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Yoga Resolution 4: Live Life Authentically

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

The true test of any resolution is to live it!

Yoga Resolution #4: Live Life Authentically

Namaste ‘17!

Welcome to installment number four of our ongoing new year’s resolve series (woot! woot!). The last time we conversed, I introduced the concept of sankalpa. A sankalpa is a deeply held vow or conviction, designed to orient one towards their highest self.

A well developed  sankalpa will weave its way into our daily thoughts and interactions.  It is more than a nice idea, it is a reflection of our deepest and most earnest heart felt desire. More often than not, a sankalpa has a spiritual tone to it such as the desire to live a life of peace or integrity, though it could be more superficial in nature as well.

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

The assignment was to craft a sankalpa through self reflection, conversation, journaling, artistic expression, and so forth.  Come up with one pithy statement or affirmation that is a reflection of your deepest potential and purpose.  (I know, sounds big, as is Life).  Here is my personal affirmation for 2017, as an example:

“My Will, Mind and Actions Align with Truth.”

The most important thing is that your sankalpa resonates with you.  If you approach it sincerely, a sankalpa becomes a sounding board for all of your thoughts, actions and decisions, gradually it becomes an organic extension of who you are.

Drawing upon one’s sankalpa turns “I will go to the gym three times a week” into “I take loving care of my mind, body and spirit”.  A sankalpa has the power to mold and shape our character, and help orient ourselves towards our higher inner and outer potentials.  It brings out the best that is already inside of you.

How to Live into Your Resolve?

Once we set the compass of our sankalpa, the true test will be to apply your affirmation to the actual terrain of your life; how you respond to stress, how you adapt to change, how you relate to others.  How do we best embody our heartfelt resolve?    

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  • Commit your sankalpa to memory.  Say it as a tonic to prevent distress.  Say it in the midst of distress.
  • Don’t be shy.  Boldly place reminders of your 2017 intention in your environment!  Clear any clutter from the fridge and turn it into a shrine in homage to your intent!
  • Enter reminders in your ‘wisdome phone’ to prompt you to tune in.  Are there apps or outside message (such as this blog:) to remind you to stay centered amidst the vacillating currents of life?
  • Go Big!  Put some stakes in the ground!  What challenging yet manageable steps can you commit to that will bring your sankalpa to life.  Trips? Adventures?  Dates/pacts with friends? Mend or let go of broken relationships? Yoga training?  Find a stretch that will breath life into you and your sankalpa.
  • Whisper a silent, personalized prayer at the end of meditation asking for guidance and support.

A sankalpa is designed to bring forth, and help us overcome our limitations.  Invariably there will be setbacks.  Like a scout traversing uncharted territory, you will encounter unexpected challenges and surprises.  Maintain a broad perspective as you hone in on the details of living into the gift of your sankalpa.

 

 

200-hr. Yoga Teacher Training Open House – Sun. Jan. 22 at 9:30am

Come find out more about Axis Yoga’s ongoing yoga teacher trainings. This will be a great opportunity to experience a class, meet graduates, get your questions answered and get a taste of what Axis is all about! Click here to learn more.

The ONLY Way to Know If You’re Doing A Yoga Pose Correctly

What makes a yoga pose an authentic yoga pose?

Here are several answers to this question. Can you guess which one it is?

A.You look like, and are able to smile like, the model on the cover of Yoga Journal

B.You are one of the elite few who can do handstand in the center of the room

C.You are hyper flexible, and therefore able to go deeper into the poses

D.You actually present and attuned to whatever posture it is that you are doing

 

The answer is D!

As a yoga teacher I sometimes hear would be students say “I would like to try yoga but I am not flexible enough”, as though the ability to touch one’s toes were a prerequisite to the practice.  The assumption is that success in yoga can be measured by one’s ability to bend.

Even dedicated practitioners can fall into this assumption and miss out on the deeper purpose and potential of any given asana.  In fact, it is possible to seemingly grow more and more proficient at yoga poses without ever actually practicing yoga.  If our practice is motivated purely by external appearance, than we are missing out on a fundamental aspect of yoga.

Many can attest that there is an implicit value in the postures, that is not to be discounted.  And, let us consider that the postures, along with other even more sophisticated yogic methodologies, are a means to a much greater end -Union with one’s inborn spirit.

While this may sound very lofty, it is something that can be gradually discovered and ultimately realized.  The postures can be a means to begin to approach this ideal provided we are practicing with the correct orientation.

The crown jewel of both asana and meditative practice is awareness-itself.  How attentive are we to the quality or pranic essence of our breathing?  Attuned to the quality of the vital breath, are we able to make fine adjustments to the body to accommodate a more compete experience of the breath itself?  How do subtle or overt changes in our breath affect our mind?

Through this detailed process of repositioning or repatterining of the breath, body and the mind through the postures, new neuro-pathways are built and the yogi experiences deeper and deeper levels of peace and perception.

The Sanskrit term for the joining of breath, body and mind is triputi or the uniting of three energies.  Bringing these three aspects fully to bare on the physical pose greatly magnifies the power, potential, and inborn wisdom of any given posture.

From this perspective the ultimate goal of asana is not to contort oneself into the most exotic position, but rather, to use the posture as a fuel for developing inner awareness.

Using the posture as a tool to become more conscious of ones breath, body, mind, spirit connections the essence of yoga practice is brought to life.

JOIN US! OCTOBER 16th EVENT

This month we are hosting an exclusive community yoga class in Denver that focuses on this topic of authenticity in yoga poses as well as “Asana and the Gateway to the Inner-World.” Join us on Sunday, Oct. 16th from 9:30-11:30.

Click here for more information.