Shifting Gears

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Shift your Gears

Its difficult to change patterns of behavior or thinking.  Once we start doing or thinking something over or over, it creates a rut in our mind, that rut deepening with ever iteration.  It becomes our default way of thinking or being and we become less and less open to new possibilities: like a horse wearing blinders, we may not even notice new opportunities that are right in front of us.  Our mind is happy to reinforce this behavior, adding habits, preferences and/or aversions to our definition of ‘self’, our identity.  Some of these patterns begin without our knowledge – part of our upbringing or culture.  Others arise from events in our life or our choices.

Some patterns are positive, like if you started doing an anonymous good deed for someone each day.  Some are benign, like our brain cataloging how to walk so that we don’t have to consciously think about each step. But others are limiting and negative, like an addiction to sweets, a belief we are worthless or a prejudice about another culture of people.

We often find it hard to change patterns, even once we notice them and decide to alter them.  That can be because we try to do it by force of will and via our thinking mind, yet these ruts exist not only in our physical body, but in our energetic body as well.  We have to go beyond the thinking mind to affect change.  Planting intentions during yoga nidra allows us to do just that.   We’ve focused on intentions before, discussing how to craft both a dharma sankalpa (intention) – what we want to achieve in this life – as well as a secondary sankalpa, the traits(s) that constitute our essence.  It’s also possible to plant sankalpas for very specific changes we would like to manifest in our lives.

This month we have 3 meditations crafted to help you affect change:

The first is to assist those who need to study and learn effectively.  The second is for those who would like to manifest more wealth in their life.  The third is for manifesting a healthier mind and body.  Hopefully one of these resonates with you.  If not, you can use the Intention theme for meditations that will enable you to insert your own intention/sankalpa.  Enjoy!  Let the change begin!

You can start this month by setting an intention to do the following:

Take 3-5 minutes each morning to sit, breathe and be 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 its sound and movement.
  • Next, consider the new state of being you are working to cultivate – wealth, improved learning or better health – and feel that new state of being throughout your mind, body and heart as though its already a reality.
  • With each exhale, let go of doubt and anything holding you back.
  • With each inhale, feeling the wind of change and empowerment entering your body
  • State your targeted intention in your mind three times.
  • Lastly, love and fully embrace your current state and cultivate a deep knowing that you can reach your desired state.

Listen to your meditation(s) as often as you can

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

This yoga nidra meditation helps you set the intention “I learn, retain and recall information easily.” Experience for yourself how effective meditation, coupled with this intention, can be for studying and test-taking.

Start Meditation

This 25.5 minute fusion-style meditation helps plant the intention ” My supply of wealth is immediate and endless, divinely designed to perfectly support my needs.”  Get comfy and enjoy!

Start Meditation

This meditation helps plant the intention “I allow my body to make a profound healing shift, right now.”  Use this meditation to create needed shifts in either your physical or mental well-being.

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 Shifting Gears asana practice warms up the body with a bit of focus on changing ingrained patterns.   This practice is 24 minutes long and is intended to ready the body for yoga nidra meditation.

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

Start Practice 1

One of the main traits the Hindu archetype Ganesha is known for is as “the Remover of Obstacles.”  If you are embarking on a new path, buying a new house or starting a new job,  Ganesha is the archetype you turn to for assistance.  Consider placing a Ganesha statue in a special place to remind you that you are divine at your core, capable of successfully navigating any path you choose.  He is also known to assist in prosperity and in learning, two of our meditation themes.

There is a Ganesha mudra as well.  Place your left hand over your heart, palm facing outward.  Place your right hand on top of your left, palm-to-palm.  Slide your hands until you can interlock your fingers.  Bring your arms away from your chest until your forearms are parallel to your body and to the earth.  Take a deep inhale and as you exhale, let go of your resistance to change and let go of obstacles as you pull your elbows away from one another.  Do this 4 times and then switch the position of your hands (right hand closest to the body) and do it 4 more times.  Not only is this good for removing obstacles, its great for your chest and heart muscles.

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