Move in the Direction that Makes You Come Alive
Ever wonder what that nagging feeling is deep inside you?
Like something or someone is trying to tell you something? That sense that you have achieved so many wonderful things in life, yet you feel stuck as though there is something missing, that there is something more out there for you? Something more to do, see, feel, experience, achieve or explore? Maybe you remember dreaming one day that you would be a great writer, painter, or travel the world, or become an Olympic athlete! Maybe you didn’t really ever know what you wanted to be when you grew up. Maybe you still don’t know. That’s ok.
Chances are that the restless tug is your true self, your authentic self, desperately trying to tell you to come back to your dreams, to go boldly out there and do that something you always wanted do. To follow your dreams, to move in the direction that makes you come alive!
Change can be scary!
Taking steps in the direction of your dreams can be really scary when you don’t feel supported, encouraged or understood. Fear stops many of us from pursuing our dreams. Everyone gets scared. It’s a natural feeling. Really. But, you remember the title of that self-help book a few years ago? “Feel the fear and do it anyway”. That is the simple key to change.
Fear is the biggest obstacle for most of us. What if we make a mistake? What if it doesn’t go according to plan? What if people end up saying I told you so? Stay strong, even when things seem near impossible. Know that sometimes falling down is part of our journey. It’s the same as our asana practice in yoga; yoga teaches us that is ok to fall. Half of the learning comes from falling down; we learn to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and head straight back to the pose at hand with sheer determination. Remember how many times you fell out of crow, or headstand or handstand, or half moon pose before you hopped back into it and perfected it? It is exactly the same with our lives off of our yoga mats!
The process of self-discovery is like turning on the lights; lots of things will start to make sense once you start to take that first step forward.
Breathe in love. Exhale fear.
Remember that you don’t always need a plan. Sometimes taking a big breath, letting go and seeing what happens is more than enough.
Trust in the POWER OF YOGA in times of doubt and change. Manifest what you want through your practice!
Yoga gives you the opportunity to sit within yourself, to listen to your mind and soul and it teaches you to learn to trust your intuition. Yoga gives you the mental and physical strength to make you feel as though you have the power to achieve absolutely anything that you put your mind to. Ever see how relaxed and full of positive energy yogis are when they leave their yoga studio post yoga class? The air is alive with wonderful thoughts and beliefs that anything is possible. Yoga not only strengthens the mind and body, but also uplifts the soul bringing you closer and closer to your true self with every single practice.
Check out the poses below, and the numerous ways in which yoga can help you to achieve your dreams! Try these poses when things start to feel stuck, or when you need that added boost to trust that you are following the right path.
Stand strong, be courageous, and warrior away those voices of self-doubt:
Standing poses have elements of all the other poses; you can bend forward, back, and reach to the side. You can twist, balance and even go upside down. Standing poses demand involvement from every single part of the body. as in life, without a steady foundation in these postures, you will never be able to extend to reach your maximum. Standing poses teach you about firm grounding, and only from there can you really begin to grow, to show your true colors and start to reach your full potential! Dream big, and then go follow those dreams! Make them happen!
Warrior 2 celebrates our unique strengths and positive qualities that live within each and every one of us. It connects us to the absolute power that resides within our bodies, starting with our legs but reaching every single muscle and joint to keep us strong like a warrior. This is an excellent pose to restore a feeling of power. Dig deep into your heart, and into your hips and sink down low to the ground. Keep a focused and clear mind, knowing that you can achieve absolutely anything that you put your mind to. As you do the pose, say a silent “I can and I will” to your imaginary problem or voices of self-doubt!
Backbends increase determination and will power. Extending backwards into the unknown helps you to confront your fears when life throws you a curveball, or an opportunity to take a change. Be brave. Be bold. Confront your fears on your yoga mat, show them who is boss. Allow your body to feel invigorated and exhilarated and allow that to filter through to your mind, increasing your trust in yourself, your journey and your decisions. Backbends open the chest, so they are uplifting. Opening the chest promotes better breathing and the heart center expands to bring a joyful vitality into your life.
Wheel is a tremendous backbend that engages every single muscle in the body. How incredibly awesome is that. Every single muscle! It opens the front of the body strongly while giving the spine a maximum stretch. How could this pose not make you make you feel super pumped up and ready to take on the world with your new found super energy and strength!
(Modified version - come to Bridge as a lighter alternative to full Wheel).
Take a look at life from a different perspective.
Feeling temporarily overwhelmed? That’s ok, just breathe and pop into an inversion of your choice. Feel the deeply calming effects of a shoulder stand or headstand.
