Exploring the Shadows Within...

"To confront a person with his own shadow is to show him his own light." Carl Jung

Feel good mantras and inspiring affirmations are abundant in the world of yoga, but its not often that we focus on the not so pretty sides of ourselves. However, it is when we have the courage to face ourselves wholly, invite in all parts of ourselves, to love our darkness as much as our light, that we will begin to understand the full practice of yoga.

As children, we were often afraid of the dark. Scary monsters that lived under the bed, in the closet, outside our window, we were fearful of what we could not see. With the flip of a light switch, our fear would dissipate and we would see that the big bad monsters we imagined were just that, imaginary.  As adults, we still fear the big bad monsters, only now they don't live in the darkness around us, but instead, in the deep, dark crevices of our mind.

Coined by philosopher Carl Jung, the shadow self consists of whatever we deem evil, inferior, unacceptable or "bad" typically associated with emotions such as anger, envy, greed, lust or rage. We keep these thoughts deep in the dark side of our minds, obscured from our everyday consciousness. Most us us spend our entire lifetime running away from, avoiding, resisting, denying, and repressing this side of ourselves, afraid of what lies in the shadows. 

Over time, this denial has blurred into our own understanding of ourselves. Guilt and shame keep up from being open and honest about the not so pretty parts of ourselves that we spend so much of our lives trying to hide from others. The tragic thing is, we have lost touch with ourselves and giving ourselves permission to acknowledge and accept our dark side. 

When repressed, our shadows can grow darker and manifest in unconscious and self-destructive ways. Depression, addiction, angry outbursts, deep set anger & resentment are just a few ways that this dark side repression can manifest in our everyday lives. Like being possessed by a demon, in some cases of extreme repression, our dark side can take over and lead us to cause harm to ourselves and others. While the automatic reaction is to run from these not so pretty outbursts, the only way to truly move past them is to journey through instead of away. Learning to sit with and find comfort in the shadows is the only way for us to break through and find the place of balance and joy.

Exploring our dark side is not comfortable or easy, but it is an inevitable journey along the path to spiritual awakening and enlightenment.  Much like flipping on the physical light switch, when we turn our awareness toward our shadow side and learn to sit with our inner darkness, we discover that these dark places are not such a bad and scary place at all. 

I am so excited to offer a unique opportunity to celebrate of the season of shadows by celebrating and exploring the darkness within.. Join me tonight as we are tuning off the lights to for a meditative practice in the darkness as my dear friend Adam Tutor provides a soulful soundtrack to evoke the senses and inspire you to investigate your inner landscape. Through the shadows, we will find our light. Hallo-OM-week Flow: Exploring the Shadows take place tonight from 7:00 - 8:30pm at 1221 Broadway on the 5th floor parking garage. $15 Drop-in or Class Pass.