Wake Up Your Yoga Practice: 5 Ways to Flow with Purpose
This article originally appeared on Yoganonymous.com.
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at our goals.” Martin Luther King Jr.
The best way to pay homage to a cultural icon like Martin Luther King Jr. is to look at your own life to see where and how you can step forward. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work was based on personal experiences, and a desire to change mindsets of nations so that those ugly personal experiences are rare things of the past that have no life in the present.
His journey and his work are amazing examples to study, dissect, and follow with our own personal work. It’s easier said than done, and it might not always feel comfortable. You may doubt yourself, you may feel scared to step forward, you may pretend like you don’t have the tenacity to bring your dreams into fruition—but the good news about all that fear, is that it’s fixable.
Here is a pranayamic-meditative yoga sequence to help you get in touch with your life’s work, burn away fear, and take it out into the world (fearlessly).
5 Ways to Wake Up Your Yoga Sequences
1. Open up to a greater vision
Martin Luther King Jr. was successful because his purpose behind his work was not about him—it was about humanity as a whole. He had a larger vision as his focal point. Keeping your eye on the big picture dissolves emotional resistance and fear that stop you from working on your own purpose.
Pranayama: Come to a seat, and plug your right nostril. Take a deep breath in through the left nostril, and hold the breath for a count of two. Plug the left nostril, and exhale out of your right nostril. Take a deep breath in through your right nostril, hold, plug the right nostril, and exhale out of the left nostril. This is alternate nostril breathing. Continue for 2-5 minutes.
2. Build the courage
Agreeing to do life-changing work for others can be scary. It will not be comfortable, but it will be worth it. So what do you need to overcome internal resistance and fear? Courage.
Pranayama: Stay in a seated position, and begin to engage in deep belly breathing. Feel your lower stomach grow with the inhale, and shrink with the exhale. Envision a bright light coming up through the earth’s center into the base of your seat. This light moves with the breath, and creates a strong energy up through your abdomen. Once the energy in your lower body is strong, and shift your focus up as the light moves into your heart. Begin to breathe into mid-back, in the center behind your heart. Feel the light grow stronger, moving up all the way to the top of your head. Breathe here until this connection feels unbreakably strong. Old energies are falling away, leaving your body and leaving your center. On the next inhale, notice a light shooting out from the top of your head, connecting in with the cosmos. Lengthen your spine with each breath, and continue to breathe until your body’s energy feels strong and restored.
3. Open up to the heart of the matter
Martin Luther KingJr. shared his messages with compassion, rather than aggression. Given the circumstances, and the high cultural tension at the time, aggression may have sparked a much wider outbreak—but maybe the results wouldn’t have been so long lasting.
Asana: To open up your own heart to delivering your messages with compassion, stay in your seat. Take your hands behind you, clasping your hands at the center. Roll your shoulders back, and stretch open. Moving shoulder blades together, and leaning your head back. Stay here for at least five rounds of breath.
4. Share your message with the world
You have to connect the throat to the heart if you want your message to resonate with the souls you share them with. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches are still played regularly to this day because of the thoughtful hope-sparking element in his words provide.
Mantra: Open up your throat chakra with this chant: Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu (oh-mmm low-ka saw-ma-staw sue-key-know b-hov-on-two). It means may all people be happy and free, and may what I do in my life contribute in some way to that freedom and that happiness. Repeat this mantra for as many rounds as you like.
5. Embrace the unknown
Do you think Martin Luther King Jr. knew what was going to happen? How touching his work would be to the masses? How much people would value his words, even fifty years after the fact? When you share your work, you do not know what will happen. The best thing to do is to embrace the unknown, love what you share, and continue to share freely.
Pranayama: Your seventh chakra, that sits one foot above your head, is the center of the unknown. Start to focus on the energy that sits there, and envision a bright white light coming in with your breath, clearing and cleansing this chakra. The light is growing stronger and stronger, and a neon violet lotus flower begins to emerge from the seventh chakra—strong, beautiful, peaceful, and unbreakable. Envision this lotus flower comes onto your head, like a beautiful crown. Locking in self-trust, and self-worth. Remember that you can return to this space at any time during the day, month, year, or lifetime.