Yoga teaches us to live in the present moment. Yes. Certain schools of yoga posit that the present is the only reality, and all else is illusion — yet our minds manufacture distracting “illusions” all the time. Our inner voices are constantly re-hashing situations, projecting, speculating, doubting. In yoga practice, we train the mind to soften and get more spacious via breathing, postures and awareness practices. Alas, we finish class and the talk is back — worse, because now that we’ve practiced listening to the quiet, the inner dialogue seems more pronounced.
The question: What keeps those voices at bay for good? How can we truly take the practice into any situation and approach it all with real presence and true grace?
Life coaching offers supremely-useful tools to practice presence every single day, off or on your mat. The method that I have learned and now teach is like a vigorous flow class: It operates on several levels of our lives simultaneously. At the most basic level, this form of life coaching teaches “Personal Integrity” to all aspects of your being. From your heart, you’ll dare to devise a dream. With your mind, you’ll translate that dream into plans, and with your whole body, you’ll execute.
Often, we’re strong in one aspect — great at dreaming but weak on planning or execution; strong on execution but weak on dreaming big. At this fundamental level, this is about the alignment of heart, mind and body, via an artful system of promises and consequences, which builds that muscle of personal integrity.
Keeping a promise seems so simple, except it isn’t that easy. If you have a dream, it seems only logical to make a promise to help bring that dream to life, and then fulfill the promise. But we are human, and our doubtful thoughts get in the way. We all know this, and this method gives us the tools to observe and manage those thoughts, and all the competing voices of our inner dialogue.
There is one other voice that talks to us — the most important one — but it speaks more quietly. That’s the voice of our dreams, to which many of us stopped listening long ago — we’re afraid of being vulnerable or failing in our lives. Our work is to listen to the voice of our dreams, and not those of our fears. Distinguishing between those two and choosing to act in accordance with your ideals is how you begin becoming present.
As we become familiar with the conversation in our own head, we learn to handle the conversations we typically avoid with others– the ones that involve having to praise, criticize or disappoint others. We train ourselves to be fearlessly graceful in crafting and executing those conversations so we can be heard in new, more potent ways and receive others’ truths in a way that is safe and nourishing for everyone in our lives. We become magnets for the truth by learning how to elegantly tell it.
The truth sets us free. Truth – that is what lies at the heart of yoga and life coaching practice. The principle focus of each is to search your heart for your truths and gain clarity of purpose, action and intention, so you can bring your life into a harmonious, beautiful alignment of your own design.
If you are ready to seek, question, engage, embark upon a journey of self-discovery, I invite you to join Handel Group’s annual 4-week series, Life Coaching for Yoga Practitioners, led by Elena Brower. It is my honor to share this work with you and demonstrate its application in your daily practice.