My Yoga Teacher Trainer S. spent a bit of time this weekend trying to convince our group of aspiring yoga teachers that ego is not a bad thing. It simply is a part of who we are and something to be aware of.
At one point, he told this story.
S. was in India training in a crowded shala with a well-known teacher. Because he had done so well in his Ashtanga series to that point, the teacher wrongly assessed that S would have no trouble dropping back into Urdhva-Dhanurasana (backbend). S worried that he couldn't do it, but the teacher was insistent.
So S thought, What the heck? What's the worst that can happen?
He folded his arms across his chest and dropped back. The slight 78 year old teacher quickly realized his mistake and also that he could not catch S. So he stepped back and let S crash to the concrete floor.
S lay there wincing. The teacher bent over to make sure he was still conscious. Then he used one of his few English phrases.
"Bad man!" the teacher declared, pointing his finger in S's face. "Bad man!"
S could only laugh. Ego doesn't always have to be offended by life.