Yoga-on-beach-Michelle Ploog submitted

You may not know this, but a great deal of yoga is about breaking free of the stereotypes and compartments that you have agreed to fit into. Does that sound intense?

It kind of is.

Yesterday, I watched this great TED Talk with Natalia Khosla discussing how our perception of gender roles displayed through body language will determine whether a woman is a b*tch or whether a man is weak.

This is damaging to both genders and is holding back our society from bringing out the very best in collaboration, leadership, compassion, and innovation from people that have undiscovered talents and qualities, despite their gender.

This TED Talk got my wheels turning about the deeper work of a yoga practice.Wall Plank yoga pose via

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At the root of yoga we are guided to contemplate one of the most profound philosophical questions known to man…

“Who am I?”

This question is in almost every spiritual text as a practice of self-actualization and discovery. Asking “who am I” begins a process of peeling away the layers of a lifetime of stacking identities and mannerisms needed to fit into society. As you peel away the layers, your true essence can be revealed.

Throughout the questioning process we can unlock and release identities and stereotypes that we’ve been trying to fit into for years, but have never really felt right.

Imagine freeing yourself from years of pain and suffering from trying to be something that you aren’t. Imagine stepping into your fullest potential with the confidence created from loving your truest self. Imagine being comfortable in your skin without ever comparing yourself to anyone in NYC helps addicts-CNN video

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This is all possible and it starts with one simple question…

Who am I?

You are never too old, too young, too busy, too cool, too big, too small, or too spiritually mature to ask this question. You are ready right now.

Take a 10 minute workout for your spirit. Grab a timer, paper and pen. At the top of the paper write, “Who am I?” Start your 10 minute timer.

Answer the question for 10 minutes. At first, you will usually get the superficial answers such as your name, gender, skin color, graduate degree, career, etc. Write these down and then continue to go deeper and deeper and deeper.

This could feel like the longest 10 minutes of your life. If you get stuck, ask the question again, “Who am I?” and write the first word that comes up.

After 10 minutes – stop. Sit back, take a deep breath, and detach from the exercise.

Everything that you wrote down is how you identify yourself. These are the compartments and stereotypes that you have agreed to fit into. They may define part of who you are, but they still aren’t who you are.

Deepak Chopra believes that we should start every day with this question, perhaps to open ourselves up to more possibilities and begin to break unconscious patterns that are holding back our interconnected greatness.

Doing this work is taking yoga off of your mat and into every aspect of your life. Now is your time to be yoga, love openly, and express freely.

Thank you for reading and for doing your inner work to make our collective world a better place.

Much Love and BIG smiles,

Michelle J. Ploog (See all of Michelle’s articles on Good News Network – Email her at [email protected])