In my journey toward greater self awareness, deeper spiritual connection, and living with more joy, I have learned a little bit about limiting beliefs. When it’s all boiled down limiting beliefs are the biggest reason why we don’t experience positive change, no matter how much we may want it. From a very young age we all started putting together beliefs about how the world works, and who we are as people. Every time we’ve encountered a situation or lesson we’ve developed a belief or a story about it. What I’ve learned is that you can create MASSIVE transformation by identifying your limiting beliefs, and then creating a new story.
Some examples of limiting beliefs.
- I will never stick with a fitness program, I’m just not motivated.
- I don’t have the skills, money, or resources to make my dream a reality.
- My anxiety will never get better.
- I feel like shit, so I will always be tired, sluggish.
- I am not confident in my own skin.
- I don’t have a purpose.
- It’s impossible to wake up early.
How they hold us back
We hold on so tightly to our beliefs (whether they are productive or not) as if they are a cornerstone of our identify. And this creates patterns of behavior within us. Maybe we avoid things because we have beliefs about certain things being painful or challenging. Or maybe you don’t go after what you want because you believe you can’t have it. Perhaps you once had a great idea for a service or product and somebody told you it was a stupid idea, and from then on you believed that you couldn’t dream or create. What if we could change those beliefs to help us live better, more fulfilled lives?
Fear is just a limiting belief, a story you tell yourself to keep you from moving forward.
Where do they come from?
These stories can stem from a past experience where you were taught something about the world and believed it to be true. Like when kids made fun of your speech impediment so you believed that your voice didn’t matter and you were better off staying quiet, resulting in you holding back from shining in school, communicating your needs in relationships, or advancing in your career. Or maybe you had an untrustworthy father or boyfriend, and now you believe all men are untrustworthy d-bags, resulting in you having relationship after relationship with the wrong people, and not fully loving or trusting anyone.
How to Identify These Beliefs
During training with my teacher Gabrielle Bernstein, I learned how to witness these fear based stories and how they how up and block me in my life. I was given tools to identify where these stories came from and how to shift my perspective, and I want to share them with you. These questions are adapted from Gabby’s Fear Inventory. The key when answering these questions is to get totally honest with yourself and dig deep to better understand your patterns.
What is the fear based story from your past that is blocking you? Is there something from your childhood that gave you an idea that you then started to believe as true about the world? Think about your relationships and experiences from your past. Are there any beliefs or fears that you have developed from an early age? How does that block you from experiencing flow and joy in your life?
In what ways does this story hold you back from stepping into your power? Does this story hold you back in any way from living your greatest potential? “Your power” is another way of saying “the greatness that you are.” Are you afraid of going after certain things in life because of this belief?
How does this stop you from showing up in your life and career fully? Are there ways in which you are holding back or playing small, when you know you are capable and deserving of more?
How do you compare yourself to others? Do you compare yourself to others in the areas of success, looks, family, career, happiness etc? What do you say to yourself in those instances? Do you notice any fear based stories come up when you are comparing? For example: “I’ll never have the type of success/career as someone else does.”
How do you judge yourself? Going along with comparison, do you judge yourself when you compare yourself to others? What judgmental things do you say to yourself when you compare yourself to others? When not comparing yourself to others, do you judge yourself for the thoughts and feelings that you have?
When you think of your fear story and how it holds you back what does it feel like? How does it feel emotionally?
What does it feel like physically? How does fear and judgement and anxiety show up in a physical way? For example: Headaches, jaw clenching, nausea, racing heart, tight chest, shallow breathing, tense shoulders etc. Where do you feel it in your body? Describe where it is and how it feels. Give it a color, a name, a voice, a place where it lives. Where did it come from, what does it feel like?
Get really honest with yourself when you answer these questions. Sit down with your journal and see what comes out.
Remember: The more you recognize your fear and bring it into the light the more free you become. You may feel a mixture of things: pissed, resistant, open, peaceful, numb, shocked, irritated, hopeful, vulnerable, doubtful, sad grateful, freedom, release. If you start off your journey by expecting to only think happy thoughts, and say magical affirmations, you are just building a house on sand. This work of identifying fear based thought systems and beliefs will help you build your house on a solid foundation.
Gratitude: We should be grateful for all the situations that make us most uncomfortable because without them we would not know there was something unhealed in us. Say thank you to your wounds. It is your deepest pain that allows you to grow into your higher self.
Mantra: “Inner guide, I surrender this fear to you. Thank you for helping me reorganize this limiting belief and transform it to a new belief.”
“If we don’t show up for whats up it will keep coming up.” -Gabby Bernstein
WHAT IS “OM”?
You’re sitting in yoga class and the teacher invites everyone to chant a round of “Om” together. Ever wonder what it means or why we do it? You’re not alone. For many it can seem uncomfortable or foreign. By knowing what it means and why you’re chanting it can make a big difference in your yogic experience.
Describing what “Om” is and why we do it is a bit difficult because it’s a vague concept that goes beyond definition. It’s something that requires experience to understand, otherwise it can feel a bit meaningless.
Let’s begin by dispelling some of the confusion and mysteries surrounding the practice of chanting “Om.”
Om is a Sanskrit term that translates as “source” or “supreme.” However it’s not the meaning that is most important to the chanting yogis.
The sound vibration of the word is most important. You experience “Om” more than just saying it.
Om is that mysterious aspect of all life that cannot be summed up by words. It is everything. All in existence. It’s the seed of all creation; like how a seed holds the power and energy of an entire plant within itself. This small sound contains the meaning of the universe. Some have said that recordings of the vibrations that Earth makes in space can sound a bit like “Om” but that’s really up for you to decide.
