Amy Champ took the Wanderlust Voyager Immersion program at Wanderlust Squaw Valley and wrote about her experiences. To learn more about the Wanderlust Yoga Teacher Training program, click here.
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So much of New Age and self-help talk is all about reaching and striving, for greater goals, improvement, manifesting, and achievement. We hear it constantly, on the media, email and social media, about how great we “could be.” That can get really stressful after a while. After all, we turned towards yoga, because we needed help, out of our heads and into our bodies.
When we get overwhelmed by these pesky messages, we need to remember that the yoga’s “true north” is really to gently guide us back to ourselves. Swami Sivananda used to refer to this as “Thy Own Self,” a phrase which feels aptly elegant.
Yes, each of us certainly craves personal improvement in our yoga practice, but a good teacher will subtract the brutal self-help language and show you how to shine as yourself. The teacher should serve as a mirror (light and clear) for you to realize who you really are.
Who Am I?
This question “Who Am I?” can confound us. In a postmodern and deeply interconnected world, we are so many different things to different people. The array of choices can be mind-blowing. It’s tough to choose, tough to root down, and tough to stay the course.
I’m sorry to be the one to break it down like this, but you can’t be and do everything. You can’t. You shouldn’t. And promise me you won’t. While we know this, our mind longs for excitement. We can ruin our own lives by a deep and treacherous longing.
While some are better than others at managing bigger and better adventures, what we need to do is simple. We have to stop periodically and find ourselves once again.
Guided Exercise: Archetype Meditation
I’ve had the opportunity on several occasions to work with a visioning technique called SoulCollage, created by Seena Frost. In this artcraft, we randomly choose paper images from magazines and old calendars to glue onto a 5×8 cardstock. The simplicity of the layered images lends itself to the imagining of personal archetypes, which emerge from the combined picture, and are then named to become part of one’s own deck, and used for meditations and soul journeying.
For our exercise, we will try to discover our own individual archetype through meditation. The beauty of this exercise is that we are honing in on an image to guide us in our lives.
Please do this exercise early in the morning or after dusk. Dim the lights and light a candle and incense.
- Sitting in lotus posture, with hands folded into a cup at the lap, focus your attention at the heart chakra. Pay attention to the breath and follow the breath, waiting until the breath is steady and even. Inhale 1-2-3. Exhale 1-2-3.
- Imagine you can see very clearly into your heart, as if through a crystal, to behold your guide. You are looking for your inner wisdom role model–who you really are. You are called in this lifetime to serve as this type of person.
- The image of your archetype should become very clear and precise after 15-20 minutes. For example: baker, architect, carpenter, farmer, jewelry designer, etc.
“Who Are You?” is perhaps the most profound question of our lives. You are at one point in your lifelong journey right now, and so I invite you to make this chosen archetype a guide for what you are feeling at this moment, right now.
The next time you ask yourself, “Who Am I?” maybe you will able to answer: “I Know Who I Am. I am a [fill-in-the-blank].” You may also play several other roles in your life, but you can now live more freely, because you are anchored in your archetype.
Dr. Amy Champ is a scholar, yogini and writer dedicated to all the simple things in life. Studying yoga and ordinary people, her work is motivated by supporting women’s health and bringing people together in community.