We’re Only Human – A Guest Blog Post by Gabrielle Douglas

Teaching and practicing yoga has no doubt made me a better person. But, that doesn’t mean that I am perfect or even strive to be perfect. Actually, practicing yoga and meditation has helped me over the years to undo the perfectionist habits I had created long ago. Helping me to live a more loving and peaceful life with myself and others. Often times, it seems as though some people will place yoga instructors on some sort of spiritual pedestal. We are not worthy of any sort of pedestal placement, and most yoga instructors do not want to be placed there( of course, there is always the exception of the few that quite enjoy this pedestal they’ve been placed on; and have decided to stay put and then begin seeing themselves as better than others). For those, I offer compassion for the ego is a very tricky thing to balance. There are days, even when we practice yoga/meditation, that we succumb to the stress of life, lose our patience with people, turn to anger instead of patience, experience jealousy/ envy, have serious self doubts, have falling outs with friends, feel hate instead of love, choose not to find common ground because of ego, etc…

For example, people who drive like complete jerks, assuming their time is more important than everyone else’s, you know the type I’m talking about. Well, this type of driver is breeding ground for intolerance, annoyance, impatience, and sometimes anger, for me. Yesterday I was in awful traffic, a woman in a Porsche 911 completely cut me and a string of cars behind me off, and then caused all of us to miss a green light because she wanted over in the left lane. None of those cars were willing to let her over. So, she just stopped at this green light, waiting to get over, keeping the rest of us moving forward with the flow of traffic. As soon as the light went from yellow to red, she zoomed over in the left lane, cutting off more drivers, and caused the rest of us to have to sit at the red light while she made her way forward. I was seething because she was so obviously rude and seemed entitled because she drives a Porsche. Now, in that moment I could’ve reached into my bag of tricks to bring neutrality to my mind and heart. But, I had already had a very hard day, was suffering from sadness and anger at the sudden loss of my father months ago, and avoided doing the things that I knew would help me to feel better.

Further up the road I see her stopped at a red light. I stop at the same red light right next to her. She looks over at me and gives me a look that seems very antagonizing. Instead of realizing that this individual must be very unhappy, I became angry with her behavior and made sure she saw me flip her off with a grin on my face, then the light turned green and we went our separate ways. Now, in this moment the action I took was very satisfying, but later that night I wondered why I didn’t choose to ignore her, take a mudra with my fingers instead, or chanted OM several times to help create a more peaceful vibration. I started to feel guilty about my actions, then realized I’m human and going to make mistakes! I offered myself forgiveness instead of choosing to be overly critical of myself (as the perfectionist in me likes to do). I was able to see what I did wrong, and what I could have chosen to do that would’ve helped create love instead of hate, and go about the rest of the night with compassion for myself and the other driver.

We are living in turbulent times that seem to be infectious. Even if you are someone doing your own inner work, being the best person you can be, helping others that need help, creating a balanced and healthy lifestyle, offering love, patience, compassion and equality to others, we can still fall victim to the energy of hate. Once hate gets it’s big toe in the door, here comes the rest to accompany hate: fear, envy, comparing yourself to others, jealousy, anger, mean spirited attitude and words, disillusioned, abomination, disgust, resistance to learning, and a deep sense of unhappiness. Hatred loves to thrive off of anxiety and depression, making those feelings we feel worse as we sink into the bottomless pit of aversion.

I often wonder how other people are able to survive the intensity of these times without positive people in their life, without a strong practice like yoga, meditation, working out, art, music, reading, hiking, dancing, etc… Something to get them out of the overwhelming worries and demands of society, and back in tune with themselves and life all around. I have chosen to teach yoga/meditation because I want to offer others the same extraordinary experience I know this practice gives us. I try my best to be a good yoga student and teacher. I practice what I teach and create sequences in hopes that what I offer will cater to the good of all. I invite students to ask questions, help me to help them. I genuinely love teaching yoga, meditation, and pranayama. I’m grateful for the opportunity to teach this practice that is thousands of years old, and has been handed down to generations upon generations.

I can tell you this, these past five months have been incredibly challenging for me and loved ones. If I didn’t have yoga and meditation in my daily life, I know I would be a complete mess at this time in life. I’m thankful for those that help keep me motivated on this path of self-realization, love, compassion, peace, gratitude, generosity, mindfulness, joy, & health. I realize the easy way out would be to relapse and succumb to the numbing vices at large, to which I would wind up in that lonely, downward spiral of suffering so intense, and in the end…. hatred would win.

May all sentient beings give and receive love. May all beings find and create peace. May all beings find and create compassion for themselves and others. May all beings live in joy. May all beings have gratitude for what they’ve been given. May all beings have health in mind, body, and spirit. May all beings be safe and at ease as they make their journey through their life.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Namaste,

Gabrielle Douglas