What yoga can teach us about ego and egotism

NamasteCJ-62

20 April 2017

A fundamental teaching of Yoga is to liberate us from our limited view of who we are.

We tend to habitually identify with what we do for a living, our achievements, where we live, how we look, our possessions and our relationships.

Yogis believe this creates a false identity or ego, referred to as a misidentification.

These misidentifications are believed to cause us to experience suffering (duh-kah) over and over again.

Our tendency as humans to continually seek to improve, acquire or move on to the next accomplishment are our misidentifications at work.

An inability to appreciate the now causes the western world an enormous about of stress, depression, anxiety and general suffering.

Yoga teachings aim to free us from our misidentifications of me-ness and mine-ness, which isn’t easy in our modern world I’ll admit.

Ego in the yogic sense is not to be confused with egotism.

However a modern Yoga practice can bring up many thoughts related to egotism – both in excess (hello handstands) or lacking (that negative self-talk again).

Thoughts often circulate in our minds that we are not enough.

On our mat these could sound like “I’m not flexible enough or strong enough” and off our mat these could include “I’m not thin enough, rich enough or young enough.”

These thoughts often develop through experiences or our environment as children and become ingrained through habitual and repetitive thinking throughout our lives.

This month I’m asking my students to observe throughout their practice, and off their mat, when they habitually identify with misidentifications – ego – and when their egotism is at play, particularly thoughts around not being enough.

If your ego and egotism isn’t serving you, change the conversation.

Ask yourself “what can I be grateful for?”

Your mind has a habit of listening to every word you tell it, so feed it positivity.

Tell yourself what you can do and what you want to do and your mind and body will probably start believing you.

As Gary Zukav says: “Becoming integrated and whole is the spiritual path. The body is a vehicle. Your job is to learn about yourself from your experiences and change yourself. This is spiritual growth.”

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