Are you your own best friend? Yoga practices to help you find your inner light.
Every time I deliver a yoga teacher training course, students are surprised at how much MORE there is to the practice of yoga. They experience how much yoga can enhance our quality of lives on a day-to-day basis – physically, mentally, energetically, emotionally and spiritually. Hence the increasingly popular phrase ‘transformational yoga’.
It can help us to make decisions; it influences the way we communicate; the words we choose; how we may respond to ‘difficult’ e-mails, people and situations; the food we eat; how we spend our time; the way we choose to think and feel; and ultimately, how we live our lives.
Making the subconscious, conscious
On average, 95% of all of our daily decisions and choices are made from our subconscious mind, which is linked to the autonomic nervous system (ref Dr Joe Dispenza). At the heart of all traditional yogic practices there is one central goal: to make the subconscious conscious. To notice, release and let go of any subconscious habits, ideas, thoughts and beliefs that may be unknowingly holding us back. So then we can move, think and feel more freely, make more conscious choices and become empowered to live a life that’s in alignment with our authentic selves. This is referred to as a process of ‘awakening’ and ‘purification’.
Yoga offers a route to being in the most beautiful and kind relationship with your true self. This is sometimes referred to as ‘finding your inner light’. It often begins with witnessing small glimpses at first, often in savasana or at the end of a movement practice. It may also be experienced during Sleep Nidra (Yoga Nidra), Chanting and Sound baths (nada yoga), specific breath practices (pranayama) and meditation.
Shining your inner light
When I was seeing a counsellor during my divorce some 7 years ago, I recall taking a photo of a poster on her wall as the words really spoke to me:
“May you find and shine your light bright so that others may find theirs.”
I now understand this to be the light of pure awareness, or as I like to refer to it, my best friend!
Ultimately, Yoga is a whole ‘bodymind’ practice which, from my own lived experience, leads to emotional balance and freedom, no matter what is going on in your external environment.
When we are living ‘in our heads’, overthinking or allowing our reactive mind thoughts to dictate us, we are unable to tune into the wisdom of our bodies intelligence and hear the guidance. We may also miss important signals our bodies are sending us for optimum health and well-being.
Yoga practices to help you find your inner ‘best friend’
- Dynamic yoga practices serve to release excess thoughts or to quieten the ‘monkey mind’ so that we may rest in savasana more easily and be open to finding our light and tuning into our ‘best friend’.
- Specific yogic breath practices can help when we are feeling a little lack lustre, or dull in our minds and body and lacking in motivation, enthusiasm and passion for life. These serve to stimulate us both physically and mentally to increase our ‘life force’ which again, may help us to find our light and inner wisdom, as well as uplift us.
- Chanting can protect our minds from negative thought patterns and concentration or meditation practices to help us ‘tame the mind’ so that we may speak to ourselves with more kindness and compassion. As we learn to focus and control our mind thoughts, over time, we become less reactive and make more conscious choices – in both words and actions.
- Yoga Nidra (sleep yoga) and sound healing allows us to release thoughts, ideas and emotions that may be stored in our subconscious and holding us back without realising it. Both modalities aim to slow our brainwaves down from the busy beta ‘monkey mind’ state to the alpha – theta border where we are more likely to access the right side of our brain, linked to creativity, dreaming and deep inner connection with our true selves. By accessing the parasympathetic nervous system and associated vagus (wandering) nerve, they also switch on the ‘relaxation response’ which is the antidote to chronic stress and tension.
This slows down the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, aids digestion and balances hormones. Whatsmore, they can upregulate the secretion of melatonin and serotonin, important hormones that help to regulate sleep and mood.
And if you actually fall asleep during these practices, then fear not! Your body clearly needs it! During sleep the body files new information, nerve cells communicate and reorganize, toxic waste it eliminated and cells are repaired. I have also recently discovered that when you are in a deep sleep, known as the Delta state, the slowest brainwave state of all, cortisol production ceases. This can be very healing and regenerating, particularly for those suffering from chronic health conditions linked to stress and inflammation.
BEING YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND
SATURDAY 11th JUNE
9AM – 4.30PM
AT REVITALISE, BRIGHTON
If you would like to spend a day ‘being your own best friend’, then I would be delighted if you were able to join me for a 1-day yoga immersion for optimising physical and emotional health and well-being.
This accessible immersive retreat is open to all: yogis, yoginis, trainees and teachers welcome. Teachers will receive 6 hours practicum CPD certificate.
£95 for the day including healthy lunch from Foodilic and optional sea swim if conditions allow.
Clare Francis is a registered E-500hrs teacher trainer with The Yoga Alliance, an energy and life coach and 170hr therapeutic somatics certified amongst many other strings!
If you are considering joining us for your yoga teacher training journey, then we have a FREE Yoga and Pilates Teacher Training Open Day on Sunday 11th June 10am – 11.30am.
During the 200hr yoga alliance teacher training course at Harmonise, you will learn how to teach Hatha and Vinyasa flow yoga, inclusive yoga, embodied yoga and accessible breath, chants and meditation practices.
You will also take part in somatic yoga, yoga nidra, yin yoga and sound healing classes and journal your experiences for a rounded training experience. Our graduates often progress onto our CPD courses where they can upskill and train in a specialist area of their choosing.
Article by: Clare Francis