The practice of yoga postures is really a 1st step on the accent to realizing the potential that is within you. You are created to be a unique expression of Creation. It would be a more than a pity if you where unaware of what Yoga the Journey for Life had on offer for you. In this website I invite you to explore what is means to live a Yoga Lifestyle.
What is a Yoga Lifestyle? – It is a lifestyle focused on the integration of the personal with that which is beyond the personal. This integration is brought about through the focus on living a heart-centred life and allowing the Higher to flow into and change the lower. It is a way of living as Love in Action and having your focus on living from Being rather than doing.
In order to explore the commitment to a Yoga Lifestyle let me share with you an overview of what living such a lifestyle would entail. This is by way of ten essential aspects that include the following: –
Let me say that this is my personal view of what living a Yoga Lifestyle means. This is the way in which I focus my life energy.
Please note that this list is not a linear progression in the sense that you move from item 1 to 10. The real work of inviting union/yoga is done in items 1 to 4. Items 5 – 7 are more to do with your willingness to be allowing of the way in which Source Energy flows through you.
Yoga Lifestyle – What is on Offer?
Having said that let us begin our journey in exploring what is on offer from living a Yoga Lifestyle. This lifestyle that is the challenging and glorious journey of union of the: –
Your focus is really on integrating the personal and opening the bridge of the heart so that you may, in the words of the German Christian mystic Miester Eckhart, be graced this unifying experience. He describes it this way: –
When the higher flows into the lower the lower is transformed by the higher – Miester Eckhart.
So let us explore this Yoga Journey for Life by exploring the integrative practices that you really need to practice if you are to experience personal integration to a degree whereby you are able to consciously invite the higher to transform the lower.
The words ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ are not used in a moralistic sense but more by way of describing the energy that you experience by way of flow or resistance.
The Way of Personal Development and Integration can be viewed in this way: –
- Personal Power
Again this is not to be viewed as a linear progression. Each of us will be stronger in one or two areas than others. It may be pertinent to refer here to a common practice referred to as spiritual bypassing.
In effect this is were the concentration of the individual is on that aspect of the Yoga Lifestyle that is trans-personal. In Christian terminology they want to be transported to Heaven rather than embody Heaven on Earth.
The emphasis in this website Yoga Journey for Life is to invite you to embody the transcendental which is the REAL purpose of Yoga – union.
The Essential of Embodiment
Embodiment is the foundation of living within this world of time and space.
You are not created by Creation to live your life as some floaty disembodied spiritual seeker who declares that the body is an illusion. The illusion is that they think such an experience of transcendence is away from the body. As Eckart Tolle writes in The Power of NOW – Guide to Enlightenment:
Enlightenment is not away from the body but through the body – Eckhart Tolle.
This means that as someone committed to the Yoga Lifestyle you honour the body and recognize it as a temple for the invitation to Presence. You practice embodiment in a number of ways. These are: –
- You reclaim energy from the overthinking personal mind.
- You reclaim energy from personal body armour.
- You reclaim energy from toxic cultural dynamics.
There are many different ways to practice embodiment. These comprise what are referred to as the styles and types of Yoga. All have at their core the practice of Hatha Yoga. There are styles that are more modern than traditional.
This is essentially where living a Yoga Lifestyle begins. For many people it is where the commitment to this kind of lifestyle ends.
This is what I refer to as living at base camp. You never get to climb the mountain of your inherent potential. You do not self-actualize. You remain identified with the limitation of the personality rather than the boundlessness of Presence.
The foundational practice I use as part of living a Yoga Lifestyle is the practice of Yoga Nidra. This is a practice I have only recently discovered. I love it and recognize it to be a real gateway to the transpersonal. Kamini Desai writing in Yoga Nidra – The Art of Transformational Sleep describes Yoga Nidra in this way: –
Yoga Nidra is the master key to initiating shifts in conscious sleep states where change happens outside of doing. In Yoga Nidra you enter a state of non-doing in which transformation happens from beyond the mind rather than through the mind. In this highly regenerative meditative state you can restore and rejuvenate your body, heal and recover from illness and re-write your brain for greater mental and emotional balance and resilience.