Even though Om sounds like one sound it really can be broken down into three (and even four) parts.
- “Ahhh”– represents the start of the universe, creation, and birth. The sound vibration itself is produced at the back of the throat. The vibration can be felt deep into the abdomen. This vibration brings you in connected awareness of your creation and your true essence.
- “Ooooh”– represents the energy of the universe, or life. It connects us to the sense that deep within us there is something more beyond what we can see or hear. Chanting this sound, the vibration moves from the back of the mouth to the middle, resonating on the palate.
- “Mmmm”-represents transformation or death. The transformative energy of the universe that brings you to a state of oneness with all creation. The vibration of this sound is made at the lips, vibrating the crown of the head
- Silence– Often considered the fourth sound in “Om” the silent but very real energy that resonates after the room finishes the chant. This represents the experience of pure consciousness.
WHY DO WE CHANT IT?
Chanting “Om” helps to bring the energy of the room together in harmony to open and close a practice by changing and breathing in unison.
Typically yoga classes begin with three rounds of chanting “Om” and one more at the end of the class. By tuning the attention in during this mantra, you can connect your mind and body on a deeper level. We are reminded of the eternal joy and peace that resides in all of us during this moment. It is from that place that we begin our practice.
By chanting “Om” at the end of the class in unison, it confirms total respect for the practice and each other. It seals the energy that was cultivated during the practice so you can call on it during your everyday life when times get stressful. I find that after a good yoga class my “Om” at the end resonates deeper into all corners of my mind, body, and spirit.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF CHANTING “OM”
KNOW: Understand the meaning and purpose of chanting “Om” during your practice (which you already do since you’ve just read this, so YAY you!)
FEEL: Slowly produce each individual sound “aaahhh, oooooh, mmmmm” spending time at each one, feeling the actual vibration in your body. Notice how the place of resonance changes from sound to sound.
VISUALIZE: Notice how the sound vibration moves upward from the abdomen to throat, then ending at the crown of the head. Visualize that vibration as energy moving upward through the chakras. This will help to engage in the subtle body energy field to heighten your connection to the universe.
TUNE IN: With each repetition of “Om” tune in deeper by bring your attention to the silence after each chant. Noticing the difference in how your body feels between the sound production and the silence. You can almost feel lingering vibrations in your body even after you’ve finished the last sound.
Taking these into consideration the next time you take a yoga class should enhance the state of peace and wellbeing, relaxing your nervous system and preparing you for your yoga practice.
Now I want to hear from you!! In the comments below share what chanting “Om” means to you.
Warning: If you are narrow minded or not accepting of other’s differences you are advised to stop reading now.
There have always been nay-sayers and there have always been truth seekers.
People on the right side of history and people on the wrong side of history.
We live in a world with all types of people. People who are kind, and people who are bullies. For some of us it’s hard to hear so much hatred toward others. It’s extremely hard to avoid this in the modern era, where everybody shares their thoughts with the world in a matter of seconds
Every generation has it’s cause whether it’s a woman’s right to vote, the civil rights movement, or LGBTQ rights. For every hater and nay-sayer, there are truth seekers. Those who are shining light into the world, raising awareness, and furthering the cause.
Think back to the civil rights movement, when black people had to go to different schools, drink from separate water fountains and sit on different parts of the bus. There were the nay-sayers who wanted to keep them second class citizens. There were also the truth seekers, who knew this was bullshit.The truth seekers tirelessly fought against the nay-sayers and today we live in a pretty different world because of their efforts.
I bet if aliens came down from outer space and started a war with earth, we’d all forget our racial, religious, political differences because this time we’d all be on the same team.
Here’s the thing, we ARE on the same team. Team human all the way!
We’ve constructed theoretical boundaries and geographical borders separating us from one another. We forgot our collective humanness. (And then there are those who want to build an actual wall to reinforce our perceived separateness, but I digress….)
So, how do we deal with people like this?
I was recently engaged in a conversation in the comments section of an article about a transgender teen, with some people who clearly have nothing better to do with their time than talk shit about someone they don’t even know. I felt immense anger because their hatred was aimed at an innocent young man who has the courage to stand up and be himself. Furthermore, these comments attacked my values! Just like that transgender young man, I believe in being yourself, speaking your truth, and accepting others for their differences because it creates a richer world.
I was enraged, especially in the wake of the Orlando shootings. We still have so much work to do. But what it taught me was how to bring a loving and accepting attitude to negative encounters.
I really wanted to rip this guy a new one and get all preachy on him, but I realized that being hateful and preachy was what he was doing.
How could I step into the darkness that I so deeply want to eradicate and still think that I’m right?
So instead I told him that while I respect his right to his opinion, I wholeheartedly disagree, but thank him for engaging in this open dialogue, because it only furthers the public conversation about the issue. He didn’t realize it but his comments on that public forum will contribute to furthering awareness in the long run, because it got people talking. In the end he will have helped the cause he was against.
It was the people who wanted to keep segregation that fired up the leaders of the civil rights movement.Today it’s the people who narrow-mindedly want to deny rights to the LGBTQ community that get others juiced up about voicing their support. History learns from these people.
We learn how NOT to be.
If you’re one of the nay-sayers who wants to hate on your fellow man, keep on nay-saying!! For every public comment against the rights of a marginalized group, more truth seekers will pop up, ready to lead the charge forward. That’s how change happens!
And if you’re one of the truth seekers, instead of hating the haters, we can thank them for contributing to the advancement of the cause (even if it’s in sort of a backwards way).
LESSON LEARNED: Even if you really hate what someone else is saying, ALWAYS spread love, not hate.