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Much of my yoga teaching derives from the work I do practicing the Law of Attraction as taught by Esther Hicks. I’ve been actively working with these principles for about 3 or 4 years now, and it has definitely woven its way into how and why I teach yoga. I have these teachings playing throughout my day as I drive, do housework, etc. so that they have permeated my consciousness. They have transformed my life for the better, so I know this stuff actually works, regardless of how hokey and woo-woo it all sounds. I’m not that concerned if these are really teachings from “non-physical intelligence” or just Esther Hicks riffing on whatever is on her mind. They work, and that is good enough for me.
What is the Law of Attraction? Most people came to hear about it through the popular movie “The Secret” which came out several years ago. That movie, while entertaining, didn’t really address the subject with the depth it deserves and implied this law can be used to manifest instant millions--as if by magic. What I have found is that the Law of Attraction is far more day-to-day, and helps us shift our thought patterns to feel better without relying so much on external conditions (this is called ‘raising our vibration’).
Essentially, Law of Attraction (referred to from now on as LOA) is a universal law similar to gravity. It simply explains the way things work: like attracts like. It states that we are all “vibrational beings.” In other words, everything is energy vibrating at different frequencies. Our thoughts create our emotional states, which comprises our vibrations. This is something that rings true for most people: you can feel the energy of the various emotions you and others have. Depression feels one way. Joy feels another. Agitation feels still another way. And when you are in the presence of people feeling a strong emotion, you can feel that energy in a very real way.
LOA states that we can change our vibration by gradually and gently shifting our thoughts. Important to note that you are not supposed to start with the big, raw wounds, but rather with small, general things. The thoughts we think become the emotionally-charged narratives we tell ourselves about our lives (“Relationships never work out for me….”I have really bad luck in my career…”). These narratives become our reality, when they are actually only narratives--one way of telling a story about events. They acquire a certain momentum that attracts more of the same-- because like attracts like-- and they get stronger and stronger. Wouldn’t it be great if we could take control over this process? That control is what is called ‘creating your own reality.’ However, the reality is mostly a reality of how you feel. Eventually this manifests in the physical world, but for me the most important principle is having more control over how I feel and perceive any situation. LOA has helped me to shift the way I perceive and narrate my own reality.
Simply put---too simply perhaps---this is how you make steps toward creating your own reality: you learn to focus your mind so that you are able to shift from negative feeling thoughts to positive feeling thoughts. You start small and simple. You pay attention to how you feel. You begin to notice how your thoughts affect your feelings, and then how much better you feel when you shift to better-feeling thoughts. Then, that positivity attracts more of the same, so that a powerful momentum builds affecting the way you think, feel, and then eventually changes come in your physical reality. This doesn’t mean that you need to censor or repress all negativity. It simply means that you have a choice to what extent you want to dwell there, or move along.
Where we place our focus is a big part of LOA. One reason we tend to get stuck in the same cycle is that we keep focusing on it. Out of the billions of things there are in the universe to give our attention to, we tend to place our attention on the problems. LOA would have us shift the attention toward the solutions. As you practice LOA longer, you get better at refining where you place your focus.
LOA states that we are extensions of “Source energy.” You may view it as “God” or if you don’t believe in God, you may conceptualize this as all of us being a part of the stuff of the universe. The details aren’t that important. What I love about LOA is that there really is no dogma. It is all about focusing your thoughts, shifting your thoughts toward better-feeling thoughts, and feeling better. Your circumstances don’t actually have to change for you to feel better---this is the best part. You don’t have to be a conditional being. This work occurs mostly in the realm of the mind.
This is where yoga comes in. Yoga stills the fluctuations of the mind---a rough translation of the first line of the Yoga Sutra and where we got our name “Still Mind” from. Our minds are a mess. Left to its own devices, the mind jumps around like a caffeinated monkey. It gives attention to whatever is in front of it, for better or for worse. It is most often a reactor, rather than a creator. Most of our thought-space is occupied with reacting to what comes at us, thus bringing us more of the same. LOA would have us do the opposite. Instead of reacting to what is thrown at us, we become curators (and thus creators) of our own reality. We tend to the ‘garden of our thoughts.’ LOA has a saying: “You get what you think about whether you want it or not.” Isn’t it better to become deliberate about what we think about?
One of the foundational skills of practicing LOA is mindfulness. You can’t begin to change your thinking if the muscle that is your mind (and it is a muscle) is not well-developed. Yoga teaches mindfulness. It helps us to become the observers of our own mind-stream. We observe, from the container of the yoga class, but we don’t react or engage. This is the foundational step to working with the mind. To cultivate what we call “witnessing.”
From here, you can then begin to develop mental focus. Many people try to skip over the witnessing process and go right toward focus, but that is a mistake. Witnessing helps us to create space between the thinker and the thought. Without this space, we are far too identified with our actual thoughts to really know that we are feeling, and for focusing to do much good. Here’s an example. Suppose you decide that you will focus your thoughts on getting more money. You put all your energy into thinking “I want more money...I want more money.” However, since you are deeply intertwined and identified with your thoughts, you won’t be able to tease out the actual vibration you are emitting. Let’s say you are desperate for more money because you don’t have any. This sense of lack, urgency, and desperation is the actual vibration you are emitting. So using the witnessing process would have made you more aware of what was actually going on in your mind. That way your thoughts and vibrations can better match, and you are more likely to move closer toward what you want.
We practice this sense of focus in our yoga classes. We focus on the breath, on our feet touching the mat, on the mechanics of the various poses, on the sound of OM. Off the mat, you can then bring this focus to your own thought-stream. You notice when you are thinking unhelpful thoughts. How do you notice this? Your emotions (what Abraham calls the “emotional guidance system”) You feel bad. It’s pretty simple. You then begin to pivot toward better feeling thoughts. Not a huge pivot, because that is simply unrealistic. You don’t go from “I feel terrible” to “Life always works out for me.” That is too big a leap. You go from “I feel terrible” to something slightly better, something softer. Perhaps, “I feel terrible right now, but perhaps things will start looking up later.” And you move on up incrementally, gently. All of this takes mindfulness, focus, and practice.
One of the great things about yoga is that coming to class is a near guarantee of a vibration lifter. Our thoughts slow down. Our nervous system relaxes. Our energy channels clear. Then our innate Source of well-being shines through.
That is really how I view my role as a yoga teacher. To hold the space where this can happen. To help people move up the vibrational ladder, and to give them the tools through disciplining the mind to do this for themselves when they are off the mat.
LOA is a very practical, day-to-day practice that helps people feel better and improve their lives. It is important to note that the path of yoga continues beyond the day-to-day and into ultimate enlightenment--beyond thought, beyond circumstance, beyond the physical, and beyond even the concept of “you” or “I.” That, however, is a subject for another article---one that I’ll write when I get there :)
I love to talk about LOA. If you have any questions about it, and how yoga relates to it, please ask me before/after class.
Further study:The way I started learning about LOA was listening to the thousands (literally) of 10 to 15 minute You Tube videos made by Abraham-Hicks. Just search “Abraham-Hicks” on You Tube and jump right in. To go further, their book “Ask and It Is Given” is fantastic.