Yoga is Not About Becoming a Follower

Yoga is not about becoming a follower. Yoga is about self-mastery. It is a commitment to learn “the self”. So, you are a student and the teacher is within. Your body is the educational institution itself.

We focus the mind so it can be used to observe ourselves, our relationship with ourselves, and our connection to our surroundings. As we continue to observe, our old conditioning gets challenged. Whatever beliefs that are false fall and our understanding is refined.This process is what we call “learning”. We naturally transition to a newer understanding of life and apply it wisely. By wisely, I mean for serving our highest intelligence.

Our highest intelligence is the most purified perception for it is least tainted by conditioning. We can perceive any moment of our life through various point-of-views, and the highest intelligence would be the point-of-view that is seeing the picture most clearly.

The Magnificence That Is Your Mind

If you’ve ever tried to change your emotions or thoughts, you know that it can be next to impossible. I spent a great deal of time studying my own mind to see who was really in control, and this is the story of what I experienced. 

Rather than trying to win my mind in a mindgame, I tried to raise my understanding. I found that I couldn’t change my emotions; they depended on my thoughts. I couldn’t change my thoughts; they depended on my beliefs. Since my beliefs were the power house, the force behind “me” being “like me”, I sat down with my beliefs and had a conversation.

Photo by Rafael Guajardo on

Even my beliefs couldn’t believe what happened next. Most of my core beliefs realized that they were fraud— they didn’t even belong to me. They were just hand-me-downs from family, society, culture, religion, etc. Some were so old that they were happy to retire. Others couldn’t withstand the cross-examination.

But there was a whole network of beliefs. Beliefs that didn’t believe that I could survive without beliefs. Beliefs that helped me fit in. Beliefs waiting to replace the old beliefs. Beliefs about love, shame, expectations, etc. Beliefs that had whole life stories dedicated to them, such as, life cannot be trusted, or life is a race. Most of the beliefs were fearful and holding themselves trapped in fear.

Understanding the power of these core beliefs and their lack of validity helped weaken their power over me.

It was the only way to get out of the passenger seat, and into the driver seat of my own life.

I let my mind be free of beliefs as much as I could. Although I couldn’t just get rid of all beliefs at once, the little pockets of emptiness I created day-by-day allowed more room to breathe, experiment, and change. More importantly, it allowed me to hear my own voice— a whisper to trust life and follow joy.

Chan Chara, JaJa – Tropical Bird Club