Have you ever felt relaxed and satisfied one minute, then found yourself full of worry or anxiety the next? Did you ever have the most amazing day at work followed by an unexpected argument with your spouse? As humans, we have grown accustomed to feeling badly and to wearing pain as a badge of honor. But what about feeling good? Or even great?! How do you learn to increase your capacity for success?
I was first introduced to yoga just as I was about to graduate with a master’s degree in Kinesiology. At the time, my stress levels were incredibly high. I was uncertain about how to implement my education into a career. My body was tense, even though I was a personal trainer working out numerous times a week. And, I was open to positive change–but unsure of how to achieve it.
As I spent more and more time on my mat, shifts began to occur. Yoga transformed my outlook from a fearful one into an optimistic one. It became a vehicle through which I removed self-imposed limitations. It was also a practice that taught me discipline, power, and grace. Pose by pose, breath by breath, I embraced my growing capacity for success. You can, too, and this article shows you how!
Photo Credit: Diane Nicole Photography
WHAT’S YOUR LIMIT?
Our bodies are amazing. They work constantly to regulate the heartbeat, internal water levels, nutrient content, and blood sugar quantities–among a very long list of other things. Essentially, we want to maintain homeostasis. This stability is really dynamic in nature, as the world around us constantly changes and we need to respond to those factors to stay in balance.
Thermoregulation is one way we maintain homeostasis. It’s a process that sustains a core internal temperature somewhere between 98 and 100 degrees F. If your temperature rises, sensors in your skin and hypothalamus trigger commands in the brain to cool the body down. If you get too cold, blood flow to the skin decreases and your muscles can shake all in an effort to warm you back up.
Similarly, you have an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, joy, money and creativity you are able to experience at any given moment. Like body temperature, you respond when outside of your comfort zone. If you exceed the setting, you crimp off your ability to feel good–often subconsciously–to return back to “normal.”
This upper limit that gets placed on yourself is in direct response to your beliefs about yourself and life as a whole. Unlike body temperature, which has a small range for health across all of mankind, one’s ability to allow positive emotions and experiences is incredibly diverse. Thus, in order to expand your capacity for success, it’s time to shift your inner setting. Yoga is a fantastic means to do this.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bishop
HIDDEN BARRIERS TO YOUR SUCCESS
If everyone knew about their self-imposed upper limits, then they would naturally make changes to them. Personally, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to feel better more of the time. Yet, the barriers to more positive experiences are often hidden. According to Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap, here are four main limiting beliefs that prevent you from greatness. They are as follows:
- I am imperfect. This idea, if internalized, is based on a feeling of being fundamentally flawed in some way and that being wrong or bad or incapable will ultimately lead to failure.
- I am unreliable. This belief is tied to your relationships and has an underlying current that any success you achieve means that you have abandoned those you love.
- I am a burden. When you buy into the idea that more success will weigh you down, you often shy away from more achievement and influence.
- I shine too brightly. This belief is based on a fear that if you embrace your gifts and share them outwardly, you will take away light from others.
Each of the above ideas is rooted in fear, and fear is just an emotion that lets you know you are approaching your upper limit. What could those indicators look like for you? Fear could show up as negative feelings, like guilt, worry, blame, or anger. Your limitations can also manifest as dis-ease or illness in the body. But remember the acronym for fear: False Expectations Appearing Real. They are an illusion, and when you view them as such, you can break through them.
Once you are aware of these warning signs, you can take steps to shift your perspective on fear and make room for more goodness in life. The question is: are you ready to make those changes?
PREPARE FOR CHANGE
Many people shrink back into their comfort zone when negative emotions arise. Instead, these messengers can be an invitation to increase your capacity for success. In order to know you are ready for such changes, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I willing to increase the amount of time every day that I feel good inside? This refers to an inner sense of wellbeing.
- Am I willing to increase the amount of time that my whole life goes well? This pertains to all areas of life, including business, personal, and spiritual spheres.
- Am I willing to feel good and have my life go well all of the time? This refers to a life in which you stop arguing for your limitations altogether and observe things getting better and better and better.
- Am I willing to increase my capacity for success in areas of love, money, and creativity?
If you find yourself saying “yes” to any of these questions, then you can utilize your yoga practice to receive the expansion you desire.
Photo Credit: Emerson Peters
Increasing your awareness is the first step to makings any change in your life. You are already ahead of the curve because you know about the hidden barriers to success. Now comes the practice of removing those self-imposed limitations. This takes courage and dedication. We often use a simple 5-Step Process to do so off of the mat. Yet, moving your body via yoga can greatly expand your capacity for success. Here’s how:
Refine your commitments
Each time you come to your mat, you are invited to acknowledge the new insights you have gained from your life experience. From this new vantage point, you can make a conscious contract with yourself to embrace more love, money, creativity and possibility. The best part is that once this intention is set at the beginning of your practice, all you have to do is move and breathe, and do your best on the mat. Commit to that, and watch how the details of your newfound contract start to magically work their way into your everyday experience.
Move on Purpose
The practice of hatha yoga–no matter what specific style–uses the body to create more physical space in the body. On a physical level, this equates to more strength, length, and flexibility in the tissues. Notice where you feel this expansion. Highlight the good sensations in the body. Savor these good feelings and the depth of your breath.
By moving mindfully, and enjoying the process, you memorize these patterns of wellbeing. And not only will you be expanding the capability of your body to perform at a higher level, but you’ll expand your tolerance for overall goodness in your life.
Embrace abyasa vairagya
Abyasa Vairagya is a Sanskrit term that refers to the perfect balance of effort and surrender when approaching your yoga practice. Abyasa translates to a persevering practice, one that is fueled by the fire of discipline. Vairagya refers to a sense of non-attachment to the outcome. This requires an inner sense of contentment as you make progress down your path, no matter where you find yourself on the journey today. Both comprise two sides of one coin that allow you to sustain your increased levels of goodness over time.
Adopt a mantra for success
A mantra is a word or sound used to increase focus or concentration. They can be used to induce a meditative state when still, or used in conjunction with a yoga practice to increase present moment awareness. In all cases, mantras connect you with your higher self and the Divine.
We suggest using this simple mantra, in conjunction with your breath, to increase your capacity for success in all of the above areas. The mantra goes like this:
As you inhale, say to yourself: “I expand in abundance, success, and love daily.”
As you exhale, think: “I inspire others to do the same.”
Repeat as many times as you’d like while on your mat. You can also incorporate this throughout your day to reinforce your powerful ability to receive great things in your life.
When you take time out of your full schedule to practice yoga, you honor the various aspects of yourself. Thank yourself for the care and attention you are giving your body. Appreciate the workings of your mind. Most importantly, acknowledge the innate value you carry just by being you. For recognizing your worth in this way only further magnifies your expansion in a positive direction.
Photo Credit: Diane Nicole Photography
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Your capacity for success is endless! You really can enjoy more satisfaction, abundance, and creativity in all areas of your life when you (1) recognize any limitations you have placed on yourself based on past beliefs, (2) prepare yourself to receive more greatness, and (3) remain flexible as to how your success will arrive. Spending more time in your yoga practice addresses all three of these areas.