Storytelling is essential. It helps us to understand the world, ourselves, and our part in this world. It is a way we learn from the past, and pass information to the future. We ALL have interesting stories – stories worth sharing, stories that inspire others.

As a writer and yogi, I am interested in the intersection of story and yoga, of the personal with the practice. I’ve found yoga and meditation to be profoundly helpful in understanding not only how to tell my or another’s story, but how this process is influenced by conditioning and psychology.

From a yogic perspective, our stories are influenced by the five vrttis, the waves or fluctuations of the mind:
1. pramāṇa – correct knowledge; that which can be substantiated
2. viparyaya – incomplete or false knowledge
3. vikalpa – fiction or imagination
4. nidrā – sleep
5. smṛtayaḥ – memory

According to Patañjali, author of the Yoga Sutra*, these are the only five movements of the mind, and all can be either painful or painless, kliṣhṭākliṣhṭāḥ. When we tell a story, one or all of these are in play. Yoga practice helps us to become more able to see these waves in action, rather than being lost within them – and this leads to our ability to reduce them. The meaning of yoga itself is to still the wave of the mind.

Sit down this weekend and ask yourself this one question. What is your story? See where it takes you. Try writing before or after a yoga and/or meditation practice and notice what changes? Can you observe any of the waves of the mind? Are they painful or non-painful? What lies beneath them? Then ask again: What’s your story? 

What’s your family story? 

When my grandmother Mimi died, I realized I knew very few of her stories. This gave me the idea for a workbook of prompts to tell one’s own life story, for personal reflection and/or to pass on to a loved one or child. Years later, this idea became reality. This Life of Mine – A Legacy Journal, comes out on March 12, published by Sasquatch Books. Join me at 8 Limbs Phinney Ridge that evening for a Book Launch Event that includes a yoga practice with reflection/writing prompts and your copy of the book. I hope you’ll join me! Copies will be available at all four 8 Limbs locations on March 12th.

Happy almost Spring!!!

Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer, 8 Limbs Owner and Studio Director

*Interested in learning more? Our 200-hour Teacher Training Programs feature studies in The Yoga Sutra and other aspects of yoga philosophy. Join me for a free Teacher Training Info Session (next one April 2 at 8 Limbs Phinney Ridge). 

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