02 Jun The pitfall of being a yogi?
Yoga teachers get a lot of projections tossed upon them.
You have it together. You are balanced and harmonious. Lifes challenges doesn´t bite you as hard as it does others. You eat healthy. Like, really healthy. You detox at least once a year. Vegetarian or even vegan? No substance binges, probably abstaining. Always equanimous. To your own challenges, emotional or relational. Going with the flow is (supposedly) your middle name, and being able to fly in midst of unpredictability is simply your extended practice.
The strange thing is, yogis are only humans as well. They also get thrown out ´by karmic winds´. And stay down. I know yogis and yoga teachers with severe substance additions. Or eating disorders and body image issues. Or anger issues. Or anxiety and severe clinical depressions. I know yogis that don´t want to live anymore. Its not like practicing yoga make us less human, or protect us more from life´s challenges. Actually, cultivating compassion and deeper inner contact can make you even more sensitive. And even to a degree you find life more challenging than before you where less aware.
A yoga teacher shared a frustration that so many of her colleagues had burn outs. The origins can vary of course, conclusion is, when you work with being compassionate, you can also get compassionate fatigue. Also, the experience of one´s owns situation can be increased by the discrepancy between who you supposedly are (read: projections about yogis from the outside world, students etc) and how you actually feel.
One thing is of course always true: there is dukkha, the suffering that comes with being human. And of course, there is the continous dance between dukkha and sukkha, suffering and contentness. Though at times, also for yogis, the tango gets stuck in the dukkha. And the pain gets bigger because you´r supposed to have it more than together.
Bottom line is: Cultivate empathy and compassionate being – towards yourself also. Everyday. And don´t make your life your practice. Live your life. Practice as well.
This is a generic comment touching topics of the identity around the yogi role, and western or contemporary yogi culture, thus a subjective reflection. If you wanna read some empiric work, check out this Ph.d of Lars Jørun Langøien HERE, or a shorter article of him HERE “Yoga, change, and embodied enlightenment”