soprisToday is Friday, the day I clean my house and home office after a week of school, work, Halloween, and soccer practices. Ahhhh. The books go back in the bookshelves, the counters get cleared, the laundry starts to run, and I get to enjoy the clarity that comes when things are in their right place and there is space on surfaces rather than piles. This space gives me the room to make more sense of what I have just experienced, to see how it can carry on in my actions and words.

On Sunday I returned from a training with my yoga teacher, Yogarupa, known to most as Rod Stryker. I was in beautiful Carbondale, Colorado to study a system of fulfillment based on yogic teachings called The Four Desires. The five-day course focused on clarifying our individual dharma, or purpose, our unique way of being and pulsing in the world, and clearing away what might be keeping us from doing that – patterns, conditioning, belief systems, and such. To do that, we worked strongly with the second limb of yoga, Niyama, which is the theme of the month of November and of our November 3rd Many Paths Teacher Panel at 8 Limbs West Seattle. Read about the Niyamas in the 8 Limbs Blog.

As I started to straighten up my own house, it occurred to me that the first Niyama, saucha, can really be applied to all of the Niyamas, in the sense that all five of them are ways of de-cluttering ourselves – our bodies, our minds, and our hearts. We live, as humans, with excess “stuff” crowding us. Shoulds, regrets, attachments, coveting, expectations, these all take up vital space in our lives and usually cause suffering of one kind or another.

When we clean up, clear out, we acquire more space. When we have more space, we have more of an ability to pause, to reflect, and to consider the eternal question we humans ask of ourselves constantly, from moment to moment: “What’s next?” When we become aware of that perpetual question, one that drives everything we do, we can start to answer it consciously, with discernment, with, well, awareness!

On this first day of November, the celebration of the Day of the Dead, take a moment for yourself to consider what you could clear out this month to live wholeheartedly, to inspire yourself and others to live a fulfilled life, one lived from awareness rather than habit or reactivity. Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of lives lived. What is your unique way of pulsing in this life? What gets in the way of that magnificence? These are daily questions that can inspire us into lives of great purpose and impact, of living our personal dharma and following our soul’s deepest desire.

The Niyamas are an amazing tool to guide us on this inquiry, why not pick them up? Join me this Sunday to deepen your understanding of the Niyamas and spend the evening with some amazing 8 Limbs teachers. And check out the amazing workshops this month that will support this inquiry: Chakras, Yoga Nidra, workshops with Max Strom and Nicolai Bachman, and Yoga & Memoir – your soul will thank for listening.

Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer

Neighborhood Studios