Oct 2, 2022
About how excessive positivity deteriorated my mental health, and how I reconciled with myself by learning non-dualism. | 讲述过度积极性是如何危害我的精神健康，和我是如何通过认识非二元论并与自身和解。
Dec 15, 2022 01:10 PM
Two weeks after returning from Morocco, I was again almost overwhelmed by the sea of anxiety, emptiness and loneliness the same as two months ago, amidst the vast gulf between the leisurely Morocco life and the reality of the upcoming school year. Although I wanted to start my yoga learning journey, I realized that just following yoga videos on YouTube like before was not enough. I longed to know more about the history of yoga, the rationale and evolution of each posture, and the spirituality.
After much consideration and comparison, I have chosen to enroll in the 200-hour online yoga teacher training at Akasha Yoga Academy. Although my initial intention was not to become a yoga teacher, I desire to thoroughly learn the theories of yoga practice and be guided by more authoritative yoga teachers.
在各种斟酌与对比下，我选择了报名参加Akasha Yoga Academy的200 hours online yoga teacher training。虽然我的初心并不是想要成为瑜伽老师，但是我渴望能全面的学习瑜伽练习理论，并受到更权威的瑜伽老师的指导。
At the same time, I also hesitated about taking an online yoga course for a long time. Without on-hand adjustment, will I be able to grasp the key-points of the asanas? Furthermore, I currently live in a share house with an area of less than 10 square meters, and apart from the bed, only a yoga mat can fit my space; will the lack of a suitable environment for practicing affect the quality of my practice? But then, I heard a voice from within saying: the most important thing is to start integrating practice into my life as part of my daily routine, because time waits for no one. Therefore, I embarked on the journey of studying yoga teaching in my spare time during my third year of college.
同时，我对线上瑜伽课程也犹豫了很久。没有老师上手体式调整，我是否能把握动作的要点？而且，此时的我住在面积不到10平米的share house，除了床就只放得下一张瑜伽垫；没有适合练习的环境，会影响我的练习质量吗？ 但是，我听到内心的声音诉说着：最刚需的事情，是从现在开始，将练习融入生活的一部分，时间不等人。于是，我开启了在大三学业的缝隙时间内同时学习瑜伽教学的路途。
Now, I have obtained the hatha yoga teacher certification; however, the value of this 200-hour yoga learning journey is much greater than the qualification itself. It has improved my life, liberated my old mind concepts, and made me realize the possibility of spiritual freedom. I originally thought I would absolutely not become a yoga teacher, but now I cannot hold back the desire to share and pass on the wonderful feeling of yoga.
In this letter, I want to talk about how yoga philosophy has made me to perceive the nature of self-exploitation behind my excessive positivity, and to accept my true self.
完美主义的面具之下 ｜ Behind the Mask of Perfectionism
Being strict with myself was once my proudest quality. I was always trying to reach the highest standard for things I considered important since a young age. I experienced all kinds of joys and sorrows - contentment when things ran as expected, regret when the results were not perfect. Every time, I would blame myself for not trying hard enough and continue to progress by belittling and whipping myself. Two years ago, when my anxiety symptoms and sleep disorders became severe enough to affect my daily life, I began trying to self-rescue by rearranging my life. I persisted in strength training and weight lifting for around one and a half years, with 4 day split workout routines, each lasting more than one hour. However, despite my gradually increasing muscle strength, various problems also appeared. I deviated from the original intention of prioritizing health, continued to pursue better performance.
严于律己曾是我最自豪的品质。从小，对于觉得重要的事情，一律都要求自己达到心中的最高标准的我，经历了各种大喜大悲——喜于事情与预期版运转，悲与结果没有预想中完满。每一次，我都会怪罪于自身的努力不足，通过贬低和鞭挞自己不断前进。 两年前，当焦虑症状和睡眠障碍开始严重到生活时，我开始通过重新规划生活来尝试自救。我坚持了一年半以上的力量训练，每周安排4分化训练，每次1小时左右。 然而，尽管我的肌肉力量也逐步增强，各种问题也伴随着出现了。我逐渐背离了健康至上的初衷，不断追求训练痕迹和力量增长。
First of all, my life was hijacked and divided into fragments by my fitness routine. It was extremely difficult to squeeze in an hour for workout between 11am and 8pm when the school gym was open. Sometimes I would appear in the classroom, drenched in sweat, without time to stretch and relax. Secondly, in order to ensure the maximum intake of carbohydrates and water after exercise, my diet was also extremely irregular. Sometimes I could only wolf down a bunch of food in 5 minutes to save time. As a result, in order to ensure the amount of training, I was unable to gather with friends or rest time. My body became a perpetual motion machine in the cycle of study-fitness-assignment-sleep, with no opportunity to relax.
