A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

A body is so complex, complete and incomprehensively perfect, alive and whole. An organism that regenerates, integrates, is self aware and self healing, self regulating and self conscious. A body that heals and knows what it needs to boost and nourish itself, on every level. Improving posture directly affects our breath and transforms our wellbeing.

THE BODYMIND CONNECTION

Here’s another article celebrating the natural beauty, intelligence and ability of our bodies. Science has no way of recreating such a perfect organism apart from the power of procreation. But science can help us understand its intricacy and teach us how to intimately work with it. Every challenge that arises in our life invites us to grow. The consciousness of our bodymind attracts these teachings, so we can step into a bigger, brighter and more brilliant version of ourselves. Whether we feel ready to take on the challenge depends on our self-image, self-confidence and self-awareness. These 3 self’s depend on our wellbeing. Our state of mind, emotions and stance of body Self-confidence and awareness are intimately connected to our breath. And our breath is affected by our stance in body, life and living. So how do we enable, or better said, reconnect to the intelligence of our body? How do we inspire that self-regeneration, self-regulating healing aspect?

Enhancing Wellbeing Through Posture

In Spinal Love we explored how posture improvement nourishes our spine and all our organs. Today we’re going to lunge into the lungs.  Many studies have investigated the relationship between posture and breathing and the spill over effects. What’s evident is posture affects not only the spine and organs but all the muscles of the trunk. Many of are directly related to our breath, some indirectly. And if you know, like I love to say, “All is connected”. Through fascia, and many other tissues and systems, then this affects all the muscles, nerves, joints and tendons, all the way down to your toes.[1] Think the diaphragm, intercostals, neck and shoulder muscles,[2] but also the pelvic floor muscles, right down to the legs and feet.

When we sit all day, without body awareness, our shoulders and head begin to round forward. The chest muscles are compromised and tighten over time. Especially if it’s a day in day out habit. Our lungs become limited, our breathing shallow and rapid.[3] This causing our nervous system to become overstimulated, fight or flight switches on. Our nervous system is constantly told, “a bear is chasing us”. While at the same time, our muscles, organs and limbs get less activity, mobility and agility. Sending another contradictory message to the rest of the body that says, “we’re disengaged, rest and digest”.  But our body can only choose one of these pathways at a time. So, its in a perpetual state of discomfort, confusion and compromise. I believe this is the cause of our species present epidemic of chronic, inflammatory, immune and misdiagnosed health issues. But again, THIS is the body’s natural beauty, intelligence and ability to speak to us. Asking us to seek new pathways of living, moving, breathing and being. Our body consciousness, neuroception, knows autonomously and ceaselessly communicates with us.  Whether we listen or not is a different story.

Studies on Breathing & Posture

A Yoga study explored the difference between breath centred yoga and yoga without breath awareness. The group with practices to extend breath and engage in breath awareness, improved not only their breathing, but physical functions of whole-body strength and flexibility, especially of the lower extremities![4] Breathing affects our nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, immune system and eventually all these affect our endocrine system.[5] Imagine your lungs encaged in twelve pairs of ribs. And between each rib, many strong bands of muscle connecting one to another above and below it. These muscles, the intercostals, run diagonally internally, as well as externally,[6] like a grass woven basket. Intercostals pull and release our lungs, contracting and opening. The contraction pulls the ribs together, exhale. And on the release a breath of fresh air is drawn in, inhale. This constant and beautiful rhythm goes on, from the moment of our birth to the day we die. Our exhale clears toxins, calms the nerves and centres the mind. It’s dependent on our ability of muscle contraction. And just as important their ability to relax, allows us to take in that new, clear, lively breath.

Improve Posture – Breathe in Life

In Yoga we say of breath is our life. And within the breath lies our life energy. When we breath fully we live fully. When we breathe shallow we only live to that depth. And this ongoing relationship of the in and out, reflects of our way of opening and closing to the vicissitudes of life. So how does can we breath more fully? How can we live more completely? Improve posture! Yep, that simple. There are a few essentials to breathing fully.

