A few nights ago I took a fundamentals yoga class at Suryaside yoga in Sunnyside NY. This class was taught by the amazing yoga teacher Lauren Pires. While the class wasn’t too physically demanding for me it was a mental kick in the ass or maybe the head. Let me explain, you see in this class Lauren gave a very simple cue on body awareness and alignment that had me constantly fighting my ego the entire class, “keep your chin lined with your sternum when you twist to the side”. For someone like me that has a chronic habit of acting like I have a “chucky doll or exorcism head” and cranking way past my shoulders because I think that’s doing something for my body or giving me a deeper twist. I learned from Lauren that its really not and had to humble myself and fight my ego the entire class. Being advised to keep my head lined with my sternum was a huge moment of constantly fighting that urge to do what I had always been used to doing. For someone that is an experienced yoga practitioner with years of practice and also a yoga teacher myself it was very challenging, but that's why I like to go back to the fundamentals or basics every now and then.
Now what’s really interesting about this class is the timing and my recent work and research over the past few days of recognizing my need to reflect on, introspect about and expose the dark or shadow side of my personality in order to fully be the person that I am meant to be. In the morning prior to taking this class I did a guided meditation that helped to lead me through this process.
The meditation was about relinquishing hurts and pains from the past knowing that I am safe and protected now, surrendering to the present and constantly staying grounded in the now, so that I may create a future that I desire and show up as my truest and most authentic self. Essentially slowly removing the mask of the ego that I have layered over myself piece by piece during my life. Just as this mask wasn’t formed in a single day it can not be removed in a single day and must be peeled away layer by layer.
These are the parts of myself that I keep hidden from the world and cover up with my ego in order to avoid pain and seek pleasure. These are the lies, vulnerabilities, deceits, and manipulations. These are the boxes that I’ve put myself into because of an experience or because I succumbed to someone else’s definition or label of me.
How My Ego Wants To Be Perceived
At the end of class Lauren said that yoga is “not meant to change you but instead peel back the layers to expose who you already are.” I was completely astounded in how that related to my constant mental work in class of not succumbing to my ego during my twists, and my work outside of class on beginning to peel back or unveil the layers of myself that resulted in my ego in the first place.
Furthermore the cue of keeping the chin and head aligned with the sternum also had deep symbolism for me. The sternum is a large breast bone that covers and helps to protect the heart. Keeping in a state of making sure I didn’t crank my head past my sternum was a physical reminder to always lead with my heart and not let my head or ego go too far but instead remaining centered, humbled, and grateful.
“Relinquish the past so that you may surrender to the present in order to create the future.”
~ Camille C. Ricks – Yogini Transit