Taking Your Yoga Beyond the Mat

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Alright, hey everybody
Alanna Kaivalya here. How are you? Happy Thursday it’s my pleasure and honor to
be here with you today to discuss how to take your yoga beyond the mat and why
it’s so important for you to do so whether you are a yoga professional,
whether you are yoga enthusiast or whether you are yoga teacher, so thank
you so much for being here with me today. I am excited I wanted to just other way
so guys check out the flower arrangement I made it myself yes I did,
so that was a pretty exciting experience. Um the other evening my husband actually
created a class a flower arranging class and I went and took it and it was the
first time I’d ever really put anything together like that and it was beautiful
and in and of itself it was sort of a moving meditation. So one of the things
that I’m going to share with you today is that in terms of our yoga practice we
absolutely need to think outside the box, it doesn’t always have to look like what
it’s looked like before. It doesn’t always have to look like asana, it
doesn’t always have to be ninety minutes long, it doesn’t have to be as rigorous
as you may have been taught that it’s supposed to be or should be. We all have
to stop shoulding ourselves, so that’s what I want to bring to you today and
let me just kind of check my systems make sure everything is go and that we
are all live everywhere and I think that we should be. So in any case I’m really
glad to be here with you today I am live on Facebook, on Instagram, on YouTube and that way you can find me wherever you are interested in checking me out live. I
do this live every Thursday and I come to you with different topics every week
that are relevant and important for you and I as modern mystics as those who are
interested in stepping into our roles as spiritual leaders so you know primarily
I talk to yoga teachers but of course if you’re a yoga practitioner or if you’re
a spiritual practitioner of any kind working with people and trying to
elevate consciousness then I’m really glad that you’re here and I want you to
stick around. One of the things that we no matter, who we are or what we practice
as spiritual leaders or spiritual practitioners, one of the things that we
really need to make sure of is that we ourselves stay close to the practice
that you and I have a connection to the practice that’s really important because
you can actually only lead people as far as you yourself have gone. So if you
haven’t pushed yourself to any kind of limit, if you haven’t crossed any kind of
boundary, if you haven’t transformed anything within your own consciousness
it’s going to be very difficult for you to lead people to to that transformation.
So I have restarted doing my podcast by the way and I want to put a link to that
podcast for you down below, down below for those of you on Facebook and YouTube
and in my bio for those of you on Instagram my podcast is also geared
toward the modern mystic, the spiritual practitioner, the yoga teacher and the
podcast I recorded yesterday was talking a lot about hero’s journey and
how you know in order to become a hero, the hero has to go through certain
certain trials and tribulations, certain very specific guideposts and yes every
hero will take a journey that is unique to him or her there will of course be
cultural nuances or slightly different situations that he or she goes through
but the actual steps of the journey are pretty much the same. And one of the biggest things that all of us need to go through as spiritual
practitioners as the heroes of our own story is the ability to create
resilience and withstand the challenges and the reason why this is so important
is because it is going through those challenges that we ultimately learn how
incredible we are and what we’re truly capable of. If we stay small and we don’t press ourselves then we never grow. Some of the
things that we learn in yoga are number one; that growth or change is the only
constant in the universe. Great Lord Shiva teaches us that and Shiva of course is the patron saint of yoga and you know
because he is the god of death and destruction he’s very comfortable with
change of transformation he’s very comfortable with the things that most of
us are not comfortable with. He’s okay with being in the darkness, he’s okay
with leaning in to the sharp edges. Our yoga practice needs to allow us to be
okay with that stuff as well, that’s what we call resilience because contrary, to
not just popular belief, but popular social media
the Yogi’s life is not always sparkles, rainbows, and butterflies.