Posture Improvement

And allowing our posture that open and free space of the chest, by slightly bringing the shoulder blades toward each other, and softly down the back. Lifting the ribs up and away from the hips so the abdominal muscles lengthen, and the diaphragm becomes free, are foundations of better breathing. Making sure when we sit that the sitting bones are more elevated than the knees and ankles ensures our belly muscles can relax. Only then can the psoas and back muscles release and give the space to the lungs. Did you know that letting the pelvic floor muscles soften even affects the lungs? 

Body Awareness

Connection to our body, it’s ability, it’s limits, it’s needs, desires and vitality, live in this part of yoga practice. Tuning in to our sense of embodiment takes time and it helps if you have a teacher who practices what she preaches, so she can guide you into your body deeply. So, you can attune with it intimately.

Muscle Stretch, Strength & Integrity

Again, movement can’t be overstated for improving breath, breathing and cardiovascular health. I used to think Yoga was the be all, end all pill for all life activities. But I’ve since come to realise we need to run, dance and swim to fully appreciate, celebrate and integrate who we are and what we’re capable of. Cardio is vital to heart rate variability, a response of our vascular system to environmental stimuli. So, get up and get your heart pumping! Remember what it means to be embodied!!!

Relaxation

Restorative yoga, Yin and any other gentle form of yoga, that allows the body to stay in a position for at least 2 minutes, allows muscles to relax which are tight, and/or weak. This retrains muscles that have adopted constricting and compromised holding patterns. So, here’s to our beautiful, intelligent and able bodies! Here’s to living fully, with integrity and ambivalence simultaneously. We’re only human, and yet that’s already so much… Breathe fully and with integrity of your entire body. Live and love yourself, no matter what!

Love to you, your body, your breath and the life you choose to live,

Shira.


    References 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329219/ 

[2] http://rc.rcjournal.com/content/59/4/543 

[3]https://www.healthline.com/health/breathe-deeper-improve-health-and-posture#posture-and-breathing

[4]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329219/ 

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3482773/

[6] https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/intercostal-muscle

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOGA & YOGA THERAPY

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOGA & YOGA THERAPY

Passionate, longterm practitioners of the spiritual Yoga tradition believe health and happiness is the birth-right of everyone, and inherent in us all. 

 But does that mean that all Yoga classes have the potential to heal? Or that every Yoga teacher can guide you to your physical, mental and emotional health, or spiritual and psychological wellbeing?  There is so much diversity of Yoga on offer now and thats a GREAT thing. But we’ve got to make public what a general Yoga class can’t do. Also a Yin class can be very good those of us who need more rest and quiet. An Ashtanga class can build our confidence and get our mood on high. Vinyasa, or Flow, allows us to feel alive. Restorative has the ability to calm our nervous system. Iyengar motivates our discerning focused and engaged self. Viniyoga can be very reflective and softening. Anusara is both activating and deeping. But all these traditions or styles have their limits, their drawbacks if we take them too seriously/religiously. 

They can even be a detriment to our health if we don’t include all aspects of our lives to decide what we practice day by day, according to those. The major difference is that Yoga therapy looks at all aspects of life that might contribute to an individual living a healthy life, or not. Whereas as most well intentioned Yoga teachers don’t know the full spectrum of habits that could potentially contribute to imbalance. Especially when we consider ourselves, not just as a body-mind, but an individual who lives, experiences and expresses on a physical, energetic, emotional, social, psychological and spiritual level every moment of every day.  

