The Eight Universal Principles for Stepping Up to the Edge
Principle 1: We Are Either Now Here or Nowhere
‘Interesting how the difference is just a little space. All life happens in the present moment. All we really have is the moment that is right here, right now, in front of us. Any moment that happened in the past is a memory, and any moment that will happen in the future is a fantasy… The psychology of growth is being in the process and taking it one moment at a time.’
(Pg 33. Journey into Power, Baron Baptiste. Fireside Edition 2002)
All those thoughts…memories….past situations, things, people places, and fantasies are great…all those things have helped shaped us and made us who we are right now. BUT-where do they lead you? To the past which is gone and does not exist any longer, or to a future which we do not know of and does not exist. The PAST AND THE FUTURE are not places-where are they? Nowhere.
Principle 2: Be in the Now and You’ll Know How
‘When you tune in to the present moment, you reign your focus back in from the distractions happening around you. When you make this directional shift from paying outward attention to inward attention, you can really hear what your body is telling you. Your body communicates with you through a language we all understand. It’s called sensation. Hearing your body’s voice brings you into the here and now. Are you experiencing pain? Are you having trouble maintaining a steady flow of breath? (A sign that you have gone too far and crossed your edge into overwhelm). What adjustments do you need in order to make the pose more comfortable for you, to make it work? When you are in the now, a world of options opens up to you. If you are in the now, you will know exactly how far to go, when to push, and when to surrender.’
(Pg 34. Journey into Power, Baron Baptiste. Fireside Edition 2002)
BE HERE NOW-be present to the sounds around you NOW. We already know the answers to the questions we have in our life…we really do, but we need to slow down and listen. We can only listen when we are present and open to the moment. The moment that exists now
Principle 3: Growth Is the Most Important Thing There Is
We have two choices: We grow, or we die. It’s that simple. Growth is forward movement; anything else is stagnation, or worse, regression. I would even go so far as to say that growth is the answer to the age-old question of the meaning of life. It’s the whole point to our journey: to grow and evolve so we can remove all the parts of ourselves that keep us from living in the light, living from our essence, living as our authentic selves. When you remove the blocks, you create flow in your life and into new thresholds of personal potential. That is the goal, and growth is the only way to get there. Yoga practice is one of the greatest ways to perpetuate growth in all the areas of your life, beginning with the physical. Yoga pokes and prods at our physical limitations, forcing us to experience boundaries not normally experienced… When you hit your edge, you are faced with a choice to either move through or flee. The choice is always yours.’
(Pg 35. Journey into Power, Baron Baptiste. Fireside Edition 2002)
You must FIRST accept where you are and love yourself where you are at before you can move forward. You either keep moving forward or you run. The choice is yours to make.
Principle 4: Exceed Yourself to Find Your Exceeding Self
‘If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always gotten. It’s that simple. If you really want to grow beyond where you are, to change your habits, your body, your mind, and / or your life, you need to exceed yourself. To find the authentic you buried inside, you need to tread into new territory. The new frontiers are within us; the real stretch is internal… The irony of exceeding yourself is that it usually happens after you’ve perceived failure. The moment when you believe you have no more energy or capability, when you are certain you have to give up, is when you experience the most profound breakthroughs… In a challenging yoga practice, you do your nest poses when you are near exhaustion, because you just don’t have the strength to resist change. On a certain level you finally surrender: not to defeat, but to the sustaining power of the universe that propels you forward…’
(Pg 36 & 37. Journey into Power, Baron Baptiste. Fireside Edition 2002)
Do you keep doing the same things over and over again expecting different results?
Principle 5: In Order to Heal, You Need to Feel
Principle 5: In order to heal you need to feel.
‘The real irony of spiritual growth is that instead of being some miraculous experience, it feels a lot more like going to pieces. As soon as we open ourselves and our lives up to being healed, suddenly all kinds of unpleasant feelings come to the surface. We experience fear, disappointment, shame, even rage – certainly not the rosy, glowing epiphanies they promised in the brochure! If you ask for wisdom or higher virtues, know that they only come through trials and tribulations. If you ask for inner peace, God will send you a storm in which to practice and cultivate inner peace. We get what we want through practice… You can stay stagnant in your comfort zone on or of the mat, but in order to transform yourself and gain wisdom you need to go through the fire, walk on hot coals, travel through the desert of your own mind, and come through on the other side transformed. In order to heal we need to feel. We spend our lives stuffing down emotional and physical injuries, but these wounds don’t really disappear. Cellular memory is a powerful thing, and deep within all of us is a record of every feeling we tried to suppress, every emotional scar we keep buried, every physical ailment we thought was healed. To truly heal from the inside out, this psychic debris must be bought to the surface so it can be released.’
(Pg 37 & 38. Journey into Power, Baron Baptiste. Fireside Edition 2002)
It may not be pretty while you are dealing with those issues that bind you, but the freedom on the other side is amazing!
Principle 6: Think Less, Be More
‘Once you learn the mechanics of a pose – what goes where, what rotates which way, as so on – the only thing left is to get your brain out of the way and just relax into it. You can psyche yourself in or out of anything, not to mention think a pose to death. Analysis paralysis is the ego’s way of keeping you rooted in your intellect rather than your spirit. But when you drop your brain, you actually give your body and soul a chance to shine. Acro-dynamically, a bumblebee should not be able to fly. But bumblebees don’t know that, so they just do it. They open there wings and take off, oblivious to the fact that their round little bodies weren’t designed for flight. Wouldn’t it be great if we were all like bumblebees, unaffected by beliefs in our limitations?… When you let go mentally, there is a shift physically. Doubt your doubts and they vanish. Feel your fears and they fade. Let go of your worries and they fail to materialize. What will it take for us to really get it that life is about letting go?’
(Pg 37 & 38. Journey into Power, Baron Baptiste. Fireside Edition 2002)
Drop your intellect…your brain….and listen to your Spirit.
Principle 7: We Are the Sum Total of Our Reactions
‘We don’t really have experiences in life. We have reactions to experiences. Things don’t happen to us. Things happen in and of themselves, and what we do is react to them. It’s not the existence of standstill traffic that affects us, because if it’s happening, say across town and we don’t know about it, it doesn’t bother us. But if the cars are at a dead stop on the very road that we need to take, suddenly we are activated, and we react to the existence of traffic. It’s not the traffic we are experiencing, it’s our reaction to it! Built into our hard wiring as humans is the fight or flight response, which we needed way back in the caveman era to keep us safe. But we’ve evolved…there is a third option, which is to neither fight nor flee, and that is, to just stay and breathe. If you start to see your emotional feathers getting ruffled, just step back from yourself, come back into your body, watch your breath and feel the re-activeness dissipate. If reactions happen, come out of your head, and anchor into your body.’
(Pg 40 & 41. Journey into Power, Baron Baptiste. Fireside Edition 2002)
Rise Above the stress and breathe….reactions coming into your head (your mind), let them go and come into your body and ground yourself.
Principle 8: Don’t Try Hard, Try Easy
–if we allow our thoughts to crowd in (and possibly take over), we can create tension and anxiety. By letting go, we allow flow in our lives.
Is your ego in it? Are you driven by perfection and straining to create that perfect pose? Ultimately this will cause imbalance and suffering and unnecessary strain in your life and in you Yoga Practice. Where can I let go? Where can I struggle less? Where can I surrender?