Congruency: Consistent Inside & Out
1. Being true to ourselves is the essence of authenticity and the source of inner peace. Take some time today to see where your life is segmented, disharmonious, or incongruent. Some examples include: saying one thing and doing another in childrearing; offering a service or selling a product that you don’t really believe in; or not doing what you love because you feel like you can’t for whatever reason. Choose an area to bring into balance and brainstorm some strategies to get out of your own way so that you can radiate your inner truth more often than not.
2. In regards to meals today, I’ll paraphrase Michael Pollan from In Defense of Food, Eat REAL food, not too much, from a wide variety of sources consisting mostly of plants.
– Avoid foods that don’t decompose within a short period of time. Whatever is increasing their shelf-life cannot be good for our bodies, minds, or spirits.
– Stop eating before you are overly full. Eating excessive amounts of even the healthiest foods leads to a host of problems (weight gain, digestive disturbances, reduced sensitivity to internal signals of fullness, and more). Moderation is key!
– Increase consumption of plant foods. Plants offer us thousands of phytonutrients, most of which have not yet been named. The synergy of these nutrients is miraculously healing and energizing.
– Eating a wide variety of foods ensures that we get all the nutrients that we need. While you’re at it, eat something green at every meal.
3. To be congruent in your exercise means you do the opposite actions from those you do throughout the rest of your day. For example, sitting at a computer, driving, and most manual labor is oriented forward and downward, so you need to move backward and upward in your exercise. This means if you are swimming, throw in some backstroke; in yoga, incorporate backbends and inversions; or at the very least while walking or running, look up every now and then and draw your shoulder blades down and slightly toward one another. Another aspect of congruent exercise is determining if you are really addressing your needs. Is your pace too fast or too slow? Are you holding back from your full potential or are you pushing yourself too hard? From an Ayurvedic perspective, like attracts like and opposites bring balance. So it is likely that if you enjoy pushing yourself, you need to back off, and if you like taking it easy, you need to amp it up a bit. If you aren’t sure about your tendencies, trust your inner guidance, as that is the most direct path to congruency!
4. Meditation is one of the best ways to get congruent, meaning having your insides match your outsides. Taking the time first thing in the morning is a great way to ensure that you’ll fit it into your day. However, anytime is better than none, so sit when you can. We’ve done some great guided meditations so far, but today you’ll benefit by sitting quietly for 15 minutes and tuning into your inner truth more deeply. Set a timer, turn your palms upward, and relax into your Self as you breathe. When thoughts arise, let them pass. Your mind will not likely be empty, but you don’t have to get attached to any of the chatter that occurs in your mind while you sit. Whatever you need to remember, you will, and the rest is just junk sorting itself out, so let it all go. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Deep inner truths are unquestionably neutral, creating absolutely no anxiety or tension, so if a thought stresses you out during your sit, know that it is not worth your focus and allow it to float by like a cloud in the sky.
5. You might find that your mind is dull (tamasic) or a chatterbox (rajasic) in meditation and in daily life. One of the reasons yoga and Ayurveda place so much emphasis on what we do and what we consume with our eyes, ears, noses, mouths, and skin is that everything affects the nature of our minds. Now that you are taking a closer look at your mind, it’s time you were introduced to the three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas. Sattva is the balanced, harmonious state of mental ease in which we appreciate beauty and feel connected to everything around us. This middle path between mental over-activity, agitation, and delusion (rajas) and mental under activity, inertia, and stagnation (tamas) is the goal of yoga and Ayurveda. Check out this Gunas Chart for lists of foods, activities, and environments that take us toward or away from sattva in our daily living.
6. Do some yoga today with the intention of increasing sattva, and keep your focus in the center of your head during your practice.
7. Check in with me via email about your experiences this week, positive and challenging alike. Namaste (the truth in me, sees and honors the truth in you).