Book Excerpt: Motivational Yoga
Most of us don’t follow through on the things we truly want. We think it takes too much preparation, knowledge, time, and resources. The truth is that to transform your life, even right this minute, you simply have to decide to do it. Once you make that decision and commit to it, your mind will find the way to make it happen.
Yoga helps us define our emotional groundwork when we don’t always know who we are or what we’re capable of. We often think we’re going to do this thing we always wanted to do, but instead, we find a way to self-sabotage the whole idea. Suddenly out of fear and doubt, we decide we’re not good enough to meet our goals. We stop when something feels too demanding, or we tell ourselves it’s just not the right time for change.
Yoga philosophy teaches us how to have an open mind, spirit, body, and a long-term commitment to living a meaningful life; one that will pay residual effects for years to come. When do you start to take the steps to realize your goals in life? Right now. You just have to begin.
We can transform at any time, as long as we make the decision to do so. As you inhale, allow your heart center to lift, feeling fully grateful for everything you have in your life. Now close your eyes; keep the back long, wide, and open, and lift the crown of the head toward the sky. Feel what’s inside of you now. Be truthful with the answer that you tell yourself. Are you joyful, anxious, impatient, sad, or curious? Without judgment, simply observe the sensation of that emotion.
Next, think of everything that’s good in your life. Think of all that you are grateful for, such as your health, your parents, siblings, children, your relationships, your job, your home, your pets, your favorite music, places you like—whatever comes up. Feel it as a massive embrace of devotion and tenderness. Take it all in, and absorb its life- boosting strength.
Now, with this inner strength generated by all the beauty in your life, think about what you’d like to manifest. What would be the best part of attaining that goal? Put aside how to do it, which the logical mind will do; put aside the naysayers, and see yourself already doing it—living your purpose and your dreams. Feel as if it already exists; own it. Enjoy the pleasure and progress of attaining that level of accomplishment and purpose. Your mind will build certainty around this future vision and help you attract the resources to achieve it.
Remember that everything you create in your life exists first as a thought, feeling, or desire.
Asanas for Deepening
Building belief in your purpose takes practice. It’s like building a muscle; you’ve got to use it or lose it.
Child’s pose. Bow to your life and all its blessings.
Wide-leg standing forward bend with hands interlaced. As you move into this pose, dip into your soul. Lead with the crown of the head, connecting to your divine self. Open your heart and, squeezing the shoulder blades together, expose the purpose of your life to Mother Earth.
Self-love hug. Be your own inspiration. You can do anything you set your mind to.
Shoulder rolls. Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears, and roll them back and down, continuing to circle in this direction for a few rounds; then switch directions. Feel the surge of possibility tingling throughout the upper torso.
Tree. Above all else, stand tall. Catch yourself when you fall. And when you do fall, get back up and try again.
Temple toes. Roll onto the balls of your feet with hands in prayer. Feel the ebb and flow of balance, the strength fluctuating in your legs, and challenge yourself to be present and in charge of your evolution.
Dolphin. Press the forearms firmly to the ground and lift the chest. Bring the crown of the head toward the floor, lift the hips, close the eyes, and hold the image of your perfect future self in your mind’s eye, the space between the eyebrows.
Cobra. Use the cobra pose to help you overcome obstacles that are keeping you from moving (or slithering!) forward. Meet your fears head on so that you can move past them. Feel your chest fill with air as you rise up against the pull of gravity.
Supine moxie breath. Interlace the fingers behind the head to open the shoulders and collar bones. On an exhalation, move the knees to the chest, curling the back by rolling the tailbone slightly off the mat while lifting the upper body, aiming the elbows toward the knees (photo a). On an inhalation, stretch the legs out parallel to the ground, and return the upper back to the mat (photo b). Repeat this movement 5 to 10 times using a forceful, audible “ha” on the exhale. This rigorous heat-inducing movement invokes the fire element in the solar plexus by creating the moxie to embrace your personal power and transform.
Motivation Off the Mat
Nothing is permanent, including self-motivation. Commit to your transformation practice on a daily basis. Make it part of your morning routine, like brushing your teeth.
Keep your distance from people who say you can’t attain your goals. Don’t give up your personal power to someone else; other people aren’t living your life.
Every morning when you wake up, see and feel your path opening before you. Then, release any negative thinking, self-doubt, or destructive relationships that no longer serve you.
Practice poses that induce heat. Fire is the element of change and transformation. Qualities associated with fire include determination, drive, commitment, passion, and intensity.
Only you are responsible for your success, health, and the decisions you make.
Think about how it would feel to attain your goal, rather than the steps to get there or the pain of the process.
Live your life as if your dreams have already come true.