Do you honestly know yourself, have you looked deeply at your true self?
Looking back on my yoga journey I really feel its one of the most honest ways of getting to know yourself, your true self. Who am I? What is my purpose? Well I’m not saying yoga gives you all the answers but in my case and in others I have spoken to it is somewhere we are given the space to start. Its a deeper journey a slow process coming face to face with self doubt, understanding your strengths, weaknesses, fears, passions, becoming aware and going beyond your likes and dislikes, then accepting and loving yourself.
My journey is ongoing but began when I stood in front of the mirror, patiently waiting for the class to start. Sweat had already started to run down my forehead before I had even started the breathing exercise. Looking at myself in the mirror, I thought this is going to be a long 90 minutes. Its not something that comes naturally to most people, really looking at your Self through all the sweat, the challenging postures, in a barely there yoga outfit. The mind wonders, often to negative thoughts, what we want to change, things we didn’t know existed, even thoughts about how we can possibly stay in this posture for the full duration – anything and everything to distract us from centering the mind and following the breath to look deeper below the surface.
For a long time I didn’t actually let my self in. Until I had a class with Zefea Samson – one of the co-founders of evolation yoga – her particular theme that day really resonated with me. “Imagine you are on a date with your self”
yoga really is a date with ones self
You are there, you have the awkward introduction, sweat already dripping down your body, face beginning to turn rosy and then there it is Half moon, the first posture after breathing. Looking through the creases that appear on the side of your body. The curve you create when pushing hips to the left and your raised interlaced fingers above your head to the right. Legs clenched together thighs engaged lifting your knee caps up and your saying “hi there, ummm, yes thats me.. I’m most definitely here and I can bloody feel it!”
Through the rest of the standing series, my date became more intense, I wanted to have an open, honest date, with no expectation just be with my self and what I was that day. It felt strange to see myself in this way but it was liberating to be able to detach and see things from a different perspective.
The date was a challenge and once we got to the floor, the first Savasana It was an opportunity to metaphorically go to the bathroom, have a think, “is it going well do I like this person? will I go home with this person? or am I coming up with a strategic way of getting out of this?
On the floor, for the first time I actually felt gratitude towards my self, its a pretty challenging series and I was still there through all the discomforts and still wanting to carry on my date. On the outside I was grateful that the communication between, breath, mind and body was flowing. With little expectation and an open-mind I discovered you know what I quite like my date! I didn’t have self judgement because I let myself in, visualising it as though it was the first date.
Yoga really is a place where if you can leave the self judgement, negative thoughts and baggage at the door you are able to look deeper and begin to get to know you. It’s demanding and a difficult place to start. In my opinion there really was no where to hide unless I hid behind my thoughts, but learning to let go of them and bringing the focus inward has changed my practice dramatically and hopefully the way I will teach.
Towards the end of class, we were asked whether we would go home with our date?
…Hell yes I will!
Yoga becomes the book which holds your story, you are the subject, it’s your date.