Ego Bashing and Yoga, Is it Helping?


Yogis want to eradicate the Ego. A select few, but prominent, schools of yoga will tell you that one of the goals of yoga is to extinguish the ego and instead be as modest and unassuming as possible. I beg to differ. I call this view of the ego "ego bashing".

In spite of all this work trying to quell the ego, modern yogis are often accused of being the most egotistic, self-obsessed, selfie-taking, navel gazers alive. So how’s that ego bashing working out? Here's a theory.

If anything, I believe that the pressure on yogis not to have an ego is creating an opposite, reactionary effect. Yogis are so tired of subduing their egos that they're actually craving the need to celebrate themselves a little with a selfie or two. (Not to mention, yogis are also subject to the same self-absorbed culture of social media as everyone else on the planet, but I digress...)

Ego bashing is not going to solve any problems. Here's why embracing your ego might even be a good thing:

If you believe that the Divine lives in everything, then the Divine must also be present in the ego!  It’s not a question of whether the ego is bad or good. It’s how you relate to the ego that matters.

Can having an ego be healthy?

Yes, when you use it to honor your assets and offer them to the world around you!  In fact, it would be a shame if your ego were so suppressed that you shied away from sharing your gifts with your community. If you've got something to share that will benefit others - please do so!

Conversely, your ego is also healthy when you are aware of when to be humble, when to take the back seat, when to let others have the spotlight, or when to defer if someone else is more capable of doing the job than you.

To me, good yoga is never about suppressing something natural that exists within us. Good yoga instead happens when we participate, seek to understand, and engage with the natural foibles and shortcomings we have as humans.

Keep sharing your gifts with the people around you. Do it with awareness and thoughtfulness. Keep others in mind and never forget that the life force moving through you is the source of your greatness.