Our editor asked me to write about yoga this month. Her specific words were, “I’d love for one of the next blogs to surround yoga. What do you think could be an interesting angle?”
My ego flared up hard. What did she mean “interesting angle?” She obviously had not intended to offend me, but my perception of reality in that moment altered what I heard to satisfy anger. Yoga is fascinating and beautiful! It doesn’t need an angle. My head was swirling. I could feel my breath quicken as I became completely consumed with doubt and frustration.
Days went by and my Word document, which was supposed to house my prolific blog about yoga, remained empty. Negative self-talk began to consume my thoughts. Every time I sat down to write, the internal argument started:
“I’m a Yoga teacher! I have trained and studied to understand, apply and guide others into this practice. I have looked at Yoga from so many different angles, and it is part of my daily life. Why is it so hard to write about my passion?”
“Well, you must not be that great of a teacher if you can’t explain what it is that you do.”
To spite my personal peanut gallery, I went into an in-depth explanation and broke it down word for word. I wrote out the full history of the Yoga Sutras. I listed the benefits of the most popular postures and went into a detailed explanation of how controlled breathing techniques can soothe the sympathetic nervous system. I wrote about different ways to enter into meditation. I even broke down a few Sanskrit words. I was going to show everyone how much I knew about Yoga. What could be more interesting than that?! Beaming with pride, I checked the word count and it was well over 2,500 words. My mind questioned the prompt again. How could she expect me to “surround” yoga in 850 words or less? It’s not possible!
I felt so defeated. I was doing everything I could to make this the best Yoga blog ever and there was just no way to summarize it. After a few more days of internal hazing, I began to wonder why that comment upset me so much in the first place. I completely abandoned this piece for a week, and decided that I needed to spend more time with my personal practice to better understand why these feelings were present.
I rolled my mat onto the floor and rested in child’s pose. My mind began to enter into a meditation as I played with movement, flowing into different postures. There were so many emotions present in those moments. There was anger, fear, resentment and frustration. I realized just how strong the grips of the ego can be with every pose that humbled me. The benefits of Yoga can only be explained so much. You don’t do Yoga, Yoga does you. In my practice, it gives me the space to be vulnerable with myself in a non-judgmental way. By cultivating compassion for myself, it becomes easier to witness my incessant stream of thoughts without having to identify with them. I can practice quieting my mind and put some space in between my self-judgments in order to feel my spirit and what it’s instructing me to do. We all possess a spirit that often times gets suppressed or knocked down to just a “gut feeling.” For me, Yoga inspires the question: what if I let that feeling rule me? What if I stop questioning it and become one with it?
After a much needed savasana (corpse pose), I sat down to review some old notes from my studies of The Bhagavad Gita and found this:
Who is the true Yogi?
Yoga means “to yolk”. It is the integration of the spirit; becoming whole at the deepest level of spirituality.
A Yogi is one who is accomplished in Yoga.
The true Yogi is a person who does his or her job with detachment from the rewards.
A true Yogi has attained the goal of meditation, which is to transcend the mind and connect with spirit.
Over the course of the week, when I was faced with a situation that triggered a strong emotion, I had to stop and ask myself, “Am I attached to something right now? Who is talking right now? My ego or my spirit?”
So today as I sit down to write this, I have a new question guiding my hand:
“How can I share my wisdom without ego and remove the attachment that I have to my own expectations of what this blog ‘should’ be?”
Keep practicing. Ahh…that’s the side effect of Yoga.
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