The ego gets a bad reputation. It bears the brunt of the responsibility for our insecurities, fears, jealousy, and frustration. It’s the antagonizer, the villain, and the reason your problems exist because that’s what Eckhard Tolle said. Every yogic text on earth can’t be wrong, right?! Well, this column is “yogic text” enough and I disagree.
Just like most other things on this earth, the ego can also be used for good or evil, but inherently it isn’t a bad thing. It can make you arrogant, but it can also make you believe that you can do things that no one else has ever done.
People like Oprah, Wayne Dyer, Choudry Bikram, Steve Jobs, and even all of our beloved yoga-lebrities had to carry the belief that there was something exceptional about them that could help them achieve greatness.
Yes, I said it.
Even in the yoga world the Ego is present and we should be OK with that
I mean, how many styles of yoga are out there today who were created by one person who thought their method was worthy of its own philosophy, teacher trainings, attire, poses, and temperature? Forrest Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Baptiste Yoga… the list goes on. Yoga is as expressive and beautiful as any other art form, and if we want to test our limits in a safe environment, who should have the right to tell you that your reason for doing it is wrong? Yoga is just another one of life’s outlets and whether we want to use that outlet to have a private, quiet practice to ourselves, or share it with the world, it’s all good, man. How you use your yoga is your decision. Just like I tell my students in class: if it feels good, keep doing it. If it doesn’t feel good, stop doing it.
The Ego is in your own practice, too. I don’t know anyone who wants to learn Scorpion for the benefits to the adrenals. They want to learn it because it looks freaking awesome. Sticking a pose you’ve worked on for a long time is an accomplishment, a measurement of your progress and dedication to your practice. It’s the culmination of hard work on your mat. It’s Ego, too. Without welcoming the desire to take our practice to the next level, the outcome may look different.
Yoga isn’t a competition, but competition means different things to everyone. It may not be a physical one. It may mean hitting a new personal high, achieving a goal, or overcoming an obstacle from a previous injury. The ego isn’t always our enemy; we can use it to fan the fire of the passions we hold. Our aim shouldn’t be to eliminate it, but to be in charge of it.