Holding a position with a whole new relationship to gravity demands a certain steadiness of body and mind, and as a result, inversions are calming poses. Inversions let us to see things from a new angle, gaining some clarity and a new perspective. They also help to quiet the mind and calm the nervous system.
The headstand is often referred to as the new King of asana. The handstand is another personal favorite of mine! These poses commonly present a huge mental challenge as they ask us to overcome our fear of the unknown as we go upside down and kick up into the sky. However good news - its benefits are huge! It is incredibly calming to the nervous system, nourishing to the brain cells, stimulating to the heart and circulation, balancing to the hormonal system and strengthening to the spirit. Anything that strengthens our spirit is a MUST to practice!
Perfect your mental focus and sense of clarity with standing balances:
Balance poses generally highlight our state of mind. It is extremely hard to stay steady in a pose when your mind is racing. In this way, standing balance poses provide you the opportunity to develop a sense of poise and steadiness, clarity, focus of mind and a steadying of the mind, particularly when you are anxious, nervous or mentally stressed about what comes next in life!
Dancers pose – this beautiful and very challenging pose requires balance and a high degree of flexibility. It is dedicated to Shiva the destroyer, who is the lord of the dance.
Practice rebalancing your life with arm balances
Being out of balance within your world is a huge source of stress and can create all kinds of personal problems and self-doubts. Finding your balance in a yoga pose can help you to develop self-sufficiency and give you that much needed confidence boost during times of change. Arm balances, where your arms support the weight of your body, develop inner and outer strength. They also increase stamina and help to unite the mind and body, which are encouraged to work together to hold you in place.
Crow – in this pose the whole weight of the body rests on the hands. This requires concentration and in helping us conquer the fear of falling forward, builds confidence in other areas of our life. It also helps you to tap into the power of your mind to hold this pose steadily. Many of our initial attempts in this pose fail due to the expectation of not being able to hold us steadily. In this way, these poses help you to develop both physical and mental strength. Once the mind is calm, so is the body.
Listen to Yourself
Come to your mat to find a deeper inner peace and tune into your inner voices
Yoga relaxation is time for your body to integrate the effects of your practice. During this time for rest, the breath can be used for healing and energizing the system.
You come out of savasana revived and refreshed with your energy boosted. And the more practice you get, the better you get. While you progressively let go of tension in the body, mind and emotional heart you learn to access a deeper inner peace. There is no more grasping onto the past. There is no need to hold on and you learn how to let go. By spending this quiet time within yourself, you become more in tune with your inner voices and the messages that your soul is trying to tell you.
The Power of Breath
Breath, life and energy are intrinsically connected and yogis have a single word for all three – pranayama, where the breath is controlled. The breath acts as a bridge to our nervous system and by exploring pranayama we can observe how deeply it is connected to the mind. Just as breathing alters depending on our mood, our psychological state can be altered by changes in our breath. It’s a fantastic source of energy and calmness. It really is that simple: when we breathe better, we feel better. We increase vitality and mental focus. We create space in the mind to focus on that inner voice telling you what your true calling is.
Try sitting still for 60 seconds when the world gets a little bit crazy, and you feel as though you have no control. Remember to breathe deeply. Try to even out the length of your inhales and exhales, keep them consistent. Notice how that calms your nervous system and in turn your mind. Focus only on your breath. Take a moment to just be. Sit with yourself. Sit within yourself. Find balance. Find your center. Stay strong. Stay grounded. Stay focused. The answers will be just around the corner. Have faith. Smile.
If you give yourself permission to touch even the edges of that dream that lives inside you, you will experience a sense of rightness, of alignment with something that is deeply familiar. Just keep following the hints and impulses…it is never to late to find the courage to follow your dreams and live the life you love.
I hear you asking “but how can I be sure that I am at the right place, the place where my dreams are?” You will know. Trust me, you will know. So welcome it and be grateful.
Enjoy the journey!
Caroline is a certified 500-hour yoga instructor, based on the paradise island of Nusa Lembongan, just off Bali, where she is lucky enough to be teaching yoga full time at the Yoga Shack Lembongan. When she is not doing yoga she can be found underwater diving with the beautiful manta rays in Lembongan. Diving is her moving meditation! Caroline came to yoga after a lifetime of marathon training, cross country running, triathlons and short distance races. It helped her to put her body back together after numerous injuries, and it is here that her passion for yoga began. Now she is a self-confessed yoga addict! Join Caroline on Facebook,Instagram or on her website