Be Yourself

. . . Cause everyone else is taken right?  I had to breakdown to breakthrough to get this simple concept. I mean who else can we be but be ourselves. Earlier this month, upon entering the Shala as Sharath calls the “one more”, a fellow practitioner leaned over to me and whispered, “Be Yourself”.  We had been waiting for some time and our now 7:30 am group had been getting to know each other just by waiting together.  You see how some people sit quietly, some read, some pull the curtains open and push open the windows, some whisper, some seem impatient and some are calm.  It’s the energy we share and everyone is certainly being themselves. The quirkier they are, the more I identify with them.  You see when you are quirky you see it a little more clearly in another.

As I began to practice I had this awareness that I had to embrace myself and be myself as I approached the mat and the series.  I also had to let go of some things in my mind. It surprised me that I wasn’t dwelling on anything as I stepped on the mat.  Yes, yes I had to be myself.  It’s my breath I’m working with and my body to still my mind.  Sometimes you want to get to the mat do the practice and have everything go just the way it is prescribed, but it is a practice and practice is what we do.  If I had to throw in the towel every time I judged myself for lack of doing something the way I thought it should be done, my practice may have been over at Surya Namaskar A, second one or something like that many times. I kept moving through the practice and felt more and more at home on my mat than every before.   How to accept ourselves without making excuses for what we do? I kept working this angle, letting go a little more as the practiced moved on.

Next gift of the morning, Sharath is there to back bend with me.  He of course is there for my dropping back which means he is standing next to me as I do it.  Then he gives a nod and I’m happy as I feel focused and calm. On the final drop I reach the floor and then I walk, I walk, I walk my hands. He says “keep going, same way” then he says “left hand” and I’m not certain what he means.  I just stay put there breathing and then it is time to come up.  He motions to me with his thumb and index finger about 1 inch apart. That is when I realized he was telling me that if I crawled a little more on the left I would be touching that heel too!  Doesn’t matter, I had a sense of doing what I could do.  I had a sense of him working with me and what was right for me.  I was really relieved as I nodded to myself thinking, be yourself.

I can’t be the next guy.  I can’t be anyone but myself.   You can’t go back and all we have is right now.  We need to be at home with ourselves to move forward. Practice helps us to see this.  Some of us have to work hard to stand up, to go down, to jump back, to breathe, to focus or just to get on the mat.  Some times we have a hard time getting out of our own way.  Sometimes we have a hard time just being ourselves.  We can’t be happy if we cannot be ourself.  Everything is pointing back to this. We never stop growing and learning but you gotta be yourself while you are doing this. We all have our own work, our own healing and our own dharma.  The break through that we make in our practices can start as you are standing in Samasthiti or as you take rest.  For me that day, it was as I took rest, I felt a sincere sense of who else can I be?  I was relieved that I could “Be Myself”.   It was a happy sensation as I felt that I was sincerely home.

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