In the age of social media, we can share our entire lives as they unfold. The modern day voyeur is immediately appeased with YouTube, Instagram stories, Facebook feeds and ahem … personal blogs. The courage that we gain from being vulnerable helps us to open up to our true nature. There is an ingredient however that we could benefit from adding into our personal yoga journey and our lives….
Here I define ‘yoga journey’ as any type of self development. The way that we express, connect and learn from each other has evolved. Once carefully constructed advertisements, we now prefer the natural beauty of who we are in our private moments. Ironically our ‘private’ moments are now out there for all to see. I too have learned that when I allow my soul to be seen I am more recognisable as a yogini. I’ve been considered a fraud by some and great by others, but I am recognised nevertheless when I am ‘real’.
Just Because You Aren’t Hiding What You Are Learning, Do You Always Need to Publicise It?
We’re not frauds if we don’t show every single flaw, and we aren’t necessarily self absorbed if we put a camera on ourselves one in a while. Balance between the two, I believe is worthy of consideration. Once dubbed as ‘Fake’-book because of the shiny one sided stories of people’s lives, the new movement seems to be ‘Show Who You Really Are’–book. As someone who embodies the latter, I still get jaded by my feed being filled with every personal detail of someone’s yoga journey, good, bad, and wildly intimate. As a result, I do think before I post.
There seems to be a social validation that comes from saying, “I am flawed, love me & I’ll love you back.“. The torrent of support floods in and we can breathe out again. But what if we support & love ourselves, yet still say “I don’t love this part of me, I don’t love this behaviour.”. Can we keep that side of us private? Does it mean that unless we exploit every vulnerability that we have, we are fraudulent? Not necessarily. It means we are saying “I want to change myself, or I want to accept a part of me”, and keep it private. It doesn’t mean that we have low self worth or low self acceptance.
Are we so busy showcasing what we do, that we dilute our power?
As students of life, we use experiences to learn about and improve ourselves, but if we become so busy showing others what’s going on, we will not have the focus to make positive changes in our lives. Yes, we need to be loved, without it we would wither away and die. Permanent change however, takes focus, strength and discipline.
There are some basic principles to live by in the ancient scripts of yoga called Niyamas. Niyamas are personal disciplines for living well and they are potent when practiced in private. In particular, Tapas, transformation of our pain into strength, is a practice of intense discipline. These moments that require warrior like focus, will and strength will be diluted if you are too busy sharing your experience with others. It’s a bit like if you were trying to lift a car off your crushed child and you were busy telling the person next to you what you were up to – well….
These private moments in your yoga practice are your precious jewels.
Inward experiences can be powerful magic. Like alchemy, the pure energy a challenging experience creates can be harnessed inside our awareness in meditative states and transformed into our greatest strengths. Seek validation from another and you will not have the drive and determination to make positive changes. When certain experiences no longer feed us, that is, we become disinterested in our own behaviour, we move beyond it. Then, if we choose to share it, we can share it from a wiser standpoint. It is then that you become a teacher – when you are sharing the wisdom you learned – from the new perspective you have gained. Free from the need of validation or controversy.
As a student, I don’t hide what I am working on, but I don’t always publicise it either. Once I’ve conquered, I like to share and use it as a tool to teach. Let’s face it, a teacher is simply an advanced student, but our power is magnetised when we separate the two. Be a self absorbed student and you will naturally become a teacher who serves, for the best students, become the best teachers.