The work you do on your mat, the mental and physically dismantlement of your self-perception, or the way you see yourself in your world and in your body will change the way you experience your life.
Yoga is uncomfortable and exposes our insecurities, bias, preconceived notions of what we think we need in our life, what we value vs. what man has created for us to value, and also our willingness to give to others. I had no idea that when I showed up to take my first yoga class that I would experience such a deep release. My body ached from the death of my mother even after it being 5 years. The day in and day out responsibilities of being human, coupled with what I am sure was some form of PTSD from her death and other childhood experience, created a growth of anxiety I had never known. Those that have witnessed and heard me talk about my grief and the physical health issues brought on by stress know first hand the impact that my practiced has had on my life.
Over the course of the last 3 years a lot in my life has changed. My career, what I value, and the way in which I interact with the world around me. There are always major ups and downs and that will never change, but it’s the assistance that my practice gives to how I experience them. I had a close male friend recently open up to me about not coming to one of my session and being apologetic for not supporting The PiE project events by participating. Simply put, it was because he wasn’t ready to feel or experience what I have been sharing through my yoga journey.
Having lost a parent to cancer and grown up with the mindset as most men do to be tough, feeling all that in a room full of strangers, mostly women, and not knowing what he was doing or would be capable of doing, was not something he could see getting past. This was eye opening, here I though my passion and the positive vibes would draw people in.
There tends to be this fluffy feel good shit always wrapped around yoga and I guess I am guilty at times too. There is truth that you find some magic through the practice of yoga, but in a world where we want an easy fix and quick results it can be hard for people to open up and sit with the challenges of the practice itself to reap the benefits.
Yoga is not designed to create another habitual fitness routine or get you more flexible, although both are great byproducts of the asana (the physical postures), it is meant to support the union (yoga) of your mind and body in the realm of the world in which you dwell.
You are doing yoga every day through other mediums, most often unaware because our mind is not practiced to being present. We spend most of our time outside of reality, living in the past, thinking about the future or being absorbed in a virtual reality far outside of our physical body. So when we feel things mentally or physically that we have dissociated with, it can draw up a lot of challenges and uncomfortable shit. With practice you learn to love this, need it and find comfort in it.
Yoga allows us to take off our feelings and emotions by providing a way to look at them with perspective, not judgment, seeing them as not who we are but a byproduct of what we are and experience. We then can integrate them back into a more productive way to see all the shit we have been through as an observation rather than holding onto it as an identity. We all experience the challenges and the discomfort of life, but I choose to experience them with myself, rather than by myself.
Everyone deserves to have this opportunity to practice to Dismantle self.