Saturday, January 18, 2014

Come Home to Yourself

This is my new tagline for Inner Freedom Yoga.  It feels so aligned with what I'm up to in my teaching.  To me, this is ultimately what yoga practices are about.  They're about resting into who we truly are, the heart or essence of our being.  And when I come home to me, I feel present, calm and peaceful.  I feel at ease and connected to myself.  And these are exactly the qualities I'd like to support people in through their practice at IFY and as a coach. 

Tantrik yoga teachings say that we are already perfect and whole, and yet we don't tend to experience ourselves in this way.  We tend to feel inadequate and incomplete.  The teachings say that we're born with this fundamental feeling of incompleteness, a kind of ignorance called Anava Mala, and that shaktipata (a potentially subtle or intense revelation and the beginning of opening to a greater sense of who we are) is required for uprooting it.  Then for most of us, we need daily practices to support this new opening, to help us deepen into knowing and experiencing ourselves as whole in every moment. 

For me, my asana and my meditation practices help me to come home to myself and touch into this sense of wholeness at my core.  And I practice regularly because I consistently forget the feeling of being home in myself.  So I practice to remember on a daily basis with the idea that over time, there will be a thread that connects these experiences of resting in my wholeness and it will carry off the mat and into my relationships and interactions with the world.  I can already see this happening in small ways. 

So here's a simple meditation practice that works for me:

I sit on my cushion and I reflect on this concept:   I am Divine, I am whole.  (Shivo'ham would be a great mantra for this as it means, I am ShivaShiva is a name Tantra uses for Supreme Consciousness, the perfect Source of all.  If you're using a mantra, repeat it super quietly to yourself about every few seconds, or with your breath, so it's like a whisper in the back of your mind).  Then I drop into my heart or solar plexus area and I feel my body breathing and I sense that behind the breathing, behind my thoughts and all the busyness of my life, there is a place where I am simply quiet and present.  There is a stillness in me and I rest in that stillness with the mantra.  When I notice my mind wanders or hooks onto a thought, which is often, I come back home to my mantra and bodily experience and this sense of resting in presence, being home in myself.

I'll share more about these profound philosophical teachings and more Coming Home practices in my upcoming book on yoga and self esteem, as well as in this blog.  Stay tuned!

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