People often ask what integrity means.
To me integrity involves creating alignment between your intentions or vision and your actions; aligning your head, heart and feet. Put another way it is the alignment of your creative or liberating energy with your manifesting energy. Integrity in the body is a result of aligning the skeleton in such a way that it is firmly rooted to the ground and at the same time lengthening upwards to the sky.
Lasting health and awesomeness is a result of balance, alignment and integrity.
It’s about how you show up in your life. What are you paying attention to? What are you feeding?
Step to the edge. It’s about how you stand on your own two feet and move forward when things get sticky and scary. Radiate Love. It is about feeling comfortable in your own skin, respecting and loving yourself enough to take care through movement and nutrition, as opposed to ripping, cutting and sacrificing yourself to fit into societies ideals.
Let go and flow. During flow, we become totally immersed in the moment allowing us to experience deep enjoyment, creativity, love, health and happiness.
Whether it is in your body or your life here are Empowered Yoga’s universal laws of alignment in yoga and life.
1. Create space.
Whether it is in your body, your mind or your life—space is possibility. If there is too much congestion, clutter and stress there is no room for anything new. Being open allows us to be receptive to the experience we are having without allowing our ideas and judgments to taint our perception.
In order to create space in the body and thus decompress, we must engage, lift and lengthen. We need to detox. The process of detoxification creates fertile space for possibility.
2. There are 7.5 billion ways to do anything.
No two people are exactly the same—there are seven billion ways to do a yoga pose represented by the 7 billion people on the planet. Be authentic and embrace your uniqueness. Difference is the essence of humanity. Wars are waged over differences; acceptance of these same differences creates diversity and peace. Don’t compete and compare. Your journey is unique.
“Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life believing it is stupid.” ~ Albert Einstein
3.Energy goes where our consciousness flows.
What we feed gets bigger and what we starve withers away. This universal law can be seen in all aspects of life. It can be witnessed in our body, it can be observed in nature, it can be seen at work in our relationships with ourselves and others and it is also true for our thoughts.
Because all action and habits originates from thoughts, understanding and embodying this law is paramount to practicing yoga, personal transformation and empowered living.
4. Challenge makes us stronger.
The physical body responds to challenge by getting stronger. Strength training stresses the muscle tissue to a point where micro trauma occurs. When micro trauma occurs (from weight training or other strenuous activities), the body responds by overcompensating, replacing the damaged tissue and adding more, so that the risk of repeat damage is reduced.
Progressive overload is essential to continued improvement, as the body adapts and becomes more resistant to stress.
Psychological fortitude also involves resilience in challenging situations. It does not mean we are unaffected or numb to challenges and stress, but rather, to be mentally tough is to resist the urge to give up in the face of failure, to maintain focus and determination in pursuit of one’s goals and to emerge from adversity even stronger than before.
5. The harder you are on something the faster it will breakdown.
At first glance this law seems to oppose the previous law, however they actually work along side each other. When the stress is greater than the integrity of the structure, the structure will break. This law applies to everything including your car, your body, your kids and your relationships. It is therefore in challenging ourselves sensitively, with awareness and persistence that growth occurs.
6.What we resist persists, what we fight we strengthen—acceptance is the key.
This law works in conjunction with the third law. Our energy goes to wherever our focus lies; therefore we empower that which we focus on.
Trying to go further into a yoga pose or accomplish anything for that matter by force, is like trying to loosen a knot by tugging harder. The error in that reasoning is that we strengthen that which we oppose.
The more we focus on a problem and negativity, the more we empower it. When we struggle and force we create resistance.
Resistance is ultimately an unwillingness to accept where we are at in the present moment, which ultimately feeds the idea that we are damaged, not good enough, not strong enough, not pretty enough or that there is something wrong with us in the first place. Acceptance on the other end of the spectrum allows us to move forward. We become empowered when we embrace what is.
7. Soften to go deeper. Let go to flow.
Softening in order to go deeper is like loosening the strings, in order to eventually unravel the knot. Letting go requires that we embrace vulnerability as a necessity for progress. In a challenging pose or situation, take a few deep breaths and as you do find just one area in their body that does not need to be engaged in order to sustain the posture—where can you soften?
8. Failure is essential for success.
Failure is unavoidable, as Einstein states, “in order to transcend your limitations, you need to discover them first.” If we are not failing we are limiting our potential for growth. In conjunction with the previous laws then; learning to fail with grace is essential.
Falling is an important part of learning, however it is important that we approach postures and situations with patience and sensitivity. Move forward boldly when it is scary, don’t panic, vulnerability builds the strength required to break through. Often when we are challenged we get scared and uncomfortable so we panic and charge forward with all of our might, we go for broke and then end up flat on our face.
The more we do something the easier it gets.
When everything falls apart, just breathe.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Holly Horne/Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: John Spade, Flickr