This is the foundational practice I recommend for living a Yoga Lifestyle which can easily be combined with the practice of Yoga postures or on its own.
This leads us into the second aspect of personal development and integration
The Essential of Relationship
On its own the topic of relationship could fill several large sized websites. The way in which the term ‘relationship’ is used as part of the process of personal development and integration is summed up as follows: –
Your task is not to seek for Love but to remove all the barriers that block your ability to receive it. – Rumi.
This is, for many people, a very different way of looking at the core desire of most people’s lives which is to love and be loved. This is the core of all deep and meaningful relationship.
The radical invitation from Rumi is that Love is not something you have to earn. It is what you block even though you want it so much. The reason you block it is because at some point in your very early life you needed to feel safe. This could simply have been as a consequence of the family dynamic, the cultural dynamic you were born into or some deep traumatic experience.
At the core of all this blocking was the fear of abandonment.
You learned to protect yourself by a degree of dis-association from the feelings or through armouring the body’s energy system so that such feelings were locked into the very musculature of the body. The psychologist Wilhelm Reich called this kind of dis-association “character armour.” You shut down your feelings and locked away those that you were made to judge unacceptable. We all do this. In this way we live less than a wholehearted life.
Living a Yoga Lifestyle means you are committed to feeling all your feelings without judgement. You claim your full relationship with your Essential Self rather than only live from the mask of the persona – the personality.
My own journey in relation to this aspect of living a Yoga Lifestyle is summed up in the poem by the poet Hafiz: –
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
Someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a
Full moon in each eye that is always saying,
With that sweet moon language, what every other eye in
This world is dying to hear?
That Sweet Moon Language
We all have this longing to connect. This, for the individual living a Yoga Lifestyle, is the longing to connect to their Essential Self. The poet Derek Walcot shares his poem about this meeting which will transform all kinds of relationship because it transforms who you think you are.
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
For most people this is where, if any at any place they get stuck because it involves feeling the feelings you do not wish to feel and own. This is were most spiritual bypassing takes place justified by certain teachings related to the practice of detachment.
This aspect of the Yoga Lifestyle can be facilitated by such practices as: –
- Shadow work
You might be able to see from this short list above why you might then decide that integral relationship with yourself can wait.
The Essential of Willingness
This is where you begin to approach that which is beyond the sense of the personal separate self. You are now approaching the bridge of transition. Up to this point in the lives of many much of what has been achieved in life has been as a result of personal will power. It has been effort and struggle. It is life driven from the mantra: –
When the going gets tough the tough get going.
There is a place for this kind of energy but in the West, this has been taken to the extreme. We are literally working ourselves to death and supporting ourselves through numbing out on self-medication and all forms of addiction.
We burn out on what is the never-ending push of toxic capitalism that abandons us when we are unable to serve its unending drive for more. This is very often the energy that drives the 1st Stage of Life. It is all about “me, myself, I.” This is very 1st and 2nd chakra energy. Then, if you are fortunate, (although it doesn’t feel that way) you experience a mid-life crisis.
You are called to ask different kinds of questions such as: –
- Who am I?
- Why are I here?
- Is this all there is?
This is the challenging and difficult stage of following the quest for meaning and purpose and to find and fulfil your destiny.
This is the invitation to live a Yoga Lifestyle and begin to move from the personal will to power to the personal will to Love in alignment with Love’s Purpose. This is to invite and realize in the words of the spiritual teacher Guy Finley
Your purpose is to follow Love’s Purpose. – Guy Finley
This is an essential and fundamental turnaround in the way you focus your life energy.
It becomes, not a focus on getting everything you want, (The False Law of Attraction) but becoming all you are Created to be (The True Law of Attraction). It is the movement from the never ending do-do-do that leads to burn out to the rhythm of Life that is more of a dance moving from Being – do-be-do-be-do.
It is more the flow of doing from Being. It is the flow of Love in action. In the words of one of the titles of Gary Zukav’s books you become one of the Dancing Wu Wei Masters. Lao Tzu the Chinese Sage says it this way.
So, the sage acts by doing nothing,
Teaches without speaking,
Attends all things without making claim on them,
Works for them without making them dependent,
Demands no honour for his deed.
Because he demands no honour,
He will never be dishonoured.