The Differences 

  • Yoga therapy is not a one size fits all, or one programme for all cases of similar disease. General yoga is.
  • Yoga therapy is based on the knowledge of inherent wholeness of each individual. Always remembering the tenacity, resilience and innate ability to heal as the underlying foundation of any living organism. Most general yoga teaching isn’t this broad or deep.
  • Yoga therapy is based on the relationship of therapist with client for any healing or therapy to occur. General yoga is based on movement, breath and maybe some meditation, if you’re lucky.
  • Yoga Therapy not only understands that Yoga affects the physical, psychosocial and spiritual realms of existence, having a wide variety of possible tools and practices, but also understands how we can empower each individual by adapting according to their specific needs, goals, ability and resources. General yoga doesn’t is able to deliver this personalised practice. 
  • Yoga therapists know their scope of practice. When we’re no longer able to serve, we refer on to another healthcare practitioner to ensure success of clients progress and integrity of profession. Yoga teachers generally don’t learn about a scope of practice in Yoga teacher trainings. 
  • Yoga therapy is based on the Yogic philosophy of Samkhya, Ayurveda and spiritual texts of the Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad-Gita, a broad understanding of modern science and command of mainstream medical language to be able to communicate skillfully with other healthcare providers. Mainstream yoga doesn’t.
  • Yoga therapy sees the individual as a body-energy-mind-soul being. It works on all these levels to create wellbeing. (Some traditions, such as Integral, Raja Yoga or individual teachers who are dedicated to study further, understand the diverse practices and their energeticpsychosocial effects for most these aspects of living). Most general yoga teacher trainings integrates a bare minimum of 25hrs, or completely ignores, the basis of this understanding the Yoga philosophy of mind and emotions.
  • Yoga therapy helps people move from suffering to ease, health and happiness, by understanding the underlying cause of imbalance. (For example, depression might be due to chronic unhealthy, physical habits; eating, social life and postural habits, which create visceral, emotional and mental imbalances, which can collectively lead to depression. Or it can be the inverse; chronic negative emotions and mental habits led to unhealthy social life, diet and posture, culminating in depression. Both require different practices, steps and gradual work, according the individuals present state, ability and progress). General yoga helps by generally balancing mood, energy and some mental states, by being present and connecting mind and body through breath.
  • Yoga therapy empowers the individual to health through educating them in better choices of daily habits; activities, work, posture, diet, relationships and mind states, for where they are at now. General Yoga generally doesn’t.
  • Yoga therapy gives practices personally tailored to an individuals’ needs, goals, ability, resources and age or life stage. A step by step structured programme sets them up for success. General yoga is just that, general. Generally beneficial. Generally improves embodied experience, contained consciousness and psychological perception.

Yoga as Therapy 

Awareness of body, energy, mind and emotions is crucial to empower each individual. This awareness shows how our choices create our life. Good and bad. It empowers through self-study, self-effort, self-education and self-regulation. Yoga therapy understands the primal power of purpose. Meaning in our life can carry us through the toughest times. Without it, we can suffer psychologically. A general yoga class can reveal our purpose over the years or when we’ve done plenty of personal development. But usually its more a physical-energetic sense of aliveness we experience, a sense of connection to self, Divine and other. Yoga works from the gross level to the very subtle. Subtle work allows our inherent intelligence to redirect energy and healing processes to hidden or unconscious areas through awareness. Understanding the Ayurvedic principles and Yoga philosophy, and applying them to the different aspects of living; physical, energetic, mental, social, psychological and spiritual, is the difference between yoga and Yoga therapy. Yogic philosophy sees stress as the major cause of all disease. Stress can be diminished, prevented and removed, when the programmes we create give back self-efficacy, self-confidence, sense of responsibility, and the innate birth-right to health and happiness. Without this underpinning, the same subtle energy practices and processes can wreak havoc, and cause dis-ease. Especially when we don’t know what the practices do in relation to physical, energetic, emotional, mental, social and psychological states. This is when a general yoga classes can be counter-intuitive.

Yoga therapy sees four stages of dis-ease

  1. The disease is of the psyche and mind, we feel, think and it creates emotional, mental and psychological discomfort and unease.
  2. If this continues it begins to affect the body, it becomes psychosomatic.
  3. If not addressed, it will move into the body affecting our physical tissues and physiological processes.
  4. If we still ignore this stage, it becomes a physical disease, the later stages of an illness.

Usually people seek professional help at these last two stages of manifesting dis-ease, especially in the west, where emotional/psychological unease is often ignored. Yoga therapy greatly helps in the first two stages where we can easily reverse it with meditative practices, that work on energetic, emotional and mental states. Yoga therapy greatly helps us deal better with stress and detach from mental agitation. Once it has moved into body in the third stage, Yoga Therapy is an adjunct, and in the last stage its only palliative.

