Life Personal development Yoga

Day eleven: where I find my shadows

Yoga is a journey for life. This means that the learning is never over and that there is no such thing as an end point. But we often still catch ourselves thinking in those terms. Rationally, we might know that we are perfectly imperfect, unfinished beings. Yet on an emotional, personal level, we want so much to feel complete.

If this yoga teacher training is teaching me anything, it is how deeply ingrained this perfectionism really is. Despite having already done a lot of inner work to dismantle my own beliefs about how I’m supposed to be, I’m still sensitive to other’s people’s opinions. And my own opinion about myself.

At a loss for words

I’ve been on this yoga journey for a few months now and it has been nothing short of amazing and life-changing. But when people ask me to talk about the classes we’ve had and the things we’ve learned, I notice that I’m unable to express what it is that we’re doing, or how it really feels. No matter how hard I try, my words can’t seem to do justice to my experience.

It’s funny how that goes. Ever since I was a child, writing has been my main medium of self expression. Whether it was fiction, poetry, song lyrics, magazine articles or even academic texts, I’ve consistently been able to express my inner world in writing. Words have always been a refuge. Something I could return to.

But as I’ve written before, I feel like I have increasingly lost the ability to tap into my inner whirlwind of being and turn it all inside out. It’s like trying to pull a rabbit out of a magician’s hat and finding that it’s just a hat. The magic is nowhere to be found.

And that’s the funny thing. When you can’t find the words to express how you feel, you start to worry that nothing is there to begin with. As if an experience only counts when you can paint a picture of it. Simply living it is not enough.

Connection to yourself

One thing we learn early in our training is that yoga is not really about mastering all the asana’s or knowing how to perfectly balance out your chakra’s. Yoga is about the connection to yourself. With every moment that you are present with your breath, you have a chance to rest deeper inside yourself. There really is not much else to it.

So it is interesting – and perhaps not completely surprising – to me that in this journey, the thing I struggle with most is translating the experience of connecting to myself. Not how I relate to my teachers, how there are constantly new body parts that require my attention, or how I always get distracted and frustrated by people who snore during shavasana. The only things that really have become a struggle for me are the frameworks I have created for myself. The ideas I have about how I live my life and should go about this inner journey.

In the classes we have I look for themes that touch something that I am working on myself. But even though I often find them, those are not the themes that I am actually struggling with. Instead I mostly struggle with the expectations I have about myself, or how I give meaning to my own experience. That is where I have to face myself and look at all the things I find hard to swallow.

Say it well in good sentences

So I don’t meet my shadows on the yoga mat. I find them closer to the things that also give me light. I can see these shadows in the perfectionism about my creative process. The impatience I have with my own growth.The envy I feel for my creative friends who just “do” things and don’t overthink it. My frustration with being unable to push through with what I started. My even bigger frustration with giving myself these writing assignments in the first place. The desire to break free. And that part of me that doesn’t want to be vulnerable and just prefers to hide. They all reflect back to me in these blogs and how I relate to my own writing. In a way, the writing itself is my yoga journey.

It is perhaps my greatest wish to live, love, and say it well in good sentences. To be the writer and woman I’ve always aspired to be.

The only way out is through.

We ourselves are our biggest mirrors.