Finding Your Soul.

Via Chanti Tacoronte-Perez
on Jan 7, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

Chapter 9: What is a Right Desire?

I was ahead of myself last week and (maybe subconsciously) skipped a whole chapter!

So maybe some of you have already made your sankaplas and are rocking and rolling.  Great!  But this chapter is important in that it discusses the different desires that can shape your sankalpa.

Consider this question by Rod Stryker: “ What specifically, if you could achieve in the next six to eighteen months, would enrich your whole  life and, in the process, contribute to fulfilling  the meaning and purpose of your life?”

Many of us would fall into formulating a sankalpa in the Artha desire. Although this may be true, our intellect knows what we want, but maybe doesn’t necessarily know what our soul needs. So although we may need health and finances (Artha) to go on a trip or take another yoga training, it may not be exactly what the soul needs at the present moment.

Those desires we think we need are called preya in sanskrit. Typically these needs are for pleasant things that we have learned to want. Ultimately, these pleasant things are simply impulsive wants. Desires that are inspired by the soul are called shreya. The more we listen to our soul and fulfill those desires, the less we will need things that are born from our habits and patterns.

So how to discern between our intellect and what our soul wants? We ask the soul. According to the Yoga Vasitha “The self is neither far nor near. it is not inaccessible nor it is in distant places: it is what in oneself appears to be the experience of bliss, and therefore realized in oneself.”

“The first step to experiencing your soul is learning to still your mind” Rod Stryker 

Where do we find the soul to ask it all these great questions? In our meditation practice. Our meditation practice teaches us to still the mind and connect with that bliss within us–the voice of our soul. The more we practice stillness, the easier it is to hear and recognize we have access at any time.

This practice of quieting and stilling the mind is also found in steps #2 and #3 of formulating your sankalpa in Chapter 10. We make decisions every day, every minute even, so it’s not a bad idea to take Rod’s advice and take “five to ten minutes a day of meditation–that’s all it takes to ensure that you are beginning to meet your need for peace.”

Through the practice of meditation and pausing we our inherent state of wisdom and our connection to our soul is strengthened.

How is your meditation practice going? How do you spend time to yourself since you began your journey with the Four Desires process?

Next week we  will talk about Vasisthasana, the pose dedicated to the sage Vasistha.


Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at 
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works



About Chanti Tacoronte-Perez

As a traveler and painter Chanti has grounded her roots in the path of yoga wherever she has landed. Chanti began practicing Yoga during her first year in college & continued when she left for Hampshire College to complete her BA in Painting/Fine Arts and Special Education. From 2001-2004 she lived and worked in Havana, Cuba as the Hampshire College Cuba Program Coordinator where she studied Iyengar Yoga. Chanti has been studying and teaching yoga in the Tantric Hatha Linage since 2005 with her teacher Rod Stryker, founder of Para Yoga. He has taught her that everyone has the ability to know their destination and find that road to walk on. She has currently completed the Para Yoga Certification (level I) & her Restorative Yoga training with Judith Handson Lasater. Her study of Sacred Art and Yantra Painting merge her love of Yoga with her passion for painting and education.


17 Responses to “Finding Your Soul.”

  1. Posted to Elephant Main Facebook Page, my Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn.

    Bob W. Editor, Elephant Journal
    Yoga Demystified
    Facebook Twitter StumbleUpon

  2. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  3. missmiapark says:

    my practice has been strong this year so far. i was lucky enough to have a private consultation with senior parayoga teacher, lauren toolin, and with her guidance, i'm now waking up earlier every day to meditatie first thing in the day. this has *really* helped me. getting in a good sit first thing of the day is a great way to start that day. i used to sit in the afternoon or evening, after i lead an over busy day. AM meditation is now the THING! tamasic sitting? soooo 2011. thanks, chanti!

