When building a house you need a strong + solid foundation.
I want to enhance the perspective of a solid foundation by applying it to artistry. We are all artists. Every last one of us. We are creators. Artists create. Life is art.
When being a creative artist say in hairstyling, you need a strong foundation + set of tools before you can creatively break the "rules". Once you understand how something works and why you do it a certain way you can begin to step into YOUR FULLEST EXPRESSION AS AN ARTIST.
This is just like in yoga. There is a starting foundation where you come from... your beliefs and values, on which your attitudes and actions are based. In yoga, we seek to raise the energy of awareness in our bodies to connect with, unite with and open up to all the possibilities from within. In a yoga practice you are grounding down like earth to feel empowered, positive, and energized in your mind and your body. How you manifest this energy of awareness in your inner and outer world depends upon how strong your foundation is.
Yoga has a beautiful tree that has 8 “limbs” developed by Patanjali to help guide you on a path to direct your energy for your best and highest good and the best and highest good of the world.
These 8 Limbs are
1. Yama--These are your values that you hold for your interaction with your world. To practice having a strong foundation here it is best to default to nonhurting, nonlying, nonstealing, non possessive (greed). This is all about INTEGRITY + RESPECT of humanity.
2. Niyama--This is your relationship with yourself and how well you treat yourself. TO have a strong foundation here it is best to default to purity, contentment, purification (cleanliness), daily practice of self study (doing something you do not want to do that will have a positive effect on your life), and surrender to allow yourself to be expansive.
3. Asana -- This is the practice of physical postures. It is used as a tool to calm the mind and relax enough to meditate..."a moving meditation". To have a strong foundation here it is best to show up on your mat 6-7 days a week (even for a few minutes)...to literally MOVE the energy through you.
4. Pranayama- This is breath work and techniques to help you manage where you direct the energy of your life force. To have a strong foundation here it is best to connect to your breath and literally breathe in times of chaos and in times of ease and joy.
5. Pratyahar- This literally means control of the senses. This is a practice on non attachment to external objects. This can also be seen as a time in meditation when your "senses" no longer distract you from being able to meditate. An example of building a strong foundation here is to practice not placing the happiness of your being on the outcome of something or on the receiving of a material object.
6. Dharana-- In Dharana you create the conditions for the mind to focus its attention in one direction instead of allowing your "monkey mind" to take it in many different directions. This is a one-pointed concentration. To practice a strong foundation here try using a mantra meditation and singly focus on the mantra.
7. Dhyana-- This means deep meditation-- the ability to see reality without the illusions of the mind. This is to connect with the ultimate Truth. To build a strong foundation here practice limbs 1-6 to release and surrender to your truth to awaken to your best self.
8. Samadhi-- This is total absorption and union with the Divine. In a state of samadhi the body and senses are at rest. Here one goes beyond consciousness. To achieve this state dharana must first occur and then dhyana and samadhi can follow. To build a strong foundation and open up to samadhi be a in a daily practice of 1-7 and try on full surrender to allow yourself to feel the expansiveness that you are.
By living by these 8 limbs and continually practicing the expansiveness of them your life will awaken to beautiful heights. You will be able to be grounded down and connected to your POWER no matter what life throws at you. That in itself is a beautiful gift to never be taken for granted.
"There is always another transformation waiting for you” Baron Baptiste
These 8 limbs literally set you up to CREATE your TRUTH and EXPRES your TRUTH. In a yoga pose on the mat we say go to your fullest expression. The 8 limbs allow you to do that on and off the mat. Remember this as you achieve a state of happiness, connection and ease…it is a daily practice. Show up for your life and do the work when it is “hard” and especially when it is “easy” and “going good”.