Since my first weekend of yoga teacher training, I have been almost constantly thinking about yoga. On and off the mat, I have been reflecting on what I’ve learned so far and incorporating into my life. I’ve developed a new awareness of my body, trying to find muscles and bones I didn’t know existed, and learning how to engage and relax them. At work, I continually bring my attention back to my posture, making adjustments, changing position, lifting my chest and opening my heart. At home, I’ve ditched my couch and taken more often to the floor. I’m becoming an observer of my thoughts – asking why and seeking intentionality to better guide my actions.
Most significantly, I find I am constantly reminding myself of the yogic principle of satya, or truthfulness. Satya is not just about not telling lies, it is about seeing reality and ourselves and the world as it really is, and not just how we currently feel about it or how our ego thinks it is. Satya, for me, is about turning inward and observing where we truly are, and accepting wherever that is. It is about seeing beyond what ego wants us to see and believe.
Accepting where you are and who you are, is a continual practice. Every time I encounter something new, or challenging, something I’m not good at, or something I don’t understand, I have to step back and remind myself that this is where I am, and that’s okay.
I struggle to understand how to move my body into a pose the way it’s described in my textbook, and I feel myself getting frustrated, and then I remind myself that it’s okay.
I struggle to lift my knees in samasthiti. I feel frustrated. And I remind myself that it’s okay.
Today, I felt this unease, almost guilt, at not going to the gym. I hurt my elbow yesterday (I think a mild case of tendinitis), and so I decided it was probably a good idea to lay off the weights and rest. It makes sense, and yet I struggled once again to believe that it was the right thing.
Observing my thoughts, I found my ego telling me:
“But I’m supposed to go to the gym on Tuesday.”
” Does it really hurt enough to miss the gym?”
“Maybe I’m just making excuses. It’s only a little pain after all.”
My ego was telling me I had to always go to the gym because that was what I said I was going to do. Not going was failure.
But the truth?
My intention in going to the gym was never to go to the gym on Tuesday. The gym was merely a byproduct, an outcome, of my intention to live a healthy lifestyle. But just as we can become attached to touching the floor on our mats or getting into a certain pose, I had become attached to going to the gym and I had lost sight of my intention.
Ego was trying to tell me that not going was failing. But the truth is who I am is not affected by whether or not I go to the gym today; who I am is not affected by whether or not I can touch the floor in a forward bend; who I am is not affected by whether or not I can find my uddiyana bandha. The outcome, is not nearly as important as the intention.
So once again, I breathe. And I accept wherever I am.