By Daina Schnese
Along my yoga journey, I have studied many different religions, philosophies and ideologies. I love learning what different cultures and different people believe in, and what the driving force behind their peace is. My most recent studies have captivated me, as they resonate so closely with what I have been taught by many yoga teachers and mentors alike. The ideology that has resonated closely with me as of late has been Shamanism.
‘We are more than a body with an ego’ is one of the main concepts of modern Shamanism. In today’s Western world, our culture is very much so divided and run by fear, competition, separation and alienation. Shamanism (in a very small nutshell) is about reconnecting with nature, our spiritual self, and providing the healing and assistance we need in life. The idea that peace comes from and is circular via nature is a very humbling thought, but also one that can provide a lot of peace and comfort that can translate right onto your yoga mat.
Here are three Shaman principles to help ground you with the natural world around you. Practicing these three concepts daily will help open your heart to the beauty of the world around you:
“Shamans the world over understand that humans are born with a toolbox preloaded with three exceptional tools for healing and accelerating freedom”
- Gratitude: This is an attitude and an orientation designed to open the heart. Gratitude is ‘seeing’ through the heart instead of the eyes. Because of fear, hostility, self-importance and depression, people’s hearts are shut down most of the time. Let’s open the heart. For example, if you are grateful for the tree in front of your house, you stop ignoring it and focus instead on its gifts and benefits to you. The world instantly becomes a better place because you are grateful.
- Seeing: ‘Seeing’ in the Shaman culture is known as clearing away the projections and distorted thoughts of the conscious mind onto the world at large. Meaning, the method of releasing blame, guilt and shame. The best exercise for seeing is to imagine a time as a child when you did something you were punished for and felt bad about at the time. From your perspective now, you can see that it was simply an error of a young child, and you can forgive yourself and let it go. Now, project that ideology into the future. Forgive yourself, and release guilt, for mistakes you may make as simply a human. Your mind is capable of ‘forgiveness neutrality’ if you look at your present and future self with that same kind of compassion.
- Blessing: Many people have been taught to bless things like their food, by mumbling a quick prayer over the meal, but this is hardly what the term means. In a yoga terminology, blessing is just like the phrase ‘namaste.’ Blessing is seeing the light, the divine, the God, or whatever you adhere to, within someone else and honoring it. You can give blessings to your yoga mat, to your friend or spouse, or even that tree outside of your home. It is simply acknowledging that we all have light within us, and we honor it in each other.
My blog was inspired by the book “Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation” by Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman