representing one's nature or beliefs; true to oneself or the person identified
I've had in my mind for more than a year to write a post about authenticity/ being authentic. I started writing several times and stopped when I saw another article on the theme. I guess I didn't want to feel I was following a trend, I wanted to be all authentic about it!
Having recently returned from a trip to India, visiting the home of my YTT (yoga teacher training) that I experienced 12 years ago I've felt inspired to return to this topic. India can be such an assault on the senses, taking in the extremes laid bare before you; poverty and wealth, smog and clarity, compassion and harshness, clean and dirty, beauty and dingyness. And then there is yoga that originates from this land - a beautiful and often intangible thing, a way of life without guiding principles, a physical practice and so much more. It got me thinking; is yoga so popular because it's one way to help guide us in how we can live more authentically in an ever confusing, more extremist world?
I asked over twenty people that enjoy the varying practices of yoga what they perceive 'authentic' to be. The following five common threads came through. I am being authentic when:
- I'm doing my best and accept that's good enough
- accepting without judgement, expectations and practicing ahimsa (non harming)
- doing what feels right for me
- paying attention to what I need
- not comparing myself to others
So if you care about living in a more authentic way whether you are on or off the mat, try using this simple checklist in your everyday decision making processes. It could help you make the best choices from the possibilities available.
As a teacher of my discipline of yoga, here are the three things that help keep me grounded and authentic in class
1) Asking where is my ego in this day? It can be natural to steer away from postures or aspects that you find challenging or less enjoyable. I remind myself that I am keeping my practice real by allowing others to see things I am working on, struggling with and breathing through. Also, when you have invested time planning out a session, it can be hard to let go when your heart/intuition taking in the energy of the room is telling you to lead the practice down an alternative path. A good sense check question is: am I delivering this session from the right place?
2.)Exploration. There is such a vast array of yoga practices out there, traditional and evolving. I challenge myself to introduce from time to time changes to the sessions. They can be very big or very small. For example, bringing in a stone for everyone with an encouraging word written on it or sharing a new yogic chant I've discovered.
3.)Feedback. Connecting with yogi's about their experiences, their feelings. Finding out what people think and taking that to help shape future sessions and practices. Also, being grounded enough to accept you may not please everyone all the time and that's okay too (and that includes your own perception of how you did in any practice)
Would you like to share what your perception is on living authentically or being authentic? Is this is the same or different for you when you are on or off your yoga mat? Lets get some authentic sharing going.....
Lindsey is an accomplished Financial Services Project Manager now following her passion for sharing the benefits yoga can bring to all minds and bodies. As well as offering Akhanda Hatha, Chair and Curvy Yoga classes, workshops and wellbeing retreats across Scotland, she enjoys writing and has been published internationally in YOGA and OM Yoga magazines and the Huffington Post. She co-produces and hosts YEDTalks, a yoga inspired podcast series that is listened to in more than 60 countries. She is and experienced NLP Practitioner, Reiki Master, Holistic Therapist and active fundraiser for SAMH ( Scottish Association For Mental Health) Find her online at yoganuu.com, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, YEDTalks are available for free on Soundcloud and ITunes.