Growing Your Garden

In this excerpt from her book Wave Rider, Kripalu Yoga teacher trainer Coby Kozlowski offers reflections that encourage us to pursue life with intention and openness.

You can cultivate the garden you want to live in. Start with the idea—the seed—of what you want to cultivate in your life, take the steps to create the conditions for that seed to grow, and then watch it bloom. If you’ve never planted seeds before, try it now. Watch the process of growth—notice how each plant flowers in its own time, and what a miracle it is to watch the unfolding. And remember that if you plant something you don’t like, you can always change your mind, pull it out, and plant something else. It’s part of the experiment. Your life is one experiment after another. You can always plant something new. You are always free to make new decisions and choices.

All aspects of the multidimensional self need to be addressed in order for you to operate in a way that allows you to thrive. When they are all functioning together, when they are all yoking, prana can travel freely. Working with the koshas is important for everyone: for people who are way up in the air and can’t feel the earth under their feet, and for people rooted to the ground who have no connection with spirit. We’re not just an assemblage of separate pieces; we are a multidimensional operating system.

You are called to live out the full expression of who you are. You are here to be what you’re supposed to be. Just as the sun calls a seed to become a sunflower, life calls you to your fullest potential. Everyone isn’t meant to be the same. The loom of life weaves the unique colors together, and you are part of the tapestry.

Imagine walking past a field of sunflowers. You know each sunflower seed is called to become the beautiful expression of how we know a sunflower is supposed to look. We don’t expect the sunflower seed to grow into the shape of any other flower. The same is true for what you can expect of yourself. When you walk the path toward the fullest expression of who you are, there’s no need to try to be someone else. You are needed, just as you are called to be. You aren’t here to see if you fall short when you measure yourself against another. You are here to learn how to recognize your own callings, and to explore. Like the sunflower is called to be the sunflower, you are called to something uniquely you.

We’ve been given a unique opportunity to create a world in which we want to live. I want to live in a world where there is collaboration, where there is cooperation, where there is diversity, and we celebrate each other’s opinions. How do we come together and create something that’s magical? How do we unlearn the idea that we can’t change, that the world won’t change, that this is just the way it is? That way of thinking is part of what blocks the possibilities.

Yoga invites us to notice our beliefs and open our minds to the possibility of a paradigm shift. We can stick to our old beliefs, and keep creating that same reality. Or, we can consider whether our beliefs create our reality. What beliefs are you holding onto that are actually creating a reality that doesn’t work for you? What lens are we looking through that’s creating or distorting our own reality?

It takes effort to change what you believe. Your brain needs to get out of the old groove and create new synapses, like flexing a different muscle. Sometimes the place to begin is by recognizing that much of life is a mystery.

Coby Kozlowski, MA, E-RYT, is a faculty member for the Kripalu School of Yoga and author of One Degree Revolution: How the Wisdom of Yoga Inspires Small Sifts That Lead to Big Changes.

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