Many humans have the ultimate desire of freedom. You want more abundance to increase your freedom to choose. Or you want more time in which you’re free to use it as you wish. Somehow we know deep down that more freedom will give us more joy. Yet it’s easy to get caught up in the fast-pace of life, in which case we miss the opportunities to experience inner liberation. In this blog post, you’ll discover simple and powerful ways to embrace true freedom right now–whether you’re on your yoga mat or off of it.
Let me give you an example of how this freedom showed up in my life recently.
As you know, Steve and I spend several months a year traveling in our sprinter van. We love it so much that we decided to sell our old van and upgrade. Only, Sprinters are specialized vehicles, and after two months on the market, we had very few interested buyers. (And this is after we had already purchased our new one, mind you).
Then last Saturday morning, our entire neighborhood was having their annual garage sale. I thought it would be a great idea to put a FOR SALE sign on the van and park it on the street, since our usually quiet block would have lots of extra traffic.
And within hours, we sold it! Yep, a kind couple from Ohio loved our custom conversion and purchased the van on the spot! It was one of the easiest transactions ever–and both parties left excited about the freedom the deal provided for them.
Photo Credit: Ember and Earth Photography
FREEDOM AND YOGA
I bring this story up because each and every day you set intentions for what you want your future to be like. Some are smaller ideas, like the foods you want to eat or the types of people you want to be around. Other thoughts are big dreams, like the person you want to become or the positive impact you want to make in the world by teaching yoga.
You already experience immense freedom in just your ability to think in this way.
More freedom then follows when you are able to receive your desires.
And to do this, you must come into personal alignment.
Yoga teaches this alignment.
Yes, ancient yogis knew how yoga could help you tap into this freedom.
Just think of the 8-limbed path. It’s a system to understand yourself with clarity and to act with integrity. Yoga is also a way to purify the body–to find physical alignment. Yoga also helps refine the mind and deeply connect with the spiritual nature that is at the core of your being.
Samadhi is the goal–knowing your Divine essence and living each day on Earth with that perspective. It’s the absolute release of resistance that holds you separate from experiencing that oneness.
Said another way, samadhi is all about freedom.
THE BENEFITS OF FREEDOM
Instead of seeking freedom outside of yourself, though, yoga helps uncover the freedom that is already within you. Knowing this, you can live with more joy. If you live free, you can be more calm and relaxed in your own skin. And, you’re far more confident to express your unique viewpoints with the world.
Aligning with this inner freedom has other numerous benefits. This includes:
- Greater abundance in all areas of life
- More synchronistic events and encounters
- The perception of more time
- Enhanced receptivity to new ideas
- More flexibility to adjust and change course in life
- Greater intuition
- More trust in yourself and your future, and
The ability to shine bright into the world, without restriction Perhaps the greatest benefit of freedom, as I mentioned earlier, is that it puts you in the perfect place to receive that which you desire. It’s a way for you to effortlessly manifest your intentions.
5 Ways to Embrace this Freedom
I understand that the concept of freedom can seem esoteric and intangible. Similar to that of energy, freedom is something you can’t see or taste or touch. Yet somehow your senses know what freedom feels like.
So to help you embrace true freedom in a practical way, below are five ways you can do so now. And it’s easier than you think.
And all of these practices start with the letter. This way you can recall these powerful actions at any time.
Okay, let’s take a look at each of these 5 approaches individually.
Photo Credit: Diane Nicole Photography
In Sanskrit, the term vrtti-s refers to all the thoughts and emotions that spin around in the heart-mind. These “turnings or cyclings” help you keep track of your life. This is helpful in that you can track your to-do list and make important decisions. The problem comes when the vrtti-s keep you pre-occupied. Or, when they distort your perception and negatively affect your words or actions.
Fear-based vrtti-s block the very freedom you seek. And it can be easy to buy in to this storyline, when the world at large continually promotes fear. Endless new cycles report what is going wrong. Videos go viral of people treating each other badly. When you buy into the fear, you forget who you really are.
Take time to REMEMBER your true nature
The core of your being is always quiet and still. Your essence is free. So you want to remember that freedom through the following actions:
I often feel like a broken record when I talk about the numerous benefits of passive meditation. Meditation teaches you to be more observant. It breaks old emotional bonds that no longer serve you. Meditation breaks old habits and it gives your brain the space in which to rewire neural networks that do.
In Tibetan, to meditate means “to cultivate self.” Thus, in the quiet space of meditation, you can remember who you really are. You can give attention to the expansive aspects of your being. And, you can embrace true freedom that lies within.
Write in your Journal
Journaling is a great way to practice presence. It’s also a fantastic tool to amplify the appreciation you have for yourself and your life. Writing itself is a grounding activity. Then, when you pair it with a focus on freedom, you can gain great clarity about yourself.
So answer these questions in your journal this week:
- What do I appreciate in my life?
- When am I at my best?
- At what times am I most curious? Passionate?
- In what ways do I demonstrate love for myself? Love for others?
- When do I feel most free in my life?
- In what ways can I carve out more small moments in the day to feel this way?
Get on your Mat
Yes, time on the yoga mat distinctly moves you from the chaos of your life into the present moment. Breathe. Move. Be mindful in the postures and the transitions. And, as you spend time on your mat, you’re bound to uncover the essence of freedom that’s there at all times (if only you were to look for it).
