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.
8 Ways to Be Your Own Guru
No matter how we define a teacher or a guru—an expert, an enlightened person, or someone who challenges us to look at our own limiting beliefs—they’re ways we look for wisdom outside of ourselves. These kinds of teachers are no doubt powerful. But the most powerful source of wisdom is within. How do we activate our own inner teacher—our own inner guru—so we always have someone there for guidance and support?
The most powerful source of wisdom is within you. This is what I help every single person I work with realize—that they are infinitely powerful and the only thing getting in the way of that is surface stuff. When we clear the surface, it’s like polishing a rough stone into a diamond. Suddenly, you’re crystal clear, knowing exactly where to go and what to do next.
The most important work I do with people is helping them access their own inner guru. Here are eight ways to access yours:
Talk less, listen more. You can hear or see exactly where to go and what to do next if you give yourself permission to trust the non-verbal part of your brain. We’re all intuitive, and one of the most scientifically proven ways to tap into it is to listen to the non-verbal part of your brain: your body.
Deactivate fear. Fear comes mostly in the form of worrisome thoughts. And these come from the verbal part of our brain—this part of our brain processes less information per second than the non-verbal part of our brain. In other words, worries are “less informed” thoughts.
Lean into peace. Wisdom and truth feel like relief, like a great letting-go. It’s a wonderful sensation of “Ah, this is such a nice place to rest.” Every time one of my clients hears from their inner guru, they feel a sense of great peace and presence.
Trust yourself. Practice trusting yourself with small things, something less consequential where the decision won’t have a huge impact, but a small one. Something like saying no to an invitation to an event you don’t want to go to. Worry and fear says things like, “She’ll be upset if I don’t go,” or “I won’t be invited anymore.” Peace says, “Do what’s right for you, trust yourself, and all will be well.” Usually what happens in these cases is that everything works out, and you end up getting even more invitations because people are drawn to your confidence and self-esteem.
Trust the universe. Practice opting out of doing something just because you think something like “What will happen if I don’t?” Yoga philosophy has a term called Ishvara Pranidhana that basically means surrender to the universe. It doesn’t mean we never do anything, but we can surrender our attachment to achieving a particular outcome, and through that surrender and non-attachment receive something even greater.
Build your intuition. Next time you want to hear from your inner guru and you’ve already listened to your body, listen for words or watch for symbols. I like to imagine a blank slate and ask a question like “What should I do next?” Sometimes I see a symbol. Other times I hear a word or phrase—things like “Rest,” “Play,” or “Go bigger.” Other times an entire scene unfolds.
Trust your body. Intuition is fun and can give us more information, but first and foremost the first line of wisdom is your body. Your body is constantly guiding you, through sensations of tension and angst or ease and presence. Hint: ease and presence usually means “Go this way!”
Lean into grace. Listening to the guidance of your inner guru leads to choices that create a life filled with less striving and more receiving. Taoists introduce us to the concept of Wu Wei, doing without doing. Through heart-centred action and trusting the universe, things happen with ease. Miracles occur. It was either Yogi Bhajan or Wayne Dyer, depending on which source you choose, who said: “I don’t believe in miracles, I depend on them.” It doesn’t matter who said it, it’s a universal truth, and one that you get to experience firsthand when you start listening deep and choosing to believe.
Much love, and good luck!