Is Your Freedom Fragile?

I often write about yoga and how it has helped me, guided me, and essentially saved my life.  BUT today, I am going to flip the script, and talk about how yoga has, at times, enslaved me so to speak, and has held me captive to the exact same addictions I faced before I discovered the practice.  

Now obviously, yoga itself did NOT do this, my mind was behind it all! However, I think the illustration powerfully exemplifies just how masterful the mind can be at POSING, and in my case, wrapping itself up as the gift of spirituality topped off with Om symbols, mala beads, and enchanting images of Ganesha.  All to keep me distracted and searching the outside world, rather than exploring the very place OM or HOME actually exists, on the inside world.

As someone who has suffered with poor self image since the ripe old age of 12, exercise settled in as one of my early-on addictions.  I decided that running was the key that would unlock my skinny and pounding the pavement became ritual, Forest Gump an inspiration.  

Thousands of miles and years later, a tailbone injury ended my running days and left me feeling like I was completely “out of control.”  I had believed the lie: that running = skinny, for so so long, that when I was stripped of the ability to adhere to this illusion, I became hopeless, pissed off, and even more depressed than I already was.  THIS, is how I found yoga.  

Now, I would love to tell you the fairy tale story that from that day on, I loved myself wholly and completely, but I can’t, because I STILL DON’T and also because that is not what happened.  Before I was able to use yoga to serve me, I used yoga in the same way I used everything else, to sabotage me.  Yoga simply replaced running.  I went out and found the most difficult, sweaty, intense, 90 minute classes I could find and rigidly committed myself to a 7 day a week practice.  Which of course, led to different injuries, the SAME negative body image, an inflexible schedule, and the perpetual lie that, if I just pushed hard enough, I could look like the girl in the LuLu Lemon add and then, AND ONLY THEN, could I finally, love myself.  The lie was simply cloaked in crystals, chakras, mandalas, and prayered hands.

When your mind becomes dependent upon something; THAT IS BONDAGE.  That is the shrouding of your light and of your freedom.  When you believe the lies you have told yourself, when you base your self-worth on anything outside of you, it’s like you take your power and your truth and discard it out the window.  It is very, VERY easy to transfer negative tendencies and habits from one area in your life to another, from your personal relationships, to your work environment and yes, EVEN onto your yoga mat.  

So I want you to ask yourself today, how FRAGILE is my FREEDOM?  If your freedom requires anything outside of you…say a job title, an amount of money, a role, a position of power, a particular status, a yoga pose, etc., ARE YOU REALLY FREE?  Or is it the weight of the identification that your mind has to a certain idea that you believe defines you…… the VERY SAME idea that is enslaving you?  

We MUST first SEE ourselves in order to FREE ourselves.

You are WHOLE, You are GOOD, You are ENOUGH

Andrea Behler