June 4, 2017
This was not the post I was planning to write this week. As I was recording a video in the studio, trying out some inversions and arm balances….and failing completely. I found myself falling into the deep dark shame well that is my ego. After throwing myself a pity party for a few moments, I realized that comparing myself to the yogis on Instagram who post immaculate pictures in the most challenging postures is ABSOLUTELY pointless. So, I took a deep breath, put on some dancing music, and did a headstand against the wall.
In Sanskrit, the word for ego is ahamkara, which means "the I maker." In yoga the ego manifests in the ways we perceive ourselves (thoughts, desires, accomplishments, appearance). The ego is referred to as the ‘false self’ yet it is unavoidable, specially in the world of social media. As we constantly create our digital identity through Facebook and Instagram, we compare ourselves and base our value on these external factors.
Yoga is the perfect vehicle to disengage with the ego. It illustrates both the cause and effect of ego. The ego is triggered when we compare ourselves to the yogi in the front row in class or when we get frustrated at a certain posture and try push through it. Yet, it also provides the tools to move beyond ego, through breath and meditation. Yoga allows us to both recognize our limitations and transcend them, unveiling a more meaningful true self within.
How do you overcome the ego in yoga? It is my intention to fight ego with compassion. Compassion for those other yogi stars on Instagram, compassion for the yogis in the front row, and most importantly, compassion for myself by taking a deep breath, putting on some dancing music, and doing a headstand against the wall.