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No one is keeping me small but me: on my first year of living by the Yamas and Niyamas

I wrote a post awhile back questioning if living by the Yamas & Niyamas is keeping me "small". What I meant is that many of the challenges in Adele's book focused on simply observing, particularly my own reactions, both internal and external, to the people and world around me. Adele probably uses some form of the word "notice" fifty times in her short book. To me it seemed like she and the original authors of the precepts were encouraging passivity, but I'm living in a modern world that requires action and assertiveness to get anywhere, and I've struggled to be assertive my whole life. If there's personal development I really need, it's to be more aggressive, not sit back and "observe" while I avoid rocking anyone's boat.


But on this morning's run I had an epiphany that Deborah Adele would be so proud of: I remembered that only I can keep myself down. I can't blame other people--like my dominant husband, bossy friends, or holy men who wrote 10 ancient rules of conduct originally meant for ultra-observant aesthetics. Adele's teachings--on the Niyamas in particular--were trying to show me that my perception (made up of mental monologues and social conditioning) is everything, and it is changeable, but only by me.


I've dedicated a year and a half to this project, writing blog posts about my experiences but not telling anyone about them, certainly not sharing them on social media. So who's actually standing in my way? Me.

And how do I get out of my way? One way would be to publicly share this blog, which I still haven't done.


I guess what I need to focus on this next cycle of living by Y/Ns is how to develop more courage and self-confidence in addition to assertiveness, while still 'noticing' all things things I did my first time through.

A balance of action and observance will be my guide as I approach round two of living by the Yamas and Niyamas.

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