Thoughts on being authentic
As we are shining light on AUTHENTICITY and what it means to be authenic at POP UP YOGA this month, I am observing myself as I am in conversations, as I am interacting with others, but also as I am by myself. Who am I? Am I a different person as I am interacting with others, that I am when I'm all alone? Considering these questions and diving deeper into this quest of uncovering the true essence of myself, I become aware that what I am doing right now is called "Svadhyaya" in Sanskrit, the language of ancient yoga philosophy. Svadhyaya loosely translated means "studying the Self" and is one aspect of the Patanjali's Niyamas (2nd limb of yoga).
So the 2 aspects of Svadhyaya that I am inviting you to study with me this month and beyond October are the following:
Off the mat: Practice being a witness
To begin knowing yourself better, become a witness of all of your interactions throughout the day. For example: Catch yourself as you are in conversations with your colleagues during your lunch break: What kind of words do you use as you speak? Do you change the way you phrase your ideas according to the person you talk to? Are you involved in the conversations? Are you more of the extraverted, talkative one in the group or are you listening and holding back some of the views that could collide with the majority of the group?
Catch yourself on your way home: What kind of thoughts are circulating in your mind? Are you present or daydreaming? Are you content or agitated because of something that happened earlier during the day? How do you talk to yourself in your head? Are you gentle or judgmental?
Catch yourself when you get annoyed. Catch yourself as your heart rate goes up, as your breathing becomes irregular, as you are getting sleepy before going to bed. Study your actions and reactions like an explorer - with curiosity and neutrality - as a witness. No judging, just observing and learning about yourself.
On the mat: Shedding off layers in your home practice
I recently started my home practice with a simple, yet challenging exercise: I put on my favourite music, lay down on my back and start breathing consciously. Then I wait until my essence slips into my arms and legs and guides them into poses and movement. I try to remove all pre- imposed movement and all limitations to find my authentic self on the mat - uncaged and totally free. I disregard if the movements flow or look pretty. Even if the most ridiculous and absurd expression comes through me, I let it be. I want to give space to all of the aspects of myself: conscious and unconscious, wanted and unwanted. In this exersice I challenge myself to discoverwho I am in and through movement this very day.
What is coming through my body when I disconnect the mind and I follow my breath and dance with my essence?
To me this is a powerful way to reconnect with my authentic self. And in the spirit of being authentic and honest, I confess: this practice is not easy. It can be disturbing and unsettling at times. Sometimes this practice brutally erases the self, that I believe to be and shows me a side of myself, I have never met before. This can be scary. But simultaneously it feels very real, because this is ME. It is the raw version of myself. A Self that is much larger than I usually allow it to be. A Self so versatile and alive, beautiful and mysterious - a liberated and authentic self.