Yoga and the Ego

On February 18th, 2017, I went back to a place I swore to never again set foot in. That place was the yoga studio that was my worst job ever

 

A friend was interested in taking the Hot Yoga class that was offered at that studio. She knew I had once taught yoga at that studio, therefore she asked me to take the class with her in order to make the experience less intimidating. 

 

I happily agreed because I am always willing to support a friend.  I also agreed because I know the staff working at the front desk as well as the yoga teacher for that class and that time.  They are wonderful humans and were beacons of support during my tenure at that studio.  Therefore, I was confident that my presence would not be awkward or uncomfortable.

 

As I stepped inside the yoga room, I immediately realized how much I had evolved since I left that studio. This evolution was very evident in my practice. In fact, the realization was so strong that I caught myself chuckling and shaking my head during the first breathing exercise. 

 

You see, for the first time in that room and at that studio, I was practicing with clarity. I was practicing with confidence, a sense of self-worth, and a huge amount of respect for myself. I was practicing for me while enjoying the energy and rhythm of the community.

 

The last time I took a Hot Yoga class, at that studio, I practiced with a crap ton of ego. I did the "extra stuff" and party tricks in order to be noticed and to also draw comments of admiration.  I thought I had to remain “above” the students, even though I too was a student, despite being a teacher.

 

For example, I added handstands to the Sun Salutations. For Extended Side Angle pose, I always added a full bind or transitioned to Bird of Paradise pose. During Wheel pose I did walk ups and drop backs. In Pigeon pose I put my leg behind my head.

 

If you have ever taken a Bikram class or another variation of Hot Yoga, you’d know there was no room for any of that extra gymnastics stuff. None. That’s because that extra -ish was not part of the discipline and practice.

 

So why did I add that extra crap? Why did I feel the need to show off?

 

Ego.

 

My ego was also called insecurity.   

 

And because of my insecurity, I always felt the need to go way above and beyond what was necessary. This meant I was always proving myself to others. I was constantly seeking approval and acceptance. It was a vicious cycle.

 

It was when I turned my efforts inward that a change happened, and that change was immediate.  I no longer sought acceptance from outside.  I learned to accept and love myself. From that moment on, I locked my ego in a safe.

 

It has been nearly a year since I learned to truly love and accept myself.  As the hot yoga practice continued, I saw a young lady in the corner of my right eye. She was in the middle of the room, adding the party tricks and extra “stuff” to the poses. I understood her movements, and I smiled.

 

Where in your life has your ego shown up?  What do you do to remind yourself that you are enough?

 

Namaste,

Chi