Yoga teacher Candace Moore has a theory: if you honor and let your most authentic self shine, you can achieve anything. Try living by her 10 commandments, excerpted from her new book Namaslay, to test it.
“Namaslay” is a life philosophy that mixes old-world yogic principles with a modern can-do attitude. It marries namaste, the ancient yogic greeting that means “the light in me acknowledges the light in you,” and the contemporary slang term slay, which for our purposes means “to go out there and kill it at whatever it is you’re working on—your job, your relationship, your life.” Here are the 10 Namaslay commandments, if you will:
1. Believe in yourself.
Know that deep within each and every one of us lies a strength and courage bigger than any obstacle we could ever encounter. Lead your life with confidence. And remember that confidence and ego are not the same thing. Confidence serves those around you; ego is self-serving and self-destructive. Be quietly secure, led by an undercurrent of determination, knowing how truly powerful you are.
2. Get out of your own way.
Both on the yoga mat and off, we are often filled with self-doubt. We put unnecessary pressure on ourselves, and we have these ideas about what we should be able to do or what we should have accomplished by now. This negative self-talk is no good. It holds us back from our inherent greatness. Whether it’s a yoga pose that you’ve been working toward or a life goal that you’ve been striving to meet, make a conscious effort to get out of your own way. Stop clinging to limiting ideas about your abilities. Be kind and generous to yourself and to others. Start speaking to yourself like you would speak to someone you love. Get out of your own way.
3. Continue to learn.
Read everything. Take classes. Engage in conversation. Ask lots of questions. Befriend people who are not your age, who come from different backgrounds, who listen to different music, and who are in completely different lines of work. Even as you grow and become an expert in your own field, always maintain a beginner’s mindset. Remember that everyone knows something you don’t, and therefore we all have things to teach each other. We are all teachers. And the best teachers are the ones who know that there is always more to learn.
4. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Comfort is a safe place, and it’s a fine place to hang around. I’d even argue that it’s a necessary place to be at certain times of your life, like when you’re dealing with health issues or after you go through a rough breakup. But discomfort is where growth happens. So when you find yourself in a particularly challenging situation, see if you can set aside your worries and fears. Then take a deep breath and be fully present. Settle into your little nook carved out within the discomfort, pull out your imaginary notebook, and sit in on the lesson at hand. Continue to challenge yourself not just to endure uncomfortable situations, but to learn and prosper from them.
5. Do the little things.
Return your grocery cart. Call your grandma. Floss your teeth. Ask how the cashier is and listen to the response. Make eye contact and smile. Practice random acts of kindness. These are the things that bring us together, that connect us. Remember: Yoga. Union. Do the little things so often that they become habit, and watch how they add richness to your life.
6. Manifest gratitude.
Look for ways to feel gratitude throughout your day, from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. Make “thank you” a daily mantra. While brushing your teeth—thank you for another day! While eating a bomb breakfast—thank you for this delicious food! I’m grateful for the sweet car I’m driving to work. Sure, it’s a rust bucket, but it gets me from point A to point B, and the speakers work great! Look around you and count your blessings. Not only does it make life more enjoyable, but it physically transforms you internally. No joke! Feeling gratitude may lower your stress level, which alters what’s going on chemically within you. As Janice Kaplan explains in her bookThe Gratitude Diaries, it also decreases cortisol, which may help reduce inflammation, improve your ability to sleep, and boost your metabolism. So say “thank you.” It’s like a verbal happy pill that you can’t overdose on. Say it more.
7. Be a “Hell Yeah” person.
My favorite people are the ones who have a can-do attitude. I love these types of people because they bring good energy into every situation and pretty much march to an upbeat rhythm of “Hell Yeah!” What’s better and more powerful than that? What’s more uplifting than that? There’s only one thing better than seeing a group of Hell Yeah people from afar, and that’s being one of the Hell Yeah people.
So how do you do it? It’s easy. You just do the opposite of what the “No I Can’t” people do.
Do you know them? I do. I see them everywhere.
Sometimes they’re in my yoga classes. I’ll demonstrate a fun arm balance, and they will side-eye the people next to them and groan. “Ugh, I can’t do that,” they’ll mutter. “Not with that attitude,” I’ll cheerfully respond. (I know, I know, I’ve turned into that yoga teacher!)
Ironically, since I used to be a “No I Can’t” person, it blows my mind that people automatically assume they can’t do something. They come from a boring little town called NoICan’t. People there walk around all downcast and miserable. Worst town ever; don’t go there.
Here’s the annoyingly chipper truth: if you believe you can, you’re halfway there. And that applies to anything from yoga poses to landing your dream job. However crazy your dreams may be, you’ve got to be a “Hell Yeah!” person. A “Hell Yeah!” person gets. shit. done.
If you want to be a “Hell Yeah!” person but can’t fully commit to saying “Hell Yeah” because you were raised not to say “Hell,” try saying, “Why not me?” Say it often enough, and you’ll be a “Hell Yeah!” (or “Heck Yeah!”) person before you know it. I believe in you because I am a “Hell Yeah!” person, and I know you can do it.
