Your Ego is not Your Amigo!

“Ego is an imposter, imposing on the real you, making you think you are something that you’re not.” – Oprah

On the bathroom walls of Forward-Fold where I teach and film my online classes, reads: “Your ego is not your amigo.”  

I have no idea what student wrote this on the wall as when the studio opened, the owner Matt, allowed peeps to write whatever they wanted.  I often use this phrase in class and life.  The ego is an imposter and a real son-of- a-bitch.  It will haunt us forever so we better teach it its place and build a better relationship with it.  

 

There’s no winning with the ego.  No escaping it.  So, start by noticing how much, how often, and in what areas the ego is running your life.  I spend most of my time teaching and observing other people’s patterns of behavior and these are things you will often hear me say about the ego:

“The ego is strong tonight.  What about the heart?  Where’s the heart guys?  Who are you making all this effort for?  Not me, I hope.”

We have to expand our awareness, create a longer, bigger and stronger bridge so we can hit pause for a second and observe ourselves. Are my thoughts true?  Am I really feeling hurt that I didn’t get asked to be in the naked Alo Yoga book?  Is this something that I align with and desire, or is this my ego talking?  Am I a shit teacher because I can’t do Scorpion pose?  Who do I think I am for trying to teach yoga and create an online platform? Before we know it, the ego becomes fully in charge as we make ourselves small shrinking into all of our fears and insecurities.  All of this drama is being created by the greatest magician alive, the EGO!

 

Time to wake up to your life and challenge your thoughts, especially the ones driven by FEAR.  The first time I did this, it went a little something like this:

Ego: You can’t sell online classes.  No one will ever buy them.  Who do you think you are?

Me: I know who I am.  I’m Ella and you shut up.  I’ve been working on this all of my life.  I have faith in myself so you shut it down Ego.  

Ego: I don’t know what to say……you’ve never questioned me before.  Fine than.  I will shut up for now but I’m watching you because I know your fear and anxiety will return.

Me: Get out of here Ego.  I won’t allow you to walk around in my head any longer.

 

I see you Ego. I see you and will continue to challenge you, while moving forward, my dear fake friend!  I will no longer let you be the mastermind of my life.  I will not take what you say to be obsolete.  I know the ego will always scream.  The heart will always whisper.  So the question is, have you noticed your ego? What do YOU plan to do about it?

 

Xo Ella

@Ellavateyoga

Lately, while walking Anjali and sitting in traffic, I’ve been listening to NPR’s “How I Built This.” The creation and building of my Ellavate Yoga online platform have required courage, tenacity, and determination, especially in these early stages.

 

So to keep my anxiety and fears at bay, I’ve been extremely mindful of what I feed my mind. I recall the observations of Maureen and Tony Wheeler, the founders of Lonely Planet. “Our business grew very slowly,” they emphasized. “It was more like the snowball rolling down a hill.

 

You have to keep pushing it at first— and then it starts developing momentum and starts to get larger as it rolls down the hill. In the late 80’s, early 90’s, it became obvious that this thing had its own momentum and it was carrying us as much as we were pushing it.” At its height, Lonely Planet was valued at a quarter of a billion dollars. Not bad momentum!

 

So how can we apply this in our lives? If I think about my yoga career in Los Angeles, it definitely has its own momentum. I’ve worked hard to develop myself as teacher, student and a human being for the last seven years. However, my online platform is just beginning. Because it’s new, it often demands al my attention. It reminds me of my furry love Anjali, when she was just a few weeks old. I love her to pieces now, but I was certain she was defected a puppy.

 

The online platform humbles me and has the ability to bring me to tears of despair or joy— depending on the day. It shows me how attached I am to a certain vision—to a rigid time frame in which to meet my goals. It’s a dream being written and developed right in front of my eyes. It’s an investment in myself. It’s my ultimate test in patience. Right now, as I’m creating the snowball, I’m thinking damn, haven’t I climbed enough hills in my life? Is this real life? How long do I have to push this snowball before it has its own momentum? When will life carry me? When I get done with my pity party, I remember my “why.” My burning passion for this project. My excitement and vision.

 

So I can convince myself to celebrate the little wins and keep going. If you can feed your mind the right things and listen to those who have done similar things in their respective fields, you can learn from their mistakes as well as your own. You do better because you know better. So what in your life has its own momentum? Can you remember how you got there and be proud of that work? Can you use it as trust and inspiration for the part of your life that requires you to push right now? Of course, that requires you to have discipline, blind faith and tenacity. But aren’t you worth the investment?

Thanks for reading and Make sure to leave your comments below! Listen to Lonely Plant here!

I recently read a quote that went something like this; know when to have the courage to hold on and the strength to let go. I haven’t been able to find the quote but I’ve thought about it quite a bit. I have been in my relationship for almost 10 years and my career for seven. They both have had their highs and lows as life often gives you both. When I started my teaching career and often had less than 10 people in class, I had to trust and allow it to unfold without giving up even thought I made less than $20,000 my first year. I needed the strength to hold on. When my relationship was at a low as we were both trying to build our careers and were running on empty, I needed the courage to hold on. In both of these situations, I knew the story was not yet over. My career was just starting and as tough and competitive as teaching yoga in Los Angeles can be, it was what my heart desired most. Likewise, as I had spent the previous years building a strong foundation in my relationship, I had to trust that it was enough as I switched my focus to developing the same foundation in my career. Life is often a juggling act. It’s tough to hold on when you have days or at times weeks when you just want to say it “fuck this” and buy a one-way ticket out or just keep driving. To me, this is when “foundation” comes into play. This is what we strive for on and off the mat. The will to hold on because you didn’t come this far to only comer this far. To remember that you’re building a strong foundation and that takes time. To remember that this is temporary and the work done now will give you the freedom later. In any case, you need to know why you’re doing any of this. You need to hold on to that why and choose your courage so you can reach your potential and not say “fuck it.”

On the flip side, to have the strength let go of something that you know has run its course isn’t easy either. If we’re being honest with ourselves, this often happens in friendships, romantic relationships and careers. Who we were than is not who we are now. Either the energy doesn’t flow with ease (making us feel stuck, trapped, anxious, and angry), or it becomes evident that this chapter of our life is over. We often lie to ourselves a bit longer; it takes time to figure out that a transition is necessary in order for us to continue growing as human beings. It’s tough to accept when a relationship has run it’s course. It’s tough to accept when your career no longer inspires you or fits who you are today. The strength and the trust has to be there to move on to the next chapter of your life.

So I ask: If you look at yourself right now, what part of your life requires you to have the courage to hold on? To patiently wait a little longer? To give yourself a chance you deserve to reach your potential? What part of your life requires you to have the strength to let go? You can lie to others but be honest with yourself? Have any aspects of your life run their course? Are you just holding on due to your comfort zone? You get one shot at life. Give yourself a chance.