Yoga and meditation practices are incredibly effective and powerful tools to bring calm, peace and perspective to our lives. A pre-requisite for advancement in and integration of the benefits of a conscious Yoga practice is the willingness to look inside in an engaged, active and responsive manner. To free ourselves from the grip of the imbalances and disturbances that robs us of physical health and peace of mind, change is often required. The Yogic approach affords us the opportunity to enter the process of change with authentic acceptance and grace. Over time the ego’s approach to change through struggle and drive is replaced with a greater self acceptance and a trust in our innate capacity for growth and wholeness.
One of the first concepts students receive as they begin Yoga practice is to cultivate a non-judgemental awareness imbued with self-acceptance and non-competitiveness with self and others as we work with the body and mind. Only in this way can the individual truly experience the moment and the starting point of the work in its entirety. The invitation in our practice is ultimately to receive all aspect of the self, the light and shadow, with equanimity and peace.
From the point of view of Yoga, through the higher benefits of mindful practice we may:
1. Discover and compassionately address unconscious self-limiting beliefs about our bodies, our world and our deepest selves
2. Allow day to day and deeply held tensions and fears to be released as our bodies relax consciously during the challenges of the practice
3. Recover the energy it has taken to hold these stored trapped tensions to restore vitality to our lives
4. Release the hold of self-destructive and reactive impulses and behavior patterns we have adopted in reaction old injuries, and trauma
5. Gain greater clarity and insight to meaningfully change our behavior in life as we let go of these deeper holdings that bind and drain us
Time and time again in my work I see the effect of adding the Yogic dimensions of a mindful, balanced and compassionate approach to replace the reactive and fear driven motivation we initially bring to our efforts toward self-improvement. The drudgery and struggle that can drive the most mundane disciplines we employ to improve any one facet of our lives can be transformed into doorways into new meaning and purpose to life.