So the article in the Times Magazine – The Manifesting Manual by Roxie Nafousi’s and her 7 Step Guide caught my attention; and I thought I’d use it as inspiration to take a yogi and spiritual view on how to change your ideas from imagination into a living reality. But be warned. It takes time!
Step 1 Imagine & Create A Vision:
Already proven in Neuroscience and used in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, this technique is also used extensively within a physical yoga practice to help accomplish those 'hard to achieve" yoga postures (asanas). The approach is less of a ‘See It & It will Happen’, and more about 'Embody the Vision.'
And it all starts with mind: Here's how .
Step One : Relax Deeply with Intention
Relax deeply with the intention of observing the outcome you wish to experience
Maintain the relaxed state as you allow the imagery to develop. A little bit like watching the imprint on a film developing in a dark room.
Avoid any other thoughts interfering with your focus
See the image build in multi-colour
Allow your mind and body to experience how you would feel should this vision be true.
Hold this vision within your mind and be aware of what tries to break your focus - thoughts, external sounds, sensations within the body.
For sure, the things that will most likely try and break your focus are Fear, Doubt, Criticism, Judgment, Physical sensation, What others may say, and all the reasons not to allow yourself to imagine …. and so on. I guess you get the idea.
But, I put it to you that whilst in the frame of imaginal, simply make notes of these interfering thoughts (you can deal with them later) and return to enjoying the experience of living your life as if the vision was true right here, right now and in this moment. Allow the emotions to flow and your body to bathe in the experience. Dr Tara Swart tells us 'there is little difference within the between between what is experienced and what is strongly imagined.' Think of those times when you might need an injection and your mind has experienced the pain before the physician has drawn the needle!
Repeat this practice of imagination on a regular basis … ideally daily .. keeping within the same theme.
Embody the Experience Within Your Yoga Practice
We often practice embodiment within our yoga practice by noticing how it feels to be within the body when in a posture – where do we need space, strength, flexibility ? Is the sensation harmful? Is it real? Am I in a battle with my body and mind: Ie we simply notice what we notice without getting involved. So the asana teaches us how to relax within the posture, release perceived thoughts, create an image of where we'd like to be and then let the body guide us. So we manage the mind and allow it to learn from the body how to achieve the end goal - which is moving towards the actual posture.
"But why is this useful in helping me to achieve a yoga posture and what has this to do with manifesting the resolution I made at the beginning of the year?" I hear you ask.
Because, when we have the experience - physically through a yoga practice - or within visualisation as a mindful practice - we learn how to become detached from the thoughts which were interfering with our focus hence blocking our journey. We are learning to become the observer within the imaginal so we can make decisions free from fear, criticism, judgment, perceptions of others etc.
Step 2 : Ask How to Bring Vision Into Reality?
Once you can hold this space within imaginal (free from interfering thoughts) and you can create beautiful images of the world you wish to create we move onto Step 2. Get real. Within imaginal ask the question: ”What can I do on a practical level to make this vision true?”
This is quite interesting as all sorts of things could pop into your mind. Songs from the past, poetry, music, past memories, interesting shapes colours. This is your unconscious mind communicating with you. Its language is symbols – and the meaning behind symbols is very personal. Because it is all about you, your experiences, your DNA, your beliefs, your memories, past lives (if that is part of your belief system) and how it has affected you and how you are wired to become the living you.
You only need to ask once per session until you find a path via a symbol which you are comfortable with.
So, for example, within the yoga practice you may ask ‘how do I complete a rotation to bind within Marichyasana?; and you may hear an inner voice of inspiration which guides your body – move your shoulder blade a little more, create more space in a particular part of the body; maintain your focus on stillness and calmness; be still and be happy where you are or you may have an image of a vine wrapping around a tree or something even more obscure. This is neuro-plasticity at work. A re-wiring of your neurons and it can not be hurried. It requires patience and often a skilled facilitator to help guide your experience to prevent you falling into the known pattern and to help you move towards your end goal.
