Weekly Practice Nov. 29- Dec. 4: Releasing Self Comparison, Envy & Jealousy
After a holiday dedicated to eating comfort foods you can expect any yoga class to include a few extra twists in hopes of detoxifying and purifying. It is true that this weeks practice is a detoxifying one. However, we are not just releasing our fill of home-cooking. Our intention this week is to release and let go of griping to intense desires that cause emotional responses like envy and jealousy.
The hope is that through releasing our human tendency to compare ourselves to others, we might instead find deep satisfaction in our own life, present activities and overall sense of self. This satisfaction will hopefully allow us to stay inspired on our path to better self knowledge while clearing our way to a life that is authentically fulfilling and 100% uniquely on point with our highest potential!
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
In the thousand year old text by yoga guru, Patanjali, we find many tips on using the Yoga Practice for the primary goal of Enlightenment (he also mentions gaining Magical Powers and other goodies). In this text called, the Yoga Sutras, he offers yoga practitioners a moral code known as the Yamas, and a list of Personal Observances known as the Niyamas. By practicing the Yamas & Niyamas yogi's can expect to move more quickly on their path toward enlightenment while receiving physical, emotional and energetic benefits along their way. Some of the Yamas and Niyamas are easier for some to observe than others. This is why I consider them a yoga practice for the serious practitioner.
You do not need to be perfect to practice yoga. Every yogi slips up, being human gaurentees it, however, being aware of your slip ups and how they truly impact your overall freedom, happiness and relationship with the world is the difference between living on purpose and living in a waking sleep. Your success on the path toward enlightenment and true self knowing is for your own spiritual fulfillment, sense of freedom and peace of mind. So prioritize as you personally deem fit. This weeks practice is an invitation to think outside of the box when it comes to negative thoughts and energies (with specific attention on the low level emotions of envy & jealousy).
I urge you release the temptation of using the Yamas & Niyamas as a way to compare or judge yourself or others. Instead use them as tools to acquire more freedom.
"not false or copied; genuine; real:"
By meditating, practicing and observing the Yamas & Niyamas we are better able to distinguish the false self form the true self. We start to realize that "living a lie" is only hurting us. With the assistance of the yamas and niyamas we have a tool to apply our yoga practice to all areas of our lives. You can study different translations of the Yoga Sutras and meditate on them for your own understanding and application. Try not to allow them to be another reason to judge yourself harshly. You are learning and growing, be kind as you approach a deeper understanding of yourself and your relationship with the world. For the purpose of this weeks practice, let us focus our attention on Asteya & Aparigraha. These two will help us understand the negative toll Envy & Jealousy take on us and our peers while we seek our most authentically fulfilling life.
"a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc."
Envy negates the fulfillment of Asteya or Non-stealing. You do not need to adhere to the Yamas to understand why we might want to avoid stealing from others. This can cause a lot of difficulty in our relationships and actually result in a a form of harm and loss of freedom. However, the actual action of stealing might not even need to take place. When we are envious of another person, we can go through a range of desires and thoughts. We might desperately want what another person has which could lead to theft. However just spending too much time wanting something that is not yours can be time theft from our selves and halt our progress on our path of freedom & self knowing.
Anyone can think of a time in their lives when another person was envious or jealous of them or something good in their lives. Sometimes this can be a great compliment. Other-times, however, this can actually make the person who is receiving the envy feel guilty, or even unhappy about their good fortune. In this case you are in a way stealing another happiness from them. This might just seem like a dose of morality however, we can imagine how this might impact the dynamic in future relations with this person. This unfolding is the concept of karma. A better way to actively participate in the unfolding of your life (karma) is to question your negative emotions and feelings. As a result you might find that the success of another is actually inspiration to work harder on your own path resulting in a more positive unfolding.
"mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness,etc., as in love or aims."