See alsoBelieve-In-Yourself Meditation
8. Tap into your greatness.
When you’re doing all of the above, you’re dialed in. You’re tapping into your greatness—the greatness that we all have deep within us. And, oh man, when you’re tapping into your greatness? There’s really no better feeling. It’s like being plugged into this buzzing electrical current of goodness. When you’re plugged in, you are on. You are shining and vibrant and honoring all your gifts and talents. You’re giving and receiving good things, and everything is in perfect harmony. Life just doesn’t get any better than that.
9. Defy your limits.
When you’re totally dialed in and tapping into your greatness, you’ll discover that your limits were perceived. They weren’t real. None of them.
All the things that you’ve picked on yourself for, all the lies that you’ve told yourself as you stared into the mirror, all the reasons you came up with for not being good enough over the years? None of that is the truth. Your imperfections are what make you the incredible person you are. Own who you are and watch how your so-called limits fizzle away.
10. Take no sh*%.
Think of your life as your great masterpiece—something you’re constantly working on, with the goal of creating the most breathtaking, inspiring work of art you’ve ever seen. It’s your piece; you’re the artist. So edit, erase, and re-create as much as you need to in order to make your masterpiece. So what does that mean in a real-world situation?
As you may know, I run a popular yoga blog, YogaByCandace. I created a little space on the Internet that somehow attracted my kind of people. The people who comment on the posts and participate on our forum are knowledgeable, funny, and inclusive. And because the Internet is pretty much Big Brother, I know that they log in everywhere from Brussels to Berlin to Brunei to Boston. They are students and doctors and fitness enthusiasts. They are stay-at-home moms and soldiers stationed overseas. They are professional dancers and people living with HIV. They are wine drinkers, vegans, and meat eaters. They are kind—and therefore, they are my kind of people. This didn’t happen by accident. I attracted these people by being myself. Had I pretended to be someone else, I would’ve attracted people who were not my kind of people. Over the years, through our interactions online and in person at workshops and retreats, I’ve gotten to know some of these people well, and I absolutely adore them. Ah, the beauty of the Internet.
But, as you know, the Internet also has a dark side. A while back, I shared a snippet of my personal yoga practice on Instagram. I’d just started lifting weights more seriously, and I’d put on a little muscle. Someone commented that I was getting “too big” for yoga and implied that I should stop my workouts if I wanted to continue practicing yoga.
Immediately, I was hurt. I thought, (A) Eff you for your unsolicited opinion about my body composition, and (B) Your comment implies that yoga is for some elite group. The latter point has always been a thing for me. We all have our things, you know? You’ve probably heard of this elitist yoga thing. This holier-than-thou thing. This you-can-only-practice-yoga-if-you’re-rich-and-white-and-wear-lululemon thing. This you-can-only-practice-yoga-if-you-don’t-drink-coffee-and-are-a-vegan thing. This you’re-only-a-real-yogi-if-insert-condition-here thing. Ugh. Drives. Me. Ca-razy. Because this thing, it’s the opposite of Yoga (union). This thing creates a divide. And that, in my expert opinion, is BS.
So I had a choice. I could have a pity party for one, wallowing in the Poor Me’s, or I could get up and speak my truth. I got up. Here’s how I responded: “For the first time in my 31 years, I feel comfortable in my own skin. I feel strong, healthy, and okay—full disclosure—there are things I’d like to work on—but overall this is the best I’ve ever felt and it’s taken a long time for me to get to this place of peace. I don’t usually comment on negative comments, but hear this: If you have something unkind to say or have the mindset that only certain body types can practice yoga, then you are a part of the problem and you can leave. We don’t need your negativity here. Thick, thin, big, small, whatever, yoga is for every single body type. Get on board with that or show yourself out.”
Sure, this was me defending myself. And yeah, you could argue that this was me creating a divide between “us” (the true yoga community that is accepting of all body types) and “them” (the people who are not). But this was also me defending any one of my tens of thousands of Instagram followers who might’ve been questioning their self-worth based on the size of their bodies. This was me standing up for what I consider to be the true yoga community, which is inclusive and kind and accepting of all bodies. This was me being authentically myself and saying, “I’m not taking your sh*&. Bye.” So do that. Lead with confidence, not ego. Take no sh#* in a way that serves the greater good.
While the story of my journey and how I’ve chosen to live my life by these 10 Namaslay commandments is woven throughout my book, my hope is that you see yourself reflected in my experiences and you’re inspired to dig deep and let your most authentic self shine. Now go out there and nama-slay.
Adapted from Namaslay: Rock Your Yoga Practice, Tap Into Your Greatness, & Defy Your Limitsby Candace Moore. Copyright © 2016 by Candace Moore. Published October 2016 by Victory Belt Publishing.
About the Author
Candace Cabrera Moore is an entrepreneur and the creator of the blog YogaByCandace®. She is a certified yoga instructor and a certifiably crazy dog lady. She runs a popular YouTube channel and has a yoga app. She also founded YBC Mantra Box®, a subscription service for high-quality healthy-living products from small businesses. She is happiest when lifting weights, singing in the car, and practicing yoga without the confines of a mat. She lives her life by the Namaslay philosophy and encourages everyone to do the same—leading with love, kindness, gratitude, and an unwavering belief in one’s intrinsic capabilities; being gentle, determined, and strong; doing no harm; and taking no sh#*.