I also like talking about Ravana because he’s not often referred to, probably because he’s “the bad guy”. He’s the Rakshasa/Demon that steals Sita away from her husband, Rama while he’s out hunting in the forest. And thus, begins one of the greatest Hindu epics, the Ramayana.
I actually love Ravana because he’s intelligent and accomplished. He’s a great leader in his kingdom, making sure that everyone is abundant, wealthy and wants for nothing. He is known for his many chants in praise of Lord Shiva, (the first yogi) whom he received a great boon from for his chanting and devotion.
So what does Ravana have to do with Yin?
Ravana, like darkness and negativity, make us uncomfortable just like our long held yin postures. Ravana can make us more than uncomfortable. How does the idea of D. Trump being U.S. president sit with you?
Our enemies, whether within us or in the form of another human outside of us, can cause us great discomfort. Accepting that discomfort is apart of life and it is one of the teachings I take from the example of Ravana. It doesn’t justify negativity, it’s more about accepting the reality of life’s cycles.
Ultimately as you may know from many mythological stories throughout the eras, great enemies make great hero’s. But that’s not what I’m looking for with this post or with Yin practice. Although, I have found that my perceived negativity has helped me to turn toward trust in my body and my instincts Self. Over time, I’ve created a habit for my mind to step back and let my heart lead.
God, I remember in the beginning how much I used to overdo my Yin postures thinking it would get me more flexible! It could be said that I was learning my threshold for discomfort.
~A worthy and necessary part of the path.
Acceptance of where I am now each time I practice has been a huge part of the yin journey for me.
Acceptance of negativity in my mind and heart and sometimes in people around me allows for me to choose how to move forward with full awareness rather than with a partial, illusionary sense of reality. And this choice is empowering.
In Yin, we get into our discomfort, we observe it, sometimes we face it. Ravana is a great icon for understanding Yin practice. Yin & Ravana require us to feel the edge of our uncomfortability. What we do with that is up to us.
I’m just scratching the surface here of the teachings of Ravana but it occurred to me this week and I thought I’d share it with you. Any thoughts, please post below.
Look out for my lectures on Hindu mythical figures in the future and how they appear in our daily lives!