There comes a moment in everyone’s life when it is time. Time to make a decision, to sink or swim, to make it happen, or let the moment pass. Is there something you have been meaning to do? Something tugging at your heartstrings? How do you know what is right?
The yogis tell us to follow the yamas and niyamas; the do’s and don'ts of living with integrity, honesty, compassion, and frugality. Take a look so that you can start cultivating these qualities.
The 5 Yamas
- Ahimsa: Nonviolence
- Satya: Truthfulness
- Asteya: Nonstealing
- Brahmacharya: Nonexcess
- Aparigraha: Nonpossessiveness
The 5 Niyamas
- Saucha: Purity
- Santosha: Contentment
- Tapas: Self-discipline
- Svadhyaya: Self-study
- Ishvara Pranidhana: Surrender
Finding Your Intuition
Keeping the do’s and don’ts in mind as you proceed with some heavy decision making can help a little, but the whole thing may still seem daunting. You ask your friend for advice and get an earful. You get a totally different opinion from your co-worker. Ultimately, the decision is yours and yours alone. How will you decide what to do?
Sometimes, the greatest guru lies within yourself. Listening to your intuition relies on some well-tuned ears, trust, and confidence in yourself. Learning to meditate on what you are dealing with, being specific about what you want, and making sure your desires are in-line with the Universal truth requires some effort and a lot of patience.
Here are some simple steps for paying attention to that intuition, and making that dream a reality.
1. Meditate on it.
Sitting in silence and allowing the mind to be free and clear of all mental impressions is a very powerful tool. It takes practice–lots and lots of practice. But the more I sit on my meditation cushion, the clearer my muddy mind becomes.
I am able to see the forest through the trees. I can begin to appreciate my true self, unclouded by opinions, judgements, and manifestations that my ego likes to place a label on. Instead of wondering how to do something and constantly turning it over in my mind, I am suddenly enlightened by the question of whether I even should.
Sometimes, to err on the side of omission is the best decision of all.
2. Write it down.
Before I started teaching yoga, I felt a little lost and bewildered. Okay, I admit it, I still feel lost and bewildered! But what really helped me to create the beautiful life I envisioned for myself was a SMASH! book. My quirky girlfriend bought one for me when I was going through a tough time. I showed up at her house after a barre and aerial teacher training retreat, and I was homeless, penniless, and in an old clunker of a car.
The SMASH! book was awesome! It was essentially a journal but also had motivating phrases, colorful pictures on blank pages, and fun stickers and tape to "smash" cards and ideas into the pages of the book. Her daughter had one, and my friend bought one for herself and for me. We spent the weekend filling it up with crazy stuff.
My SMASH! book began to look a little like the skeleton of a business plan. I wrote down everything I dreamed of for my perfect life and business–yoga, aerial and barre classes, a spa and massage room, soft tank tops with lotus flowers designs, and a sweet-smelling, welcoming studio full of smiles and radiant, healthy people.
Be specific about what you want and how you see yourself. WRITE IT DOWN and build on your ideas! Let your creativity flow and you might be surprised at what you discover about yourself and what you really want.
3. Speak it.
After everything is organized in your head, it is time to speak with integrity and confidence about your intentions. Say it out loud: I want to open a yoga studio. I want to travel to Indonesia. I don't want to be in this relationship anymore, so it's over.
If you have trouble saying what you want, consider activating your throat chakra by practicing shoulderstand or plow, drinking soothing liquids and juices, and meditating on the color sky blue.
Telling others that you trust about your true intentions makes the idea a reality. But be careful; rumors can turn words into daggers, hurt feelings, and cause conflict. Make sure what you are speaking is with truth and with the right motivation behind it.
4. Ask for help.
Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help! Recruit family, friends, and the Cosmos to help you. I had a friend tell me that when he travels to a new place, he imagines that his brothers and sisters are there waiting for him, ready to help him along his journey and succeed in his travels. This can be applied in your journey through life too.
If you imagine that everyone around you is your brother or sister waiting to help, you will be much more likely to succeed. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want and be specific. I need you to listen to me. I need to borrow that book you have on Ayurveda. I need $500 dollars.
Remember your yamas and niyamas. Be humble, appreciative, and ready to hear the answer "no." Respect the decision of the person you are asking–maybe they are not open to listening, loaning you their book, or giving you money. And that's okay. But if your intentions are true and the timing is right, everything will fall into alignment according to your fundamental truth.