Seven Habits of Highly Successful Yogis

Being a truly successful yogi doesn't entail owning a string of yoga centers or being able to levitate. Being a successful yogi means that our inner and outer lives support each other and that we are rocking our gifts. In the truest sense it means that we are making headway with the great projects of a life of the Spirit: clearing karmic backlog, bringing our minds under our conscious control, turning the pain of the past into infinite gain, purifying the ego, helping to ease suffering, and inspiring others. A real life yogi never gets complacent. Time, space, illusion, and desire are crafty antagonists and it's their job to keep yogis on their toes. A successful yogi has no recourse but to stay sharp everyday.

1. Make your practice a priority.
Talk doesn't cook the rice, doing does. The wise person knows that our body needs to be balanced and purified, our minds focused and our subconscious cleared everyday. A powerful practice gives us tools that support us even when we lapse. A successful yogi knows that there is absolutely no substitute for getting our reps in. And not just going through the motions, going through the devotions!

2. Know that the impossible is possible.
Once Yogi Bhajan taught a morning practice, part of which entailed sitting on the left heel with the right foot flat and chanting a mantra for 22 min. Our response was, "He's got to be kidding!" But after doing it for a while it became definitely doable. If you are systematic, you can make the impossible just another day at the office. It's all about being systematic and steady over the long haul. What was impossible was that against all odds, and in spite of all of life's distractions, you chose to begin your journey on a Path with Heart. We all started off hitchhiking and Kundalini Yoga picked us up. And miracles of miracles, it's going exactly where we need to go!

3. Set yourself up for longevity in a pose.
The start of an exercise is the most important thing. If we don't create a solid base then we have to compensate throughout the exercise. Excuse the cliche, but it really is like building a house in tornado city. You are going to be extra careful to set a strong foundation. Want to be able to keep up in those 11 minute Kundalini arm exercises? Make sure that you are using the large muscles of your back and not your shoulders. Successful Kundalini Bridge Pose? Really press down to rise up and you will find a new release in the pose. Also, set yourself up internally before you begin an exercise or Meditation. It's your life. It's your redemption. It's for all the marbles.

4. Set up your life to honor your practice.
Ghandi said, "I have so much to do today. I think I'll meditate an hour more!" One of the amazing results of a committed practice is the ability to do less and get more done. You will find that adding time for a yoga and meditation practice will actually stretch time so you can have a type A day in a relaxed way. Our practice is our base of support. The friend of our life. Our life guard. Our body guard. Our safe guard. The palace guard of our soul. Our guardian angel. There are not many sure things in this life, but one thing we can count on is that when we power our practice, it empowers us.

5. Keep an overview.
If you're feeling that you're not walking the walk but trudging the trudge, you're not alone. It's hard to feel like a Spiritual rock star when you're taking out the trash, but it's really important to remember that those of us who aspire to remember Infinity in the finite are on a far larger stage than we know. Some- times it feels like nothing is happening in your practice. Day 29 of your 40 day practice and you start to doubt. You wonder why you feel so crabby and out of sorts when you have been meditating almost 30 days in a row! What's that about? Here is where an overview is key. You are clearing out years (maybe lifetimes) of subconscious sludge. Keeping an overview helps us to be non-reactive in relation to other people and our own minds. This is the highest yogic attainment.

6. Successful yogis share their practice.
As Yogi Bhajan always said, "If you want to master something teach it." Teaching yoga is an amazing way to gain a true understanding of the practice. It also makes us accountable to our practice (and life!) because people are depending on us (which is also a real heart opener). When we teach all of our chakras ignite so we can be the light! We have to be grounded, creative, fearless, loving, truthful, focused, expansive and bright. Sharing our practice is a way of honoring the Universe and paying forward for the gift of this amazing technology. Think of the way kids light up when they open their presents on Christmas morning. People's souls light up in the same way when you help them spark Spirit and reminisce with them about their True Ancestral Home.

7. Personalize your practice.
Only you know your innermost goals and need for healing. On the yoga path it is all about the journey but that journey entails specific accomplishments which can only be scripted by each of us. Trust your own judgement and your own experience. It is also important to find role models who seem to exemplify what you wish to become. Just as artists and writers often copy great masters until they find their own rhythm and voice, emulating those who inspire you will lead you to honoring your own soul. Our souls resonate with those who reflect the greatness we are meant to express. Kundalini Yoga contains 1000 kriyas and 1000 Meditations, as well as many subsets, combinations, and special applications of these. You will find yourself falling in love with various techniques at certain junctures in your journey. Rock those techniques! Yogi Bhajan coined the phrase "Creative Meditation," to describe the personal spin we put on our practice. This can make our practice super powerful.