Ultimately “yoga is a process of transformation. A system for shedding dysfunctional patterns and activating your untapped potentials. A tool for identifying your unique structural challenges and patterns”. –Gary Kraftsow.

When we understand the fundamentals of Yoga and Ayurveda and how to apply them, through decades of self-reflection and inquiry, awareness of emotional, psychological and social health, we begin the process of the alchemy of Yoga. We can only guide others as far as we ourselves have dared to travel. We learn how to transform the bodymind into conscious awareness embodied, through this voyage. All of life’s challenges are just stepping stones to becoming a fuller version of ourselves. And that practice is always a process of progression. We are never finished, never perfect. And nor should we strive toward perfection. Rather yoga can show us how to love ourselves and others in this process of becoming our fuller Self. A self love and compassion that embraces all of us. The Great, the Glorious and most of all, the Godforsaken.  

Namaste Dear One, leave a comment about your interpretation of Yoga as a therapy, a tool of transforming the challange into a cherised aspect of self discovery.

Much Love,

Shira.

HOW YOGA IMPROVES COMMUNICATION & RELATIONSHIPS

HOW YOGA IMPROVES COMMUNICATION & RELATIONSHIPS

So why do I keep going on about emotions, you might ask, and how can Yoga improve them? Emotions drive our impulses. They filter our perception, relation and reactions, in that order. If we don’t know which emotion prompts us, we react instead of respond. We risk communication and relation breakdowns. 

Communication is the basis for co-creation. And emotions the initiator of that expression.  

Ultimately Yoga is all about having deep, fulfilling and honest connections and relationships. Early on my Yoga road, reconnecting with my inner self, gave immense joy, courage and a sense of empowerment and contentment from the bliss we find within. Somewhere mid journey we uncover our deeper connection to Self, the divine. It inspires us to dive deeper. It dares us to climb higher peaks we never thought we could, and even fly a little, until we hit a very concrete part of our humanity.

As we mature on our Yoga journey we realise the knowledge, confidence and resilience we finally reclaim, are the essence of deep healthy relations, connection and living as complex social beings. The last few years my Yoga path is about realising how to be a better human being. Not a human doing. Nor a human not doing. But a human being who makes the effort, in order to manifest ease, not just for self but for others just the same. Sukha and Sthira. That’s the only Asana, seat, we need to create as the foundation of our expression, gift and work. It’s a fine balancing act. To be a being of compassion and yet proactive. That profound recognition of our responsibility and ability. To create the changes, we need to turn around in ourselves and the Earth. To be proactive and co-create, the first step we need is to learn to communicate.

Importance of Skilful Communication

The importance of power dynamics between teacher and student can’t be understated. Especially since the exposure of power abuse in many of the yoga communities. And communication is key to support healthy interpersonal relationships and create balanced and empowering power dynamics. 

Denial, disastrous communication, or lack of it, leads to frustration, fear, loneliness, anger, grief, emotional and mental imbalances, and even suicide. Just as healthy communication has the potential to free us. To empower us and to create long lasting, satisfying relationships. In two weeks, I begin another Yoga therapy training.

To get the most out of any education, good communication is essential. Even though I’ve made effort my whole adult life to improve my communication skills, I still find myself lacking in trying situations. An important part of Yoga Therapy training is learning skilful communication, observation and deep relation. All key to Yoga being therapeutic. 

Healthy interpersonal communication is vital to happiness, health and success. To transform outgrown patterns, it takes two to see, hear, speak, share and dare to work together toward change. Empowering the individual toward their own healing process. Only guiding them enough to take the steps of creating their own wellbeing. Yoga’s greatest strength lies in it’s potential to empower the individual. And how Yoga does this is through cultivation of self awareness, deeper levels of honesty, sensitivity and skill in action, toward the good, the bad and the ugly. So communication with self is key to healing, self and others, through deep listening and responding. 

