Yoga + Archaeology: Excavation of the Self

Before I was a yoga teacher I was a student of many things, one of which was Archaeology.  I told my mother when I was 3 that I wanted to be an archaeologist and when I finally got to university I decided it would be one of my two majors (because why just do one).

Archaeology is a fascinating science that tries to use artifacts to decipher past human behaviour.  Yoga is also about deciphering human behaviour, except the behaviour is present rather than past.  You could say it was related to psychology (my other major) but it is much more than that.

If you come to my classes you may have heard me say that sometimes we excavate the layers of ourselves with a backhoe and other times we need a toothbrush.  There are certain times when we need to dig deep, and other times where the utmost tenderness is critical and necessary.  Yoga is many things but one of the things it is is the method by which we unearth and re-discover the our true nature.

Three important teachers that I have said to me last week (all independently) the following:  put forth maximum effort with the utmost tenderness and do your practice from a sense of ease.  In the excavation of myself I have discovered that tenderness and ease do not come easy and so they are something I must work at; maximum effort on the other hand is usually one of my only gears.

Honouring the work of self-reflection and delving deep I have been reading on of Hafiz’s poems.  If you don’t know who he is, here’s a taste to get you started:

Stay With Us



Our company when you speak

Of Shame

And this makes

Everyone in the Tavern sad

Stay with us

As we do the hardest work of rarely

Laying down

That pick and


That will keep

Revealing our deepest kinship



That will keep revealing

Our own divine


You leave the company of the Beloved’s friends

Whenever you speak of


And this makes

Everyone in the Tavern

Very Sad

Stay with us tonight

As we weave love

And reveal ourselves,

Reveal ourselves

As his precious



About Cindy Stockdale

A mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend. A medicine woman, yoga teacher, priestess, spiritual gunslinger. I seek truth, light and above all love. My walk is to help others remember who they are and no matter what, they are loved deeply, connected fully and belong to the family of all things.
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One Response to Yoga + Archaeology: Excavation of the Self

  1. Jessica says:

    Who would have thought we would need “that pick and shovel” to keep revealing our deeper selves? I am surprised we don’t come to this world pre-revealed-no-excavation-required. Archeology is a perfect metaphor for the work that Hafiz describes. “Maximum effort with utmost tenderness” is now my mantra this week. Thanks Cindy.

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