We are each imbued with a fountain of inner strength. In trying times it may feel like strength is beyond reach or inaccessibly bound up in tension. Acknowledging that you have an unending source of inner strength is the first step to rediscovering it! And getting in touch with your inner strength can feel great.
Physical, Mental, and Emotional strength weave together synergistically to bring potency to the other. Let’s take a deeper look at prana – vital life energy – to see how our forces may inadvertently be leaking out, in order to harness them and to live fully from a place of grounded strength.
*To Cultivate your Inner Strength view this special Mudra Flow
Think of physical strength as a golden doorway to your inner strength. When you keep the physical body strong, you are building and fortifying your ‘container’ that holds energy. When the muscles are weak, energy leaks out like a sieve. Can you dip into a deeper well and find power in yourself that is already abundant within?
This may first require throwing off the shackles of stress and tension that can keeps one bound up and fatigued, with practices like yoga nidra, massage, breathing and yoga posture practice. When you reach your deeper resource, the fountain of energy is always flowing, and filling us abundantly.
Strengthen your physical body, and you will be have more energy accessible for your life.
It feels good to strengthen and is easy to do with free weights or weight bearing exercise like yoga postures. It is not necessary for us to push, force, or exercise for hours on end — doing a little everyday will accumulate results. Think of doing about 15 mins/day. Here are some other benefits of strengthening:
- Circulates lymph flow to carry toxins out of the body.
- Tones muscles and soft tissues to keep them healthy.
- Keeps pressure off the joints when muscles are strong and doing their job.
- Assists in lubricating soft tissues to stay mobile and fluid so soft tissue does not adhere together.
If you don’t use it you lose it! Around age 45, muscle mass begins to decline at a rate of about 1 percent per year. This gradual loss has been tied to lack of exercise and contributes to increased frailty among the elderly.
Mental strength is the ability to focus the mind.
The mind is another ‘container’ for our energy. Focusing on one point for a sustained period of minutes is meditation and this strengthens the mind.
In our era of multitasking and navigating gadgetry, it can be difficult to focus when life temps us and often requires us to do the opposite. When mind is scattered, thoughts jump all over the place like ‘a drunken monkey swinging from tree to tree’. One’s energy follows the mind, and subsequently leaks out through our scattered thoughts.
The way to strengthen the mind is to meditate, just like pumping iron or holding Goddess pose strengthens our muscles.
When you strengthen your mind, you are able to contain more energy/prana, therefore you have more energy. This increase of energy by strengthening mind is one of the many benefits of a meditation practice like Divine Sleep yoga nidra.
Emotional strength is being able to both feel and observe your emotions.
This means without sweeping them under the rug or reacting! Not easy. ‘Sitting’ with emotions to witness them with loving-kindness is the yogic practice/meditation that brings freedom. When you are present with an emotion, even though it can feel uncomfortable, it is then able to integrate into the ocean of your whole being, which can feel like it just disappears.
When we suppress or react we are actually pushing the emotion away, we keep an important part of ourselves separate from our whole being (pushing away is called dvesha and is one of the five kleshas – or causes of suffering – from the Yoga Sutras). Get that?
Pushing emotions away causes suffering.
And we were trying to avoid suffering by pushing, but that actually backfires. Just think how much energy is tied up in one’s emotional life(!) It takes a ton of energy to react, and even more to repress and keep it there. But if we can learn how to be aware and, through awareness, witness each emotion separate from the story of “he said – she said” or whatever story is about that emotion, we can develop emotional strength and maturity.
This is probably the most difficult thing to do and that is why it is called a ‘practice’ and not a ‘perfect’.
We practice again and again, and with a strong body and mind it becomes easier and easier to witness emotions. The important thing is to recognize that there is a power within you greater than the limited concept of yourself.
Be aware of armoring the mind and body and let your breath open the soft channels that lead to your power sources. Learn to flow with the dance of prana/energy. Form an intention to bring awareness of your strength as you move through your day today.
Jennifer Reis, E-RYT 500 Yoga Teacher Trainer, C-Yoga Therapist, LMT has been leading yoga and teacher trainings for over 20 years in the US and Canada, and at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health for over 16 years.
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