"There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.” - Hindu Proverb
Curated Song: Alter Ego by Tame Impala (listen along for full immersion)
Disclaimer: I do not claim to know the truth. If anything, the more I learn about yoga and mindfulness, the less I know. This blog moreso explores my perspective, my perception of the truth, which is always in flux.
The Yogi Stereotype
Behold the Yogi stereotype: A supreme being who sits in a cave on the side of a gorgeous mountain in deep meditation surviving on air. Although this is a beautiful way to live, it is not realistic for me, nor for most of our modern-day Western society. Real talk: I listen to loud rock and roll music, enjoy festival season and certainly have a sweet tooth. But here’s the thing, I practice mindfulness every day in one way or another. Now that doesn’t mean I sit for hours on end, but every morning, I take the time to connect with myself, even if my schedule only allows for a five minute meditation. I’ve discovered it’s way more about consistency at first.
A common misconception is that yogis are happy and positive ALL THE TIME, that life's a breeze, and that we have some sort of supernatural power that is unique to the rest of humans. The way I see it, we are all perfectly imperfect creations of the universe. We are souls residing in a human body, which makes us susceptible to emotions, desires and in turn suffering. Practicing mindfulness certainly helps one deal with stress and enables a mindset that creates an aura of positivity, but this does not mean that yogis go through any less life challenges or never get sad. My practice has enabled me to cultivate a different outlook on “being sad,” one that is rooted in an overall acceptance that life consists of moments that are defined as light AND dark. As humans, this is in our very nature.
Balancing the Unrealistic Expectations
As a student of yoga, it’s easy to get swept up in believing that this stereotype has to be my truth. My roommate Megan Mckinnon wisely said, “it doesn’t have to look a certain way.” Being a yoga teacher does not entail being perfect, sure there’s an essence of self-discipline involved in the training process, but yoga is really about loving yourself unconditionally in this moment.
I realize it really comes down to balance. I talk about balance A LOT, and that’s because it’s a challenge for me. As a type A, creative personality, I overly commit myself to others and rarely leave time for introspection (apart from my daily meditation/yoga practice). Yoga connects me to an awareness of my truth, but it’s up to me to show up for that moment and integrate the lessons I learn along the way.
Every human is born with the potential to explore their own journey as they please. Mindfulness may not undo your past wounds, but it can help you fall in love with the scars that make you one of a kind.