tales of a hostile yogi

how i learned to embrace my inner grouch

You know that funny meme that says `I meditate, I chant, I do yoga and I still want to smack someone`? Well, I think someone wrote that about me. I, like most people, leave yoga feeling happy and at peace, but then I honk the horn in frustration at people crossing the street on the next block.

What can I say? I’m a work in progress. But then again, aren’t we all?

Recently I finished my 200 hour YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) and although physically my body was changing, and I was witnessing the benefits of my asana practice, I was still struggling to really feel and see the changes in me emotionally and spiritually. During the day I was a high pressure VP for a financial institution, dealing with the constant pressure of sales, managing
and making money: compiled with being a recently single mom and raising two teenage boys. The struggle was real”¦how was I to marry these two worlds? Trying to live a life of non-attachment, free from ego, and trying to apply Yamas & Niyamas – when the other 18 hours of my day were the complete opposite?

The answer: Acceptance & Observation.

Have you ever heard a Yoga teacher say “observe your thoughts, let them float by, don’t attach, just watch them, and let them go by?” Um, yea, but again, I’m that person who always is in their head thinking and analyzing “what the hell is she/he talking about…let your thoughts float by, what does that even mean?”  So I eventually began to observe my life. I began the journey of self-awareness; Svadhyaya.

In observing myself, I began to feel compassion and understanding that my life’s circumstances had molded me into this person who is reactive and controlling. (Or as I playfully say “a person with low tolerance for bullshit”). As a result, I began to incorporate Pranayama into my day. When I became conscious and aware of the triggers, those hot buttons, I’d step back, and inhale deeply threw the Nadis (nose), and make a vocal exhale through the mouth (insert yoga teacher voice, ha!) and yes, I did this at my desk, in corporate meetings, parent teacher conferences and sitting in Miami traffic. Mostly it was greeted with looks of bewilderment, since a “sigh” translates into some kind of boredom or discontent; but to me, it was not about what other people thought, but more so of what I thought of myself.

Enter, Self-Acceptance.

When I started to accept myself; and I mean truly accept those things in myself that I had labeled, i.e my short temper, my sarcastic humor, and my bossy personality, I found that it was beautiful. I was beautiful. I was able to laugh at myself because I didn’t have to take myself so seriously anymore. I wasn’t concerned with what others thought of me because I was now aware of Me. Accepting yourself and where you are in your Yogic journey is the true essence of transcendence. It’s the knowledge of being who you are, and knowing that you don’t have to change, you don’t have to judge, you just have to exist, and accept the present moment knowing that things will always be changing and evolving, just as will you. You are one with all things, and we are all the same. As the old quote says “we see in others, what we see in ourselves” is always there. Am I really a big meany? Or am I a reflection of you?

You see being a Yogi has no label and no certain look. We come in all different shapes and sizes. Your journey and your practice is not measured by how many colorful mala beads you have, or whether you own a juicer, or even how many complicated asanas you master. Being a true Yogi means loving yourself, exactly as you are!

Even if that means you still may want to smack someone less than an hour after Savasana.


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