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Sometimes you are going to meet children (and adults) who apologize for everything. I don’t mean apologizing for hurting someone or not listening. I mean apologizing for falling out of a pose or not being able to get into it at all. Stuff that no one ever needs to apologize for.
Now, acknowledging the fact that yoga is a microcosm of life and the way that we react in yoga is the way we react in life, this kind of obsequious and excessive apologizing is indicative of a deeper, more fundamental issue. To apologize profusely for inconsequential things is to apologize for oneself. It is a demonstration of self-deprecation and lack of self-esteem.
When working with a student who is overly apologetic, it is important to point out and remind her that she not only has no need to apologize for her yoga practice, but that, in fact, she shouldn’t.
Ask her where else in her life perhaps she apologizes when she shouldn’t. Perhaps apologizing to her teacher for getting an answer wrong. Maybe apologizing to a friend because she was chosen first for a team. Apologizing because she really, really has to go to the bathroom. Basically apologizing for just being!
While apologizing is, of course, a very good thing in context (when you hurt someone or deliberately mess something up), it can be very self-defeating when used excessively and unnecessarily. It is a good character-building exercise to ask your student that every time she has the urge to apologize, to first step back and ask herself what she is apologizing for. Then she can discern whether an apology is truly in order and gain a new self-awareness of her thought and behavior patterns. Hopefully she can even become aware enough to stop apologizing for herself and start appreciating her true self-worth.
And that’s the mini yogis minute tip of the week. Check back every week to learn something new!
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