  4. Amy Whelan says:

    My meditation is wonderful, WHEN I can practice it. Over the weekend I had a 40 minute, non-stop meditation, and it was wonderful. I was sick over the weekend and that was the only thing I could muster up the strength to do. However, I really need to meditate more now than ever. My ego has decided to take residence up in my head and has a cheering section fueling it! AGHHH! My ego has been a bit bruised, and of course it is gathering its strength to take aim. My soul knows better. So this evening, I will take that 30 minutes I need to meditate, then to proceed with lovingkindess tomorrow. Namaste.

  5. Nicole Linehan says:

    I've been noticing that my life is better when I bookend my day with practice. Since adding the Himalayn Institute's evening prayers before bed, my sleep is more restful, less interupted, and it is easier to roll with whatever the day throws at me. Of course there are still struggles and times when I wish I had acted from a higher good, but overall it has created more space, less contraction, more acceptance.

  6. missmiapark says:

    yes, i listen to the AM & PM prayers, too. sometimes i walk around listening to them on my phone mp3 player just to get them in & b/c i now love hearing them. they're nice!

  7. Chanti says:

    Amy, we are your cheering section for the 30 min, hang in there. I think what Mia, is doing is really the way, wake up a littler earlier, even if it's just 10 min earlier, and start your own cheering section on your cushion!

  8. Chanti says:

    I love the HI prayers too! I remember Sandy saying that the motivate your to start your day from your highest Self, and the allow you to let go of the actions of the day to sleep peacefully!

  9. Chanti says:

    I love your repeating days Sue! We should all do that at least once a week!
    Here's Mine: Meditate, eat, paint, teach, study, sleep….what a life….I like to add some travel in the mix every now and then.

  10. Paula says:

    I find my Ashtanga asana practice a moving meditation and an excellent opportunity to practice stillness of mind. I did vipassana for a while, but now find it is too much to do my 1/1/2 hr asana class and then meditate. I wake up at 5 am as it is! I do love finding some additional time for meditation, so will be joining a meditation group once a week on Tuesday nights. I am looking forward to it!

    I reread the sankalpa chapter and really appreciated your advice, Chanti, that was echoed in the book. My first sankalpa was very ambitious and far beyond my control, so I'm going to start smaller this time. I will spend some time meditating on what area of my life requires most attention, I got a sense already but will take my time with it and ensure it continues to resonate.

    So glad we're going through this process together! It is such a good complement to an asana and meditation practice where we focus on just being present. Part of being human is having desires and learning how to work with them is tremendously helpful.

    Lots of love,

  11. zunit says:

    As I consider Drafting my Sankalpa using the 7 step process outlined in the book I am inspired to rekindle old desires. In my own images and words I am doing the best things that I have ever done, in the best places that I have ever been. The light of my love shines for all to see and share courageously with joy and grace. Already my mind is filled with auspicious thoughts and my heart flows with energy. My Yoga and meditation practice align these forces to shape my destiny as I fulfill my Sankalpas and continue to burn the seeds of my Samskaras. With the assurance of profound respect I honor you Chanti as my teacher, along with the lineage of teachers all the way to the Himalayas.
    Aloha Jose

  12. Chanti says:

    It is so nice to have you share your process. I love that you are filled with auspicious thoughts, and that this process is really working for you. It is an honor for me to teach you always, you are filled with so much passion and courage! This is what the path of sankalpa needs.
    Aloha y Abrazos

  13. Chanti says:

    Awesome Paula!!! Let us know how it goes with the new sankalpa!

  14. Amy Whelan says:

    You are so right! I have been meditating using Rod's meditations. I have had to increase them double time. God is really testing me this week. I've maintained my integrity and strength, but on the inside, I sometiimes cry…Thank you for the cheering section. I will include you all in my next meditation–tonight! Namaste!

  15. Amy Whelan says:

    Your thoughts, Jose, and your response(s), make me want to come to Hawaii and just bask in your warmth–just soak it up to bring it back home to Illinois…but in the meantime, I will "soak up" all I can here at home via my computer, home meditation, and yoga practice–both physical and restorative. Blessings to the both of you!

  16. Amy Whelan says:

    Oops, I meant to say that your response(s). Chanti, make me want to come to Hawaii! Your warmth, Chanti, radiates through these discussions! Namaste.