Our ego (or asmita in Sanskrit) is formed when the soul enters the body and identifies itself with the physical vehicle. One of the main purposes of ego is to defend and protect. This can also morph into “assert” and “dominate.” Ego can make us believe we are the best and no one can do or know what we can. There is nothing really wrong with ego when it is moderate and in balance, but other than that can become a burden in our life. No matter what you gain, the ego will not let you rest.
Signs that your ego is out of moderate:
-too much is never enough;
- disliking when people succeed;
- redirecting the attention back to you;
- constantly comparing yourself;
- craving respect and recognition;
- always being defensive;
- rarely (if ever) helping others.
All this could lead you to a phase where the ego become toxic. The ego can create a negative world view and a negative view of others and self. The ego can put inner pressure on us to live up to unrealistic expectations. It skews our view of what is and what should be, and takes us away from the reality of the present moment.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali describes egoism as: "The identification of the power of the Seer with that of the instrument of seeing." In yoga philosophy, the ego is considered an obstacle as long as it is in charge, rather than being used in service to the soul and to the Divine. When you step on your mate, stay always mindful and aware, create a space where the ego become a servent in your practice, let become a booster that push you on the way of self-development and growth, not a tool for comparison who is better.
Techniques to help with the ego management:
- during your practice turn your gaze and focus to your inner space;
- let go the world outside of the mat;
- go with the flow of each movement and breath, feel how you just become one with All, one with the universal ego, where there is no point of comparing or showing of;
- dedication ! All above sounds great objective and to be reached we need great dedication...to step on the mat and to keep returning ignoring all the excuses, to keep focus and humble;
- to share, when we share our experience with the others and learn from each other, we feel the diversity of the personal experience of every individual, which is a result of unique combination of ones abilities and background.
Going on this way will realise that just there is no base for comparison, but for union of great diversity of beautiful souls. In the world we live there are so many examples of toxic ego, of ego out of control and all that it comes with it, but that is not the Yogi way. On the path of yoga there is no place for it, it's a 'long run' as the ego does not give up easily from the idea getting the control over our soul...It is worth the effort if we want to live in harmony with ourselves and the world.
Enjoy the harmony in your life!