The Four Desires and your New Year

by Elizabeth Ruff

Oh, tis the season for intentions and resolutions. Yes, here is one more reminder that it is important to live your life with focused energy! I have been studying for the past seven years with Yogarupa Rod Stryker, and a big part of his work that has spoken to me in is teaching comes from the ancient Vedic teachings he calls the Four Desires. Allow me to give you a brief summary in this blog, and if you are so drawn to learn more I encourage you to get his book entitled the Four Desires.

First off , when you are looking at an intention or resolution, it’s really helpful to get clear about the lesson that you are tired of learning, or how you hold yourself back from living a fulfilled life. This in and of itself can be some pretty uncomfortable work. Yoga and meditation are, of course, imperative in this exploration of our Self. Can you think back on a snapshot of your life and the struggles that you may have had? What is a consistent theme that you have experienced, maybe a reoccurring emotion? Some story that you are unable to let go of? An idea that it’s always someone else’s fault? Some limiting belief?

There are many ways that these tiresome lessons can take place. Personally, I noticed that when I am not seen as “successful” I feel small and insignificant, like I am not leading my best life. This, in turn, holds me back because I am unwilling to find celebration in the small things, the things I do just for me. And then I want to stop doing them, and get back to this stuff that gets me acknowledgment. It’s a vicious cycle sometimes!

Once you’ve done the hard work of getting clear about what lesson you no longer want to learn, then you can start to dive into the part of your life that could use a little more Shakti, or life force energy. The four qualities, or desires, that have been brought forth from The Vedas are Artha (means- money, home, food), Kama (pleasure- art, sensuality, beloved connections), Moksha (freedom, empowered choice), and Dharma (life purpose- NOT always your job). Do a meditation geared to focus specifically on your heart, then tune in and ask ” what would be the most potent part of your life to focus on as an antidote to this lesson that you are tired of learning.”

From there, get curious about how you want to feel in your life! What makes you feel really alive. Like you’re connected to the universe on the bigger scale, and living your most important self. Then it’s just a matter of filling in the colorful adjectives to fill out the corners of your New Year’s intention. The yogis refer to this more specifically as a Sankalpa. And in the art of creating a Sankalpa, this intention would be quantifiable, or qualifiable. In other words there would be a specific result that you could attain, or a specific life shift that you would notice by fulfilling this Sankalpa. In its most basic sense it is that antidote for that lesson that you are tired of learning and ready to move through.

Blessings on your journey, and please remember that regular Asana and meditation are an important part of the deeper work that actually happens after you have the intention in place! It’s the continued focus that makes the magic happen. I look forward to seeing you on the mat soon!

Happy 2019,
Love, Elizabeth

Click here to learn more about Elizabeth Ruff and see her teaching schedule.

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