The Yoga of Living: Leadership, Love, and Freedom

Yoga, ultimately, is so much more than Downward-Facing Dog. Rather, it’s a process, the way in which we engage with life, with our experiences, both on and off the mat. Yoga teaches us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and with the mystery of life. It offers us a map to help us get on the path of living our lives to the fullest, and finding the leader within—the inner voice that guides us into discovering who we really are.

The yoga of living asks fundamental questions such as:

What kind of world do I want to live in?
How can I create my own existence?
How do I say yes to my life?

According to the yogic tradition, each of us possesses a subtle body, an intricate network of energy channels that run like rivers through the physical body. At times, these channels can get blocked due to our life experiences and the imprints we carry from our childhood, our heartbreaks and our fears. Theses energetic knots can keep us from living our lives to the fullest. That’s why many of us often feel dissatisfied and disconnected from our relationships, our lives, our jobs.

Yoga offers tools for us to break free from these blocks that prevent us from taking ownership of who we are and what we want to accomplish. For example, when we practice yoga on the mat and are holding a challenging pose, instead of checking out of the situation, we have an opportunity to notice our breath, observe our thoughts, and investigate our habits. As we tap into our strength and energy to sustain the pose, we are simultaneously letting go of our doubts, the things that hold us back. Off the mat, we can cultivate that same curiosity, that same sense of mindful presence, and carry it with us throughout our lives.

How do you access your strengths in daily life? How do you find your calling? Be of service to the world: The more joy, passion, and curiosity you infuse into your life, the more of those qualities will become prevalent in the world around you. Listen to your heart: What do you truly want? What do you want to pursue? You need to be more committed to your calling than to comfort.

And, if you feel as though you’re faltering, you can always begin again and remind yourself there is always more to come. What matters is that you commit to your own life, every single day. Living your yoga and living your leadership are both processes of expansion—the gateway to finding our own unique calling.

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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