Photo Credit: Diane Nicole Photography
There are times in life when it can be tempting to feel like you have to do everything on your own. You dig into your existing tool bag of spiritual skills in hopes to receive the changes you desire on your terms. You might try harder yoga classes, or dedicate more time to your mat. Or you could amp up your time in prayer or meditation with a sense of clinging to the outcome.
Only instead of getting you closer to that which you desire, you find yourself separated from it. Your expectations of the future have been clouded by a sense of neediness and doubt.
The biggest problem here is that you’re trying to do a job that’s not yours in the first place. Have you ever worked with someone, or been in a group project, with one person who dominates the entire experience? It’s like they don’t trust you to get the job done so they step in and do your part, too!
Instead of trying to do the job of the Universe—of organizing and orchestrating the perfect ways in which your ideas will take shape—start watching the unfolding of your desires. Put yourself in a position to receive those gifts as they appear in your life
Simple ways to RECEIVE today:
- Say thank you for all that you have in your life (on paper, out loud, and often)
- Revel in the kindness offered by others when they give you a compliment or a gift.
- Savor the freedom you do have each and every day, even the simple choices of which route to take to work or where to focus your eyes in a room.
- Take a yin or restorative yoga class, both being a reminder that you can receive the amazing benefits of yoga without exerting much (if any) effort.
These simple practices are a great way to trust that the Universe is doing its job, and you only have to do yours. That’s where the third method of tapping in to freedom comes in.
It’s time to chill out and relax. It’s easy to overplan your schedule in hopes that you’ll attain a certain outcome in the future. Many people approach life with this linear idea that “if I do A + B, I’ll surely reach C.” Or, you try and push harder to get things done faster or better.
Somehow putting more effort into life can increase feelings of security or certainty.
Yet life doesn’t work like that. The Universe vibrates at a positive frequency, and all you have to do is relax and align with it to experience freedom.
One of the best ways to RELAX?
Get outside in Nature.
In Japan, there is a practice called shirin-yoku, which is also known as forest bathing. No matter what you call it, though, spending time in nature provides numerous benefits. It improves heart health and boosts the immune system.
When you get outside, your brain is also able to be engaged, but not overtaxed. This has a “micro-restorative effect” on the mind that relieves fatigue., And in this state, studies show you are able to be more calm, relaxed, and connected. Plus it increases your ability to concentrate more effectively when you go back to work.
Photo Credit: Ember and Earth Photography
Releasing is all about letting go of fear. Fear causes the amygdala of the brain to go into hyper-spin in order to protect you. This is a survival mechanism. Only, when you’re gripped by fear, you can’t embrace true freedom. Fear clouds your ability to see it.
If fear-based vrtti-s have a hold on you, releasing them can be easier than you think. An FBI hostage negotiator illustrated how to do so recently on one of my favorite business podcasts.
A study actually hooked up electrodes to hundreds of participants and showed them images that would incite fear. The amygdala of the brain lit up like Chevy Chase’s house in the movie, Christmas Vacation. This triggers all sorts of other signals in the brain, and includes the loss of logical thinking in the mind.
Yet, an interesting thing happened during this same study. As soon as the participant named the fear, the amygdala turned off. It’s as though the survival instinct was no longer needed, and the brain could go back to functioning in a calm, rational manner.
The lesson in this?
If fear has you in a headlock, and you can’t seem to shake the feelings of unease, discomfort, or pain, then talk to it. Verbalize what you are afraid of, and give the fear a name.
In that split second, you can see the bogus, negative vrtti for what it is (an obstacle in your path to living free). Appreciate the lesson you learned from it, and then focus on moving forward without resistance.
When you release fear, you reclaim love. This gives you even more freedom in how that love can show up for you in numerous ways in your life.
The opposite of freedom is bondage and a sense of powerlessness. These emotions are amplified when you feel separate from, or disconnected from, your true source of power. It can also magnify when you feel separate from others.
It’s easier to judge others, and ourselves, when we experience this perceived separation. You’re more likely to blame “them” for your problems, Instead, it’s time to connect. Said another way, it’s time to reconnect with your inner freedom.
And you can choose to do so in any moment. Here’s how:
Give instead of receive. Yes, as mentioned moments ago, there are plenty of times you want to focus on receiving. This helps reinforce the mental memory that you are supported and all is well. Receiving is a way to remember the generosity of the Universe.
Yet generosity is a two-way street. You can amplify your own abundance by giving to others, as well (especially when you do so from a place of alignment). So, notice how you can share your time, talents, and treasures with others this week. It’s a great way to reconnect not just with mankind, but with the freedom that exists within us all.
Look others in the eye. This is one of my favorite ways to give the gift of presence to others throughout the day. When you go to checkout with a clerk at the grocery store, look them in the eye. When you greet your colleagues at work, make eye contact and smile. Show respect and appreciation for your students by doing this when they enter class, too.
The eyes are a window to the soul, and the soul is eternal. Plus, it’s eternally free. So embrace true freedom by looking honestly (not creepily) into the eyes of others today. When you pair this with a heart-felt smile, the capacity to connect skyrockets even more!
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
When you tap into your freedom, you feel great. You’re more inspired and creative. You vibrate at the frequency of love. Circumstances in your life flow with more ease, and you feel empowered as a co-creator in your own experience.
As your awareness increases in this way, you remove negative vrtti-s that cloud your perception. And, you embrace true freedom that is at the core of your spiritual essence–now and forevermore!
Take action now:
- Try any one of the tools above to experience more freedom in your life today.
- And print out these 5 R’s and share them with your students. You just never know how a simple thought or word could change their perspective (on and off the mat!)