It’s life, your life is the same as everybody else’s it’s the same as mine
and despite the shiny happy appearance that we may put on social media or that
we may share outwardly with others all of us goes through stuff we all have
things that we need to deal with and those things are various degrees of
challenging and of course I hope for you that you have less challenges in life
and more sparkles, rainbows, and butterflies, but I am a realist and I
know that the challenges will arise and I really want you to be prepared for
them especially as a spiritual leader, especially as a yoga teacher
because how you withstand your own challenges, your own resilience will
inherently teach others. It will show others that there is a different way of
being. You don’t have to fall apart when things get weird, you don’t have to
crumble under pressure, you don’t have to run the other way and stick your head in
the sand and hide when the going gets tough you can actually stand on your own,
two feet and brave the wilderness. Your yoga practice will temper you to be able
to do this and it’s most important that you actually cultivate a strong and
connected yoga practice while things are awesome, while things are comfortable
while the going is good because if you can stay close to your yoga practice,
while things are great then when things are challenging, you will have built up
almost like a reservoir that you can draw from. You won’t be sapped or tapped
and it will take a long time for that reservoir to drain the more that you
have built up this connection to your practice. So your practice, let’s talk
about what this is because I think for most of us you know we think of our
practice as um coffee. Coffees definitely a practice for me. For most of us we
think of our practice just as asana. I know that I thought of my own practice as
asana for a long time. I know that I was taught and told that if I were going to
teach 60 to 90 minute asana practices that my own practice needed to be a 60
90 minute asana practice and I spent many many years bending and twisting
myself into shapes whether it felt good or not thinking that I was doing the
right thing so I actually don’t want you to fall into that trap. I actually want
you to do something different because asana practice is great and it’s not
the end-all be-all and I know that this maybe blasphemy for some, but it’s not the
magic of yoga. You know it does a lot of wonderful
things and it is a very physical kind of gross and I mean that in the physical
sense gross way of moving through our challenges and our physical challenges
it’s like a test laboratory you know in our asana practice when we come up
with a different or difficult asana and we figure out a way to do it in our
own best way, which may be different than everybody else’s, which is fine, we feel a
sense of accomplishment and we think to ourselves, wow that challenge I just
overcame it it’s sort of like you’re proving to yourself that overcoming
challenges is possible. That’s one of the great benefits of asana, it is it can be
a moving meditation it teaches you to breathe regularly. I’m not knocking asana
but I do want to put it in its place. Then specifically for you, for your daily
practice I really want you to put it in its place. You don’t need to do it every
day. I know! Who has ever said that to you in yoga? This girl! This girl is saying it
to you right now. What you need to do every day as a part of your practice is
whatever it is that keeps you connected to source. Okay and it will be a process
of discovery to determine what it is that actually keeps you connected to
source. Right so I’m using a very general term source because I want you to fill
in that blank for yourself. Whatever you call it, whatever you feel most close to
whatever sets your heart on fire. Whatever it is that you’re most devoted
to, whatever makes you feel connected. To source, to the life around you, to your
family to people, to your own soul, like whatever makes you feel connected and
we’ve all felt that sense of connection. We have we have all actually also felt a
sense of enlightenment, we’ve all already been enlightened. Enlightenment is not
this you know unique magical thing that happens to a select group of very few
people. Enlightenment happens everybody, everybody has been there
everybody has felt it it is that moment where you feel like time and space just
stop and you are suspended. It can happen when you are witnessing a beautiful
sunrise or sunset, it can happen the moment that you look into your
lover’s eyes and fall in love. It can happen the minute you that you meet a
new baby, a lot of things, a lot of occurrences can bring about this sense
of, I love the term that James Joyce uses which, is aesthetic arrest.
You’re just you’re breathless you’re stopped, okay it is this beautiful
feeling of deep connection with anything and everything. We’ve all been there,
we’ve all felt it. That’s not unique, what is unique is the ability to sustain that
feeling, to make it last, to actually make that sense of connection permanent. We’re
mostly permanent, permanent ish, more permanent than just a sort of fleeting
haphazard way in which it often appears for us. Your practice is how you do that.
