I am delighted to welcome author Jennifer Niles here to the Whole Life Blog today! Jennifer recently published My Yoga Transformation: One Woman’s Story of Her Healing Yoga Journey and 85 Pound Weight Loss, which outlines her journey with yoga and how it changed her life–in every way for the better. Check out the excerpt below, and support her by reading her work!
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” ~Napoleon Hill
Thoughts become words, which become actions, which become habits, which become character, which becomes your destiny. Since you “bring about what you think about,” obviously it would be wise to learn how to control your incessant thoughts. You have to understand that your mind is designed to be constantly working in at least some capacity for 24 hours a day. So, if the mind insists on focusing on something at all times, give it something positive or calming to focus on.
Training your mind is not the easiest task. Especially if you are anything like I was prior to starting a yoga practice and learning about the ego. That pesky little voice in the back of my mind, the ego, was running wild day after day and needlessly stressing me out over anything and everything that was less than perfect about my life. By identifying with the mind instead of the soul, we give that little voice/ego the power to consume so much of our time and energy by dominating our thoughts and limiting our potential.
During my initial yoga years, during the time when I was suddenly feeling the desire to gradually cut down on my drinking and partying, my ego never ceased to remind me, “You are a party girl; therefore you must go out and drink with your friends tonight. Who cares if it is a Monday night and you just feel like staying home, cooking dinner and doing some yoga. You have to go get drunk instead. It is who you are and what you have always done, and it is what you will always do. You can’t change now. Who will you be if you are not a party girl? Party girls don’t stay home and do yoga! Now go out and get wasted with your friends!”
For a long time, I identified with my ego and therefore let its persuasive little speeches win the battle every time. Despite what my heart and soul wanted to do, which was sometimes to just stay home and dry out for a night, I would get in my car, drive to the bar, and proceed to get drunk until I could barely stand up without stumbling all over the place. When you identify with and listen to your ego instead of your heart/soul, you will just continue doing the same destructive things, day after day. Never changing, never growing, and never evolving.
I knew that my yoga practice was really starting to work when my heart/soul began winning the battle more times than my ego. The nights that I actually stayed home to practice yoga versus drinking at the bars became more and more frequent. Over time, my nights at the bars became obsolete. If my lack of wanting to get drunk wasn’t a result of my yoga practice, I don’t know what is.
Jennifer B. Niles is an author, yogi, vegan, and animal rights activist currently living on a small island in the South Pacific. Born and raised on the East Coast, Jennifer moved to California in her 20’s, where she taught yoga and enjoyed living among the palm trees. During her time living in the South Pacific, Jennifer was finally able to pursue her lifelong dream of writing books. Blessed (or cursed) with the opportunity to go through many drastic life-changing experiences, Jennifer mainly writes about her lessons learned in an attempt to help other people who may be struggling with the same or similar issues.
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, learn about our Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher training program, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.