The foundation of our practice rests on both inner and outer work.
We will explore, integrate, become more knowledgeable about, and more practiced in, the art of living our best lives through self-reflection, mind and body work and study, and by taking desired, required, and inspired actions toward our goals.
These areas of focus provide a concreate foundation for us to work with that is both proven and effective for supporting our optimal evolution and positive movement forward. Our work will draw from numerous areas of study including age old Yoga and meditation practices/philosophies, as well as Chinese Qi-Gong principles, and modern Coaching and Wellness Science understandings in order to support us with being our best in this one and only life that we are fortunate to experience.
Yoga, which means “union” and originated in India, is a science of the mind and body that focuses on the connection of body, mind, breath, and spirit, as well as the fusion with our highest expressions. It is an ancient science that provides one of the strongest beams of support in our foundation because of how well mapped out and structured it is in it’s practical form. As a complement to the Humanistic Coaching framework that is used here, a Yoga framework, since this practice provides a clear outline on how to proceed with being and creating our best in the world, is one of the most clear, all encompassing, and effective ways that I have found for addressing all the areas of self-improvement needed to be our best.
In Yoga, we start our practice by setting out to fully understand and accept what is often referred to as the Four Noble Truths. These truths state that: 1) Life has ongoing and inevitable suffering 2) there is a cause to our suffering 3) there is an end to our suffering (since everything in the universe is impermanent) 4) there is a path that will free us from all suffering, which in Yoga, is called the Eight Fold Path.
These ideas, and the accompanying path outlined below, will serve as the theory that guides much of our work.
Please be mindful, however, that we will only focus on these concepts in practical and non-religious ways. We will separate our practice from any religion, ideology, or religious affiliation here, but it is my hope (if you have chosen a religious philosophy to live your life by) that this work will support that spiritual part of your practice in some way or another as well since I know that nurturing a healthy and meaningful inner world is an important part of being your best.
Remember please that, at my core, I am a Evidence-Based Coach. I hold complementary diplomas as a Certified Yoga and Meditation Expert (because I both study and practice independently and through teachers), and I possess training in a number of different self-development techniques as well, but everything that I use from these complementary trainings is grounded in proven and practical research. Furthermore, because my undergraduate degree is in Sociology (with a secondary area of focus in Comparative Literature), I also inevitably explore the theoretical aspects of these pathways as well since these ideas better assist in understanding our actual practice.
If you have never pursued the Yogic path before, or have never pursued it outside of the third aspect (which focuses on the physical body and stretching), or outside of the fourth aspect (that focuses on breathwork), please note that the full blueprint for Yoga asks that we work on all eight aspects of our being, and these aspects are meant to be progressive and interrelated. All parts of Yoga must be practiced and mastered individually, but each limb will build upon, and support, the limb before it.
This path is also meant to be customized to your own life and self. There is no one, perfect, way to practice Yoga, and you must truly create and walk your own individual pathway in order to be successful in using it in/for your self-development.
The Eightfold Path of Yoga
(1-4 interface with the outside world | 5-8 interface with our inner world)
- Yamas (Our Code Of Conduct): The values, morals, and restraints that we choose to abide by. These include non-violence, truthfulness, self-control, non-stealing, non-greed/non-attachment.
- Niyamas (Our Actions in Support of our Personal Code of Conduct): Habits and ethical practices that support the values and morals that we choose as our yamas. These include self-purification, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and devotion to a higher path/practice.
- Asanas (Our physical exercises and care for our body): Physical postures and stretching of the body for longevity, optimal health, relaxation, flexibility, strength, and balance (among other benefits). This limb is focused on overall self-care and preservation.
- Pranayama (Our integration of Body and Mind Through Breath): Breathing exercises and control of one’s breath, the number one essential element for our survival and one of the most powerful tools in our work.
- Pratyahara (Our Mastery Of Our Senses): Restraint. Full control of all of our five senses.
- Dharana (Our Cultivation of a Pure and Well-functioning Mind): Developing self-awareness and general awareness through concentration and a cultivated mind.
- Dhyana (Our Devotion To Connecting With, And Experiencing, Our Highest Expressions): Meditation. Commitment to creating connection with our Divine aspects/expressions.
- Samadhi (Our Connection With And Full Embodiment of Our Highest Expression): Union with our Divine aspects/expressions.
Meditation, and everyday mindfulness, are our complementary practices. They support us with gaining success on all levels of our path through reflection, concentration, focus, and the cultivation of a pure and healthy mind.
Together, these practices help us to perform the right thoughts, speech, actions, and livelihood for us, and they clearly illuminate the framework for all of what we are here to do in this space!
As we move forward, always remember that non-judgment of yourself and others (a part of refraining from non-violence) is an important part of our work.
Please know this: you do not have the right to judge any other being on this planet (although you can be honest about, and discerning of, others as you navigate through life), and this non-judgment includes non-judgement of yourself as well. Please be mindful of this as you move forward and it will make your practice even stronger and your progress much more deep and effective since you will understand clearly that even if you slip up and are not perfect every single day, you can simply move forward on your next attempt and still get better with continued practice. This is a part of learning and doing the work.
Life does not judge you, and it is not a test. Since you will be improving yourself and knowing better as you progress, however, the focus here should still be on doing better each day, and on doing so one step at a time (without too much criticism or without being too attached to any mistakes, flaws, or even awesome qualities that you discover).
We are simply here to practice and get better…so now, let’s get to work!
What, beautiful Creator, are you creating today?
*Please be sure to note that the use of the term karma here, and in all of my work, is in the literal, and neutral, translation of the word as actions that have a cause and effect in the world. Please further note that I do not refer to karma in the context of it’s place in ideological beliefs in supernatural curses, past lives, or future existences (in the same way that I do not believe in the existence of literal Gods and Goddesses), since this phenomena has never been proven.
If past lives are ever referenced in the context of my work (which it rarely ever is), it is only to serve as a metaphor for the different stages and transformations that we experience throughout the one life that we have. All actions have an effect, this is clear, but once our life has ended, there is no evidence to prove that we come back in any other form. In fact, I feel that it is imperative that we honor this truth, and one life that we have within us, in order to value it to the fullest of our abilities so that we can make the most out of it and never rely on the illusion of a past or future existence to excuse any behaviors of the past, present, or future (either on a personal or historical scale).
There is only one life for each of us, and victims of crimes such as slavery, the holocaust, rape, abuse of any kind, and other atrocities never did anything in a past life to deserve their fate in their present one other than exist in a world in which they were the unfortunate recipients of other people’s bad actions (or karma) guided by ignorance or hatred. This is important to always emphasize because this word is often overly misused and is an area of yogic philosophy that I feel is often shrouded in mythology and false ideology.