Okay it’s how you cultivate this ability to make yoga literally the state of
enlightenment your new normal. Now I’ve never seen anybody enlightened in a
warrior 2 so I’m not sure that that’s gonna do it but I do know that there are
other practices that help you to get there and help you to develop that
constant connection. Now you know one of the other fallacies that we live with in
yoga that I’m I’m doing my best to kind of break through for you is that the
goal of yoga is enlightenment. You know we’ve all read the yoga Sutra. If you
haven’t, get to it. We’ve all read the yoga Sutra, but there’s this idea that
the Ashtanga Yoga path, the eight-limbed path which begins with yama, second path
second step, is meyama and then third, is asana and ends step
number eight with samadhi or yoga. There’s this idea that we start you know
with this one step, and then we eventually get to step eight and then
ooh we’re good, we’ve ticked that box it’s
all it’s all done our yoga is earned. It it’s not a sequential process okay.
Sangha Yoga is not a sequential process. You don’t go from step one to step eight
step eight isn’t the final goal okay. It’s not the goal. Samadhi is not the
goal. The eight limbs are simply organized from most external to most
internal, they’re organized from the most external practices to the most internal
practices the first the first step or the first element is yama, which is literally
how you treat others, literally the most external thing you could possibly do.
What do you do with the world around you whereas Samadhi is how do you actually
connect to yourself. How do you connect the different parts of the psyche. Yoga
is a psycho spiritual practice so the unifying unification of all the parts of
the psyche is yoga. Now imagine if you can actually be connected more of the
time, how that would change or affect your decision-making. What kind of person
would you be if you were constantly connected? How would you treat others if
you had the ability to always be tethered to source? What would problems look like? What would a disaster be if this were your new
state of being? Samadhi or connection to source yoga, right your ability to unify
all the parts of yourself, it’s possible for everyone. Number one I just want to
say that but number two it’s not the goal it’s not why we’re here we’re here
to make great decisions to do something called Viveca, which is
another word we find in the yoga texts. The veca means discernment
okay it’s not judgment right we all do have to do some judging a little bit
like is that thing good for me is nothing not good for me. Discernment or
vim Becca is very specific and for Yogi’s it’s very specific. It’s being
able to wisely and consciously choose what will help you to lean toward the
light. Okay those choices are going to be personal and different for all of us,
there is no one choice that is right for everybody. This is the world that we live
in right. We’re all unique and special individuals, we’re all unique and special
snowflakes. There is no way we can’t look across the world and say everybody
should be this, everybody should eat this way, everybody should practice this kind
of yoga, everybody should make this particular decision. It’s always wrong to
do this, we cannot do that okay. Every single decision that we make has both
light and dark consequences every decision, okay extrapolate out far enough there will be darkness extrapolate it out far
enough there will be light. Okay every decision
has both light and dark consequences. Our job as Yogi’s is to be connecting enough
to ourselves, to our soul, to our spirit to know that when we make all the
thousands of decisions we make every day that we are we are always doing our best
to lean toward the light and the easiest way to be able to consciously make great
decisions for yourself in this manner is to do it with yoga on your brain. Okay
when Yoga is your new normal, your decision making process is pretty much
always gonna be awesome. You’re always going to treat people with kindness,
you’re always going to make great decisions for you and those around you and even when they’re difficult decisions and your constant practice
will build the resilience to live through the difficult times to make the
difficult choices, it will build the temperance to always walk as much as you
can in your own yogic path. That’s why your practice is so important, ok it’s
not your 60 to 90 minute asana practice, it’s just not so Melody has a great
comment here, she says “thank you for saying I don’t need to practice every
day I needed that” Awesome Melody “it’s hard for me to do it
every day. Even a short 15-minute practice is just hard to get through sometimes”. Girl, I get you, I really do and your practice doesn’t even need to be 15
minutes long. So let’s talk about a couple of things. Now what I’m discussing
with you here today it’s all in my book Yoga Be On The Mat, right I want people
to take their yoga be on the mat I want them to realize that the purpose and
power of yoga is so much bigger than they ever thought it was and it actually
is possible for you to make yoga your new normal. So I’m gonna put a link to my
book either in my bio for those of you on instagram or below for those of you
on youtube and facebook and that link is gonna take you to the book, which has
everything I’m telling you in even greater detail and at least 38 different
practices for you to try. None of which require you to bend your
body into any crazy shapes okay. Go for it and bend your body if that’s
something that you love to do, I don’t mind but I’m trying to give you a little
bit of something extra. Okay something different there are plenty of people who
teach asana so I’m gonna let them do that. You and I we’re gonna have a
different conversation. So your practice doesn’t even need to be 15 minutes okay,
all your practice needs to be is exactly what it what you need to get connected
that’s it, and that all that may take is waking up. This is one of my favorite
practices, waking up and thinking of three things you’re grateful for. Even
before you get out of bed. First thing you do, open your eyes,
three things you’re grateful for and that starts to shift your mindset. We
know through research that an attitude of gratitude is really at the basis of
all good feelings. You want to feel good for your entire day, start your
day right, so that may help you to get connected right away.
