YTT, a humbling experience

A friend recently asked me how my teacher training course’s been going, to which I responded:

Practicing yoga feels like an ongoing exercise of humility. 

Building a strong and healthy body through yogic exercise requires focus, discipline, kindness to self (or else, injuries come!), and constant breaking down of the ego. The breaking down happens quite literally too – Our muscle fibres break down and tear when exercised. Only then can they be repaired into stronger and firmer ones. The more consistent the physical exercise, the stronger our muscles get.  

Likewise, our overall yoga practice can only improve through consistent and steady physical training. 

In yoga philosophy class, our teacher Sree asked:  

“Are you comfortable in your own skin?”

I paused for a long while “….Not entirely.”

On another occasion, he asked: 

“Tell me now, who are you? Describe yourself.”

I paused again as my mind raced, desperately looking for an answer that feels right: “I don’t understand what you’re asking….Okay, I don’t really know. I don’t know.” 

We often base our identities on external factors such as race, religion, socio-economic background, our job, and the people we surround ourselves by. Society tends to define people by similarly superficial labels. But without these outward layers, who are we really?  How do we identify ourselves?

These questions unnerved me, and the inward searching it’s prompted has become an unexpected but truly delightful part of my YTT experience.