In the words of the poet W.B. Yeats you become the “Oh Sweet Dancer.” This phase of the Yoga Journey for Life is wonderfully invited in the Christian Lord’s prayer when it is requested:-
Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven -Matthew 6:10
This manifestation of Heaven is a state of Being that flows through a body allowing of the flow of the higher through an open mind mostly free of dualistic thinking and a heart willingly committed to Love’s Purpose.
This then takes us to that stage of the Yoga Journey for Life that is the stage of transition.
The Essential of Wholeheartedness
Half heartedness is when you are driven by the energy of the personal will and the overthinking voice in your head. Most of your energy is taken up by the distraction of the over thinking personal mind focused on the regrets of the past or fear for the future.
Nothing is felt to be really safe on the shifting sands of time. What energy is not taken up by mental distraction is used to ensure that the body armour of suppressed feelings is maintained in order to ensure you keep it together. What is left over you give to work and relationship. Some may be left over for yourself.
With a commitment to a Yoga Lifestyle you practice releasing the energy used in the never ending overthinking mind and the unconsious evading of your emotional life. In this way you learn to feel more wholehearted because you begin to trust your Y-E-S. which is “Your Energy System.”
As you trust your Y-E-S your breathing changes. It becomes refined. You begin to experience “feeling fine.” The common expression “I feel fine” relates to the quality and fineness of the breath. As the breath gets finer the mind gets stiller. You become more embodied and present. There is less stress because you are not constantly in a flight from the past or a fight with the present.
You think less and feel more. Your energy begins to flow. The Higher is beginning to have the channel open to flow into the lower. Your personality begins to light up. You lighten up. You are not enlightened but you are beginning to feel that Secret of Secrets is inside you again. You begin to understand the real power of revelation and delight.
I wish that when you are lonely and in darkness that I could show you the astonishing light of your own Being – Hafiz.
As your energy releases from mental distraction and emotional repression you feel more creative, more optimistic and more alive. You are opening to your greater potential. You begin to open to signs that the universe has your back. These signs include: –
- Synchronistic events happen more frequently.
- You meet with the right people at the right time.
- Things start falling into place.
There is no effort here. There is, however, the challenge of following the invitation from synchronicity, intuitions and meetings with the right people. The challenge is to be wholehearted and trust this inner guidance. You will have your doubts. This is normal. Just don’t give into these doubts. As Rumi magnificently advises: –
Risk all for Love. – Rumi
In a very real sense the real risk is not to risk all for the experience of the Love that you are created to KNOW and BE.
This is the intimation of your Soul. This is the call of Eternity. It has been the one who KNOWS you by heart and has loved you all your Life. This is the Essential Self. This is the Yoga Lifestyle. It is essential wholehearted living.
The paradox is this. The less there is of you as the personal separate sense of self the more there is of the REAL Essential YOU. This is the meaning of the strange statement by the Master Jesus Christ when he said: –
Those who shall save their life shall loose it. Luke 17:33
You try to save the persona – the mask – and you loose your Essence. This is the real you that allows you to feast on your one wild and precious life. The one who allows you to live from the deep heart’s core.
You are now opening up to be a Yogi or Yogini. The focus is becoming clearer. The work of personal integration happens more because you are now allowing the higher transpersonal experience to transform the lower personal experience.
Higher and lower are not to be viewed here as moralistic judgements but as different experiences of refined and less refined energy.
So we move into that more expansive dimension of Living a Yoga Lifestyle.
The Essential of Communion
We live in a world of communication via cell phones, internet, social media of all sorts and still we are probably just as lonely as a collective called humanity as we might ever have been. Maybe more so because communication does not mean we are in communion with each other. There is no real intimacy (Into me See)
Many people have become addicted to their cell phones. The latest fear, especially amongst the young, is called F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out) It is now recognized as a psychological issue for many. This is the fear of missing out on some social engagement mentioned via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
The individual who has moved into wholeheartedness is not afraid of missing out. They, however, do experience longing. This is the longing to feel in communion. Communion is a heart energetic. I am not writing here about the ritual of communion but the energetic of communion where you FEEL in touch with your True Self – Your Essential Self.