Meditation is always good, but the problem is that for us as Yogi’s we’re
often taught a form of meditation that addresses only the conscious mind. I know
you’ve heard me talk a lot about yoga psychology on these broadcasts so I’ll
give you a quick overview. The totality of your psyche in a general way is
broken up into three main parts. We have your conscious mind, this is the lens
that you see through every day, how you interact, your ego. You have your
unconscious, which is the majority of the psyche. This is where your emotions are
buried. Your triggers are buried, your complexes are buried, but also it is
where your greatest gifts are buried, but it is unconscious. So you need tools to
be able to connect with it, so you can get those gifts to come up, so that you
can resolve those triggers and those complexes. So you can start to commune
with all the parts of yourself, even those deep hidden away parts and then
there is the higher mind. What I like to call this Supra consciousness or the
spirit mind, I think of the unconscious as the soul, the higher mind is the
spirit when your psyche is completely transparent, when you’re able to connect
to both spirit and soul. That my friends is yoga. So you need tools that allow you
to get the wisdom and the inspiration from the higher mind and you need tools
that allow you to connect and dig up what is buried and the unconscious
classic forms of yogic meditation don’t actually do any of that. Newsflash,
I know that’s crazy but just meditating your face off for a long period of time
is like trying to get to the bottom of the iceberg by standing at the top with
an ice pick. Good luck with that. You’re not gonna go anywhere fast. You
will feel like you’re making progress and then that hole will fill back up. As
much as I adore meditation, and I do, for our purposes, for us those who actually
want to live Yoga, for it to be our new normal, for us to maintain a sense of
connection, more of the time we need to upgrade our meditation practice and do
it a little bit differently. We actually need to make it so that we’re either
connecting to the unconscious or the higher minds, so that we’re creating this
dialogue, so that we’re receiving the wisdom that our psyche has to offer us
because it does. You know as well as I do that in any situation, you do know the
right answer, you know it. You know the right answer and you either ignore it or
you don’t. Okay when you’re completely in accord
with all the parts of your psyche, not only will you know the right answer, you
will act upon it. So mega benefits from revamping your practice and actually
finding the practices that do make you feel connected. Things like working with
the chakras, things like saying simple mantras. I’m not even talking about in
Sanskrit. I love Sanskrit mantras. I wrote a book about Sanskrit mantras.
That’s not even a metaphor. I literally wrote a book called Sacred Sound about
Sanskrit mantras. So I do love them, but if you don’t. Say them in English, one of my
absolutely favorite mantras that I write about in my third book; Yoga Beyond The Mat, is this is what’s happening now, because one of the first and foremost
teachings we ever receive in yoga is that Yoga occurs at only one time. That
time is not in the future and that time was never in the past. The only time that
any of us can experience yoga, that psycho-spiritual state of bliss, that
bliss, that state that will make us resilient and be able to handle anything in
life, only time that occurs is in the present moment. It’s now. I mean Eckhart Tolle has been telling us this for decades right the power of now. So one of the
things that I experienced a lot and perhaps you do too is that life starts to
knock you out of the now, you start to worry about the future, you start to
regret the past. Anything can make us do this. So when you catch yourself
projecting into the future or reminiscing about the past, you simply
say to yourself, but this is what’s happening now. Or if you’re in a
situation that you kind of want to push the mental eject button from, well I
don’t want to be here, what is this? This is ridiculous or I hate doing this. You
can bring yourself back to the present by saying, this is what’s happening now.
