When you decide to start a fitness routine, whether it be yoga, running, weight training, etc., there are aesthetic reasons behind the initial goal of starting any practice. We want to feel and look good, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that as being a part of a goal.
The question is what kind of foundation do you want to build? If the goal of the practice is to look good in order to feel good, this is feeding the ego and becomes an empty goal. I say this because when this is the only goal, then self-criticism, self-judgment and re-activeness creeps into the mind and begins to feed the ego and you become more vulnerable and susceptible to every day events that are out of your control.
It is fine to work hard, but we want to work hard with sensitivity, so we can feel good to look good, then tone and shapeliness become a positive byproduct. We have an ego and a spirit; we need both in order to know what one is over the other. We would not know what good is without understanding what bad is; we would not know what a man is without understanding what a woman is.
This holds true for the ego and spirit. Spirit is here having an experience through the ego; how you play it out is up to you. Let’s say you decide to feed the ego more than the spirit; this only serves to work against you, and the goal of health is continually stays just out of reach, because the sensitivity to the signals of the body are being ignored for a self-serving goal. This perpetuates the imbalance and eventually can lead to an injury and goals of health become further out of reach.
There is nothing wrong with having goals, dreams, and desires. The question is… are you sensitive enough to know when you are no longer listening to your spirit and listening more to the ego?
If it’s the ego that is directing your designated practice, negative self-talk, self-judgment and self-criticism creep in and feelings of undeservedness settle in and is reflected by the body.
My goal, my dream, my desire with Strength Yoga is to help you discover your highest level of energy, vitality, and freedom by teaching you how to quiet down the chatter of the ego.
By quieting down the chatter, you can hear your spirit in order to hear your body so you can work hard with sensitivity, kindness and patience for yourself.
What does working hard mean anyway?
Does working hard mean we have to kill ourselves to get healthy? Listen to how silly that sounds. The practice, the postures, or the training we do to attain health means approaching our edge with sensitivity that honors and respects our boundaries that present themselves in that moment. This creates the opportunity to experience spontaneous expansion and growth.
Society has brainwashed us into believing that in order to achieve happiness, good looks, or a great body that we need to do whatever it takes no matter the risk. We are here to help you to develop the sensitivity to know when you have arrived at your personal edge, so you can pause to breath and become aware of where you are at in that moment. Allowing the ego to dictate your practice leaves you reaching for the future or staying stuck in the past. This only cripples you in the present.
We are all aware of people having unique and wonderful differences, but yet at the same time similarities…size, gender, shape, structural anomalies, life experiences that not only create our unique bodies but the pose itself becomes unique, yet similar. No single pose should look the same in a room full of people that are uniquely and perfectly different.
I have been blessed to be trained by some of the top people in the world to help you discover your personal optimal alignment, based off foundational alignment principles that apply to all no matter what the structural anomaly, strength or flexibility limitation, the differences dictates how the pose can be individualized. There is no reason for anyone to feel that a pose that is held by me or someone else is how their pose is supposed to look. This is ego-driven and will serve to work against you and cause injury.
My studio is a warm and safe space to help you hear your body’s innate wisdom, but that may be ignored during your practice if are allowing the ego to feed your mind by trying to have the best body or the most flexibility. I’m only going to encourage you to feed your spirit instead of the ego during your practice because at the end of the day your practice is your journey, and if you choose to feed ego it is your journey. But by quieting down the chatter in the mind this may shift your thoughts, you may learn to let go of control, so we can be open to listen to ourselves and our body’s needs instead of telling our body what we think it wants.
We certainly don’t like it when people tells us what we want or try to control us or even try to force us to do something. Your body is no different. Have you ever noticed that the more your force the pose, the more you force the stretch, the more resistant and disharmonious your body becomes? Maybe that is telling you something, and if you let go of control the body will release and harmony blankets you.
The hardest part of the physical practice is honoring our bodies and what it needs in that moment. We will fall back into old habits of self-criticism, negative self-talk, and self-judgment; that is a part of life. The challenge and the question is do you have the awareness and strength to step back into the moment and honor yourself in thought, word and deed? To find balance?
Your body is the reflection of your mental and emotional state.
We keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; this is the definition of insanity as described by Einstein. Do you have the strength to stop? Do you have the strength to quiet the mind, listen to your spirit so your practice is enlivening and invigorating?
I believe you do have the strength to have a practice that leads you to a whole new place to connect with spirit, to achieve balance, to achieve equanimity to respond to life’s challenges instead of react.