Over the years, as I have become more deeply steeped in my practice, my circle of friends has grown to include amazing, wonderful human beings who are engaged in a process of self-knowledge and self-care. And I, too, have been on this journey. Whether I am on or off the mat, I am often considering every subtle aspect of my life and existence. I have become acutely aware of what I am thinking, feeling, and doing in most moments. I see this in my friends, as well, and we can spend hours talking about how we behaved in or processed a certain situation, how our bodies run differently depending on what foods we eat, and what style of Hatha yoga best suits our personal constitutions.
The upside of all of this internal investigation is that life stays extraordinarily interesting and, the hope is, that it makes us more conscious. The downside, as one of my teachers once said to me many years ago, is that yogis can be some of the most self-absorbed people around. Now, I get that the greater goal (or one of them) is to become more present with ourselves so we can use that self-knowledge to be more conscious when we are out in the world. But, on the way, we certainly are focusing on our own selves a lot! I think, sometimes, it can lead to a sense of tunnel vision. For instance, are we missing out on important things happening around us? Can a sense of hyper focus on diet and lifestyle create myopia or anxiety? Do we start to discount the perspectives of those who aren’t yoga practitioners?
I have found, too, that people in the yoga community (not discounting myself) can sometimes tend to be flakier, or more likely to break plans, than people not in that community. We’ll bow out of something if our energy feels off that day, or if we feel like one of our doshas might be out of balance. The upside, again, is that we take care of ourselves better and we really do need more self-care in society. The downside: It can feel like plans we make never leave the category of “tentative” until they actually happen!
Have you run into self-absorption and flakiness amongst yoga practitioners? What are your thoughts on how to mitigate tunnel vision as a yogi, and stay in the stream of life even while increasing discernment and moment-to-moment awareness? Write in and tell us what you think!