Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day Six: DON'T Check Your Ego at the Door

We've all heard the same thing in various yoga classes: "yoga isn't about ego", "focus on your own practice", "look inward not to others", "take a child's pose if your body asks for it". But what if a little ego is good? What if looking over at the guy next to you makes you push yourself a little farther than you would other wise.

I once heard a teacher speak about the balance between ahimsa (non-violence) and satyam (truth).  The idea of "check your ego at the door" speaks to the first principle, ahimsa, being non-violent to your own body. The problem with this concept is that it can also be complacency. Lazyness and compassion are a breath apart on your yoga mat. Satyam on the other hand is the trueness of your practice. When you say to yourself "I'm taking a child's pose because this is what my body is asking for today" it feels very zen goddess yogini doesn't it? But get real, you're a badass, you can do one more breath. And it's gonna hurt and thats awesome. The trueness of your practice is that you can take one more breath.

Let's be clear I'm not saying you should be in pain to the point that you hurt yourself. I'm saying when your muscles burn and you want to cry and quit and take a child's pose, instead take a breath, sink deeper, open your heart brighter, sweat a little more.

Now for those who are kind enough to read this and don't do yoga you make have checked out a few sentences ago (likely when I mentioned sanskrit). How do these principles apply to the world off the mat you ask? Why thanks for asking! I have an answer. Or at least an attempt at an answer.

Today at work someone said something a little rude to me about leaving early to go to my yoga teacher training. They essentially implied I was being lazy by leaving early. My initial reaction was to just ignore the comment, ahimsa right?  I was being compassionate to that person. I'm a zen loving, mala bead wearing, incense burning yogini so I'm not going to lower myself and make a rude comment back. They weren't really upset with me their snarky comment was really about themselves not me.

Then I thought about truth. The truth was I would think about this comment all day. Here we are 12 hours later and I'm writing about it. So instead I said something. I just expressed my gratitude that I get to be in court every morning and on my mat in the afternoon. How lucky am I? Very. And I know it. And so I told them how lucky and blessed and grateful I am.

how can you feel anything but grateful when this is right outside your window?

So I've created a new road. The "high road" or not reacting to a rude comment is being diverted to a little path called satyam street.  I'm gonna walk on that road for a while and see how it feels, I'm betting its going to feel as good as holding a yoga pose for an extra breath does.


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