The practice of Kundalini Yoga is a path that provides a road map for self-improvement. Who doesn’t have one thing that they would like to improve about themselves? In Kundalini yoga, there are kriyas for just about anything you would want to improve on like: Conquering Inner Anger (Reaching Me in Me), Communication Problems (Transformation: Serving the Infinite) and Fear (Check out the meditation to Release Fear and Become a Conscious Leader in the Global Sadhana video below with Snatam Kaur).
Self-improvement is a good starting point in one’s personal development. It takes a lot for someone to take responsibility of an aspect of themselves and work on confronting it over a 40, 90, 120+ day period in order to improve. There are a lot of people who will run and do everything they can to not look at themselves as change isn’t easy.
Although there is a point where chasing self-improvement for the sake of self-improvement can be a lot like going grocery shopping with a refrigerator already stocked full of food. This isn’t to say that you need to stop your practice or stop taking responsibility, but that you just need to watch your attitude towards yourself when approaching the practice. There is a fine line between self-improvement and self-acceptance. Instead of always trying to improve yourself, practice self-acceptance.
Seeing yourself as a project is a very impersonal approach to take as it creates a split within yourself and will end up driving yourself crazy. Sometimes we can approach self-improvement with the belief that we aren’t good enough and need to accumulate all of these other tools. We can compare ourselves to everyone else and want what they have. When learning self-acceptance, you will find that you already are perfect as you are, you may just need to rediscover this.
Self-improvement is so much easier to practice than self-acceptance. It is easy to check a task off your list and track it’s progress. What is not easy is developing a relationship with yourself and embracing everything there is about you. That is true intimacy. Get to know your gifts and your quirks. Some of the most gifted people have conditioned themselves to hate their gifts because it makes them different from others. This causes a lifetime of trying to squash your purpose in life just to fit into a cookie cutter. It is hard to open up into the person you were meant to be when you can’t see it.
Self-hatred and guilt don’t accomplish anything other than to give us an excuse to separate from ourselves. We go on to treat ourselves like robots rather than human beings. When we do this to ourselves, we also project this non-acceptance onto everyone else in our lives like our friends, family, children and partners. The internal reality becomes the external reality. Nothing anyone ever does will ever be good enough as long as you don’t see that you are good enough. You cannot fully love and accept another when you don’t do it for yourself. Then there will also always be a void that is meant to be filled by you.
So the next time you approach anything, a great question to ask is: will this take me closer to myself or further away? Yoga can help you inch closer to your center whereas junk food will numb you. You may not always like the answer you hear when asking yourself a question, but listening to will help you build trust within. Trust is a first step in building any strong relationship and learning to constantly listen to yourself builds self-acceptance.
To work more with self-acceptance, here is a great meditation called, “Creating Self-Love” and it can be found in the manual Self Knowledge.
Another key aspect to self-love is to take care of yourself nutritionally. Seek only food that can bring you closer to your center rather than foods that can you numb you from yourself. A great resource for healing diets is Foods for Heath and Healing.
Other great kriyas to try include:
Finding Security in Yourself: Healing the Stomach (Reaching Me in Me)
Opening the Heart: Magnetic Field and Heart Helper (Sadhana Guidelines)
Dealing with Outside Pressure: Building the Nervous System (Youth and Joy)
Here are a few great mantras also for self-love:
Ong So Hung by Snatam Kaur
Chatr Chakr Varti by Snatam Kaur