Step 3 : Watch Out For Opportunities Within The Everyday World
Triggers within your day-to-day may now be presented to you. And you’ll know as you'll recognise the symbols within your daily activities guiding you along the trail that you may now follow. It might be via a phone call, or a similar request a number of times (I use three similar experiences as a magic number before making any rash changes).
Then YOU decide whether to follow that trail or not.
Within a physical yoga practice you may notice a particular movement within numerous postures which help gain insight into how to achieve that yoga posture which as evaded you for so long. The physical posture becomes a symbol of what you are trying to achieve off the mat.
So, watch out for the physical manifestation of symbols within your everyday world and let them lead you towards your final goal.
And that's it. 3 Steps To Manifestation.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE THOUGHTS THAT BREAK MY FOCUS?
We haven’t forgotten about them. Those shadows that block out the light!
It’s good to acknowledge them. But if your goal is of great importance to you, my advice would be to speak with a specialist, as you may need a guide to help you navigate through this part of your psyche. Especially if there is pain, sadness trauma attached to this thought. A specialist maybe in the form of a good, trusted friend you will listen, talk therapy, within a community gathering (such as your church) or spiritual practices. The important thing is you TRUST the person(s) whom you choose to help you navigate.
But, in its simplest form and in my yoga classes I often advise to acknowledge the thought, wrap it in love and watch it float way/dissolve into the ether. Sometimes, it can be very illuminating to reflect on how this thought has helped to create a positive aspect within the person you are. Then, the thought can be thanked for its gift before it is dissolved.
This is a great technique within a yoga practice to help move into deeper states of relaxation. It really does take the pressure off wanting to achieve. The practice becomes more into letting go and more about finding a path of being at ease. This is where the magic happens.
BUT LIFE GETS IN THE WAY!
Yes, our ‘self help’ books make it all sound so easy. But the reality is, we’ll be tested on commitment day by day on so many levels. And most of use would hate to think about failing. Let me tell you now, you are not failing. You are making a choice whether to accept the challenge as a gate-way towards your vision. And, the answer maybe – not now! But that does not mean the dream is lost. It just means this may not be the right for you and the challenge present may provide another opportunity to help clear the pathway for when the time is right.
Here, there are many practice and so many techniques to help us see things a different way whilst you are exploring. Some using the body, some using external props, sometimes holding a quiet internal space of enquiry, or learning to dance with shadow, or engaging in arts and literature can help with the navigation.
MY FINAL SUGGESTION
Whatever choices or experience you make, offer Thank You, Love & Gratitude for the highlights and use it as an inspiration to do something different.
MY BIGGEST TOP TIP: BE PATIENT AND TRUST YOURSELF
BEFORE embarking on this journey to manifest your dreams, do try and find the best trigger to let you mind and body know that you’ll be entering the world of the imaginal for visualisation with a purpose.
For yogis, the trigger maybe chanting, breath work, creating a ritual. Anything that helps to calm the nervous system. For me the practice is opening Sacred Space. Whatever the choice, the aim is to set the intent to enter the space of imaginal with a purpose.
With this, you are creating space to manifest.
Without this, you are dreaming.
When you’ve finished, create another signal to let your mind and body exit this world and re-engage the space of the everyday commitments, duty & obligations whilst keeping a watchful eye for symbols.
Yes, it all takes time, practice, awareness, trust and commitment … to be the leader of the life you wish to create rather than being prey to the life presented to you. The choice is yours. Whichever choice you make, simply ENJOY IT.
Be Safe, Be Well and Be Vibrant
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To embody your vision within yoga posture, meditation or pranayama, do explore my classes
To explore how spiritual practices could help contact Melanie Ashley via firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspired by Roxie Nafousi Manifest: 7 steps to Living Your Best Life; Teaching from Ganesh Mohan and Yoga Therapy; The Ashtanga Yoga Practice; The 4 Winds Shamanic School. The Times Magazine 01.01.2022