Many look to the on-the-mat practice of yoga to lead deeper and more meaningful lives with their spirit, but yet cling to mainstream structures and limiting beliefs that prevent them from achieving this very goal. Taking yoga classes, joining a studio, getting certified as a yoga teacher or going on a retreat are all great places to start, but they do not need to end there. In the same vein, following rules and norms that make no sense to you in other off-the-mat realms of your life, will prevent you from going deep. Here are 3 ways to help you do this so you can live your own yoga rather than someone else’s, whether you keep your yoga on-the-mat or take it out into the world.
1.Try not to judge yourself or others
Both on-the-mat yoga and off-the-mat yoga (aka life) is often more about appearances rather than processes. Appearances judge and processes feel. Are you saying the “right” words, thinking the “right” thoughts and taking the “right” actions that others will “approve” of, rather than risking doing something “wrong” that may feel better to you. It often becomes more about pleasing others and doing what others expect rather than following your own inner compass.
Notice what comes up for you when you encounter a challenging pose or alternatively when you find ease where others don’t. How do you react when you come into contact with a hostile person, uncomfortable situation, receive criticism or face negativity?
This often boils down to how you manage your ego. Is it inflated or deflated? When the ego is inflated it encourages you to feel superior to others and when it’s deflated it pushes you to feel inferior. Whether Inflated or deflated, the ego compares and enslaves you in judgments. A balanced ego knows its place, sitting peacefully in the back seat, with your will driving the car and your inner wisdom gently guiding you in the passenger seat.
The invitation is to heal your ego. For more, read Chapter 3 on the Ego Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance.
You are not what you do, what you have, what others think or your physical body.
2. Show vulnerability
When we pretend to be perfect it is impossible to actually remember that we are already perfect. We are perfect when we are loving, kind and compassionate, but we are also perfect when we make mistakes, cry, get angry, feel resentful or even hurt others. I have discovered that most people do not wish to harm anyone and only do so when they are wounded, afraid or have not been exposed to love and compassion.
Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength. It takes strength to show your fears and only when theses shadows are brought into the light can they be healed. If you are committed to deepening your connection with your spirit and do not wish to fall prey to spiritual bypassing, this will need to be done at some point- you can choose the easy way or the hard way.
The invitation here is to heal your shadows. For more, read Chapter 3 on Shadows in Stepping into Consciousness- A guide to living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance.
3. Tap into your own truth
As long as you look to others for truth you will not able able to connect to your spirit at a deeper level. Learning to make that leap from “student/ teacher” mindset to a “teaching student” mindset will help the process. We are all students and teachers, alternating between these roles. At times we learn from others, at times we teach others, and sometimes we learn as we teach and teach as we learn. I believe it’s important to get out of the “teacher knows best” mindset that really only fosters wounded patriarchal structures.
The invitation here is to discover your truth. For more, read Chapter 6 in my book Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to live a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance.
When you live your own yoga you no longer define yourself on-the-mat by the type of yoga you teach or practice, the teachers you follow or the philosophy you prescribe to. Consequently, in life, off-the-mat, you no longer define yourself by the work you do, the people you surround yourself with or the beliefs you hold. You see each of these as fluid and you dip into and out of each as you craft your ever changing truth until you discover the one great truth that you are Truth.
You can visit her anytime at Nicole Rolland Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness (NRYM) www.nicolerolland.com to learn more about her classes, programs, mindfulness coaching, as well as, her blogs, podcasts and other healing tips to help you experience and remember the wholeness and perfection you are.