“The cure for the pain is in the pain.” -Rumi
To someone who isn’t familiar with yoga, it might seem like a yoga practice is always a happy, shiny place. Magazines tout very flexible people with huge smiles, contorted into beautiful shapes and yoga festival advertisements boast photos and articles of happiness and health through yoga.
Everything in our world is balanced with an equal opposite. Lightness can only exist because of darkness. Health only exists because of sickness. Strength only exists because of weakness. Yin only exists because of yang.
Frequently, we put a much larger emphasis on the side of things that we like: lightness, health, strength, etc. When we get to know ourselves solely through these positive filters—whether though our yoga practice or life off the mat—we only really get to know half of the Self. What would happen if we embraced the shadow side? If we walked with the darkness, said hello to the sickness, didn’t back away from the weakness?
What would happen if we embraced the shadow side? If we walked with the darkness, said hello to the sickness, didn’t back away from the weakness? What would happen if we embraced our pain instead of ignoring it? What would change if we really leaned into anger or grief and just sat with those feelings without needing to change them immediately?
When we allow the shadow as we allow the light, we can get to know ourselves on a deeper level, with a better sense of the whole Self instead of just the shiny, magazine-cover-worthy parts. When we welcome the shadow, we start to see our fears and worries at face value and they become less scary. When we walk with the shadow, we are better able to appreciate all the light, wonderful, goodness that exists in our world because we know it couldn’t exist without those shadows.