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  • Ryan Bailey

Looking for a way in or a way out?

Are you looking for a way in or a way out?


I see so often people using Yoga like they use other things in their lives in order to escape and find a way out. A way out of what ever they may be experiencing, we do this with many things. Any substance that alters our current state can be offering us an escape a way out. This is not all bad; at times we need a break or an escape, totally get that. But if our life is filled with escapes when are we actually present to the people and the places and the things that are in our world?

I feel as the longer I teach and practice yoga I am in a place where someone has to stand up and say what needs to be said. First, Yoga can be used to escape in some ways your current state no doubt. But realize the escape is moving you inward to a deeper connection to self. This is the idea, it is time to see yourself. To learn to discern from what is a story, what is real. I realize not everyone is eager to take this journey. The escapism is fun in a way. You don’t have to address or deal with things if you stay in an altered state. I never realized I was doing this myself, in relationships with food and really with my own yoga practice. How we choose to practice and who we practice with will ultimately determine our end game results.


I guess taking a look at the bigger picture would be the best place to look. Why are we trying to escape our current situation or feelings. Trying to numb what we are feeling and escape some kind of experience we are having for a new and better one. It may all be a coping mechanism to ease what we are feeling maybe and not addressing head on. Often we may not know how to deal with what we are feeling, we may not have the appropriate support system to help us. We may know what needs to be done and are overwhelmed by the journey. We also may not want to change because of the unknown consequences. Sometimes we avoid or espace simply out of habit or culture. If we are honest we will use just about anything to avoid or escape a real feeling. Food, Alcohol, Drugs, TV, Work, Relationships… Endless. Maybe we don’t ever even realize we are doing it either. Because it is all accepted as “NORMAL” its ok and nobody see’s an issue with it.


To me this is becoming one of our biggest health issues, diversion of self. We avoid, we pretend and we stuff so much down. We all know how this ends. At some point it buries who we are. Sometimes it can be subtle. Sometimes it blows up into a major issue, people crack and break in some form or fashion. The coping becomes too much to handle, with a high potential of hurting others in various ways.


To be clear, some of the things we use to numb are not bad, really anything we can control and keep in check can be completely healthy. My interest is in the time we are spending looking in, not avoiding and truly dealing with what we see when we look in.


How do we Address this situation at hand:

I believe we are master manipulators of self-destruction and illusion. We will come up with any story any non-truth any excuse to justify or to escape a feeling a situation or uncomfortable conversation. We divert our energy away from ourselves even if it is in service of others so we do not have to address and deal with ourselves in any way.


It does start with addressing yourself. You need a place and environment to address you. Sounds funny right. But you need a place you can visit the real true authentic you. No bullshit, just you. It can be what ever you want but it just needs to be the real deal. No fluff no B.S. Sometime we just need a really good clear mirror. To me this is where the Yoga comes in. Not just any yoga. I have been around Yoga and practicing for about 13 years. I have not seen and done it all. That maybe impossible, I have experienced it only within myself. That being said, what I have seen and continue to see is becoming another way for people to escape. I am not here to bash anyone or any style. It is what it is, and will continue to be regardless of my opinions and thoughts. But to spark the interest of reality and to see through lenses of clarity. It would be great if we shifted to practice of Yoga to be about what Yoga is truly intended for us to use it as. A physical form of meditation. A place to connect to the conscious mind and learn to be in better control of it. Definitely to stretch and strengthen the body.


I feel like we are missing the mark, we are a bit too caught up in having fun with it and making it enjoyable maybe. Yoga was not created to be fun and entertaining to my knowledge. I have read some yoga books and studied with great master teachers. Yes it can be light hearted and enjoyable to a certain extend. But if it is purely all song and dance, when our we seeing ourselves when are we addressing what needs healing and shifting. Again… are we now just using yoga as another way to escape our current life circumstances? Maybe because we know it is a spiritual based practice others will assume we are spiritual because we say we do yoga. Or if we post ourselves doing fancy yoga poses we are a master of yoga. The thing is, your yoga can only be seen by you within you. It may become an outward expression but that will be a long, long time from now.


I realize we all use the practice for different reasons. Let’s make the effort to not escape, it really dumbs down the entire premise of Yoga. Escaping is not the goal. The goal is to go inward to journey and research the self. The truest nature of self and to see your habits, to see what you are trying to escape and why. To dive into the darkness and develop the ability to shine your light on it.


Ultimately the practice is attempting to teach you and show you the way to you, it is the Guru. The shiner of light, it has no discernment, it is a vehicle to show you yourself to give you an opportunity to learn discernment. Not always what it brings up are we ready to see, address or accept. It simply just is, just that, all the parts of you, uncut and raw. Now my favorite part, it then allows you the opportunity to create the tools to deal with and overcome and address finally what’s been trying to get your attention. What a gift, a vehicle of true self-discovery. I often think about maybe how and when Yoga was created. All the things people are looking to get out of yoga. These benefits and gifts are relative to the way we approach and practice it. It should help us cut the B.S and get right to the core of who we are. Which I realize now may be abrasive to some. Especially if we are spending so much time escaping, avoiding and numbing and pretending. We come to a practice that is intending to show you the real you and shine the light on what’s within. It might be a bit much at first. But I do know if you have the resolve to transform and make it through the initial phase of it. Everything you truly want and desire from within yourself will come in time.



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