Have you been noticing a shift in the yoga community lately?
There’s less talk of Instagram filters and more talk of self-acceptance and body positivity. The focus is falling off of asana and on to how best to nurture our body and soul (which sometimes means less downward dog, and more cups of tea).
The emphasis on going as fast as possible through a sun salutation is fading away to reveal more value in spending quality time in meditation. These are shifts I’ve been waiting (impatiently) for and talking about for a very long time. I even wrote a book about it – Yoga Beyond the Mat.
Many years ago, I started to feel this deep desire to move my practice beyond the mat, but I was scared that it would cause me to lose my identity as a yogi. I went forward anyway, and what happened was the exact opposite of what I had expected.
Rather than focusing so much on asana in a crowded studio, comparing myself to others, and posting my progress on social media, I was focused on my personal journey within yoga. More than ever before, I was stepping into my role as a yogi and spiritual leader — and I was finding my bliss.
The good news is that it’s possible for everyone to find bliss – the purest form of happiness.
The Keys To Finding Your Bliss
Strangely, the common yoga model of crowded classes isn’t always conducive to finding your bliss. Yoga is a natural state of bliss and connection, and it should lie beyond comparison, judgment, and distraction.
Because bliss through yoga is so natural, there isn’t anything to actually do. Instead, you have to allow your natural state to arise through yoga practices in a conducive environment. That environment includes your mind.
Your mind must be clear, free of burden, and aligned with your body and energy. There are many ways to do this.
Yoga practices for finding your bliss:
Do you know what those practices are?
Not warrior 2. In all the years I’ve been teaching and practicing yoga, I’ve never actually seen anyone enlightened in a warrior 2!
Sure, Half Moon and other hip openers are deeply meditative and will help you align yourself, and will make it easier to find your bliss, but asana doesn’t begin to cover it. You can move and fold your body in various ways, but if your mind and spirit are not connected it will not matter. Yoga poses are just part of the study.
The practices that reveal our natural state of yoga are the ones that make us feel most connected. Practices like personal ritual, gratitude, meditation with invocations, and being kind.
All of these practices are acts that come from within us, at a deeper level. These are not physical acts. By doing them you are not posing and hoping this bliss comes to you. Instead, you radiate it, and it becomes you.
That is when you will finally reach and live in your bliss.
Finding Your Bliss
It’s an exciting time to be a yogi! People like you are the key components of moving yoga forward and shaping how it looks for future practitioners. Thank you for being a part of the movement to take yoga beyond the mat, and for being an integral part of my tribe of #ModernMystics!
Yoga Beyond the Mat: Finding Your Bliss
Links and Resources
You can also find guided practices in my book Yoga Beyond the Mat and my course Yoga Beyond the Mat: Making Yoga Your Daily Spiritual Practice.