It’s a very simple mantra. It’s very easy. You say it out loud. You can say it
silently and perhaps just that phrase in and of itself is like a mini practice
that reconnects you. Okay so I don’t even know that you need to get up and do a
practice every morning. Right if you have five minutes, spend five minutes. If you have two and a half minutes, spend two and a half
minutes. If you have no minutes, wake up and be grateful for something and then
find other ways throughout the day to actually integrate these connective
practices into your life so that your life doesn’t have to fit your yoga. So
that your yoga fits your life. That’s really the way it should be. As yoga
practitioners, we want to be in the world. Okay, it’s not this old-school ivory
tower high-minded thinking of, oh the yogi gets to press the eject button, and
not be in the world and I know that that’s very tempting for many of us. I
spoke about that on a recent podcast too, that one of the things that’s very
difficult for us as Yoga and spiritual practitioners is we start to
feel all this yoga, we start to feel good. We start to learn these practices, we
start to take on this yogic mindset, but no one else around us does, so we want
to divorce them or we want to quit that job or, we want to move house, or we want to
completely change our life so that we can just be around Yogi’s all the time.
That’s that’s not where the magic of yoga is gonna occur either it’s gonna
occur by you actually being the yogi in your life by bringing your peace, your
bliss back to those that that love you that have supported you, that have
challenged. You you know I know many Yogi’s who are like oh yeah now I
know I never need to go back to that holiday dinner. And I’m like actually, you
could show up differently and perhaps change the entire flavor of that holiday
dinner. It’s worth a shot. I’m not saying that anybody should go
back to a toxic situation or a harmful situation nobody should, but if the
situation isn’t harmful or toxic. If it’s just your own personal discomfort that
makes you want to say, oh I don’t want to do that then again the yogi is happy to
lean into the sharp edges and do that stuff anyway because that’s life. You
will find that by being more consistently connected to source, that
things don’t bother you so much anymore. That the thing that you once rebelled
against it’s like water off a duck’s back. You’re like yeah it’s okay I don’t
I don’t mind that thing anymore. Where once you would have said oh I would
never go out with that group of people again, I would never do that Friday night
scenario again, you can say, you know what? I had fun doing those I will totally
do that and I will meet a yogi in that situation.
I’m gonna go and show up as my yoga self. So all things are awesomely okay. There
is nothing in this life that is not yogic. There’s nothing. If you bring your
own yoga to it, you make it Yoga. You make it yogic. Right? So enjoy your life
and do it by being constantly connected. Can you do that by committing to your
practice and you define your practice by what it is that connects you. So you guys
that’s how you take your yoga be on the mat. And remember for more on that, I want you to check out my book the link is below. I also have a course that I have
developed based on the book that guides you through the process of finding and
developing your own specific practice based on these principles. So if you want
some help and guidance through that then I want you to check that course out, that
link will be below as well for those of you on Instagram, that link will be in my
bio and in the meantime, remember this is what’s happening now and I hope that
some of this information has been really helpful to you in kind of deconstructing
anything that that you’ve learned that has felt constructive or difficult
around your own yoga practice. You know I want you to think of it differently. Your yoga
practice should be your own and it should allow you to connect. All right
everybody I will talk to you next week and I hope that you’ve enjoyed live and
as always always always thank you so much for being here and for being a part
of my tribe of modern mystics. It is my honor and my pleasure to be here with
you. Now I will talk to you soon. Bye.

 

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