This experience of communion becomes available to you because you have the courageously practiced being present in the body, feeling your feelings, willingly releasing the personal will so that your heart can open to the fullness of the Divine. In this way you become fully human.
It is what fulfils you and from this fullness you pour forth what it is you are given to gift the world. There is on fear of missing out because there is nothing felt to be really missing.
When you live at the Base Camp of personal identity you always live with the existential fear that who you are and why you are may have no meaning. You might like to believe that your life has meaning but the Yogi or Yogini KNOW that this is not merely a belief but a way of Being in the world.
Communion is not you trying to get what you want or need but being silently and attentively available to receive what it is you are uniquely created to give and gift. You are focused on being in alignment with what feels energetically right rather than from a written text that tells you what communion is or should be.
The Essential of Vision
The energy beyond the personality begins to flow through the open heart and there comes a moment when the Yogi or Yogini is given a Grace moment. This is were you have your inner eye of wisdom opened to the reality of who you really are.
This experience is both revelatory and revolutionary. It is the true experience of being a revolutionary. It is the real experience of conversion. You are graced to see what the writer Father Richard Rohr refers to as “Seeing as the Mystics See.”
This is seeing by way of unity rather than through the eyes of the personal dualistic mind. This “Seeing as the Mystics See” is Third Eye Seeing (6th chakra awakening). It is initiative. It is paradoxical. This revelatory experience will not last – at least for most everyone.
When we begin to see each other through what the metaphysician calls, the third eye, we begin to know each other on a level that is beyond what our physical eyes can see. – Marianne Williamson
This vision of Life as unity will change your worldview. You will never be quite the same. It will perfume the rest of your life. You will want to share this perfume of Being with others. This will be your purpose. It will be to become a living Presence that invites others to directly experience this seeing as the mystics see.
This is the real meaning of the word ‘conversion.’ Conversion is not simply changing one religious’ viewpoint for another. That is still within the realm of the personal dualistic overthinking mind. It may change what you think about yourself and the world but it is not a direct revelation of unity consciousness.
The Essential of Unity
You are now close to the top of the mountain. The view from where you now stand could never have been imagined when you were living down at Base Camp of the personal self. The next stage of the Yoga Journey for Life is really a waiting game.
Your standing on top of the mountain of potential is called Yoga or Union.
It is where you – the personal – merge with the Universal. In the language of Christianity this is the experience referred to in the mystical gospel of St. John when the Master Jesus Christ declares: –
I and the Father are One -John 10:30
In the Zen tradition this is declared in this way.
The dewdrop merges with the Ocean and the Ocean merges with the Dewdrop
This is the union of the human with the Divine. The dewdrop (the personal) has merged with the Universal (The Ocean). This cannot be described in words but only pointed too in words.
The next stage is to return to Base Camp (everyday living) and to integrate what you have been given to gift the world in a unique way. This is a real challenge. You will wonder how you could ever share the magnificence of what has been given to you to KNOW and to BE. Yet is will be as Hafiz says: –
I wish that when you are lonely and in darkness that I could show you the astonishing light of your own Being – Hafiz of Shiraz.
You now KNOW, in the words of the Irish poet W. B. Yeats that, “I am blessed and can bless.” (Vacillation IV). The challenge now is how to share this direct experience of Yoga. The challenge is to live as one with a full moon in each eye (lighting the darkness) and speaking that sweet moon language that every other eye (heart) is longing to hear (communion).
So we have an outline for the first seven essentials of living the Yoga Journey for Life. Now for those who have chosen this Lifestyle the next step is to commit to a Path of Yoga.
Summary of “What is a Yoga Lifestyle?”
I hope that you will be encouraged to commit to living the Yoga Lifestyle that invites personal, transitional and transpersonal integration whereby you experience of grace of KNOWING what it is to be a self-actualized human BEING. This is your birth right at the leading edge of conscious evolution. Science has calculated that you are a 10 billion to one opportunity.
Here at Yoga Journey for Life our wish is to invite you to KNOW the glory of the astonishing light of your own being. Here is the menu for the article above should you wish to scroll through it again.
What would you consider to be essential to living a Yoga Lifestyle? Maybe I would be able to expand on that. Please leave a comment.