8 Steps To Deepen Your Yoga Practice
Yoga is a journey from the externalized, distracted, and often crazy flood of thoughts in our minds to the inner peace and wisdom of our deeper consciousness at our heart center. All the poses, pranayama, meditation, and mantras we practice have a host of benefits for body, mind, and spirit, but they share a single goal: bringing us to a place where we can be silent, still, and focused enough to connect with ourselves at the soul level. This is where we access a deep well of wisdom that always has been within us. This is where we find our inner guru.
Why take this inner journey? Because we all feel stress from a fast-paced, overstimulating world in which we spend so much time thinking about where we are going and what to do next that we're rarely present to ourselves. This makes us feel disconnected, unsure, and imbalanced.
Stress, and the impulsive decisions it triggers, is a major contributor to serious illnesses, including cancer, stroke, heart disease, depression, drug addiction, and alcoholism. Self-awareness, pure presence, stillness, and silence bring us into harmony and homeostasis. We access a deeper inner knowledge, make more conscious decisions, and live in greater wellness on all levels.
Find a few minutes to sit in stillness and silence and take these eight simple steps into the deeper consciousness of yoga and notice how it makes you feel.
1. Close your eyes.
This simple act is a transition from externalized to internal awareness. Notice what it feels like inside of you.
2. Connect with your breath.
Breathe more deeply and fully as you cultivate a sense of awe at the miracle of your breath. See every in-breath as an empowerment and affirmation, every out-breath as a healing release.
3. Feel your body.
Experience your body as the temple of your spirit, a sacred vessel always seeking to support you. Send your breath to all the outer edges, flood all the inner space of you.
4. Notice Mother Earth.
Notice how Mother Earth fully supports you as you sit in this meditation. Feel her in every cell of your body. Have profound gratitude for all the abundance she brings into your life.
5. Still your mind.
Begin to silently chant the mantra “I AM.” This is like a yoga pose for the busy mind. Allow it to still the turbid waters of your thoughts. I AM.
6. Enter your heart.
Visualize your awareness flowing down from the mind to your heart center, as if there's a golden flame there that illuminates you. Breathe into that light, feeling more radiant in every breath. I AM.
7. Be fully present.
Slip fully into the present moment: in your body, in your breath, in the palms of Mother Earth, in the light of your heart. I AM.
8. Remember who you are.
Remember that you are fully connected, indigenous wherever you go, and that you always have been, and always will be, one with all that is. I AM.
Go to this place of inner awareness whenever you feel you need to. Ask your deeper self for guidance in facing challenges and making decisions. Listen to your inner guru as you own your power and live your truth.