Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Inner Thoughts of a Yogi

"Only when you're empty are you full"

I had an epiphany after yesterday's yoga class. I had my eyes closed during sivasana (aka corpse pose - a still, resting position lying flat on the ground), with my attention focused internally - physical sensations, thought patterns, stuff. The instruction upon moving into the next posture was to slowly open my eyes while maintaining inward focus. This spoke volumes...

I've been thinking lately about a friend who isn't dating anyone right now because he thinks he needs to be alone to figure stuff out before he enters a relationship. I've told myself that a million times, too. Another friend has crossed my mind lately because she's planning to leave the country for an indefinite period of time - she says she needs to go find herself... another familiar scene.

The problem I run into each time I play this "being single" game or I play the escapism card, is that I'm not really sure I'll ever have myself figured out. Aren't I always a work in progress? Aren't we all?

Maybe it isn't about being single or moving away but it's about learning to focus inward, under any cirumstance. Being single can help, living far away can help, not drinking or partying so much can help, but at the end of the day all any of us are really trying to do is create the quiet and space we need to hear our own selves. To hear our gut instincts, our intuitive thoughts. Isn't that what we're listening for when we take time to "figure some stuff out?"

So when I slowly opened my eyes in class and started to move into the next posture I found it hard to keep my mind focused internally. I was so distracted by everything around me - the people, their clothes, their abilities, their disabilities, etc... and so maybe that's just it right there. Maybe this path we call yoga, or in the bigger picture this journey we call life, is really all about finding that balance - how to be in relationships and hold on to ourselves, how to travel the world and maintain our values, and, at best, how to open our eyes and maintain inward focus.


  1. A very good realization! The journey that people REALLY want to take is inward and what they are REALLY searching for is the Self.
    Make sure to come back to this and remember when things get tough!

  2. Excessive looking inwards does not lead to self-awareness, but rather egotism, narcissism, and ultimately, increased lonliness.

    It is specifically the opposite, looking outwards, that not only leads to true self-awareness, but also to happiness, fulfillment, and commitment.

    One can spend one's whole life "trying to figure stuff out"- alone. It is far better to do that with someone who is "trying to figure stuff out" like you are, and helping others along the way.

    Introspection is good. Having it consume you 24/7 isn't on any level.

    Think about it.

  3. Anonymous - thanks for your post! I've thought... (and continue to) and here's what I've come to:

    "Excessive" looking inwards or outwards is off balance, which is thus undesirable. Searching both inwards and outwards alike are necessary on our personal journeys.

    Same goes for the idea of taking this journey alone vs. taking it with others. I think both time alone as well as time with others, (and the balance of the two) is necessary. There's something to be said for the clarity that comes with quiet and solo time, AND, there is also so much others can see in ourselves that we can't see (the whole food in your teeth scenario, if you will), so it's equally as important to journey in the company of others.

    What I was most struck by in my realization here was the depth with which we can look inward, how much there is to see in ourselves, and how empowering it is to discover these parts of ourselves. There's lots to take away from this blog post though so it's great to hear what caught you attention. Thanks again Anonymous for your post.