat that compassionate thought every time a non-compassionate or non-loving thought arises. We often act as if we are more than we are, out of fear of being less than we are; the truth is there is nothing to fear. Let yourself be just as you are. Give yourself space and time to grow. Do what you can with what you have. Don't worry what will come of it, just be here now and act totally. It's all you can do. When you start calculating outcomes, you jump into an imagined future made up of "what ifs" which produce fear. Then you go through your days scared of something that does not even exist! Be here now. You are always doing your best! Your best looks different from day to day, but you are always doing your best. One day you are rested and feel good and you do all the push-ups or Chatarungas in your yoga practice; other days you're tired and feel less wonderful and you do some of them on your toes, a few on your knees, and even skip some, which might lead you to say to yourself that you did not do your best since you could do more the day before and therefore now you suck! That is a lie! You did your best both of those days, it looked different, but it was still all you could do at that time, which is ALL you can do. So there is nothing to beat yourself up about. Continue to have compassion for yourself, recognize your pains, and stay strong and willing to ease the pain by loving yourself. Before each yoga class this month (or at any time during your day), sit or lay comfortably. Close your eyes. Notice if there is any judgmental self-talk going on. If there is, move your attention away from judgmental thoughts in your mind, and bring your attention to your heart. Here in your heart, connect to the essence of the part of you who was just being judged. Then bring attention to breath...breathe in through your nose....exhale softly to your heart. Be and breathe with your heart for 3-5 minutes in preparation for a compassionate yoga practice.