My teacher’s theme in class at the moment is driving me a bit mad. It’s a good theme — of course! — but I’m finding it too hard to process; I don’t want to hear it. He circles round the idea of ego and effort and honesty. Today was about ‘unveiling’, letting go all the accumulated cr*p from the day, from our lives, from our karmic samsāra, to reveal the true self. And this is supposed to be the path to lessening suffering and finding some sense of freedom.
Sounds good! And I get that a lot of people need to calm down their yoga practice and let go of the ‘push, push, push’ mentality. (I definitely drove a friend mad the other day when I led her through practice and didn’t offer Urdhva Danurāsana, only Bridge Pose! She clearly felt thwarted and incomplete).
But for me, I don’t feel as though I’m pushing too hard. In fact I’m still circling round the idea that my practice is too restricted, that I self-limit all too well, not trusting my body or my strength. My ego runs in reverse! Of course my ego would try to be different! 😉
Instead of pushing, I am practising some weird visualisation before each pose, feeling my way into it in my head, reassuring my body that it’ll be OK to go there. And I’m not talking any crazy, fancy poses either. Just regular stuff.
And I’m trying to cultivate some detached curiosity in this, some compassionate kindness to myself with a massive dose of patience. The reaction I feel most drawn to is anger and frustration — and I know that’s not the answer! Nor is feeling as forlorn and defeated as I was when I rolled up my mat at the end of class today. Oh, poor me!
One of the other things I’m practising at the moment is staying open and not shutting myself away when things get tough. So I deliberately took some time with a fellow yogini on my way out, sharing some thoughts with her and offering her some long overdue thanks for something she’d done.
At the end of the conversation she volunteered how great she thought I was doing at the moment. She told me I looked different — more toned apparently! — and asked if everyone had been telling me this lately… No, why would they! More interestingly she told me my practice had completely transformed; she’d been watching me in class, she said. Nice to hear, I must admit, but also a timely message reminding me that stuff changes over time, and that I should just flow with that, keep alert to the spaces and the possibilities but not overthink it.
As if I’d ever overthink anything!!
But it did make me think this: maybe my ego does work like everyone else’s. Actually the difficulties I have with my practice are essentially the ones everyone has – wanting more and different.
Now I feel less weirdly different to everyone else. How reassuring! 🙂