Happy 4th of July! Today is the day we celebrate our independence as a country. In Sanskrit, the word for freedom is Moksha, which means liberation from all the things that bind us. According to yoga philosophy, it is the highest of the 4 goals of human life.
What are some of the things that bind us?
- Lack of knowledge that we are full and complete already. To be happy, we don't need to change who we are. We need to discover, reconnect, and align with who we are. When we Align Our Self®, our lives become more harmonious and we feel joy and contentment more often.
- Our unhealthy habits. We often think, say and do things that aren't very helpful and we get stuck in a pattern. By slowing down and looking inward, yoga helps us see these habits. Then we develop new healthy habits, practice them over and over and the old ones dissipate.
- Fear. So many of us are afraid and re-act to life, rather than listen, reflect and make a clear choice. Refining our intelligence, slowing down, pausing and seeing things as they truly are will help us make decisions that are helpful and lead us toward a joyful life.
How do we become free? By uniting with our true Self, that spark of divinity within us that is connected to all others. Well that sounds like a lofty goal, doesn't it? But yoga provides us with the means to do this, here and now, through the practice of all 8 limbs of yoga.
The 8 Limbs
- Yama: social ethics to live in harmony with others
- Niyama: personal ethics to live a balanced life
- Asana: postures to build strength and flexibility so energy can flow freely
- Pranayama: breath control to cleanse and strengthen the nervous system and increase your vital energy
- Pratyahara: internalizing the senses to reduce external stimulation
- Dharana: developing concentration and focus
- Dhyana: sustaining one’s focus to enter into meditation
- Samadhi: uniting with your Higher Self
- Watch the fireworks! Look at each color, hear every sound, notice the full shape and movement of each individual display.
- Give someone your full, undivided attention. Look them in the eye, listen to every word, and hear what they have to say, even if you don't agree with it. A fully integrated person is able to see someone else's view even if your perspective is entirely different.
- Do something fun! Being playful is a quick way to connect to your inner Self, so swim, run, bike, laugh and have a good time! Try something new! I spent last weekend up at my sister's cottage in Wisconsin. I tried paddle boarding for the first time and it was a lot more fun then I thought it would be. Here is a picture of my daughter in vrksasana (tree pose). Balancing on one leg on a paddle board is much harder than it looks!
Happy Birthday USA!