Our sense of self is a complicated thing...
Next week, I am travelling to Spain to do my yoga teacher training and whilst I couldn’t be more excited, it has prompted some questions and ideas in me. I will be away for three weeks to undertake my 200 hour training, and that means a break from the weight-lifting and running that make up a significant part of my week.
A few weeks ago this was causing some concern, and it wasn’t until I was talking to a friend yesterday that I figured out perhaps why. My friend was assuming I was going to miss my gym workouts and pointed out the yoga would be physically challenging enough to replace this anyway, and I realised - that totally wasn’t it. I have no qualms with yoga replacing my gym workouts for three weeks, and no issue with not doing my squats, deadlifts etc.
I was feeling resistance about not training my back and doing pull-ups. How weird. I realised that, actually, this is because it is an area that I’ve started to hang a lot of my confidence and my ego upon. I like that I’ve progressed a lot in training my back, that it’s strong and it’s been incredibly empowering learning how to do a hard strength move. Having realised this, I now think it’s a good thing that I am going to have to step away from that.
Our egos hang on this idea of ‘self’ – answering the question, who are we? Questioning our egos can be uncomfortable because it can make us feel insecure. Yet if we define ourselves too tightly, we get stuck in this rut where personal growth becomes impossible. Instead, can we see that process as positive? When opening ourselves up to the idea our egos, opinions, behaviours and ideas might change, we open up for ourselves again a myriad of possibilities. We can be whomever we choose to be. Whilst that sounds a childish, and perhaps naïve statement, I truly believe it isn’t when we break it down into small actionable steps that we implement day after day; shaping our reality and ourselves.
Being aware of these self-imposed labels can be quite challenging, but we all tell ourselves things like ‘I am shy, I am fat, I am small, I am strong, I’m not a runner’... They may have once been true, but are they still true? How much of your ego and sense of self hangs on those statements? Is it a statement that leads you onto sentences like ‘I can’t do this/that…’? If it does, then maybe it’s not helpful! When we start to attach ourselves too much to labels, it can start to inhibit our growth. Maybe I need to define myself less by the number of pull-ups I can do.
So, whilst I will try and find somewhere to do pull-ups whilst away, I’m going to try not to put too much into that. Maybe I’ll find some new ‘labels’ whilst I’m away – sure, they’ll come with challenges, but I’m ready to embrace them.
You’ll be able to follow my yoga journey over the summer here and on social media – and watch out for class announcements, starting in September!