Communication as a tool to empower

Communication is key for our relationship to self and others. It helps us recognise our and others needs, strengths, challenges and gifts. When we relate in these, we own our part in the play. This allows the other to own their part. We mutually empower. There’s no power battle when we listen, honour and find a win/win way for all involved. When we’re honest we deeply honour our values, feelings and thoughts. Doing so creates an empowered, autonomous and confident sense of self. 

We’re only as empowered as we are honest with who we are, what we stand for and what we feel in relation with to any given situation. And being emotionally intelligent, means we know what we feel, why and how to communicate that. Being honest and speaking our truth, we give others the chance to do the same. It naturally empowers them in the process. We honour others values, feeling and thoughts too. Because it’s a two-way street. It feels so great to feel honoured and empowered, we only wish the same for the other. Emotional intelligence opens up the pathway to this mutual feeling. Fulfilling relationships and skilful communication come from the baby step of honesty and ability to express it kindly.

Yamas and Skilful communication

The Yamas are the basis of all yoga. Communication rests on these pillars of the Yamas. Especially Ahimsa; kindness to self and others, Satya; honesty and Bramhacharya; keeping our energy within our sense of self, which is actually emotional intelligence. Our ability to communicate depends on our relationship with self; honesty and self-awareness of what we think, feel and belief, kindness and self-inquiry of the way we relate to self and others, keeping our Prana within our senses and how we respond or react to what we discover within and without. 

Without self knowledge and self awareness its difficult to communicate what we want, think and feel. And even harder to create a life that reflects these ideals.   Growing up with the themes of misunderstanding, loneliness, depression, blaming, shaming, are common. We see, live with, accept, and in our incredible ability to adapt, we find ways to even thrive and be happy amongst the confusion and changes of socia But for some these themes are too painful, especially if we lack the ability or urge to communicate. Sharing our emotive visions inspires us. 

Communication connects us, allows us torelate and feel heard, held and honoured. It grounds us when we’re understood. It frees us from the heavy burden of carrying feelings all alone. Sharing allows the intelligence behind the emotion; the impulse to create change to honour our sensibility to what’s good for us now, guides us to improve connection and bolsters healthy relationships. Underneath there is a calm love and wholeness that we all can access. 

Holding the space for emotions to flower, flourish, bloom and wilt, we can hold the space for others to communicate their feelings. Then what we envision can come to the foreground. Behind every emotion awaits a force so strong to create wholeness. Its our job to learn to hear the silent but powerful messengers. To decipher and shift gears. Then we can co-create together. Because alone we will never move mountains. Alone we can dream, together we can do it.And its so much more fun with others. 

Namaste and I’d love to hear how you share your truth and co-create,   

Much Love,

Shira.

One Yoga Pose to Feel Empowered, Uplifted, Improve Energy and Relationships

One Yoga Pose to Feel Empowered, Uplifted, Improve Energy and Relationships

“Since emotions run every system in the body, don’t underestimate their power to treat and heal.”

– Candace Pert. 

How powerful that feeling of total bliss or joy is when we’re elated, delighted and excited all rolled into one. It gives us energy and motivation to do incredible things with ease and confidence.  

Or equally devastating those depths of despair, where happiness seems unimaginable and each step a steep mountainside. Every little bump or challenge sucks our life energy right out of us.
Both these states are due to our emotions. The last months we’ve explored how emotions work and affect our mental states, and vice versa. This week it’s how do emotions affect our energy. And what we can do to reclaim that power and direct it with Yoga and mindfulness.

A Brief History of Energy in Motion

The E-word in the world of science and medicine, Candace Pert joked, for what can’t be measured, can’t be real. Remember our emotions are responses of our inner world meeting the outer world. Ultimately emotions are Love, Bliss and Clarity, according to Yoga and Ayurveda.  
Candace, a passionate neuroscientist, pharmacologist and biophysicist, innovatively sought biochemical links between consciousness and body.


Twenty years ago, in her deeply inspiring book The Molecules of Emotion, Candace revealed how emotions affect the entire biochemistry in of our bodies. Her extensive research led her to discover that emotions are the link between mind and body. More to the point, we are a bodymind.


