MODULE ELEVEN : INTEGRATION
THE ART OF PERSONAL PRACTICE
Remember: We don’t practice for the sake of practice. We practice to support our life. It’s not about the practice, it’s about the practitioner. Who are you? What’s the situation of your life right now? This month we explore transformation, intention, and using practice to help move us in the direction we want to go.
- The 25 aspects of your pancha maya. Use this to support your journaling practice.
- A big ‘ol list of your toolbox as a yogi.
- A worksheet to help you design your own personal practice.
STEP ONE!! DO THIS FIRST!
We have to begin with step one… Which in the context of personal practice is articulating a clear bhavana (a clear intention). Before you can design a personal practice you have to know what you’re trying to cultivate through your practice (why are doing it? What do you want? What direction do you want the practice to help you move in?).
In order to help you uncover a useful bhavana we begin this module with the practice of svadhyaya. Take some time to do honest self reflection on the full multi-dimensionality of your being. You can have the 25 aspects of Pancha Maya from the packet handy, use the reflection questions below, and revisit tools from past modules. Take some time with this. Take stock of what’s real in your life right now.
ANNAMAYA KOSHA REFLECTION QUESTIONS
This is your physical body. When thinking about habits at this level think about your structure and anatomy. Where is your body weak? Or strong? How’s your alignment? Do you experience pain in your body regularly? What are your movement patterns?
For more questions and bhavana support at this level, take another look at module 5.
PRANAMAYA KOSHA REFLECTION QUESTIONS
This is your energy body. When thinking about habits at this level think about your physiology. How is your digestive system? What’s your breathing pattern? What do you eat and drink? How are your sleep patterns? How are your energy levels?
For more questions and bhavana support at this level, take another look at modules 6 & 7.
MANOMAYA KOSHA REFLECTION QUESTIONS
This is your sensory, thinking mind. When thinking about habits at this level think about your ability to focus (or not). Is your mind always changing at the whim of your senses? Do you do one thing at a time or you constantly bombarding your mind with information?
For more questions and bhavana support at this level, take another look at module 8.
VIJNANAMAYA KOSHA REFLECTION QUESTIONS
This is your higher mind. It’s your intuitive wisdom mind. But it’s also the way you’ve been conditioned by family and society. When thinking about habits at this level think about your personality. Think about the stories you’ve been told to understand yourself. Think about the stories you currently tell yourself about who you are and why you act the way you do.
For more questions and bhavana support at this level, take another look at module 9.
ANANDAMAYA KOSHA REFLECTION QUESTIONS
This is your inner Joy—often called the “bliss body.” When thinking about habits at this level think about how often you experience joy and delight in your life. Think about your relationship to pleasure and happiness. Are you able to experience joy without attachment and craving? Think about the reality of passing pleasure vs a deeper inner sense of Joy.
For more questions and bhavana support at this level, take another look at module 10.
TEACHINGS | Reflections on Transformation
We practice in order to stay grounded in the True Self and to transform anything that hinders our ability to remember who we truly are. Here’s a short conversation about the idea of transformation. We ended up exploring the reality of decision making and loss as well as the difference between goals and intention.
TEACHINGS | Reflections on Bhavana
You’ll need to have your personal journaling done before listening to this one. I’ll ask you to look back through it in this recording, so please have it handy! We’ll also walk through the toolbox handout and the personal practice worksheet from the packet. So have those printed.
This module is all about personal practice, which is a very different thing than being guided by a teacher through a 60-90 minute public class. Personal practice is personal. It’s specific. It’s designed to support the unique needs of the person practicing it. Personal practice is usually concentrated–meaning it’s short and very intentional. Every tool is there on purpose.
This month I guide you through two very different examples of personal practice.
The first is very practical. It’s designed to help the practitioner move more easily through their daily rhythm. It’s designed to support them at the transition point between work and home. The context is early evening. They walk in the door. Change clothes. Maybe get a drink of water. And head straight into practice. The bhavana of the practice is to let go of the work day in body and mind. They want to counteract the physical strain of sitting at a desk all day. And they want to redirect the mind from work life to home life.
The second is geared more toward emotional transformation. The bhavana of this practice is cultivating comfort with the reality of vulnerability. This is actually a practice I designed for myself a few years back and worked with every morning for several weeks. It’s quite a vulnerable thing to share it with you… but through my practice of cultivating comfort with vulnerability I’m able to take the risk.
It’s my intention that you use these two different examples as inspiration to figure out what kind of personal practice you need. These practices are not “for you” so to speak. They are for you to learn from. As you move through them notice how the various tools of yoga are being used in relation to the bhavana of the practice. And then begin to articulate the bhavana of your practice and start to ask yourself what tools will help you best address that bhavana. And then start organizing them on the personal practice worksheet (in the packet!).
Feel free to keep your journal handy during practice to make notes as ideas come up for you.
Remember, your intention here is to analyze what’s happening. As you go through the practice keep the bhavana in your mind and notice how each tool speaks to the bhavana.
PERSONAL PRACTICE 1
TRANSITIONING FROM WORK TO HOME
PERSONAL PRACTICE 2
This recording includes the practice and some follow up discussion regarding both practices.