Discovering Your Dharma

Written on September 10, 2015, in the midst of presenting my 3-part Yoga for Healing workshop.

On Tuesday, I taught the 2nd yoga workshop in my 3-part Yoga for Healing series at the Provo City Library. The 1st workshop in the series caught me a little off guard, as in, there were a few more people than I expected. Which was wonderful! But I felt a little flustered. This week, from the get-go, it just felt better. I was ready. And it flowed. It was beautiful. I shared some of my favorite things about yoga, the things that I use regularly, the things that, when I first learned them, enlivened my soul.

I had planned a sequence to do with the class, but as soon as I started teaching, I knew it would change. I followed my intuition. The words flowed, the practice flowed. It just felt really wonderful being there, sharing that practice with a full room of eager yogis. I had my friend Chelsey snap the above picture after class, outside of the room I taught in at the Provo City Library. I didn’t want to forget that feeling of peace, fulfillment, and contentment. I’ve been thinking about dharma— “the way of higher truths.” Each person has a dharma. It is, essentially, the path you were born to live. It is yours to discover, yours to choose to live. There are 7 dharmic paths:

1. Path of Labor — General occupations. Most people fall in this category.

2. Path of Military — Military, law enforcement, etc.

3. Path of Government — Political leaders.

4. Path of Science — Medical researchers, scientists, etc.

5. Path of Philosophy — Church leaders, philosophers, etc.

6. Path of Creativity — Artists, writers, musicians, etc.

7. Path of Humanitarianism — Religious workers, medical workers, welfare and social service workers, holistic health practitioners, etc.

There is more to it, but that is the basic basic version. I know that I have spent time in different paths so far in my life. I know that I still have a lot to learn, and that my path will continue to develop and refine itself as I continue to follow that pull of my spirit. Tuesday night, I felt that pull. I appreciate learning different aspects of yoga philosophy, like the idea of dharma. It helps me understand my own life in a different way, and makes my path a little clearer.

my favorite meditation apps (so far!)

I started meditating last year and I love it! It’s a very effective way to calm the mind and body, and can be done upon waking, during your lunch break, while the kids are screaming and you’re hiding in the bathroom, before bed… anytime! (Except while driving. I think all of these apps have that warning with them.) Meditation is a universal and impactful way to learn to be calm, even in the midst of chaos, heartache, or whatever is weighing on your shoulders. While you can meditate without an app, apps/recordings are great to use to learn how to meditate, and to learn new ways to meditate. Here are three of my favorites so far:

Stop, Breathe and Think (Link) This was the first meditation app I used. The app is free, most of the meditations are free, and you can purchase more if you’d like. The app includes a daily check-in and you can earn stickers for different accomplishments (mediating a certain number of days, checking for multiple days in a row, completing a mediation however many times, etc), which is a great motivation to keep going sometimes! The meditations are all about 2-10 minutes long, so it’s very do-able. This is a great intro to meditation, and an app that I still go back to. Mediation to try within the app: Welcoming the Day (4 min)

Meditation Studio by Gaiam (Link) This is my most recent download, and I love it. There are over 200 guided meditations by a variety of instructors. You can listen to just their voice, or you can add in a background sound (birds, chimes, rain, stream, tambura) at whatever volume you’d like. There are individual mediations you can do, or you can take a structured course (current courses available: Meditation Essentials, Uncovering Happiness, and Changing Habits), though I haven’t tried the latter yet. The app costs $2.99, and so far it has been well worth that cost. Meditation to try within the app: Relax Before Bed (by Ashley Turner, 5 min); Centering (by Elisha Goldstein, 10 min); Easing Stress (by Elisha Goldstein, 4 min)

Build Self-Esteem by Surf City Apps (Link) A kindred spirit of mine recommended this app to help heal some inner hurt, and I love it. The narrative takes you on a journey—literally a journey driving up into the mountains—and weaves in words, phrases, and thoughts to encourage the building of self-love and recognition of self-worth. I listen to this as needed, sometimes upon waking, sometimes before bed, and whenever I’m feeling triggered or just need some alone time to re-center. (Basic app is free; Pro app with hypnotic booster is $2.99, which I have and love to have as an option).

Try these and let me know what you think! What other meditation apps do you use and love? (Photo by Gary Barnes)