Running from Our Shadow

Yoga has been a piece of my life for the last twenty years of it. Maybe 22. I started young, and then I took a break about 5 years ago from teaching entirely and hardly ever practicing.

I would still practice every now and then (like once every 3 years or something, lol), and I also stayed active in the movement world and industry. I explored all kinds of movement modalities. Earlier this year, I got the memo that I was to change career tracks again and return to yoga. So here I am—a humble, dutiful servant of the Lord (the one in the Bible, in the Bhagavad Gita, in many sacred texts; the One). LOL!

That’s what I say when I remind myself why I’m doing this. A lot of times, being a yoga instructor means all the neuroses come out full force. I’d bet you most yoga instructors are neurotic as hell. Just like most models are insecure. And certain other professions draw certain other personality types. Many yoga instructors secretly, internally ask, “Am I good enough?”

So, in the age of instagram and picture perfect yoga everything, I’m just here to say yoga teachers are human. Very human. We have days, we have emotions. There is shadow and light in all of it. A shadow side to a day, a shadow side to an emotion.

Life is not perfect, and please don’t believe anyone’s instagram to make you believe it is. They have struggle too. They just aren’t letting you see it. Which is something that baffles me… our lack of acceptance of the Shadow. Ignoring the shadow doesn’t mean it disappears. On the contrary, it just grows and grows until it’s all-consuming—yet hidden.

This is why everyone is wrapped up in appearing perfect. Not because we are, but because we’re terrified we aren’t. Any admission of humanity is an admission of weakness, of failure, of…what? What are you most afraid of?

Worse is the corporate infiltration (although natural and not necessarily “bad”) pushes unnatural standards on a life. To be sponsored or affiliated with a company, you must present as nearly perfect. Companies don’t want the Shadow. How will it affect the profit margin?

Yogis are here to understand the human condition. To explore all aspects of the human experience. It’s why we’re here. A huge element of being human means having a shadow. We can either shed light on it, like the Moon does every night, or we can continue to pretend it doesn’t exist—running from our Shadow.

Yoga is a physical exercise. It’s also a mental, energetic and spiritual one, too. Spiritual doesn’t mean rainbows, unicorns, stars, the sun and moon all day every day… well, maybe it does, actually. Fully embrace the light and the dark, the day and the night, the sun and the moon. Stand in the night, in the shadow. Embrace it. Accept it. Love it. Be it.

It is a part of you, just as valid as any other part. Hold hands with it and watch how your life begins to transform right before your very eyes.

Full Moon Yoga