Undoing Your Practice – Knowing the True Self


Before many of my classes I talk and interact with the yoga students.   From those I have known and been teaching for a while, I really enjoy hearing and listening to them, their enjoyments, struggles and seeing if they are incorporating the yoga into their life over time.  For many it is still a very physical practice and even if they have been practicing for a long time they are disappointed that their body isn’t what it used to be.  Even though they so desire change they just don’t seem to know how to go about it.

For this month I wanted to write more on what the message of yoga is for me – especially this journey on wanting change.  As much as we may come to yoga as a workout, want to come into class with our expectations, agendas, goals -these are all fine and well – however they can hold us back and keep us confined and limited.

How can we work on this?  Two parts really.  One part is “letting go” and un-do -not so much do.  Our movement, asana, is there so we can watch, feel and understand between our mind, body, breath, spirit, why we are feeling as we are.   Asking in each movement if and why we are moving this way; asking if the ego is getting involved in our decision.   Or are we letting our body guide us into what feels right without pushing.   Some of the poses are called Warrior however instead of ‘being a warrior’ and going into our practice ready to battle ourselves, we need to be a soft beautiful lotus flower – let the warmth open us, when we are ready, and see the beauty from within.

The other part is noticing our own beauty; that which is our true self.   Not the titles we carry or the problems, achievements or other characteristics that we describe ourselves with.  Another part of the undoing is getting to this true self.  Not worrying about getting back to a way the body was – that was the past.  Or wanting to get to get into a pose or piece of clothing to loose weight – that is the future.   Just staying present and loving right where you are now.   Finally disassociating the action with yourself as well. Notice the next time you are moving in your asana if you are upset when you do a pose poorly or happy with yourself when you do it well.  See if you can simply do and separate the doer; the self from judgement – as it doesn’t matter or bring happiness anyway.

Perfection is not our goal – many times I often fall back into old habits, however with my practice I can catch myself doing it faster.   I can laugh as I’m driving and rushing to my yoga class worried if I’m going to make it and then realize that yoga never stopped or ended just because I left the classroom.  Even in my car I have to stop pushing, be present and “un-do”.  Enjoy what is right now and everything around me.  Just let it be.