You probably know someone in your life that might feel a bit lost, maybe they tell you they don’t know what they want to do with their life or feel they have a purpose. Often, we choose to listen to the voices of others that we think of as higher than us – leaders, public figures, parents, teachers and friends to choose the direction of our lives, doing what we think we’re supposed to do, doing what’s ‘right’. And when it comes to our yoga practice it’s often no different.
The busyness and noise of life has made it harder to connect to our inner voice to guide us and so it gets quieter and quieter. It might seem like empty advice to ‘follow your heart’ if you can’t hear it.
The connection to the heart means living and speaking our truth, strengthening our bond with ourselves, our purpose and those around us. When we are truly authentic through our actions, words and relationships we create harmony between our inside and outside world.
This probably all seems idealistic, but I think many of us experience this feeling of misalignment, of being lost and out of place and it drives us to dig deeper.
I’m truly passionate about self-practice because it’s a safe space to practice this journey inward and spend time with yourself, it’s a gateway to connect to your body, mind and heart. Intuition is a sense we can practice in this setting and tune the more we use it.
Self-guiding your yoga practice can begin with poses from a teacher, The Sequence eBook is a great place to start and your practice may evolve in a different direction over time.
I would advise you to keep an open mind when you approach your practice, you will come to hurdles and there is no right or wrong but a lesson to be recognized. I spent years following very traditional yoga and believing this was the ‘right way’. The guru culture in yoga puts teachers on pedestals and we might even be negatively impacting our body just because we believe everything that teacher says is the best way. Your body and mind are unique, tune in and experiment to find what works for you.
It’s great to learn from teachers and self-practice too, I do both because they add value to me in different ways. Sometimes I get on my mat and sit in child’s pose for 20 minutes because that’s what I need that day and a class setting rarely gives me the opportunity to move so intuitively. The time to yourself awakens the teacher in you that stays pushed down if you don’t create space for it to experiment and grow.
The deeper this connection becomes you’ll find yourself knowing your body better. Noticing the subtle sensations or tension that might drive you to get on your mat, where you might have ignored tension before. Noticing the movement of the mind – the days where it’s easy to be calm and those where it’s difficult. An awareness of how lifestyle is impacting your practice each day.
And beyond all the self-awareness finding a way to be non-judgmental, and love and care for yourself regardless.
On the mat I find answers to decisions I need to make, relationships I need to heal, forgiveness to myself and others for things that have caused pain. Yoga is my tool for learning how to live in this body as a human being, to let go of things that have hurt, to heal, to love, find direction, get playful and enjoy life.
The word ‘guru’ in India is given to teachers – it translates directly to remover of the darkness.
You have the strength, the love and the knowledge to guide yourself from the darkness towards the light in any situation life brings to you.