This niyama epitomizes your ability to know yourself inside and out. To be able to recognize your divine nature and how sometimes your human nature clouds that recognition. One of the best practices to develop in this quest is known as “witness consciousness.”

This is the ability to observe yourself as if you are watching a movie. How do you show up in the world? What are the thoughts and belief systems that you operate from? Are you willing to recognize both your divine nature and how you cover it up in challenging times?

In the method of Ashaya yoga that I teach the philosophy centers on your own ability to recognize your “shadow side” as well as your light. And rather than beat yourself up for this conditioning once you bring awareness to it you can work through it to go back to recognizing your light- your divine nature.

It is like a game of hide and seek (something I delight in playing with my grandsons). When I show up with my shadow of unworthiness dominating then I attract lessons to learn from in that regards. This was from the religious conditioning that I grew up in. I am not worthy was a message that was ingrained at a young age. I know that I am worthy on an intellectual level but only when I am able to recognize how my choices have fed that belief can I truly embrace it on all levels.

Being able to witness myself in the practices of yoga is humbling as well. I have to deal with osteoarthritis which is especially painful in my shoulders and rotator cuffs. I am learning to modify the physical asana practices and still feel worthy of practicing. There was a time I thought I should just stop and yet I still can do so much and honor my body in the process and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Adding more meditation, mantra and pranayama practices has enhanced my practices and developed my “witness consciousness” as well. The practice of yoga is a journey of self-discovery. To embrace all parts of yourself with love and compassion so that you recognize your own games of hide and seek.

Janie Gunn