A YOGI CHA BLOG
Why it needs to be personal
Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. I’ve always had a deep curiosity toward eastern and western approaches to understanding the mind, and the ming/body union. You’ll find me in the lovely Canggu Bali, nestled amongst coconuts, palm trees and sunshine 🥥🌴🌞
When I started focusing on yoga psychology, I did this because of my own core beliefs and how they played tricks on me. What makes us want to dive deeper, to understand and to find solutions is a personal drive. I have struggled with my body image and the idea of not being good enough to deserve happiness for as long as I know. I’ve struggled with feelings of lack, jealousy and scarcity. How passionate I am on the subject of the human experience and more so why we do what we do (which was the reason I chose to study psychology in the first place) comes from this one same drive. To heal.
On the path I came across some amazingly interesting authors.
What very much inspired me was reading Libby Weaver, Anodea Judith, Tara Brach, Alexander Lowen, Henry Grayson and Bruce Lipton.
They all have more than a few things in common and it all hit home for me, so deeply.
It is the fact that our bodies does what seems to be the best thing for us. That our minds and our bodies are not separate entities and that they affect one another. The mind is tricky but the body is its helper.
We put ourselves in difficulty by not listening to the signals. The signals aren’t just the physical telling us we are sick and need to rest, by then we have already gone too far. The signals are in fact physical, mental and emotional. The emotions are the internal guiding system, the very first indications on our health. Since we have not really been taught how to listen to or to understand what our emotions are telling us, we usually bypass them and go straight for the thought that has been created. Because we have no connection to our inner world, we take our thoughts for reality. I think the moment I understood (not heard, because I had heart it before) that my thoughts aren’t necessarily a proof of an actual reality, was revolutionary for me. Because the thoughts are also signals of how we are treating ourselves. If I keep having negative thoughts it doesn’t mean that the world has suddenly changed and become a dark place. It is a signal that I am not taking care of myself.
Can you linger on that one for a bit before pushing it away? Can you stay with that idea for a second to see if you really live by it, since you might consciously right now say “of course that is true”.
Can you make the pause when the negative is clouding you? Or do you take it for Truth?
So how we treat the physical, mental and emotional creates the perception we have of the world. It is the perception that is so important.
We usually think that we can more easily change our perception if the things that bother us just changes first. The “when I get rich, then I will look at the world from a perspective of abundance” and “when my body corresponds just a little more to what I want it to look like, then I’ll face the day with ease” are the villains here. Change the perspective to change the behaviour. Change the behaviour to change your life situation.
It all starts with understanding that it comes down to taking care of the nervous system.
Like anything else that we truly understand, I learned it the hard way. And I am still learning, because I keep doing the wrong thing over and over when I go back into habitual patterns.
I have an anxious mind. Auyrveda tells me, I have a rather Vata quality of mind and a Pitta body (and vice verse, it’s not fine cut of course). My mind will be very creative and sharp if only I allow for the nervous system to stay very calm. But I will be prone to over-do in order to try to be “enough”. I have a strong fire and a body that is made to shape the muscles well but if I don’t pay attention to the signals, I end up shattered, foggy in my mind and waking up at 3 am every single night, stress hormone running through my body as if I was running way from a lion.
I learned about pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) and I thought, well that’s fun. Maybe I can use it to find sleep at night. And it did. Then I forgot about it.
I would absolutely be one of those people who rushed through savasana and pranayama at the end, using the time more to day dream or, lets face it, plan what I should eat during the day.
Then I got very unstable with a pushy attitude in my ashtanga practice, alternating it with running. As I was researching for a workshop on the emotional body, I got back in touch with pranayama since it is very much linked to our fear response, ie moments when we are triggered because we don’t feel loved, when we feel rejected. So I had to study it again and that’s when I got the reminder, this is what I need.
It is all very logical: to function properly, the mind needs to be calmed. The mind will be calm when the heart is calm because it has the information that survival is taken care of. So the mind do not need to focus so much on how the body is holding itself and where it should be going. The heart’s activity is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, the more commonly known modes of “fight or flight” and “rest and digest”. These functions aren’t voluntary, we do not need to walk around thinking about regulating our nervous system any less then we need to focus on making hormones. But we do have a way to control when needed. With the breath.
We know it yet we find ourselves easily in situations where it’s as if we have forgotten all of it. Because when we’re driven by other things than our willpower, we take on habitual patterns constructed as we integrated some deep down rooted beliefs about the world and ourselves.
This is the reason behind my “self image project” that is coming up on my website very soon.
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