Cultivating Independence

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Cultivating Independence

As American citizens, we prize our independence.  We want to enjoy the freedom to do as we please, unrestricted by rules and other people.  We view any barriers to our independence and freedom as entities, rules, people or situations that limit our options.  But what if our biggest barrier is internal?  Our own mind provides a slew of thoughts every waking second on what we can and cannot, should and should not do.

Some of these self-imposed rules are designed to protect our ego, or the character profile we have defined for ourselves.  We view each situation or decision and determine if it fits that character profile.  We seek situations or opportunities in which our character will shine.   Conversely, we avoid risks or actions that might be embarrassing for our character if they go badly.  Each situation or decision gets stored in a database that we reference when making future decisions.  Our brain helps us by associating emotions with the memories stored in this database, so that we not only avoid certain situations, but we can fear them as well –  a full mind-body-emotion experience.

Even if we lived in a completely free society, with enough money to do whatever we please, we would still bump up against the limitations we have created within ourselves?  Freeing ourselves of fears, addictions and other unhealthy internal barriers to freedom are the first steps to being truly independent.  If we can truly accept what comes in each moment, choosing to respond from a place of love instead of reacting due to our database of preferences and aversions, wouldn’t that be true independence?  And if we can live from this place, wouldn’t we be free despite many, if not all, external happenings?

Ridding ourselves of internal barriers also makes us more independent in the sense that we can care for ourselves and others effectively.  We can view situations and choices through a clear lens, moving forward in a way that best meets the needs of all.  We are unencumbered by fear.  Just today I reserved a U-Haul truck to load up some things from my mom’s garage.  Have I ever driven a truck?  No!  Is there really a reason?  No – I have simply convinced myself they are too big and I can’t drive them.  So – here I go!

Less than 10 seconds ago, I received an email from a yogi friend with the following quote (how fitting):

If you tell life what is has to be, you limit it.

But let life show you what it wants to be, and doors will open you never knew existed.

 

This month, set an intention to do the following:

Take 3-5 minutes each morning to sit, breathe and move before you start the day.  

  • Sit on the floor or your mat with your eyes closed.
  • First, simply notice your breath.  Let yourself settle into your breath, becoming absorbed in the sound and movement.
  • Next, notice any preferences or aversions you feel when thinking through the activities of your day.  Do this without judgement – simply notice.
  • With each exhale, let go of any unhealthy (limiting) preferences and aversions.  Work to view your day with neutral awareness.
  • Lastly, view yourself with love and true affection.  Love that character that is YOU.

Listen to your short yoga nidra recording every other day

Listen to one of your traditional yoga nidra recordings once a week

You will likely be doing other wonderful yoga related work  – going to studio classes, doing the home asana practices, reading the blog posts – but let the list above be your minimum baseline.

This is your weekly, July yoga nidra meditation (28 minutes).  It will help you find freedom from your thinking mind and realize your infinite potential.  Enjoy!

Start Meditation

Use this bedtime yoga nidra to help you gently fall asleep.  It reinforces this month’s theme: freeing ourselves from our thinking mind and becoming aware of our limitless potential.

The second recording includes soft ambient music.

Start Meditation

Start Meditation with Music

This 23-minute, recorded yoga nidra meditation enables you to insert your personal sankalpa or intention.  Get comfy and enjoy!!

Start Meditation

Reminder: Any poses or breath techniques I cue in an asana practice are merely suggestions.  Your body and your doctor know more than I do, so only do what makes sense and is recommended for you.

Your first asana practice warms up the body with some slow, seated poses.   This practice is 14 minutes long and is intended to ready the body for yoga nidra meditation.

Props:  Mat & an optional block.  Have a blanket, bolster and eye pillow ready if you will be meditating after the practice.

Your second asana practice consists of standing poses.  This practice is 10 minutes long and is intended to ready the body for yoga nidra meditation.

Props:  Mat & an optional block.  Have a blanket, bolster and eye pillow ready if you will be meditating after your practice.

Your third asana practice is all supine poses, offering a more restorative practice.  This 16 minute practice is a good pick when you want to wind down.

Props:  Mat & a block.  Have a blanket, bolster and eye pillow ready if you will be meditating after your practice.

Start Practice 1

Start Practice 2

Start Practice 3

I was reminded recently of a technique for ridding yourself of self-limiting beliefs.  Write them down on pieces of paper, resolving to let them go as you place them in a bowl and then ceremoniously burn them.  As they burn, truly let them go.  I have done this before, sitting in my garden as stale beliefs and fears literally went up in smoke.  I thought I would feel silly, but it was truly a healing, liberating experience.  Try it!!!!!

I also found some interesting takes on how to energetically rid yourself of self-limiting habits and thoughts, enabling independence.

https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/7-crystal-mindfulness-practices – This page talks about seven different crystals that have properties that can clear out the crud!

http://www.bellesprit.com/achieve-independence-with-feng-shui/  – This article has multiple ideas for creating independence and points out that the night of July 3rd is a prime time for releasing unhealthy energy.  This site provided the fodder for my main energetic tool above.

Independence
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