7 Ways to Embody Truth in Your Yoga Practice
The problem with our same old yoga practice is that the same old person keeps showing up to do it. One of the key aspects of enhancing life has to do with shifting who we think we are, to who we really are, our true self and full potential. Our normal view of who we are is limiting, and based on past, unresolved traumatic experiences, and a whole set of limiting beliefs. If this is who shows up for yoga, you are not going to be getting powerful new results.
So in order to get different results, someone different needs to show up. How about showing up connected to your soul!
Yoga, the union of mind and body, requires a particular attitude to work at its best. When we connect with the place of resistance in the body, and open our being to sense and feel the connection with that place, we find that the edge of resistance usually moves and we are able to enter a new place. We get a new perspective and a new sense of self.
What is actually happening is that a whole bunch of neurology, which is limiting you, now has an opportunity to rewire into something more free, for your mind and your body. You feel great! The more we do this the more flexible we become, and not just on the yoga mat…in our lives.
In order to maximize these shifts to a more flexible embodied version of you, there are several things you can do while practicing your yoga, no matter what flavor of yoga you prefer. These are methods taken from energetic healing and spiritual development practices. Showing up connected to your soul, means that the idea of who you are (your ego) is connected to the truth of who you are, which is sacred and held within your felt sense energy (your soul).
This felt sense provides access to our source energy, and it contains energetic imprints, which hold all the ‘information’ about unresolved past moments that are shaping our beliefs and views, and thus limiting our potential. In turn, these affect ‘who’ we think we are, and therefore the attitude we bring to our yoga. It is a bit like a fish trying to know about water. The good news is also that your felt sense energy contains the code for our divine purpose. So by connecting with it you will be heading in the right direction.
Here is how to make your yoga practice sacred and powerful in seven easy steps:
1. To prepare: breathe yourself into yourself and feel the connection with the energy in your body, the felt sense. Realize that this is a sacred connection, your soul. Feel it as one experience, head to toe, the whole you. Notice how it feels; what is the texture, vibration, quality or color of your own felt sense experience in this moment? Be curious. Breathe, feel and connect, and say to yourself while you are feeling this connection ‘this is me’. Notice how it feels when you acknowledge the connection. Does it change the quality of the felt sense of you?
2. From this place of whole connection, move your center of awareness to your heart, (the center of your chest) feel the connection with the energy that lives in your heart center, and as you feel it say to yourself ‘I’m here for me’. Be sincere. Feel how it feels to be here for you.
3. Invite yourself to have an attitude of openness. Feel what it feels like in your felt sense to feel an attitude of openness. Check to make sure you feel open, if you do not just notice which part of you doesn’t feel open, then sense it as an energy. Notice, where does it reside within you as energy? When you connect with that part, just acknowledge it, honor it, and thank it. This part is serving you in some way. Allow it to do so, and just include it as part of your experience.
4. Invite yourself now to be here without agenda. Notice if you have an agenda and just choose not to. Breathe into an attitude of ‘I’m here, because I’m here’.
5. Great, now just stay connected to the felt sense of the whole you; centered in your heart. Notice the breath coming and going for a few minutes, until you feel settle, at ease and whole.
6. You are now ready to begin your asana practice. In the beginning, if you cannot move into the asana holding your awareness connection to the felt sense as described above, just reconnect with it when you are in the asana. If you find a resistance place in the asana, the key is to stay connected to the whole felt sense while including the resistance. In other words, do not polarize all your attention to the resistance. Just allow it, with an open, curious attitude, and without agenda to shift it.
7. Finish your practice with Savasana, using the connection to the felt sense as described in steps one through five above.
Benefits to Practicing Yoga Every Day
In a recent study aptly titled, Neuroprotective Effects of Yoga Practice, the brains of experienced yoga practitioners were compared to those of non-practitioners with similar health profiles. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), researchers at The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health were able to identify regions of activity and growth. As a result, this study found that:
- A regular practice combining breath awareness, physical postures and meditation can increase the volume of gray matter (brain tissue) in different parts of the brain, effectively reducing the naturally occurring, age-related decline of brain cells. With most of the observed gray matter volume changes having occurred in the left-side of the brain, the implication is that yoga shifts the automatic response of the practitioner from fight-or-flight (right-brain, sympathetic nervous system activation resulting in acute physical stress) to rest-and-digest (left-brain, parasympathetic nervous system activation promoting calm and relaxation)
- The areas of the brain indicating the greatest change in gray matter were those directly related to sense of self, attention, spatial/sensory awareness as well as stress reduction. These findings provide a potential neural basis for the benefits of practicing yoga. The observed benefits were greater in those who practiced more often over a longer period of time supporting the notion that a consistent practice of yoga every day is more effective than an intermittent one