Study Sessions: Marissa Wiley


Mindbodybrew is ultimately about providing a space for written reflection at every step along the yoga path. We hope that by sharing assignments from our Teacher Trainees, we can expand their deep investigation into community-wide dialogue. The following is a piece written by one of our newest, current trainees, Marissa Wiley, regarding one of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

Yoga Sutras 1.8: Misconception is mistaken knowledge, based upon a misperception of the form of the object.

In the Yoga sutras, Patanjali states that yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the consciousness, and that there are five fluctuations–knowledge, misconception, conceptualization, sleep and memory. These fluctuations of the mind bring you out of the present and therefore take you away from the moment. Thus, making your life less enjoyable.

“Get a little messy.” This was the main piece of feedback that I took away from yoga teacher training this weekend. It was a little hard to digest at first.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been eager to please. I am a people pleaser and I will admit it right now. I don’t like it when things are bumpy and awkward. I like to have things planned, organized, and figured out. I like to be in control. When I started this yoga teacher training, I was happy to find a lot of structure in the planning of a yoga class. However, I may love structure a little too much. I like to believe that I’m a fairly creative person, but I quickly became stuck in some habitual sequencing and cueing. I was mindlessly repeating cues and perfecting this sequence that I was growing to memorize.

Get a little messy. Why didn’t I want to be messy? Because it was awkward and embarrassing? Maybe. I think more so it was because I was afraid, afraid of showing how nervous I was, afraid of not being a good yoga teacher, afraid of falling on my face in front of my peers. I’ve come to terms with the fact that these fears have absolutely nothing to do with my peers and their judgment of me. It has everything to do with my misconception and me. My peers and teachers weren’t and aren’t going to point and laugh at me when I fall on my face, all they’ll do is pick me back up and dust me off. It’s come to a point in my training that I’ve realized that I can’t be so stuck in my ways. I need to get a little messy, to try new things and see what works and doesn’t work, to not be so serious.

This too can apply on the mat. How many times have you been stuck in your yoga “routine” that as time goes on you feel as if you aren’t growing in your practice anymore? How many times have you opted out of finding your edge in a posture because you think that someone in the room will judge you for trying? Let’s let it go and remind ourselves why we practice. We practice for ourselves and for our own personal growth. So why are we getting in our own way?

This can apply to all aspects of life really. How many times do you change your intent or actions based on what you think someone else will say, think, feel, or do? Probably a lot, maybe even a lot more than you think you do. Do you ever not say something or not do something because you’re afraid you’ll be judged? Or maybe you mask a part of yourself that you feel shouldn’t be shown. Have you ever realized that a good portion of the time it’s all in your head? And it’s taking you away from the present. It’s making your life less enjoyable. If you’re a little controlling like me, and maybe worry a little too much about what others think of you, just let it go and go for it.

So get a little playful. Be a kid again. Fall on your face and get up laughing. Be curious and passionate. Have fun. Enjoy the little things and just be present. Don’t worry so much about what others are thinking and just do you. Get a little messy.

-Marissa Wiley

One Response to “Study Sessions: Marissa Wiley”
  1. Liz says:

    Amen! I’ve been considering this a lot in the last few months, and it really is fascinating how often we assume others are judging us when in fact, we are suffocating ourselves with these inaccurate perceptions based on insecurities or hang-ups of our own. I was especially noticing it in the way I regard my life path and adjacent choices. To have a less linear way of life than what I grew up surrounded by confuses me and challenges me at times, yet would it not be better to not judge my decisions but instead, celebrate and become inspired by the ways of others and keep on keeping on in my own realm? I read recently a passage that spoke of the idea that our job is not to judge our work, our job is to do the work. That has really stuck with me and perhaps could serve as an addendum to your messiness!

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