Emotions change the electricity and chemistry of every single cell in our body, affecting how we feel, what we perceive through the five senses, how we react depending on what we perceive as most important.
This affects our tissues, organs and channels of mind. These filters, the cellular memory and innate intelligence of our body responds easily to the infinite changes.


These changes are recorded within the receptors of cells. When changes and experiences are not expressed or digested healthily, they become toxins, ama in Ayurveda. Toxic emotions build up in the unconscious, clogging mental channels of perception. Our ability to receive and accept the full power of Love behind every E-motion as an expression of free flow of Prana, depends on how conscious, embodied and alive we meet the outer world each time. 
Fortunately, science is slowly shifting. We now know that the body is the mind crystallized. The only sure thing in the material world is change. Science is catching up and affirms what Seers around the world have said for millennia. We have all we need within. 

How We Can Make the Shift

The innate intelligence of our body, what Yoga and Ayurveda call Prana, is a conscious force that moves through us knowing what it needs and how to heal. “We have a natural pharmacopeia already within us” Candace stated. We can inherently orchestrate our own healing process through knowledge and application of the practices.


Our body heals when our cells are healthy and clear. We can create the clarity and vibrancy on a cellular level, not just through healthy food and exercise. But by being conscious in relationships and connections with others. That outer relationship is a reflection of the inner relationship. How your cells communicate with each other. How they meet and greet, respond or react. 
That’s why yoga is so powerful. We learn to move our body, breath and mind with consciousness. We can connect to it, and to others. Yoga affects not just the connection with self, but with society and spirit. Connection, relations are our spiritual practice on this earth.
The connectedness we feel of bodymind profoundly changes our emotions into positive states. We’re literally removing old memories from cellular filters. 


These filters affect our thoughts, perceptions and experiences. And we in turn can create new filters any time we choose to make that effort. We can awaken our e-motional state, energy in motion. This energy movement within and through our cells and organs, directly affects our bodymind, and this impacts our energy levels.

A Two-Way Stream 

We can also use our body to change our biochemistry through posture, muscular engagement, to affect our emotional and mental state. We can reverse engineer, we can create the energy level we want. We can let ourselves feel down, relaxed or uplifted, anger, excitement or enthusiasm, contentment, detached or disappointment. 


Emotions are the key to uplifting ourselves and our energy levels. And the way we use our body language, the parts of our body we activate, or soften, will affect how we feel and change our energy levels directly and effectively. 
It does take practice. Like anything in life we need to attempt it many times to become good and feel and see its effects. But this simple technique can be used daily, until you start to integrate that mental awareness, emotional activation and bodily engagement in daily activities and life.

Try it

Sit down, let your body relax, even slump. Let your head sit unintentionally, slightly disinterested. Don’t try to be embodied, rather be disembodied, be in your head.
Now say to yourself, “I feel alive, vibrant, I do everything with joy today!”
And FEEL IT.
How do you feel?
Do you feel alive and vibrant? 
Did you feel you change in the physiological state a flow of energy?
Does this generate a good feeling or uplifted energy?


So a simple stance, or lack of it, let’s our energy run down and out, and it’s not going to give us that vibrancy or upliftment, we actually seek in our waking state.


Now to be empowered means we have power to affect and claim our part in the play of life. And for Yoga to be empowering we need to first know where we are, where we want to arrive at through our practice and what practice will get us there.
So an easy and effective way is to tune into what you’re feeling at this moment. 


Stand up in Mountain pose, plant your feet firmly on the floor, connect to the Earth’s abundant energy supply. Feel the front of your body awake, alive and open, ready to receive that flow of energy. Let the back body soften but with an intent to receive energy.
Now be embodied, feel the sensations in your body, the amazing flow of life moving through you to your head. 
Let the mind be reflective like a lake, awake and clear with intent. Now say to yourself, “I feel alive, vibrant, I do everything with joy today!”
And FEEL IT. 
How do you feel?
Do you feel alive and vibrant?
Do you feel you changed the physiological state?
Does this generate a good feeling or uplifted energetic state?

It’s really simple.
Now if the difference wasn’t so big, that’s ok, you just need a little practice. 
If we have a habit of letting or energy run down and out, we just need to swim upstream a few times and turn the current around.
With practice anything is possible.


