Holding yourself hostage

3 min readOct 16, 2019
Picture courtesy — Jian for Unsplash

A very quick Yoga primer:

Trataka: This is a form of meditation in yoga that is designed to improve concentration and it involves the eyes. It’s a series of exercises where you exercise your eyes and in yoga terms, it is designed to help you look inward (that I am not very sure of). It also involves focussing attention on the flame of a lamp.

Yoga Nidra: As the name suggests, it has something to do with sleep. This isn’t any normal sleep (by that logic we will be performing Yoga Nidra every time we sleep). It entails lying in the savasana position (corpse pose) and listening to a series of meditations that are supposed to put you in a state of samadhi, a state of meditative consciousness.

There’s a small problem — I find both terribly boring.

I have tried to get myself to enjoy them or like them but haven’t been successful in that regard. Moreover, we don’t get to know our yoga class schedules in advance. That means when I reach and get to know that that day we are doing trataka or Yoga Nidra, I inwardly groan as I am trapped for the next hour doing something I don’t want to do.

This means until I learn to enjoy them, every time those sessions are held, it will be like holding myself hostage. I can’t escape and must sit through class even if I don’t want to and I am constantly thinking of escaping every second that I am there, counting the seconds and minutes that seem to pass ever so slowly.

In all, it’s a matter of getting through that restless one hour (don’t miss the irony).

To be held hostage very simply means to be held against your wishes, unable to do what you want to do. That’s what we see in hostage dramas on television. Someone holds people hostage against their wishes and their freedom is in the hands of a wily negotiator or a daring act pulled off by a rescue team.

But what about holding yourself hostage? What does that mean?

Many of us willingly, or unwillingly, remain stuck, crib about our situation and refuse to move forward. Of course, all of us have a list of reasons to validate our situation — EMIs, fear of the unknown, lack of skillsets for a new field, finances, etc. And many of them are true to some extent.

So, when we claim to be stuck and helpless, crying about our fate to anyone willing to lend us an ear, it’s worth asking — who exactly is holding us hostage? The short answer — nobody.

It’s easy to make up scenarios in our head where we play hostage and accuse the world and our bad luck for holding us against our wishes, refusing to let us do what we want and coming in the way of us fulfilling our potential.

Sure, sometimes people and systems and bureaucracies and governments hold us back.

We spend a lot of time waiting for someone to negotiate our release and free us. Till then, we have resigned ourselves to our fate.

If you look closely, for the most part, we hold ourselves hostage.