Ego on the Mat… I suck/I’m great

yogacitynyc | 06 May, 2009 07:40

This week YogaCity NYC has a story about checking your ego at the door when you come into a class. Our site’s good friend and early supporter Elizabeth Rossa, founder of Shri Yoga, is quoted in the article; “Nowadays, it’s can you do a handstand and fall into a chaturanga, come up into a cobra and somehow jump back to handstand? But, is that really necessary for enlightenment?”

Her comment and the subject of the article got me thinking about all those times my teachers ask me to bind, bend forward, twist, or worse, do any combination of the three. It is still, and will probably always be, a difficult process for me to truly let go of my ego in those moments and remember that it not the destination but the journey that holds the fruit of the practice.

Others have reactions similar to mine when handstand, headstand, or backbends are called but since I do these with relative ease, I don’t get all caught up in defeating myself; although my ego sometimes works the other way and gets me to ”show off” my skills. When I catch myself and my ego in such a moment of adoration, I come out of the pose and reflect on why those feelings of getting noticed are so important to me.

Over the past 8 years, my ego has gone through a major revision. My hips are a little looser and my body is stronger but I know that the deeper aspects of what I am attempting to learn are tightly bound up in the images I have of myself and how I express them on my mat.

Sometimes I think I should be able to do something that I can’t and sometimes I think I can do something better than anyone else around me. Neither attitude reflects the mature ability to be satisfied with where I am in the moment or a truly advanced practice.

Still I try.