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Are You Bound Like an Elephant?
by Brooke Nisbet, MA, RYT

 

 

Editor's Note: Yoga is a full-time life. Yoga happens beyond the yoga mat. It happens as you close your eyes at night, while you're driving, when you're interacting with others, when you're silently sitting with yourself. One of the ideas in yoga is to practice non-attachment. Not being stuck to a fear,anger, sadness, joy, excitement, expectation and so on. That takes you away from living in the present moment. Being tied down to your past fears and memories can also become debilitating and depressing. Don't allow yourself to be tied down to old beliefs like an elephant tied to a simple stake in the ground. He has the strength to easily pull free at any moment, but his mind keeps him bound. How about you? What's tying you down?

 

When wild elephants are domesticated as babies, they are chained to a huge tree or to a thick iron stake driven deep into the ground.  This stake/tree is physically able to hold the young elephant, despite the elephant’s repeated attempts to pull free and escape. After many unsuccessful attempts at freedom, the young elephant associates pain with pulling on the stake or tree, thus breaking its desire to be free.

This belief is carried into the elephant’s adulthood. When the elephant is full-grown, he could easily break free from the small stake to which he is now chained; yet he never even attempts to do so. This intelligent, powerful creature is held captive, not by any physical restraint, but by his own mind filled with memories and his belief in them.  He doesn’t think he can, so he can’t, and the memory of the pain stops him from trying.

What’s holding you back?  Are you like the elephant who feels held back by current circumstances or old memories? Do you look at others and think, "I wish I had the courage/brains/fortitude to do what she's doing, but I don't." If you were to truly look at your life, and become aware of the “rules” that are in place and who set them (you) and why….you may notice that when analyzed they seem arbitrary and can be let go. Rather than going through your life feeling chained to people, places, jobs, situations…begin to shift your awareness and start to take note of where freedom, albiet hidden, exists! For instance, you will tell yourself that you just can’t change jobs, even though you are miserable.  You’ve assured yourself it’s just not possible, so you place your proverbial stake in the ground at the office that you find depressing, never even thinking of breaking free and finding something that better suits you.

Once you realize that you are often only as trapped/chained as you choose to be, suddenly a sense of freedom may kick in. Being free to do what feels good, follow your dreams, cook a new meal at home, drive a different route to work, try a new fitness regimen...can actually be quite scary.  When you’re not used to freedom, it’s uncomfortable and unsettling. You would think it’s liberating…but at first glance, it’s often scary. Work on being aware that the fear you’re feeling is just the ego's way of  trying to make you doubt yourself and to force you into staying with the status quo. Change challenges you, it takes effort, it might make you grow, it might create new outcomes. But,  the ego prefers things to stay just as they are. Once you realize that this is what’s happening, then take note, push the ego and fear aside, and pull your stake out of the ground!  You will be amazed at what lies ahead of you when you retrain your brain from bound to boundless!

 

 

 

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 About the Author

 

Brooke Nisbet, MA is a 200 hour certified yoga instructor and has been studying and practicing yoga for over seven years. She has also spent over 15 years in a variety of other wellness roles such as: group fitness instructor and personal trainer. The study of natural healing, mind-body connection and “clean eating” has also been her personal pursuit. She has practiced a variety of yoga styles in Japan, the US and Bali. Vinyasa Flow is her style of choice, but she has a practice in Hatha, Power, Ashtanga, Restorative and Iyengar Yoga, as well. In addition to being a yoga instructor, she has also completed Reiki Energy Healing Levels I and II.

Brooke holds a BA in Psychology and a MA in Early Childhood Education. She has been living and working in Japan for the past eleven years as an educator for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools Overseas. She has recently become a curriculum specialist and trainer for the DoD Japan District Schools. With this brings the privilege of traveling to all of the U.S. military base elementary schools in Japan in order to provide training and support to teachers working with a very special population... the children of our service men and women. Namaste.

Contact:
peace.love.yoga@hotmail.com

 

 

 

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