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Yoga Off the Mat: A Path of Karma and Personal Empowerment

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

Amidst the busy and often chaotic modern Western society, it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of daily life, external stimulation and losing touch with our inner selves and the profound wisdom that lies within.


We see Yoga studio’s in most towns, and the rise of online classes means we are now spoiled for choice as we roll out our mats and pick our practice of the day.



But is yoga not far much more than shiny leggings and stretchy bodies?


It is.


It's not about how good you are, or 'how good they' are at it - it's about how good you are to yourself first.


The traditions of yoga throughout the ages offer us a powerful reminder that its transformative effects extend far beyond the confines of a rectangular mat. Whilst to some extent, these teachings are not always practical for the modern mamma or busy entrepreneur - several hours of meditation and asana practice in order to reach an enlightened state just isn’t going to happen. But we can adapt these principles throughout the day to suit our lives.


If we slow down just a little, we can create pockets of time for micro mindfulness practices that are all a part of integrating a healthy lifestyle and boosting our vitality off the mat.

When we begin to delve into the realms of Karma and Bhakti yoga, cultivating a yogic lifestyle that truly nourishes and balances our body, mind, and spirit. This holistic approach, encompassing our behaviour, intention, breath, nutrition, and mindfulness, holds tremendous potential for igniting positive change in our lives and society around us.


What is Karma Yoga?


‘Love in Action’, or action with Selflessness. Karma yoga teaches us that selfless action is really a profound expression of our true nature. Humans are generally pretty decent when we actually think about it and turn off the mainstream narrative. .


Off the mat, we can infuse our daily lives with this principle by embracing our fellow people, offering acts of kindness, service, and compassion. By shifting our focus from personal gain to the well-being of others, by coming out of the mind and into the heart, we uplift ourselves and those around us.


As Mahatma Gandhi beautifully said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

When we embody karma yoga, we not only contribute to the betterment of society but also experience a deep sense of fulfilment and purpose within ourselves.


Our relationships and interactions improve.


Our vital energy and life force are revitalised.


Deepening this ancient wisdom, the Path of Devotion is Bhakti yoga, which invites us to connect with the divine within and all around us. Off the mat, we can cultivate this devotion through daily ritual practices such as prayer or intention, chanting, or simply being in awe of the beauty of nature. Incorporating the elements of earth, air, fire, water and aether. We are made of these things. Western yoga practices are little documented, but the ancient Essenes and Mystery teachings incorporate the elements daily.


Through divine devotion and the attitude of gratitude, we tap into a limitless source of love and find guaranteed solace in the midst of life's challenges. An unwavering faith and trust in a higher divine power becomes our corner stone.


By integrating bhakti yoga into our lives, we infuse and integrate our everyday experiences with reverence and deepen our connection to the sacred. Anything and everything can become sacred, when we offer our full attention and become fully present.


The Gateway to Mind-Body harmony off the mat is as simple as our breath. The practice of conscious breathing through the day can be the threshold to cultivating mindfulness and harmony. Breathing deeply and intentionally allows us to ground ourselves in our body, and the present moment, fostering a sense of calm and clarity amidst the chaos.



As Thich Nhat Hanh once said, "Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor."



By incorporating conscious breath into our daily routine, we unlock the power of the present moment, nurturing our well-being and finding inner balance.


This way we can keep our emotions in check, and know ourselves well enough to know what we want and need. In fulfilling this, we are filling our cup and serving with ease and grace from the overflow.


Nourishing the Body, Mind, and Spirit


It's always a good time to check in on how I am nourishing myself - in all ways. Not least it's pretty essential to consider the impact of our physical diet on our overall well-being. Off the mat, we can embrace the principle of ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence) by adopting a conscious eating approach. Having all the right colours on the plate is great, whole healthy foods are great. With Love and good intention as a key ingredient to the food, the whole process can become and act of devotion in itself.


By making conscious choices that honour our bodies and the planet, we actively participate in creating a healthier and more compassionate society.

Cultivating Self Awareness and Self Regulation in daily life enables us to be fully present, attuned to the richness of each moment. By consciously engaging with our surroundings, consciously being aware of our emotional state, we can then develop a deep appreciation for the beauty and interconnectedness of all life. We become grounded, clearer, more focussed and ultimately attune to our highest potential.


This is when we can really achieve the things that make a difference out here!


As we deepen into a holistic wellness and yoga lifestyle practice, we deepen into the mystery of life with a sense of uplifted self assurance. The fear of the unknown becomes excited anticipation and curiosity for the awesomeness to come. We become who we were meant to be, before the conditioning of society had us believe otherwise.


Calling back these ancient principles, and adapting them into our lives, passing on this wisdom in honour of the sages and teachers who have gifted their legacy to us.


Yoga is a lifestyle and a choice – it’s actually a very wise one.




In March 2024 I am honoured to support Hillary Atalina with her Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica, where I will be leading off the mat principles for an empowered life - Empowered Yoga TT


I also offer 1:1 and group coaching - clarebelmont.net

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