Me – Not Me


By Ted Cox

There are countless ways to define Yoga – and right now, I’m not talking about what we do on a yoga mat – just so we’re clear. One of my favorite definitions of the word Yoga is the annihilation of the walls we build around our hearts. The sketch provided was drawn by one of our students, Anna Moore – depicting this definition.

The “NOT ME” is held captive inside the very walls we built in an attempt to protect ourselves. These walls are tough – built from fear, resistance, and trauma. We know our NOT ME self very well. Our NOT ME is reactive, impatient, angry, frustrated, hurt, wounded, etc. Our NOT ME has been lied to, betrayed, accused, and defined by others – punched in the face and kicked in the crotch.

At some point in our lives – hopefully – we want out or our self-imposed prison. We become sick and tired of being sick and tired and we look for the weak spot where we can finally break free and escape into the freedom of ME. THIS, is Yoga!

A chick, still in its shell, at some point starts to peck its way out. If we help break the shell for the chick, the chick will most likely die. It has to do it alone to gain the strength it will need to survive outside the shell. We are no different than the chick. We have to do the work, alone! What Martha McQuaid and I provide at our two studios is a safe space in which to do this work – to finally break free of the walls that hold us captive and become the person we are meant to be. Our Teacher Training Program accelerates this work.

The work on the mat gives us the inner strength necessary to peck our way out into the life that has been waiting patiently for us to live. That life of ME is our sovereign birthright – it belongs to us and only us and it’s not found within our fortified walls. The gate holding us prisoner inside is unlocked – and has been all along. We’ve been too afraid and resistant to find out what lies beyond our self-made walls of fear.

How do we know when we start to crack the shell and annihilate the walls? Having witnessed and facilitated this process for over 17 years – we cry – the ugly cry is the best. We intuitively know all of this – the same as the chick – but we resist – we stop practicing Yoga and never come back. We need to stay in our shells a little longer – and many stay inside until they die. It’s our choice alone. Do we want to reclaim our sovereign birth-right and live the life of ME, or NOT ME?