I am continuously exploring the driving force behind why I practice and teach yoga. What has this great journey done for my over all well being? I know that it has provided me with so much physical strength and an abundance of personal growth and this always encourages me to progress further! The more I continue to practice yoga and observe students practice, I can see a great connection between moving from your ego (inner self behaviour) or moving from integrity (a deep space of truth). I believe the ego limits us from acknowledging our greater consciousness and even masks honesty with an egocentric sense of self perception. After years of studying I can observe the ego being broken down and integrity being strengthened. It started from asking the question; why am I moving like this? Am I moving with mindfulness or just to get into the deepest variation of the pose? Is the depth of my posture forced and excessive or coming from a grounded place of stability? Can I maintain this? Is it reasonable and within my range of motion? Is it based on habit and impulse or what is actually right for me? As soon as I start to defy or ignore these questions, the judgemental ego takes over and I've lost the purpose of my practice; true connectedness. The yoga practice keep us in check with ourselves, our ego and our behavioural responses/reactions. The asanas allow us to embrace our strengths but recognize our weaknesses physically and mentally. When we compromise our breathe, move too deep into a posture or ignore our bodily intuition, this is driven and controlled by the ego. The ego is a difficult thing to recognize but eventually we have to listen to our inner consciousness that is asking us to examine not only why we choose to do our postures the way we do, but also why we do anything the way we do.
In yoga sometimes we need to modify our poses or use props, we even fall down or get an injury that holds us back, its a struggle and sometimes we feel weak. We are not always 100% and this is life too. We fall, we makes mistakes, take the wrong path, do things against our better judgement and push ourselves too hard. Recognize these moments as a gift to discover a greater truth about yourself. To find the ability to let go of ego, to examine your inner talk, to surrender to what is, to live without judgement, get over ourselves and change our patterns of behaviour. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if you can't touch your toes or get into king pigeon pose. Doing the deepest variation of a posture does NOT make you a better person or more enlightened. When we are so caught up in OURselves, MY pose, MY mat, My practice, MY life, MY 'greatness', we risk loosing sight of what really matters; authentic connection to self and each other. This acknowledges that our actions, movements and thoughts are greater then just our own, they ripple like waves and affect everyone around us. To be more conscious of ego means, to be more conscious of each other.
To help dismantle ego, continue to practice asana and let the postures do the work they are meant to do energetically and physically. Also practice SVADHYAYA, Honest Self Study; inner awareness and time for self reflection. Recognize your bad habits on and off the mat and explore what is the driving force behind doing it. Be guided by your breathe, move in the way of consciousness for all and live to be whole with the universe. Just BE!
With love and gratitude always, Helena