In the Yoga Sutras, the ego called asmita carries negative connotations. It occupies our consciousness feeding our emotions with thoughts of me and mine; “I am”, “I want”, “I need”, “I hate”.

My Guru once told me that Yoga teachers can’t be Yogis because they feed their ego. Well, let me tell you that this notion ruffled my feathers and unbalanced my crane pose, Bakasana. While losing patience with my crane, my ego kept rearing its ugly head taunting me, infuriating me, hurting me. It was a downward disenchanting spiral, and my sense of self-esteem (just another definition for ego) dwindled.

I pondered and wondered. If the ego is bad then why do we strive to:

egoHere’s a supposition, the ego is a paradox.  Just as we strive for balance in Yoga, we also strive for a balance within ourselves and daily lives. Balance cannot exist without extremities; good and bad, love and hate, easy and difficult.

Okay, now I surrender. It is what it is, however something inside my sense of self changed, and that has changed everything, mindfulness of the ego. Now I catch myself, check myself and use 3 principles to check that ego, be it off or on the mat.

Check your ego with these 3 top tips:

1. Just breathe

Breathing with intent, long inhalation and deep exhalation is one of the basic pleasures of being alive in the present moment. It calms and unites the body and mind as one. Breathing is one of the supreme gifts Mother Nature bequeathed, allowing us to take universal pranic energy and guide it within.

2. Believe yourself

Intentions, wishes, and dreams whatever you perceive them to be. They really truly can come true. Not all at once, but here in lies the splendor of life’s journey. The secret tonic to success is imagination and confidence to open your eyes and head down the path of your dreams.

3. Simply Be

Svadhyaya is the practice of inward reflection, honest self-observation and learning. Whatever you do, wherever you are, find contentment and simply be there, because that’s exactly where you need to be.

On some days my crane is steady, patience and still, on other days it’s the opposite. Just as the crane perches on a rock by a river, hoping to catch prey, he may not always be successful, but he will always persevere.