The Sneaky Voice of the Ego (Yoga Challenge: Day 12)

I’m beginning to have a love/hate relationship with yoga.

I’m starting to feel the way I do when a high-maintenance friend comes for too long a visit. You love them dearly, but after catering to all their dietary needs, particularities and preferences and showing them all your favourite spots, you start to tire. My 30 day yoga challenge is starting to feel like too much of something that I totally love but that is asking too much of me.

I could pretend to be strong right now or in constant yogic bliss, as though this 30 day challenge has enlightened me beyond all the realities of being human, but that would be lying. In fact, I feel the very opposite. I feel so…human.

I feel the limitations of my physical body, the mental chatter during practise, the desire to be great and to feel progress and the sneaky voice of the ego (yes, I’ve said it now!) For any of you that have read A New Earth, you’ll know which ego I’m talking about right now (and if you haven’t read it, finish reading this post and then pick up a copy.)

And yet I love this humbling experience and how yoga has put me in my place. I have so much power within me, but misused and it will work against me. If I could just get over myself and throw ego out the door, I would truly be able to come to the practise just as I am.

Lesson from Day 12

More on the ego. When I’m trying something new during my practise (lately, my “project” has been Pincha Mayurasana), the moment I start to care whether or not I nail it, I literally fall out of it. This has shown me that our intentions can work the opposite of the way we want them to. One instructor often explains that we can deepen postures if it is available to us. Whether your goal is to place your hand on the floor in Reverse Triangle or stand on your head, the end result is not directly related to how hard we are trying or how badly we want it. Yes, we can work hard, but at some point we will simply be ready to receive the posture – in body, mind and spirit.

Take yourself – your thoughts and goals – out of the equation and no doubt more will become available to you in yoga than ever before. Goals have their place, but will only be effective if you allow the journey to mean more than the destination.


My whole concept of goals and yoga has been flipped upside-down. This excerpt is from my goals worksheet from August 2010.

Note – Many people lately have been asking me where I’m doing this 30 Day Yoga Challenge, not knowing that there is a beautiful studio right here in Banff, Alberta! I am doing the challenge and go to yoga regularly at Rocky Mountain Yoga, which is located right above the Wild Flour Bakery in the Bison Courtyard. For more on yoga in the Bow Valley, click here.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.


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