Book Excerpt: Motivational Yoga
Your current energy state is a connector to help you move forward in life. Or not. How does your energy level feel right now?
Imagine you’re going to a job interview, trying to convince someone to hire you. What’s your energy like then? If you’re not enthusiastic, if you’re not sharp, if you’re having an off day, or worse, if you don’t believe in yourself, it’s nearly impossible to influence anyone to do anything.
Energy is the key to success. The higher your energy level, the more efficiently your body will run, and the more efficiently your body runs, the better you’ll feel inside of it.
Every positive result takes mindful effort and consistency. If you want to make progress in your job or improve communication with your partner, you have to take the appropriate steps toward that goal. As a yogi, your energy comes from daily observances like nurturing your emotional, physical, and spiritual self. This is more than coming to a yoga class a few times a week. The discipline of the practices will pull you in the direction you want to go, but the work begins with you.
To start the process, don’t think too hard. Just start. Ask yourself, What’s one simple thing I can do today to take a step toward a goal in my life?
Now, let’s get energized to take action and responsibility for our life choices with a
discipline called the Morning Trio. The Trio is made up of the three practices that, when combined, will stimulate the mind and physiology to get your psyche in a positive place. It’s like starting your morning motor.
First, sit with your eyes closed and connect to your desire to live your best life. Get clear about what that looks like. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? See and feel the entire place. Feel the courage of the warrior energy, and connect with your confidence. Your energy field will begin to shift with this thought. Motivation comes from within.
Next, stand with your feet wide apart. Inhale to a count of 4, raising the arms above your head while rising up on the toes, embracing your vision. Then, exhale to a count of 4, lowering the arms to your sides, bending the knees, and bringing the heels to the ground, sending your vision out to the universe. Repeat this movement and thought 5 times.
Finally, use an affirmation that inspires you. You have to say it like you mean it, so pick a thought, a word, or a short sentence that lights you up. You should feel the exhilaration of these words. Like a mantra, your affirmation is a tool of the mind. Chant out loud, and use your body to express the conviction that’s deep in your soul. March in place, wave the hands, and use your body to concentrate on your outcome. Outside of class, you can use any expression you’d like, but today, because we’re doing this together, we’ll use the affirmation I hold the key to my destiny. Speak with certainty and intensity. Speak what you want to become.
Asanas for Deepening
Warrior I. What is it about the movement and placement of the legs and arms in warrior I that fills you with pride and bravery? How do you breathe when you feel this pride? What other postures evoke a courageous response within you?
Crescent lunge. Empower your strong torso to lift up high, feeling the toes dig into the earth while your arms reach to the stars.
Humble warrior. Take a graceful bow in gratitude for all the people who have sup- ported you in your journey. How do you describe this feeling in the body?
Firefly. Throw some unexpected physical adventure into your lesson by introducing variations of firefly, wheel, splits, or headstand. No one has to be a contortionist to work toward an advanced posture. The adventure is in the endeavor, acknowledging the intensity of a challenging movement.
Motivation Off the Mat
Walk strong. First shake out your whole body to loosen up and get your circulation flowing. Taking longer strides, walk with authority, feeling yourself in complete control of your movement.
Time is your most precocious commodity. You can’t buy more of it, and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Use each moment of your day judiciously.
Your conscious energy begins when you say it does; prana follows thought.
Your greatest value is the effect you have on others.
As you tell your students to be present, to drop their thoughts of past or future, remind yourself to do the same. Be your most mindful self when you teach.
After practicing the Morning Trio, ask your students to walk around the room and introduce themselves to one another. Instruct them to shine their bright spirits while greeting each other with affection.