There is a place inside each of us that always know the way – a place guiding us toward our personal truth. Some call it gut sense, others intuition, gently letting us know when we are on the right track and when we are not (sometimes not so gently). This is our inner compass, and it points us in the right direction when have lost ourselves. It keeps us on course, so that when we are presented with decisions both big and small, we can navigate from our heart instead of fear.
Following our inner compass is not an easy task! In fact, it takes great skill and a whole lot of courage. Sometimes we will need to forge our own path and go against the herds and tide. In order for compasses to work efficiently, the needle must be able to turn without obstruction. This means we have a responsibility to take care of our compass and not let internal debris in the form of thoughts or self-doubt sully its mechanism.
We also need beware of external forces that may misdirect the compass. These can come in the form of other people’s opinions. The more we learn to use our compass well, the more quickly we will arrive where we are meant to be.
How many times do we say ‘yes’ to things out of guilt or obligation? Only to suddenly feel dread and resentment. If you are like me, you say ‘yes’ because you feel like you have to (to please someone) and then spend all your mental energy trying to back pedal your way out of it. Or have you ever turned something down only to immediately regret doing so? These reactions are glimpses of our inner compass. Unfortunately, in these cases, the reading was a little too late.
Our inner navigator sends physical messages all the time. They can come in the form of a tightening in your stomach or a tingle throughout the body. Or an immediate “yes” from deep inside. Many of us have overridden these inner messages for so long that, when it comes time for crucial decisions, our compass becomes confused. “Should I take that job overseas?”, you ask yourself. “I’ve always wanted to live abroad." “Yes!”, your heart cries, but almost simultaneously your throat tightens to stifle the answer and the overpowering mind starts rattling through its many worries: What if you fail? Who are you to deserve this opportunity? Suddenly, the arrow of the compass starts to spin in different directions, and you can’t figure out which way to go.
This is when it is time to recalibrate your compass. Through quieting practices like asana, pranayama, and meditation, we are able to turn down the volume on the worrying mind and tune into the heart’s guidance. It is in stillness and intention that we can get clear once again.
The most important thing to remember is that we always know the answer. We may not have access to it in the moment. We may even question and doubt it when we figure it out. But, underneath the fog of confusion and the worry of the mind, our heart knows exactly where it should be and what it should be doing. Get out of your head, and let your heart guide you.
Try this 6-pose sequence to help you calibrate your inner compass: