Alignment is a buzz word these days in the yoga world.
Since more and more people are practicing yoga, and more people are speaking out about how yoga has injured them in the past, instructors and practitioners alike are concerned about safety.
And that’s a good thing.
But for all the talk about alignment as it refers to the body, what about the alignment of our thoughts, decisions, and actions?
According to Patanjali, yoga is all about the mind anyway…
The real yoga happens when we are able to sit with what is and develop a level of discernment (viveka) that best serves our dharma (purpose).
Of course, that requires knowing what our purpose is and a lot of practice.
Aligning the mind and thoughts
One of my favorite ways to live a purposeful life is to live in alignment with my values.
Core values give us a guiding post to test our life decisions against. If you value family, personal growth, integrity, freedom, health, creativity, leadership, community, and nature like I do then it’s important that the next time a big decision is looming you think about how that decision will affect (or not) all of these areas of your life.
It seems easy enough, and yet, it’s far from it.
I have a hunch.
- Many of us don’t REALLY know what our core values are.
- Aligning with our core values often means making the “unpopular” decision and we don’t want to be judged.
- We haven’t surrounded ourselves with like-minded souls that support us in our journey to consciously create our own inspired life in alignment with our own values.
- It’s hard to see tangible results of our aligned thoughts, decisions, and actions so it’s hard to keep living in alignment day-to-day.
When we are aligned in thought, we get a special feeling. But it’s hard to look in the mirror every morning and see how we feel so it’s also super easy to forget that aligning our thoughts, decisions, and actions are good things to repeat often.
That’s why it’s important to create our own rituals to consistently re-align with our core values.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!
I want to go back to issue #1 above.
What Core Values have to do with Yoga
Do you know your core values? Like, can you send me an email right now and list all of them, in order of priority? Each core value distilled into one word or less?
I teach this stuff and even I have trouble remembering my values sometimes! The pull and temptation of subscribing to society’s values when they are not our own is a cause of suffering. The fear of being judged, left behind, or scorned is enough to make us double-guess ourselves when we feel pulled to move in one direction even though the rest of the world thinks the opposite. It is this very fear that holds us back from living our most inspired lives and leads to unhappiness.
Core values are something that I’ve been learning about since 2008. I really, really love aligning with core values and I think this work is the number one most important first action we can take on our yoga journey toward alignment.
Finding our core values within the context of yoga means we don’t have to start with a blank slate. Classical Yoga Philosophy offers up suggestions for what core values we might consider living by in the Yamas and Niyamas.
As a quick refresher, the yamas and the niyamas can be distilled into the following values:
- Compassion (Ahimsa, or non-violence)
- Honesty (Satya, or truth)
- Abundance (Asteya, or non-stealing)
- Moderation (Brahmacharya)
- Giving (Aparigraha, or non-hoarding)
- Purity (Saucha, or cleanliness)
- Contentment (Santosha)
- Discipline (Tapas)
- Learning (Svadhyaya, or self-study)
- Surrender (Ishvara Pranidhana)
There are many other values you may hold as well. For me, family and freedom are my top two non-negotiables.
So, are you living in alignment? Are you consciously creating a life based on a set of core values?
The beauty of yoga is that I’m not here to tell you what your values need to be. We can all live together peacefully and have different values. That’s what makes us individual and unique. Besides, we all have our own karma to work through.
But I can guide you through a process to help you find your core values. I can encourage you to make space and time to be with your values. I can help you develop discernment. I can support you when it seems everyone else is on the other side.
I’m on your side! Let’s live in alignment — body, breath, mind, and spirit — together!
Let me help you
I’m currently creating a 7-day mini-course for you called The Journey that will take you through the 7 essential elements of inspired living. Day 1 is an exercise to help you figure out your core values!
The course isn’t quite ready yet, but if you’re interested in going on The Journey with me, sign up below to get on the waiting list!
Sign up to get on the wait list for The Journey. The Journey is a 7-day mini course to help you consciously create your own inspired life.