Joy doesn’t come to a lucky few, it comes through practice and preparation, understanding and opportunity coming together like old friends.


Now its your turn to take this into the world.
Leave a comment below and tell us how it will change your current situation.

Much Love,

Shira.

TRANSFORM EMOTIONS AND SHADOWS

TRANSFORM EMOTIONS AND SHADOWS

Bottoms up, Top-down & Heart Centred

Practicing Yoga mindfully based on Ayurveda, it’s no longer prescriptive but a process. Bottom up, using the body to regulate energy, moods and nerves. Top down, add psychology and it’s a process of rediscovering deeper layers of wellbeing in self and relationships, uses clarity to bring homeostasis. Heart Centred uses emotional empowerment, works with our feelings, passion and deepest desires.

For decades I believed Yoga alone was the Panacea for all healing. As a teacher and therapist, sure students didn’t need to go outside the realm of Vedic studies for healing and transformation. Until I hit rock bottom. That spurred me on to study all I could on psychology, Ayurveda, neuroscience and anything related to emotions. Top-down. Heart centred. Bottoms up. You name it.


For our Yoga practice to really support our healing process, transformation and growth in our lives, we need all.
Instead of reacting and acting upon subconscious fears and feelings, yoga with a willingness to face our weaknesses, creates space to see and release underlying triggers. Subconscious triggers.


The subconscious is the pathway through which our conscious and unconscious mind communicate. The limited mind with limitless knowing, or pure potential as Deepak Chopra calls it. Limitless potential is frightening because we have no idea what it is, where we’ll be when there, how we’ll be challenged moving into a bigger arena of self or where it’ll take us. Because it’s new and unknown, we can’t compare it to any previous experience.


But there are pathways that we can slowly open up to the limitless potential of mind without being overwhelmed.

Consciousness Pathways, Our Potential and Our Shadows 

Our subconscious reveals parts of our unconscious and limitless mind, or limited and maladaptive aspects of mind, which need to be faced, embraced and replaced. This makes space for our potential to grow, thrive and feel alive. 


Without seeing our weaknesses and imperfections, we’ll never change for the better. We’re only Bhogi Yogis. Spiritual bypassers, seeking pleasure and sidestepping any real transformation. And there are way too many Yoginis and Yogis that skip this vital part of practice. To think or believe we’ve done the work is the ingenious play of ego. We’re here because we are the work in progress. And progress happens by practicing not only what we love and what we loathe.


Meditation creates more space in the subconscious(SC) realm. It allows the SC to flow into the conscious mind, expanding our conscious mind into this SC realm and becoming conscious. This frees up space in the SC for the unconscious(UC) to flow into. And that let’s more of our potential and limitless mind to flow into our subconscious. And so on and so forth.
This is expanding consciousness. Living from limitless self means we have pure potential to create and become all that lays dormant within us.


And in the clearing, not only amazing parts of ourselves come to the fore, our shadows also arise. Dormant are also those suppressed aspects of self. All we’ve learned to reject, suppress and neglect. All we’ve forgotten and felt shame, guilt or fear about never rise to the surface of our consciousness to be seen, felt and heard, grows in intensity from the resisitance. 


These shadows are projected becoming power plays and dominator dynamics. Whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological or sexual. Just look at Osho, Deshen Thurman, Bikram, John Friend, Swami Rama, Swami Muktanananda, Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, Kausthub Desikachar, Satyananda Saraswati, Nirjanjanananda and so many other ‘Gurus’. Their repressed physical, emotional, psychological and sexual shadows later defined their character as authorities. 


To free ourselves fully is to become ourselves fully. Preventing another’s domination means understanding our projections. Stepping into our power is seeing all we project; the glorious, the bad and the ugly. Not just on those we dislike, but even more on those we adore, idolise and look up to. It’s our responsibility to acknowledge, accept and even embrace our failings, shortcomings and progressive, not perfect, actionsLetting this out into the light of consciousness frees us as well as it. Then we humbly and humanly step into ourBeauty & Power. 