Jealousy, with this definition in mind, negates the observation of Aparigraha or Non-Possessiveness or Non-Greed. When we are overly attached to anything in our life we give up a little of our freedom. This can be the case with material possessions, partners, parents, clients, costumers, students... honestly you name it and someone, somewhere has clung to it with an iron grip at their own expense. You don't need to be jealous to not be observing Aparigraha, but if you are experiencing jealousy, you are being called to observe this yama with more intent.
Possessing or having ownership of something can makes sense. For example using your own tooth brush, can ensure that you are clean (saucha) and not sharing other people's germs and preventing harm or illness (ahimsa). However, we can all see how possessing a diamond studded tooth brush and then guarding it vigilantly in fear that others might take it from you might be a waste of our valuable precious human life. Valuing things is great, in that to appreciate, is to find joy and contentment (santosha). However, when we can only find joy and contentment though objects that are outside of our-self, we are just setting ourselves up for more pain and difficulty. When we are too worried about others taking what we own or love we are being called to look within. What are we missing in our internal life? Many times jealousy is an indication of a lack of confidence and trust. This can be helped through this week's practice.
Envy & Jealousy can come up for us in many different ways. We can be the one experiencing the emotions or we can be the one who the feelings are directed towards. Both can have a difficult energy about them, and both can be an invitation to practice.
Not only can negative emotions inspire us to get back on path, but seeing them in others can also serve as reminder to keep at it and dedicate the benefits of our practice and growth to others. Show your love an appreciation for others, as that is what the world needs more of if we are to evolve past materialistic competition. If we are truly practicing within the moral code of the Yoga Sutra, we must understand that our low level emotions are symptoms to greater issues in our soul level experience. Test yourself to not give away your power to other people. Test yourself to take responsibility for the way you feel and start taking the steps to feel awesome.
Person Experiencing Envy & Jealousy Directly - If you are experiencing these emotions or feelings you are likely not feeling completely fulfilled in our own life. In addition to working with this weeks practice I would use this as a Check Engine light moment. Are you working on any fulfilling projects right now? Are you exercising, meditating and spending time alone with your body & mind? Are you nourishing your body with good food, experiences and company? If no, now is the time to start! If the answer to any of these questions is yes, I would recommend going deeper with things like Mantra, a New Routine or even seeing a Therapist or a trusted/recommended Healing Practitioner. Pretending you don't feel this way will not help. See your negative emotions as the shadows and mists that they are. Don't let them conquer you, instead, let them make you stronger, more confident and more ready to live your best life!
Person Envy or Jealousy is Directed Towards - This can be somewhat difficult to get around because you have less control over how other people feel about you or treat you. However, you do have control over how it impacts your life. Rather than shrinking to sooth your hurting counterpart, try to instead wish them happiness and joy. If you are friendly with this person maybe bring attention to their strengths & blessings, everyone can use a reminder every once in a while. However, if this person is coming from a more unhealthy or bullying place, you might need to take your attention and energy elsewhere. Your goal is to stay in your power while maintaining compassion and love for others. This weeks practices will support this.
This weeks asana practice is designed to awaken and bring more balance and support to your Sacral Chakra, Solar Plexus & Heart Chakra. The intention is to create more joy and balance within our sensuality and healthy desires. To boost confidence, will power and the ability to make choices that improve lives. And to become a source of love for yourself and others, creating more strength in your relationships with others and yourself. Our mantra and meditation practice is aimed at releasing obstacles on our path to Freedom & Authenticity while holding up our peers with unconditional love, compassion and energetic support. You can dedicate this practice to your current state, a time in your life that you needed it or to all beings who are seeking Authenticity and the release of Jealousy & Envy.
10+ Yogic Practices to help Remove Envy & Jealousy on your Path to Authenticity
Nicole Lynne Hooley
Yoga, Reiki & Intuitive Healing
Brooklyn based Yoga Instructor & Reiki Healer, Nicole specializes in teaching Personal Empowerment & Self Healing inspired Yoga Classes, Workshops & Reiki Trainings throughout Brooklyn. Her Reiki & Intuitive Healing sessions have been called "an hour of unconditional love". Nicole has been highlighted by Huffington Post and YogaCityNYC.
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