Letting go of the ego.
Yoga: To yoke, unite, the mind, body and spirit. The physical aspects of yoga are the starting point for learning to let go. The more flexible your body is, the more flexible your mind is. The more flexible your mind is, the easier it is to change patterns.
Your ego is just a collection of thoughts that you identify with.
What is the ego? The ego is many things, but mainly, it is the thing that holds you back. It is the thing that keeps you up at night with worry. It is the small voice in your head that is constantly cutting you down and telling you that you are not enough—not smart enough, not thin enough, not strong enough, not pretty enough, not cool enough, and so on.
When you feel your spirit soaring, the ego rushes in and stops you. Your ego says, You can not do that. You can not be what you dream to be. You can not accomplish the goals that you have set for yourself. You are being crazy. You are being irrational. Your ego tells you to stay where you are, to stay where it is safe and secure.
Does this sound familiar? Do you recognize this ego? Have you heard it in your head? Yes, me too. We all have.
Your True Self There is a counter force to the ego. It allows you to overcome all of the ego’s fear, anxiety, worry, and scare tactics. It is your True Self. Maybe you have caught glimpses of it?
Perhaps one day you were floating in the ocean, warm sun at your face. As you lie there peacefully, all fear, worry, and anxiety left your spirit and you felt an exquisite calm. Perhaps it was while you were riding a bike. You were riding through the woods, cool wind in your face, and you felt, "This is it". This is my peace, calm, happiness. Perhaps it was in the gym and you were pounding down on the treadmill, sweat pouring from your face, knowing that you were doing it, becoming that beautiful form that’s always been inside of you.
You have had one of these moments. They are different for all people, but they are the same in that—for a brief moment—we catch a glimpse of our true selves and our egos are completely gone. In that moment, there is no fear, no worry—there is only you: infinite, kind, beautiful you.
All suffering is ego-created and caused by resistance. Your ego is a part of you, you can never be rid of it entirely; but you can learn to recognize and overcome it. The key is to carefully monitor your thoughts. You must remain aware. Happiness is slowing down and listening to the conversations inside your head. When you hear your ego come out and start to cut you down, address it immediately Acknowledge, Embrace, Adapt and let it go.
If you can remember to do this, your true self will prevail over your ego every time.
In addition to recognizing and overcoming your ego, you must also embrace your true self. Seek out those moments that allow your true self to shine through.
Recognise those moments that appear and make you feel defensive, make you need to strive above everyone else. We are all individuals, we all need to support each other and help bring out the best in everyone, praise, focus and encourage the positive moments. How good does it feel to compliment someone, help someone (as simple as holding the door). And if they don't say thank you, embrace it. They could have a lot going on, stress, anxiety or simply didn't even acknowledge the fact the door was open. They too have their ego controlling their perception, emotions and physical abilities.
Relating ego to the yoga side of things, we are all anxious to sit amongst the class, we are all unconsciously breathing and eagerly await to get moving so we don't have to concentrate on the fear that other people are watching us. Have you came to a class and just watched the students beside you? Watched the student that can do the deep stretches and look peaceful, at ease and in control or have you felt like that student who can achieve everything but looks for the reactions of others? Your ego is there, sitting proudly on your shoulder and in just one moment you will close your eyes, breathe and completely connect with yourself. In that one moment you will find that blissful place, that warm ocean you were floating on, that cool air in your face from riding through the woods. YOU. Your body suddenly releases, you focus on your breath becoming mindful and even notice how the air fills the lungs as you inhale and exhale. This is your true self, the ego has disappeared.
The more often we put ourselves in these positions where we feel that connection with ourselves, it starts to come naturally and our bodies will strive for that positive release, and in time we will start to open up emotionally. Be mindful, grateful and above all, love yourself.