The Yoga Dream
Yoga will give you everlasting peace and happiness, a perfect body and eradicate all negative emotions FOREVER! Sound impossible? Probably because it is: A Fantasy, perpetuated by the media to sell Yoga, just like any other product.
However yoga is not a product. Yoga is a way of life, which can include the physical practice of Asanas, Breathwork and/or Meditation. And the truth is many times Yoga does the opposite of eradicating all negativity from your life. Sometimes it acts like a light showing up all the dirty patches that couldn’t be seen in the shade.
All that bending and breathing and opening up parts of the body that are usually held together all nice and safely can be quite unnerving. Tight muscles and shallow breathing can often serve as an emotional armouring which helps prevent us from feeling uncomfortable emotions and consequently behaving “inappropriately.” I find it sad when Yoga is portrayed as a Zen Pill that will instantly cure all your problems and make the world a better place. It leads to unrealistic expectations.
Many of us leave a yoga class disappointed that we aren’t feeling blissed out and don’t feel like smiling with everyone like we all share some magical cosmic secret. Sometimes we feel frustrated, sad, tearful and afraid or heaven forbid, ANGRY! The Victorian days of pushing down emotion and hiding behind a mask of calm are not so long gone in the world of Yoga and we humans have to continue to face this tendency to mask our vulnerability if we want to move beyond its imprisoning ways.
We Are Born Vulnerable
The fact is, we are born vulnerable and spend much of our lives building up defences to protect ourselves from that reality. We hide behind our achievements, our talents, our skills or roles, our personality, perhaps kind and helpful, perhaps angry and confrontational. We dedicate much of our lives to building an identity to hide behind because to be authentic is just too scary. The unfortunate thing is the more we hide, often the lonelier we feel. Authenticity requires vulnerability which requires exposing ourselves and risking the judgment of others. And so many times we accept loneliness over risking this exposure.
Yoga at its essence is a way of breaking down these defences, physically and emotionally in the body and mentally at the level of the personality or ego structure. However the human tendency to build yet another identity out of being a Yogi simply leads to more and more layers of defence ever more impenetrable. This Spiritual Ego is a bit like margarine. At first it looks like a healthier alternative to the evils of the fatty butter (emotional expression), when in actual fact it masks a host of manipulated ingredients which when combined can become quite harmful.
Human Emotion Is Inevitable
Fear, anger, sorrow and pain are not intrinsically harmful, but denying them can be. They are uncomfortable yes, and avoiding them is understandably desirable and yet ultimately impossible. Human emotion is inevitable. Yoga does not erase our emotions; it brings us into deeper contact with them. It invites us to experience the truth of what is, to include the ugliness together with the beauty, to accept the contrasts in life and allow for the contradictions of existence.
So if you are an experienced yogi who still gets angry, feels afraid of being rejected, wakes up a bit down sometimes, or catch yourself indulging in a spot of jealously from time to time …..then I welcome you. And my response is…..ME TOO!
If you wish to learn more about yoga as a life style and help inspire others Join our 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program in India or Bali