The Enlightening Mat: "Kill Your SELF"

dying into oneness

Bikram has this phrase that he likes to say before starting yoga class --  "kill yourself." I always thought it was some stupid, macho crap said to make you sweat more. I saw it as idiotic, super-jock stuff left over from Bikram's weight-lifting days that was contaminating my yoga bliss.

So whenever an instructor would say "kill yourself" before starting class, I'd secretly respond, "yeah right, Bikram, why don't you and your macho self go take a flying leap." Then the other day a yoga teacher said, "you know, when Bikram says 'kill yourself' he means kill your ego."

Wow, did I wake up and start paying attention!! For nearly three and half years I've resisted the single most important yoga instruction just because my perception was clouded by my interpretation of Bikram's personality and his choice of words.

Yes, "kill your SELF," kill your ego, every day, every hour, and in every moment. To see that there is no other and that I am the other is a constant struggle for me to wrap my head around. So the word "kill" makes sense now.  The ego fears its death in every moment. To become clear, empty, humble, curious, creative, and awake appears to our ego as a sort of emotional violence that many of us can't even fathom.

Thank you so much to the amazing yoga teacher who opened my eyes to the meaning behind these words and has deepened my practice in so many ways.

The Enlightening Mat is a blog series exploring moments of awareness that come to Beth Hemmila while practicing Bikram Yoga.

To shop for yoga charms that celebrate the different poses click here to view this blog post Sterling Silver Charms for Bikram Yoga Postures

1 comment:

  1. Ahh, yes, the phrase does summon up negative emotions. But it makes sense in this context. It makes me think of my own approach to conflict or feelings of discomfort. I try to put a side myself,reaction, to open up to all of the many possibilities of what may be happening. BTW, I am not always successful in this. But I really love this straight forward way to look at it. Thanks for that.


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