How To Utilize The 5 Yamas for Empowered Speech
Written by: Alyssa Hossler
Photography by: Nicole Goddard
It all starts with you.
You are deserving of love and respect from yourself and those that surround you.
In today’s current social and political climate, women’s empowerment has been popping up left and right – and sometimes in triggering ways. As an entrepreneur, yoga teacher, and lady-boss, I have overcome obstacles, set boundaries, and learned how to speak my truth in a way that I am heard while also respecting others. Maintaining a socially conscious business that publically acknowledges these truths is important to me, as is working with other chefs, yoga teachers, and leaders that also hold themselves to high standards.
Yoga teacher training, empowerment retreats, and working with women’s groups have given me many tools to empower myself to be a glowing goddess and remain in charge of my own energy.
Change starts with me, with you, with the individual.
Although sometimes we can feel cut down, victimized, and cheated by societal constraints, we must rise above it all and own our goddess power. How, you ask? By working together, teaching one another, raising up other women, and practicing an empowered mentality each day.
Below are some lessons I have learned from the 8 limbs of yoga… specifically the first limb, the Yamas, that have taught me how to stand in my own self-power and grace while speaking my truth effectively.
"Although sometimes we can feel cut down, victimized, and cheated by societal constraints, we must rise above it all and own our goddess power."
LESSONS OF THE 5 YAMAS
The Yamas are 1 part of the 8 limbed yogic philosophy of life. The 5 Yamas are in reference to how we are to interact with the outside world. However, I find that the Yamas are also important to apply in our relationship with ourselves. When dealing with situations that put me at a loss for words. I refer back to these tools to reinvigorate my voice.
Ahimsa (Kindness/ Non-Harming)
Being ‘Kind’ and ‘Nice’ are two different concepts. Being ‘Kind’ is living and communicating out of compassion for self and others. Being ‘Nice’ is politeness with a motive; it is the holding back of true emotions with the objective of gaining outward acceptance. Being kind to yourself means speaking your truth. Being kind to someone else is sharing how you truly feel without casting blame. Nine times out of ten, people do not want to be the cause of your suffering. In regards to that one person who does… well… they have a lot of emotional work to do if they want to intentionally hurt people. As hard as it is, have compassion for that person. Image the world of pain they are in that they feel the need to spread pain. Say a prayer, and don’t absorb their energy. It is not your job to take it on. Their negativity is not personal even if it is directed at you. It is a projection of their own hurt.
Voicing the truth has to come from the “I” perspective.
We cannot be attached to how people respond to our truth. We have zero control over other people and how they react. It is our duty to be honest and voice it anyway. All we can do is express how we feel with kindness by not blaming other people. We are in control of our own emotions and must own how we feel.
Gossip is stealing… it is stealing the truth from the ears that need to hear it. It is one thing to ask for advice, it is another to spread the hurt and avoid the issue for fear of backlash. Tell your truth to the person who stirred the suffering inside you. That is the only way to release the blocked energy.
Brahmacharya (Moderation/ Mindful use of Energy/ Boundaries)
Unless it is a ‘Hell Yes!’ it is a ‘Hell No!’.
Your energy, your time, your resources are of your own keeping. You are your keeper. If someone is overstepping your limits of comfort…if they ask of too much… it is okay to say no. It is okay to over-communicate what you are comfortable and not comfortable with. It is good to set boundaries that honor your time and your values. And if someone breaks your boundaries, that is stealing… and you need to voice how you feel so resentment does not boil over.
Hoarding the truth within by bottling up those emotions destroys you from the inside out.
It doesn’t solve the problem, it makes the wound fester. Avoidance and keeping things to yourself is like having a splinter: you can either deal with the quick pain of removing it and letting the wound heal, or you can keep the splinter embedded in your skin and protect it from being touched and irritated for the rest of your life. When you own your truth, there is no avoidance. There is self-discovery and healing.
In essence, the key to empowering ourselves all comes down to voicing our inner truth with kindness. Ahimsa (Kindness) is non-harming of ourselves and those we interact with. It is about having compassion and love for our human experience and the experience of those around us. Hurt people are the ones that hurt people. So when we enter an interaction from a place of compassion, that is where we can make the greatest headway. When interacting with someone that has caused you suffering, speaking your emotional truth with kindness will help release the trapped energy. Speaking from the “I” perspective allows us to speak our truth without shifting blame. Saying things like “I felt (insert emotion here) when you (insert what hurt you here)” releases the emotional truth and energy block.
I hope this little lesson of the Yamas sheds some light on embodying your potential. Women’s groups and empowerment retreats are great ways for women to cultivate the emotional toolkit. Men can support women in their power, and look deeper into how to consciously own their own. See the events section of our Facebook Page to learn more about upcoming gatherings, trainings, and workshops to grow and blossom into your greatest version.
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