I LOVE this word, alignment. It pops up often in our modern culture. But it goes way way back to the Upanishads, one of the ancient Vedic texts. But before I loose you read this:
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.
This has been watered down for our modern life, to alignment of body, mind and spirit. But how does one dismantle that? Its so simple, that it requires some unpacking so to speak.
If we take time to sit back and look at our daily to day activities, and focus on the above quote we can begin to gently pull apart what we are:
Thinking // watching our thoughts, without being pulled into the river of thought
Our words // saying something, but not feeling somewhere in you its truth
Our actions // what we are actually doing, not what we dream about doing
Our habits // is that malteser habit working for me? Nope. Sleeping late, disorganised? Familiar?
Character // how do you feel the above contribute to your "character"
Next step is to examine our heart-values, or heart-codes (Heart-Codes are a practice I learned from my teacher Kelly Sunrose, from www.sunroseyoga.com). Not the way you "want" to feel, (aka Desire Map) but what is really really important to you, at bone deep level. Write them down, maybe pick 3 to 4. They might be for example: Thoughtfulness, Gratitude, Truth. Maybe a cause is in there too that you really feel needs the light shone on it, for me its Domestic Violence.
Now, here's the fun bit. Work the heart-codes or heart-values INTO the Upanishads passage. How do they line up? Is there any alignment? Does it feel true for you? What action might be required? Its not all "love trust and pixie dust" here, it might disrupt some patterns, friendships, ways of being in the world (no more Malteser's!!), more water, less draining gossipy conversations etc.
So, yes we work on physical alignment when we are in a Yoga class. Because this is really important work, taking care of this physical body so you can go out into the world, without little knots, big sources of tension that might climb up your spine and out your mouth, we need to feel physical strength, a gentle and calm breath also help as our words DO come out on our exhale. So when you think about it, yes all this breath work that you do is actually a super duper tool for you to align yourself, YUP, on and off the mat.
Go you! Have fun. Get yourself aligned with what you hold dear. But be prepared. Its not all marshmallows.
Heart-codes and heart-values involved deep work I've done with my gorgeous teacher Kelly Sunrose. Thank you Kelly.
Much love to you all.