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« Trainings, Books, Workshops, Retreats: When Is it Enough? | Main | Yoga-Related Goodies: A Few of My Favorite Things »

March 12, 2008

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Diane Cesa

Hi Karen -- I just love your comment. You've put into words what so many of us have experienced at one time or another on the mat. You've hit the nail on the head -- it comes back to acceptance. Let that nasty ole ego go! Thanks for sharing your experience!

Karen

My ego comes pouring out in the downward facing dog pose as it is a bit frustrating that I cannot hold that pose for longer than a few seconds. I have arthritis that gets in the way and I find myself pushing against that. I eventually accept my limits, but it is hard because I'm thinking that I won't get the most out of my yoga if I'm not "doing it right". <---That's my ego talking. :)

I test my limits, but in the end, I accept them.

Thank you for this thoughtfully written post. I think it speaks to most of us out there.

Diane

Thanks for your kind words Marion! The truth is -- we're all beginners! It can be hard not to get caught up in that whole "we stink at this because we don't know what we're doing" mentality. Still, I'd rather be a beginner than an expert who thinks he/she knows it all any day. Think of all of the experiences that "the expert" misses because the "I already know this" mindset is there. Good for you for finding such a wonderful teacher. Hang on to him/her because sometimes good ones are hard to find. Have fun learning!

Marion

Thank you for this entry - it really spoke to me. I'm a brand new beginner, and it's difficult to be the "worst" in the class sometimes. Yes, I know there is no best or worst, just sometimes I need a reminder. Thankfully, I have a beautiful, kind teacher who is encouraging and always says that the only "right" pose is the one that is right for you.

I've just stumbled across your website and I really love your writing. I am working through the archives now. You're in my favourites list for sure!

Diane

Hi Trisha --
I'm so sorry that you had such an awful teacher training experience. Talk about not embodying the true essence of yoga, eh? It's sad that yoga has taken on such a different meaning here now that the marketing execs have gotten hold of it. I think it's those of us who aren't perfect (which is everyone basically!!!) ARE yoga. Acceptance not perfection. Soul not ego. Being you not being "perfect." You expressed some wonderful thoughts here. Thank you for contributing.

trisha

a few years ago i went to a teacher training program where ego was rampant. i was there for self knowledge. i was the worst off physically, but i paid my money and asked questions. the teacher found fault with everything i did/said, including trying to humiliate me over my sanskrit pronunciation. (i later found that is was the instructor that was wrong...) most of the students were nurses and aerobics instructors who were more about ego than about spirit. it was sad, but educational.

i blame the yoga books and magazines and videos that show nothing but perfection. that's why so many people find yoga unapproachable. "i can't do THAT," i've heard more than once. in reality, it's those of us who AREN'T perfect who need yoga the most, and the farther from perfection we are, the more we get out of our practice.

leave your ego at the door. it's kinder to your body, and it's kinder to your students...

Diane

Hi slpete42 --
I like your junior high reference. I felt like that in a class or two and it was liberating to notice that. Your question about attainment is a biggie -- I think all yogis should ask themselves the questions you pose. Notice and praise are external whereas the other things you mention are more internal. I like to keep things internal (that's not to say, of course, that I don't go external now and again). That's what my practice is to me -- an internal pursuit.

slpete42

Thanks for writing. I like reading amd your discussions.

For me (an experienced beginner with Diane's orientation some, but also still pre-wheel), my keys are Diane's what's going on here (4) and breathing (1). They serve me well, I can still err, but not for long now.

I am so much more un-suffering now that these keys are used. Early on I practiced to win approval/acceptance by a teacher(s). Felt like I was in junior high again. Some confused thinking along several dimensions. Glad I made it through that.

In classes, too, sometimes notice and praise can come mainly for attainment. Likely important, too or more:
joy in practice?
breathing correct/approriate?
as a collective, happy to be here?
is energy/prana humming?
is asana honored as but the foundation of mindfulness, meditation, service and harmony?

slpete42

Thanks for writing. I like reading amd your discussions.

For me (an experienced beginner with Diane's orientation some, but also still pre-wheel), my keys are Diane's what's going on here (4) and breathing (1). They serve me well, I can still err, but not for long now.

I am so much more un-suffering now that these keys are used. Early on I practiced to win approval/acceptance by a teacher(s). Felt like I was in junior high again. Some confused thinking along several dimensions. Glad I made it through that.

In classes, too, sometimes notice and praise can come mainly for attainment. Likely important, too or more:
joy in practice?
breathing correct/approriate?
as a collective, happy to be here?
is energy/prana humming?
is asana honored as but the foundation of mindfulness, meditation, service and harmony?

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