As a result, when my body has failed to meet my expectations, self-condemnation and self-doubt arose. For example, when I couldn’t lift the same weight as last week, or still felt hungry after consuming enough calories in my calculation, I blamed my body. While hating my body without fitness talent, palpitations, sleep disorders, and anxiety also increase day by day. At first, I thought it was just a common symptom of overexercising, and arranged myself an unload week. However, accustomed to daily high-intensive exercise, my body felt uncomfortable as soon as it rested. Moreover, with my progressive and excessive active mindset, the rest day actually became a self-condemnation day. In the end, I could not help but force myself to walk into the gym time after time.
This is my life state until August of 2022.
结果，当我的身体无法达到我的期望，自我谴责与自我怀疑就产生了。比如，无法做出与上周同样重量的硬拉时，或者在摄入了计算后理应足够的营养后却仍然饥饿时，我就会责怪我不争气的身体。厌恶没有健身天赋的身体的同时，心悸，睡眠障碍，焦虑状态也与日俱增。 开始，我认为这只是健身过量的普遍症状，并给自己安排休息日或卸载周。但是，习惯了几乎隔天一次的高强度运动，身体只要稍作休息就会出现局部僵硬等不适；加上过度积极的大脑马上开始自我鞭挞，休息日反而变成了自我谴责日。最后，我只能一次一次撑着自己的身体走进健身房。 这就是我直到今年8月生活状态。
Exploring the Concept of Non-Duality ｜探索非二元论
What first touched me when I learned about the history and origin of Hatha yoga was the philosophy of non-dualism. In Sanskrit, "ha" is translated as the sun, and "tha" as the moon; and Yoga is stem from the verb “yoke”, meaning bringing together, uniting. Therefore, Hatha yoga is a practice that unite the opposites, balances the sun and moon energies within the body and mind, leading to a state of balance and integration.
From the perspective of Western dualism, the manifestation of the complex world is simplified and characterized into polarities: yin and yang, good and bad, success and failure, joy and sorrow, love and hate, positive and negative, endeavor and decadence. We chase eternal joy and avoid pain, striving to approach extreme of the dual spectrum. Little do we know that on the infinite spectrum of manifestation, we will never be able to touch the ideal.
The belief that "I will be happy as long as I can obtain what I am pursuing" is just an illusion. Just as a magnet can be cut into two parts, each with its own north and south pole, human desires are endless. From a relativistic perspective, the first-level cognition in our limited thinking is only a tiny part of a much larger spectrum.
In fact, all the manifestation in the world are swaying between two poles, and everything is interconnected and constantly changing. Therefore, it is impossible to have eternal happiness, just as there is no endless sunny day.
However, in the uncertain duality of opposition, we can return to the center of the magnetic pole through mindfulness practice, and find inner peace at the vortex of the tornado. External factors such as time and place won’t affect us at all, if we only focus on this moment, this place, in the depths of our hearts.
It reminds me of the story of transformation and redemption of Milarepa, the famous Tibetan yogi. After causing harm and suffering to others, Milarepa realized the error of his ways and embarked on the path to enlightenment under the guidance of his spiritual teacher. He eventually became a revered teacher and yogi, sharing his wisdom and teachings with others. Even in a circumstance that is full of regrets without hope in the future, we can gain the peacefulness from the depths of our hearts through practice.
Note that a common misunderstanding is that returning to the center is to control emotions or judgments, becoming numb and indifferent. On the contrary, meditation is staying on a point beyond the body, as if sitting in a cinema, watching a documentary about myself, witnessing and observing the emotional fluctuations coming and going, without any judgments.
The approach to balanced mindset ｜平衡心态的途径
Understanding the philosophy of non-duality, I realized that the intense emotions of joy and sadness which out of control came from a severe imbalance within myself. For over a decade, I had been pursuing a more perfect version of myself, glorify it as positive progressivism. However, I was never satisfied with the present. The self-criticism and the self-hatred that I couldn't escape from gradually distorted my original intention of being actively progressive into endless self-exploitation.
At the same time, my dissatisfaction with the present and my constant comparison to others is the tumor of my general anxiety disorder. No matter what field I look at, there are always people who you can learn from, so there is always room for improvement and self-exploitation.
However, in Hatha yoga, I have learned to be kinder to myself and to accept my negative emotions as a natural part of the human experience. I have also learned to let go of the need to constantly seek contentment, and to enjoy the present moment, just as it is. Hatha Yoga shows me the way to avoid excess, how to develop an equilibrium in our more or less imbalanced mind structure.
- Author:Sunshine Yang
- Copyright:All articles in this blog, except for special statements, adopt BY-NC-SA agreement. Please indicate the source!
Vol 6. A Confession of my Poor Mindset | 有关我的穷人思维的自白
Vol 5. The start of my journey and resettlement | 旅程的开始与重置
Vol 3. About my years with creative bottleneck | 有关我”堵了“多年的创作瓶颈
Vol 2. Exploring Yoga on the Other Side of the World | 在地球的另一端与瑜伽相遇
Vol 1. About identity problems I am going through | 有关我正在经历的身份危机