Friday, January 13, 2012

Do you know who you are ... really?

We, each of us, have an identity that defies description. At the very heart, the very core of each person on this miraculous planet, we are ... well, we ARE! I have a tattoo that says ‘So Hum’ in Sanskrit—which means “I am.” 

This is the realm of the Soul and cannot be defined—which contrasts sharply against the realm of the Ego—which is all about limiting labels and beliefs. Any time we use a label or adjective to describe ourselves—whether it is positive or negative—we are living through our Ego Identity: I am a mother, I am a friend, I am a lover, I am funny, I am a hard worker. All these things explain how we ‘see’ ourselves in the world. It is how, over our entire lifetime, we have come to perceive ourselves and our roles in this life experience.

But these labels can get us stuck and mired in ruts of unhappiness. Imagine each label and belief you have about yourself and your abilities as an invisible box, and you are standing smack dab in the middle—just like a mime. Now imagine exploring that box, palm each face of that invisible cube, and find you are unable to get out. Our Ego Identity is an invisible (unconscious) barrier to experiencing lasting peace of mind and well-being. Sure, we can have moments of happiness in our little boxes, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience happiness from this moment on? Labels and adjectives limit us because we are so focused on this identity—this person who behaves like this, or says things like this, or only does certain things like that—that we will not attempt to live outside those boundaries. For the majority of people, we are not even aware of the fact that we are interacting with life from within an invisible box.

In my Yoga Dance classes, which are a mixture of guided and free style movement set to awesome upbeat and energizing music, I encourage people to step outside their comfort zones—to try and open their boxes, stick their heads out and have an enthusiastic look around. We hide inside our boxes out of fear, for example we might worry about fitting in—being accepted or worse being rejected. And we will tamp down our passions in an effort to not rock the boat— to keep things the status quo.

We keep our labels and adjectives wrapped tightly around us, like a suffocating security blanket. “I am ‘shy,’ how can I possible get up and dance in front of all these people;” “I am ‘self-conscious’ and worry about people looking at me, judging me;” “I am ‘a terrible dancer,’ no point in even trying.” These are our boundaries, our walls, blocking us from experiencing peace and joy. We are unconsciously stuck inside our little boxes, we don’t even realize that the labels we use restrict us, limit us.

If you were to suddenly become someone without any labels ... if you were no longer ‘shy,’ or ‘self-conscious,’ or ‘a terrible dancer,’... if you were just ... you. If you just ... ARE, imagine how much fun you would have dancing to your own light, your own music, your own beat.

Each of us are, at the very core, a beautiful, enigmatic soul, whose entire purpose in this life is to have fun, and live joyfully. Think outside the box and know true peace and happiness!

In gratitude,



  1. Before attending my first yoga class 3 months ago, I was VERY intimidated. I read a lot about what to expect and kept telling myself, "You will never be able to bend like that. Everyone is going to think you are hopeless." In spite of my fears, I signed up for a one-week trial at my local yoga studio. Staring at myself for 90 minutes was the hardest part of the entire experience. There were so many things I disliked about my body. Diane, the instructor, repeated to no one in particular, "It's just yoga; don't take it so seriously." By the end of the third class that week, I had forgotten why I had been so afraid and what parts of my body had caused me so much anxiety. Now, after 90 days of 3-4 practices each week, I still find myself falling out of positions or grimacing in the mirror because I'm not breathing correctly. Before, I would have beaten myself up for not getting it right EVERY SINGLE TIME. Now, I chuckle and move on. Yoga has changed me and how I see myself.

    1. What a beautiful testament to how yoga can transform the way we view ourselves and the world around us! You must have an amazing teacher in Diane. Yoga is all about getting out of our heads, and just enjoying the moment, without judgment. It sounds as though you have embraced that philosophy beautifully! Thank you so much for your wonderful comment!
      In gratitude,