Culturally, we identify so strongly with our careers, believing that what we do is who we are. I once proclaimed so strongly that I am a yoga teacher, it stopped the conversation in its tracks, leaving friends to ask why I held so tightly to this notion. Their question made me pause and wonder the same thing myself.
Yoga’s ’10 Commandments’, the yamas and niyamas offer a roadmap for how to live a yogic life. One of the yamas is aparigraha, translated as non-possessiveness or non-attachment. In my need to identify myself with my career, it seems I’d strayed from practicing aparigraha. I had become so attached to yoga that it was part of my identity. I was wholly caught up in the ‘who we are is what we do’ paradigm and needed to establish some separation from yoga to understand how I had fallen into this way of thinking. By separation, I don’t mean avoiding teaching or not practicing. Rather, I tried to get clear that yoga means an awful lot to me, but it is not me. It is separate from self, or ego, or whatever you like to call it. Acknowledging this can lead to much relief. It’s ok if you aren’t working as a lawyer, banker, teacher. You are so much more than that. We are all so much more.