Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark

Check Your Head

5 Steps to meet the real you.

By Sally Kempton


Meditating on the question "Who Am I?" for as little as 5 minutes can help you look beyond your ego's definition of you and discover what lies beneath.

1. Settle into your body.
Come into a comfortable seated posture, with your eyes closed, and your hands folded in your lap. Lengthen your back, and let your chin move back so you feel as if your head is being suspended by a cord from the ceiling. Scan your body, noticing and softening any tightness in the shoulders, face, thighs, belly, arms, and hands. Take 5 deep inhalations and exhalations.

2. Focus on your breath.
Become aware of the rise and fall of the breath. Let your breathing be natural and relaxed as it brings you into the present moment. Feel the coolness of the breath as it flows in the nostrils and the warmth as it flows out. Notice where you feel the breath in your body. Do you feel it in the chest and shoulders? In the diaphragm or belly?

3. Quiet the mind.
Sensing the flow of the breath, inhale with the thought "I am." Feel the energy of the words mingling with your breath, flowing into your inner body. Then, with the exhalation, feel the space that these words leave in your consciousness. Continue to repeat the pure mantra "I am" without attaching any other thoughts to it. Stay here for several minutes if you can, allowing yourself to become more and more relaxed.

4. Practice inquiry.
As your mind quiets, begin to drop in the question, "Who am I, without words? Without thoughts? Without memories or emotions?" Pay attention to the awareness that opens up. If words or emotions arise, allow them to be there. Identify them—"thoughts," "sadness," or "confusion"—and return to the question. You're not looking for an answer. Look past the answers that arise to experience the bare awareness that is your sense of being, of pure existence.

5. Rest in awareness.
This sense of pure existence is there, and as you practice this meditation, it will eventually reveal itself. Continue your inquiry, and see if you can gently rest for a second or two in the wordless awareness that immediately follows the question. The opening into awareness may last only for a few seconds. If you get hung up on your thoughts, start over: Return to the breath, and the mantra "I am." Then, ask the question again, and notice what arises. Stay with the practice for as few as 5 or as many as 30 minutes. Then open your eyes, and return to your day.

March 2014

Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark
Full Name
Address 1
Address 2
Zip Code:
Email (req):

Reader Comments

Add a Comment »

Your Name:


Stay Connected with Us!

Yoga Journal Live events
ep14 YJ LIVE! Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Sep 14-21, 2014
florida YJ LIVE! Florida
Hollywood, FL
Nov 13-17, 2014

More Events

Join Yoga Journal's Benefits Plus
Liability insurance and benefits to support
teachers and studios.
Learn More
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 4 FREE GIFTS
Your subscription includes
Yoga for Neck & Shoulders • Yoga Remedies
Yoga for Headaches • Calm, Cool, Collected
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Yoga Journal
and my 4 FREE downloadable Yoga Booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions