An Untamed Beast: notes on meeting my rage

I meet myself in an interesting place as a teacher of yoga. Yoga as a practice brings peace, health and balance to the body, mind and spirit of it’s practitioners.

In sharing this practice, I am forced to face myself on many levels.

A familiar struggle I meet is an inner battle between my self imposed expectations and lack of personal acceptance (two habitual perceptions of mine in a dysfunctional symbiotic relationship). When letting fear rule, I struggle to fit my own ideal of the image, “yoga teacher”.  I can fall into the trappings of what that role should look like. All while quietly struggling and resisting who I really am, inner demons (the fire breathing dragon with red eyes and scales that lives below the surface of my calm waters) and all.

There are definitely days when I practice and live what I teach. When I feel rooted to the earth below me and feel connected to the sky above. When I move and dance in rhythm with the beating pulse of the earth, in awe, full of gratitude and love. These are the days, the moments that keep me practicing, that inspire me to share what I learn with others.

There are also days when I feel bat.shit.crazy. The days when nothing flows, every small thing a struggle. The days that I flip my lid at the tiniest misgiving or problem. I yell, swear under my breath, get impatient, stamp my feet and huff around in rash and totally unproductive ways. The days when I get mad at everyone else for inconveniencing me. “How could you do this to me?” The days I let my dragon breathe fire on everyone and everything.

From there I can go to a few different places. I can smile from deep within and laugh at myself in my fit of fury. Offering self kindness and compassion and giving a hug to that so beautifully human part of me that sometimes just wants to scream (that usually helps). OR I can get down on myself and let the struggle spiral rage on (that usually doesn’t help).

As a practitioner and teacher of yoga , I can fall into the unrealistic trapping that everything always has to be fine. That even if it isn’t fine, I should have enough practice or perspective to maintain my cool balanced seat in the center of all the chaos. Un-shakeable. When I achieve anything less than this ideal in the face of challenge, my judgements set in, the ball of my expectation and the reality of falling short unravel in front of me.

Usually from there I retreat to my bat shit crazy cave, my dragons den.

In the dragons den retreat, I make a giant bowl of popcorn smothered with coconut oil, sea salt and nutritional yeast. (Side note: because it has the word nutritional in it, it is very good for you and can be consumed in large quantities). I pour a soda water with lime, which in days passed would have included rum but I am actively practicing facing myself with less dimmers (more on that later)! I plop myself in bed with the fan blowing on me and giant pillows around me. I open my computer and watch youtube videos of cats riding electronic vacuums and jumping into boxes until I feel better. Usually this works.

There is a part of me that wants to resist and say “Roll out your yoga mat, sit and meditate,” but sometimes watching cat videos is exactly what self care looks like for me and part of my practice is being okay with that.  You can find me in my dragons den about four nights a week. But seriously, beyond my retreat there is a deeper level of working with self love and acceptance that I hope to grow more and more. Loving my dragon, my irrational explosive fire. Learning to listen to her voice before she rages out of control. Acting on her yearnings sooner and making more room for my perceived imperfections. Giving myself a hug when flipping the bird feels more natural than saying Namaste with my hands at my heart.

I hope to grow more comfortable in knowing that there is beauty and grace in that fire, power in it and a bridge to transformation and personal growth. Honouring that there is a strength required in expressing all aspects of myself and sharing my truth, popcorn crumbs and all. I hope to grow comfortable in knowing that this level of being only leads to more growth and authenticity from within and in my external relationships.

I would be lying if I said that really seeing, and accepting those aspects of myself was easy, comfortable and didn't scare the shit out of me. And I guess that is part of my practice for now too. Learning to love my untamed dragon.