Through meditative Yoga practice we not only see the thoughts and feel the emotions underlying our habits, beliefs and perceptions, we actually move through them. We use our embodied experience and release and energy trapped in the body/mind complex in a conscious manner. The issues in our tissues, or the condensation of mental energy solidified is moved through. One way to free our shadows.
There’s only one way out, and that’s through.

Dreams and Feelings

Dreams are one pathway of the SubConscious. 
Dreams allows us to better understand our SC and therefore become more conscious of what we belief, fear, and feel. Dreams are a powerful channel of SC unfolding, if we learn to read their symbols and listen to the dynamics. If we see each personality as different aspects of ourselves, we can decipher the language of dreams and our SC. But some of us aren’t aware of our dreams or their symbolism.


Emotions are another pathway of the subconscious. And we are definitely aware of them.
But can we read them? Are we emotionally literate?
Remember emotions are energy in motion. They’re transient and have no substance, but that doesn’t mean they’re not powerful. They’re very powerful! Underneath each emotion lives our body-mind intelligence. This is the divine communicating with us.


We can actually empower ourselves emotionally. The desire to live fully and express our experiences of being and self, without limitation, is the essence of the life itself. Shakti. And it’s inherent in all of us. Supress this long enough and imbalance in our free flow of energy becomes dis-ease.
We reclaim the power within emotions, by learning their language and speaking our truth. Living from the heart, the desire to live fully will awaken in us again.

Test Your Emotional Intelligence and Language

We often lack the freedom to express emotions because we fear of being rejected, disliked, stand out from the crowd or facing the truth of our lack of… fill in the blank.
How many emotions do you think we have? And can you communicate them to others in the spur of the moment? And what’s your initial reaction towards difficult emotions? 
How many emotions can you think of right now?
Give yourself 90 seconds and write down as many as you can.
Count them.


Now place a N next to all the negative ones and a P next to the positive emotions.
Now look at which ones you call ‘negative’ and ‘positive’.
Why do we do that? Why do we assign N or P to any of them?
Our past experiences and perceptions, influenced by our caregivers’ reactions makes us relate so distinctly.

But we can do it different

According to Dr. Alan Watkins we have a vast universe of emotions. Imagine allowing yourself the freedom to experiencing a limitless range of emotions. See yourself living out immense possibilities of all the visceral sensations that intuite and invite us to live better and wiser lives. Messages from our beautifully wise, nurturing and loving bodies, through a nervous system thats always connected to the mind, and leads us back to our limitless self.


The mind-body pathways are always ready to change, adapt and improve.


We can feel anxiety in a positive sense. Feel nervousness, as a fluttering exhilaration for the new, a youthful excitement and anticipation to explore and be the adventurer once again. It gives us extra energy and alertness to raise our ability and engage our intelligence and consciousness in a more creative and curious way.


Feeling anger doesn’t ‘make us angry’. Anger is a powerful, dynamic and concentrated movement of energy. If we feel it in our spacious awareness moving through our body-mind, we can channel it into a new project. A plan or activity that creates change in relation to that which made us feel anger.
And so we can explore the universe of emotion and learn to move with it.

Transform Emotion into Motivation

By reclaiming the full scope of emotional experience through emotional literacy, we access the power within emotions. It’s here to tell us something is happening and the universe is only waiting for our response. Allowing ourselves unlimited expression to experience our feelings, without fear, allows energy to move through us, rather than happening to us.
Find that joy and immensity of pleasure to pass through us by embracing what you feel. Moving with emotions and letting the intelligence of the divine in our body speak to us, will motivate us to change for the better.

SO step into your power, feel and see the subconscious speak to you through its pathways as wisdom moving with life-energy, or Praana.
Let your universe of emotions expand and your shadows dissipate. Let Shakti free the issues in our tissues. Begin to have a deeper conversation with your feelings.

1. Write down two emotions you have a hard time with and how can you see them and experience them in a new light so the motivate you. Move You in the right direction 😉 
2. Write down two emotions you love to experience and do something this week to make sure that feeling wakes up in you again.


Namaste, love and move with meditative awareness of your energy’s movement,

Shira.